Best Brunches in Philly

April 2, 2018
by Zagat Staff

21 places to make your weekend better.

Parc Restaurant
French · Rittenhouse Square · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.4

Stephen Starr "out-bistros most Parisian bistros" with this "très jolie" "people-watching" perch, where those lucky enough to nab an "outside table facing Rittenhouse Square" feel "transported" to the "Champs-Élysées" (but "without the smoking" ); inside, the "happening scene" can reach "daunting noise levels" , but given the "first-rate" French classics – from "sophisticated brunches and lazy lunches to fancy dinners" – and "polished" service, to most it's a "delightful experience" all the same.
American · Old City · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.4

This "elegant" , “iconic” Old City New American offers a "sublime" menu "full of interesting dishes" , paired with “unparalleled” service; some find it a "bit pricey" , but "worth it" when you want to entertain clients or be "sweet to your sweetie.
Day by Day
Breakfast · Rittenhouse Square · $$
Food 4.1 · Decor 3.5 · Service 4.0

Weekends aren't official until you've had brunch " at this long-running “ casual " Rittenhouse American where there's good reason " you may have to wait awhile for a table " – namely, “ fresh ”, " delectable " morning-through-lunchtime fare and " baked goods that sell out fast "; " energetic " servers who are " like family " make it a " friendly place.
Green Eggs Café
Brunch · Washington Square West · $
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.0

Bring a huge appetite " to these " New Age " American brunch spots offering " unusual ", " photo-worthy " dishes " big enough to feed a small family "; an " organized " staff does all it can, but unless you " get there early, be prepared to wait " as there are frequently " lines out the door"; P.S. cash only.
Khyber Pass Pub
Gastropub · Old City · $$
Food 4.3 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.0

This “cozy” “dive bar” in Old City “transports you” to an “outdoor BBQ pit in the South” with “guilty pleasures” ( “smoky meats that don't need their homemade sauce” , “decadent” mac ’n’ cheese) that “taste like home” , backed by an “astonishing beer selection” ; the staff may “take a minute to warm up” , but its “punk (in a good way)” attitude goes over well with the “lively” clientele.
Lacroix Restaurant at The Rittenhouse
French · Rittenhouse Square · $$$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.6

Superlatives " flow for the Rittenhouse Hotel's " elegant " Eclectic whose " lovely " cuisine, " over-the-top " (but " not stifling ”) service and “ amazing views ” of the Square create the " memory of a lifetime " – especially during " magnificent " Sunday brunches when you tour the kitchen to select your main course; it’s predictably “ pricey ”, but most agree it’s " worth every penny.
Chinese · Rittenhouse Square · $$$

Chef Susanna Foo, who blazed trails in Center City for decades, is back in town with a take on modern Chinese cooking in a slick, smart-looking bistro in a Rittenhouse storefront. Her son Gabriel minds the front of the house, whose bar features riffs on Asian cocktails.
Kensington Quarters
American · Fishtown · $$$

Set in a repurposed Fishtown warehouse, this "amazing" , "unpretentious" American kitchen from Michael and Jeniphur Pasquarello (Cafe Lift, Bufad) offers "outstanding" , "perfectly executed" dishes matched by "well-made" cocktails and "amazing" wines; the "open, warm" surrounds are minimally decked out with wood tables and industrial-style lamps and while tabs run "a little pricey" , the experience "exceeds all expectations.
Nom Wah Philadelphia
Dim Sum · Chinatown · $

NYC's circa-1920 dim sum landmark plants an offshoot on an out-of-the-way Chinatown strip, serving classics like fried shrimp balls and pan-fried dumplings – but don't expect to see carts roaming the dining room since the small bites come out to order. The setting is cozy, decorated with antique furnishings, lantern lights and wood tables.
High Street on Market
American · Old City · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.3

Incredibly "flavorful" breads are the highlight of this "casual" , "rustic" New American spin-off of Old City's Fork where the menu zigzags "between comfort food and the avant-garde" in "fresh, light dishes" ; "knowledgeable" servers make you feel like you could "relax in there all day" while "watching people walk by" on Market Street.
Sabrina's Cafe
Brunch · Bella Vista · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.1

Why are you reading this? – go! " squeal fans of these " old-school diners " that dispense " gigantic portions " of " over-the-top " Eclectic–New American breakfast and brunch fare at " reasonable " prices in a " vintage " atmosphere equipped with " just the right amount of kitsch "; " come hungry or be ready to split your food with a friend ", but " get there early or you'll be waiting awhile.
Moroccan · Fairmount · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.3

Many consider this "intimate" , cash-only Fairmount BYO near the Art Museum the "perfect spot for any occasion" , thanks to “fantastic” , "reasonably priced" Mediterranean fare and “friendly” servers who "won’t rush you" ; though some find it “small” , the room is “comfortable” with “spacious tables” , while outdoor seating under trees is "lovely.
amis trattoria
Italian · Washington Square West · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.5

This “vibrant” Roman trattoria in Washington Square West offers “top-quality” brunch and dinner offerings via an “attentive” staff; though some find it “pricey” and “loud” , others say it’s the “perfect place to impress a date” (yet “casual enough to sit at the bar by yourself" ).
The Dutch
Breakfast · Pennsport · $

Chefs Joncarl Lachman (Noord, Neuf) and Lee Styer (Fond) go downscale Downtown with this cozy, colorful BYO bruncherie in Pennsport. Omelets and Dutch dishes like uitsmijter are specialties – fitting since the idea for this eatery was cooked up late one night over eggs after copious cocktails.
Famous 4th Street Delicatessen
Queen Village · $
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.0

“Go hungry” to this “quintessential” Jewish deli in Queen Village and “be prepared to take home leftovers” of “massive sandwiches” and “delish comfort food” , toted by “no-nonsense” waiters in a “throwback” setting; a few find it on the “pricey” side, but most find it “worth it” – and besides, “you can eat for three days.”
Morning Glory Diner
Breakfast · Bella Vista · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.5 · Service 4.1

Still in all its "glory" after nearly two decades, this snug, "kitschily decorated" corner diner in Bella Vista stays "packed on weekends" with fans seeking "wholesome" "flavors" ( "fluffy" biscuits, "housemade" ketchup, monkey French toast) trucked to the table by "friendly" staffers; "go early" or "sign your name on the clipboard" and "wait" outside – but "don't you dare give up" 'cause "brunch is for winners.
Hungry Pigeon
American · Queen Village · $$

Chefs Scott Schroeder (American Sardine Bar) and Pat O'Malley (ex Balthazar Bakery in NYC) keep it "creative" yet simple at their "friendly" American brasserie on a Queen Village corner, where "special" baked goods and cafe-style breakfasts/lunches segue into "delicious, unusual" sharing platters and small plates at dinner; a "local" crowd frequents the "laid-back" , brick-walled environs, with a "lovely" bar pouring draft wines and beers.
Cafe Lift
Brunch · Callowhill
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.4

“Dress hipster" and join a "young-ish crowd" at this cash-only BYO cafe in Callowhill, where "melt-in-your-mouth" lemon ricotta pancakes and other "stellar" American brunch/lunch dishes are served by a "congenial" staff; some complain of "awful acoustics" created by "concrete walls and floors" in the "industrial" setting, but most deem it a “fun little getaway.”
Wm. Mulherin’s Sons
Italian · Fishtown · $$

Chef Chris Painter (ex Il Pittore) leads the kitchen at this "lovely" Italian where an "excellent" staff serves "top-notch" fare inside a "beautiful" , "historic" Fishtown whiskey distillery with restored wood panelling and a "stunning" fireplace; "fabulous" pizzas headline the menu, flanked by "delicious" small plates, "flavorful" pastas and wood-grilled entrees, all backed by "carefully crafted" cocktails from the bar.
Walnut Street Cafe
American · University City · $$

This multifunctional all-day spot from the team behind Rebelle in New York City features New American breakfast, lunch and dinner menus along with a café with coffee and carryout pastries that morphs into a cocktail bar in the evening. The modern, ground level restaurant in Cira Centre South features a chef’s counter, outdoor patio seating along Walnut Street, and a separate upstairs area for large groups or events.