And on the seventh day, ye shall rest. That means no cooking for you. Instead, treat yourself to a leisurely brunch at one of these great places. Whether you’re in the mood for a breakfast favorite or something more dinner-y, but on the light side, these stars of the weekend offer everyone living in Philadelphia a delightful, casual dining experience – and then some, in a few cases.
Carman’s Country Kitchen, 1301 South 11th Street (at Wharton), Passyunk Square. At this quirky, intimate diner, the best down-home cooking in Philadelphia comes with something special on the side: running conversation with the chef, who loves to mix it up on current events and whatever else is on her mind with the patrons. (Your blogger has had more than one super-cheap therapy session with Dr. Carman, who is guaranteed to remove whatever blues you may be feeling.) In good weather, you can dine al fresco at the picnic table mounted in the back of the pickup truck parked in front of the restaurant. Breakfast and brunch specialties served 7 days a week, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. BYOB.
Sam’s Morning Glory Diner, 10th and Fitzwater streets, Bella Vista. This “finer diner” is a daytime-only destination beloved by locals and lovers of fresh, local, seasonal ingredients. The weekend brunch menu features egg dishes, cakes and breads, salads and “samwiches” sure to please just about everyone. Steak lovers will appreciate the bargain-priced steak and eggs, and carb fans will find the challah French toast divine. Brunch served Saturdays and Sundays, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
Sabrina’s Cafe, 910 Christian Street, Italian Market; 1804 Callowhill Street, Logan Square/Art Museum Area; 34th Street and Powelton Avenue, Powelton Village. Classic comfort food is Sabrina’s stock in trade, and the long lines of diners waiting for tables attest to its quality. Breakfast lovers will find their favorite meal served all day, and there are vegan and vegetarian items on the menu as well. Brunch specials include a burger of the week, eggs Benedict Florentine, and a continually changing menu of cleverly named creative items.Brunch served Sundays, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. BYOB.
Valanni, 1229 Spruce Street, Washington Square West. Cocktail lovers will find this uber-cool Gayborhood mainstay as much to their liking as diners will, with a drink menu that goes well beyond the standard Bloody Marys and Mimosas. The kitchen is incapable of turning out a mediocre meal, and brunch is no exception. The Monte Cristo sandwich is to die for. Outdoor seating in season. Brunch served Sundays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Jones, 700 Chestnut Street, Washington Square. Stephen Starr’s Mom-food eatery does everything with a nudge-nudge, wink-wink attitude, with the only difference being that you are in on the joke at this very Brady restaurant. The food, however, is serious – all your favorite classics are on the brunch menu, or you can order items from the all-day menu as well. Chicken-and-waffles fans, take note. It’s also a great place to dine with the kids. Brunch served Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Honey’s Sit ‘n’ Eat, 800 North 4th Street, Northern Liberties. Bet you didn’t know there was such a thing as “Southern Jewish food.” Well, there is, and Honey’s has it. It might be more accurate to say that the best traditions of Southern and Jewish cookery coexist side by side on Honey’s extensive menu, which features breakfast, brunch and deli favorites all made with ingredients sourced from some of the best local farms, including East Kensington’s Greensgrow Farm. But there are some interesting intersections of the two: brisket soft tacos, for instance. Brunch served Sundays, 7 a.m.-5 p.m. BYOB.
Jake’s and Cooper’s Wine Bar, 4365 Main Street, Manayunk. Feeling like doing something grownup for brunch? Here’s the place to do it. This Manayunk pioneer offers the full white-tablecloth, fine-dining experience and a menu of more than 30 items, all emphasizing sustainably grown, local ingredients. If you prefer wine to a Bloody Mary with your brunch, Cooper’s offers 35 different wines by the glass and 50 by the bottle, including several excellent values. (Jake’s will undergo a total makeover starting in the spring of 2012.) Brunch served Sundays, 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
The Swann Lounge at the Four Seasons, One Logan Square. $73 per person and worth every penny, the Swann Lounge’s Sunday brunch buffet is the most sumptuous in the city. Patrons enjoy an embarrassment of riches: traditional breakfast favorites, a global appetizer menu, salads and classic entrees, all prepared with French flair and served with one of the city’s loveliest views as a backdrop. Service, as one might expect at an establishment of this caliber, is super-attentive without being intrusive. Brunch served Sundays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Mixto, 1141-43 Pine Street, Washington Square West. From the owners of Tierra Colombiana in North Philly’s Zona del Oro comes this delightful Cuban-Latin-Caribbean fusion alternative to the standard weekend brunch. Sure, Mixto offers plenty of traditional items for the less adventurous, but the Creole, Cuban and Caribbean dishes on the restaurant’s weekend breakfast menu offer a break from the ordinary. The wood-and-brick décor and exterior plantings will make you think you’ve left Philly for the tropics – and for a while at least, you have. Try their bacon Bloody Mary as well. Brunch served Sundays, 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Farmicia, 15 S. 3rd Street, Old City. Imbibers, do your wallet a favor: Dine here and take advantage of the only weekend brunch Happy Hour in town, with half-price drinks from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Farmicia – the marriage of former White Dog Cafe chef Kevin Klause’s and Metropolitan Bakery owners James Barrett’s and Wendy Smith Born’s visions – offers simply prepared artisanal fare in a relaxed environment, with an emphasis on local ingredients. Brunch served Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
–By Sandy Smith
Photo by Alice Park from Wikimedia Commons, used under a Creative Commons license