Best breakfast in Philadelphia
For over-the-top breakfast and brunch creations like massive omelets and challah French toast stuffed with cream cheese, bananas and honey, the locals head to Sabrina’s. Even with four additional locations in the Philadelphia area, the Italian Market original still draws crowds willing to wait an hour or more for a table. Pick up some champagne on the way and add some orange juice at this BYOB for a tasty mimosa to accompany your meal.
If you find yourself waiting for a table at Hawthornes Cafe, grab a seat by the wood-burning fireplace and peruse the menu; you’ll need time to decide between sumptuous dishes like the Hot Potato Mess, homefries with scrambled eggs, cheese, garlic hot sauce and your choice of meat, or the House Baked French Toast, which is “nothing like any other French toast you’ve ever had”. The beer selection is just as enticing as the food, with more than 1,000 single bottles, 11 specialty growler fills and 11 rotating varieties on draft.
On the outskirts of University City, Farmacy specializes in organic, local comfort food. The farm-to-table eatery has a limited number of seats and is only open four days a week, which at times makes it hard to get in the door. Your meal will be well worth the wait, however, with a menu that includes imaginative dishes ranging from apple pie pancakes to build-your-own-eggs Benedicts. Pick up alcohol on the way if you plan on drinking; the Farmacy is BYOB.
Southern-Jewish fusion may seem like an unlikely combination, but Honey’s Sit ‘N Eat cooks up stick-to-your-ribs fare that pulls from the best of both culinary worlds. The breakfast menu includes options like scrambled eggs with corned beef, challah French toast, biscuits with sausage gravy and country fried steak. Patrons who can’t choose between sweet and savory swear by the Breakfast Bomb (pictured), a giant buttermilk pancake stuffed with scrambled eggs and a choice of meats. Honey’s operates a location in Center City, but this spot in Northern Liberties is the original.
This casual neighborhood café in Queen Village serves up rustic, farm-fresh comfort foods and a delicious array of baked-on-site pastries. Breakfast options include said pastries (think: banana bread sticky buns, flaky chocolate croissants and buttermilk biscuits) and a selection of heartier dishes such as an egg-and-cheese sandwich topped with your choice of pork, scrapple or chicken sausage, or the popular breakfast bowl, which starts with a brown-rice-porridge base and is piled high with avocado, lentil sprouts, kimchi, salsa verde and spicy eggs. Hungry Pigeon takes its coffee seriously, too, offering a selection of boldly flavored hand-poured and single-origin cups and put-some-hair-on-your-chest espresso drinks.
If there is such a thing as a superstar baker, Alex Bois is it. His artisanal breads, like anadama miche—not to mention perfectly flaky croissants—are the foundation upon which chef Eli Kulp builds edgy, award-winning menus for High Street on Market. Think beet-cured salmon with cream cheese and fried capers on a perfectly chewy pretzel roll, or go for broke with the Hickory Town breakfast sammie, which stacks Lancaster bologna, horseradish-spiked Amish cheddar and farm egg on a homemade kaiser roll.
The moniker of this sweet South Philly cafe has two meanings: firstly, it serves all manner of Dutch food, and secondly, it specializes in Dutch babies—those puffy, oversized pancakes that are sizzled in a cast iron skillet in plenty of melted butter. Both of the restaurant’s options—the pancake is available savory or sweet—are exemplary, the former studded with smoked sausage and scallions, and the latter doused with lemon juice and powdered sugar. Other brunch-time favorites include a rich steak-and-eggs Benedict and a fluffy waffle draped with creamed chipped beef.
Overlooking verdant Rittenhouse Square, Parc channels the energy and style of a charming Paris bistro. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, serving French specialties like onion soup and escargots in a light-drenched space with plenty of seating. The breakfast menu includes favorites like quiche Lorraine, ham and gruyere croissants and pain au chocolat. No matter what you order, you’ll get to dig into a mouthwatering variety of fresh breads delivered to every table.
Lacroix, the fine-dining restaurant in the Rittenhouse Hotel, serves a standard—and delicious—breakfast menu daily, but the Sunday brunch buffet is unlike anything else in the city. The utterly decadent all-you-can-eat spread includes everything from hand-carved Scottish salmon and wagyu brisket to sushi maki and oysters on the half shell. Of course, if you’re looking for pancakes and scrambled eggs, they’ve got those, too. The meal will run you $75 per person (plus drinks), but you have two hours of eating time to make it worth your while.
Who can resist a breakfast menu that includes unexpected dishes like cookie-dough-stuffed French toast or chicken and waffles benedict. Breakfasters never leave hungry after a meal at Green Eggs Cafe, which operates three locations in Philly and one in Miami. Healthier options are also available, including a mixed berry granola parfait and quinoa porridge sweetened with agave nectar. Stop by the ATM on the way to breakfast; Green Eggs accepts cash only.
Ants Pants Cafe on South Street serves up mouthwatering Australian-influenced breakfast specialties. In addition to standard fare like oatmeal and egg and cheese sandwiches, Ants Pants also offers unusual options like brie-stuffed French toast and dill scrambled eggs. Order a traditional Australian coffee drink to wash it all down. Tables are set close together here, but the cheerful, modestly sized space feels much more cozy than cramped. Patio seating is available in the back when weather permits.
Mrs. K’s Koffee Shop has been serving hungry Philadelphians and visitors since 1962. Breakfast options range from western omelets to French toast, and the scrapple, a local favorite, receives rave reviews. The classic diner is located in Philadelphia’s Historic District and service is reliably fast, making it an ideal option for sightseers to fuel up before visiting some of the must-see Philadelphia attractions around Independence National Historical Park.
The Little Lion opened in 2016, but when the Museum of the American Revolution debuted just steps away, in April 2017, the lauded Old City restaurant expanded its hours and menu to include breakfast. Patrons can order scrumptious à-la-carte dishes like peanut butter granola or short rib hash, or opt for the breakfast buffet which includes house-made pastries, eggs, French toast and more. Top it all off with a s’mores hot cocoa, chocolate caramel pretzel latte or another equally exciting beverage from the new coffee bar.