Let’s face it, the amount of food you cooked over the last few months could probably fill the Ben Franklin Parkway. We’re not saying your 12th banana bread of the season isn’t fantastic, but there comes a time when you might want a break from your endless recipe testing. With so many terrific options in Philly for outdoor brunch, why start your day with anything else than a mound of pancakes, brioche French toast, and bacon on a patio? Here are 15 open-air places that will give your dishwasher a break for many early afternoons to come.
Alma Del Mar
When Queer Eye came to Philly for its fifth season, one of the highlights for us was that we got a great Mexican restaurant in Alma Del Mar. Months later, the colorful patio furniture is out and the white table umbrellas have opened. You can find some memorable seafood dishes at this newcomer including the greens and seafood salad, the salmon burger, and fish and grits. One of the best dishes, though, is the lobster benedict. Covered in an Old Bay hollandaise sauce, one bite will make you thankful for exploring life outside your bed’s blankets for a few hours.
There are so many brunch options at Bud & Marylin’s that the menu might give you the same indecision you feel when your ex calls. Do I “hold and answer” or just “send to voicemail”? When you’re here you need to try the amazing brisket hash. The dish stacks braised brisket over sautéed greens, snap peas, and country potatoes, all with an egg on top and served in a skillet. The brunch menu also includes some of the familiar quirkiness this place is known for. Case and point, the “Fauci Face Palm Painkiller” pouch cocktail, which comes with a distressed Dr. Fauci sticker for you to enjoy on their covered picnic tables.
Normally furnished with European-style sidewalk tables, this Lebanese-French cafe is set up for brunch in the streets. With wicker chairs and big red umbrellas at every table, Cafe La Maude continues to serve one of the best brunches in Philly. For a spicy start to your day, look no further than the green shakshuka. The dish is topped with a tangy carrot tahini sauce over sweet potatoes, fried cauliflower, green fava beans, kale, and spinach.
This popular BYO’s sidewalk setup includes long wooden tables, massive black and white umbrellas, and some wide green street turf that kind of reminds us of Lincoln Financial Field. In an ultimate go-sweet-or-go-home move, try their cannoli French toast. The challah is soaked in a cinnamon vanilla custard before it’s baked, and the ricotta cannoli filling is so generous that you’ll have heaps of it on every bite. Also, they’re open for brunch seven days a week from 8am-2pm.
Café y Chocolate
Few things are more satisfying in life than Café y Chocolate’s “Huevos Motuleños Especiales.” The dish swims in spicy salsa verde with refried black beans and is topped with a poached egg mixed with ham and mozzarella cheese, roasted poblano rojas, caramelized onions, and tomatoes. This neighborhood Mexican cafe and coffee shop doesn’t have the largest sidewalk setup - outlining the mural-wrapped building are small square tables and folding chairs. But from your seat, you’ll have views of the bright and striking floral art that’s all over the restaurant’s exterior.
Known for their eclairs, croissants, and tarts, this South Philly patisserie has plenty of brunch options. Enjoy some of the best French toast in the city on their picnic table-filled sidewalk patio. Topped with berry coulis and fresh berries, it’s the perfect mix of thick slices that also have crispy edges. For some post-brunch sweetness, don’t forget to grab a giant macaron on the way out.
We know $24 shrimp and grits might seem like a lot for brunch. But let’s face it, when Disney drops the link to Mulan, you’ll be paying even more to watch a movie on your couch. And unlike the shrimp and grits from The Love, we can’t even guarantee the remake will be even good. The creaminess of the grits and the spicy kick from the shrimp’s sauce work in perfect harmony and the restaurant’s spacious wooden tables also provide great views of one of the best parks in Center City.
This Mediterranean spot serves brunch daily with a menu spanning from shakshouka to chocolate chip pancakes. One of our favorites, the veggie quiche, is filled with a cream sauce, spinach, broccoli, and peppers, and is always cooked perfectly with a light flaky crust. Their brick outdoor courtyard is surrounded by a bunch of greenery, and the patio offers a wonderful setting to sip on many of their mason jar drinks - including our favorite, the rose lemonade topped with flower petals.
Royal Boucherie has a peaceful outdoor garden on their second floor, but for those who like the busy jolt of sidewalk seating, you can also enjoy brunch all day long on their new “streetery.” One of the best things on the brunch menu is the Boucherie burger with American cheese and truffle mayo. This bacon-topped cheeseburger is huge, but isn’t so sloppy that your favorite romper will be at risk.
Red Owl Tavern
Located across from Independence Hall, the outdoor patio at Red Owl Tavern gives you access to two Philly staples: cheesesteaks and the Liberty Bell. The thinly-sliced and tender ribeye is topped with white cheddar, fried onions, and if you’re looking to double your cheese intake, you can order parmesan truffle fries to go along with it. Whether you’re choosing between those fries or a fresh side salad, you can do it under their fully-covered outdoor patio.
Sabrina's Cafe & Spencer's Too
People in this city are used to waiting. We waited from 1960 to 2018 for the Eagles to win their fourth Super Bowl. And we constantly wait to get into Sabrina’s Cafe for brunch. The chicken and waffles here is a favorite of ours here and comes with crispy buttermilk fried chicken, herb butter, and vanilla bean syrup. Make sure you plan your meetup for the weekend, outdoor seating in the front yard is only available on Saturday and Sundays.
When you’re having brunch at Suraya, you need to try the za’atar flatbread with onion and tomato. It’s huge and is topped with a perfectly cooked poached egg. Their outdoor garden is one of the most serene places to eat in the city with an impressive fountain and circular fire pits at the entrance. Plus, you can eat under coverage on futons or gaze from the center of the courtyard at smaller bistro tables.
The wooden storefront patio at Tipsy Bistro is lined with massive umbrellas, providing sun coverage for every slow riser or hungover person in your group. On the deck, you’ll be surrounded by plant beds, aerial lighting in the trees, and pillows if you’re lucky enough to grab a seat on their futons. One of the best things on the menu here is the smoked salmon scramble. It Includes lox, dill-caper pesto, melted goat cheese, and the choice to get it over a biscuit or toast.
On Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-3pm, Walnut Street Cafe puts on live music and serves what they call a Jazz Brunch. Small bistro tables with padded seating outline the glassy restaurant, and the comfortable plaza is a great place to try one of our favorites: the steak and eggs. It’s covered with bordelaise sauce and served with seasoned potatoes and eggs. If you’re tired of listening to the typical Spotify coffeehouse playlist at brunch, switch things up by coming here.
Like Wawa during Hoagiefest, Veda’s brunch is something folks in Philly flock to. And for good reason, their extensive weekend brunch menu has a bunch of great dishes. Our favorite is the masala omelet, which is topped with onion, tomato, chilies, and a mild chili sauce. For dessert, you need to try the gulab jamun, a warm milky beignet that’s sprinkled with rose-flavored syrup. Veda also offers a bottomless brunch each Saturday and Sunday.