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Being a college student in such an upcoming and active city is so rewarding, especially because in every neighborhood I explore, I find such incredible breakfast food. Ron Swanson said it best, “There has never been a sadness that can’t be cured with breakfast food.” I love pancakes, french toast, eggs, bacon, oatmeal, smoothies….and coffee. Is that everything? I think so. So let me take you through my all time favorite spots in the city to get brunch and what I normally get, of course.
First things first, my favorite and most recommended spot is Cafe Lift (pictured above), in Callowhill. About a block off Spring Garden on 13th street, Cafe Lift is away from all of the hustle of Center City. It’s a nice, quiet neighborhood which eliminates most of the foot traffic that a lot of other brunch spots would get. The inside of the cafe is small but designed so nicely, and has great lighting for my photos (which is super important to me)! When I’m eating here, 90 percent of the time I get one of their French Toast options. Baked to perfection, their French Toast is lightly sweetened, topped with seasonal fruit and whipped cream. I’m Obsessed. Cafe Lift definitely has the best French Toast I have ever or will ever taste. If you’re not really a sweet person, that is fine too! I have had Jen’s Crespelle and the Avocado Toast here too, both incredible savory options for those that would rather have some eggs and bacon instead of fruit and whipped cream. Since my first visit to Cafe Lift in 2015, I have forced about a dozen people to come back with me, and you should too!
Next, Little Spoon in South Philly.
On the corner of 15th and South Street, this small cafe is adorable inside and out.They serve their coffee in all different mugs, mason jars, and is byob (with amazing fresh juice to add to whatever you want to drink). I’ve been here so many times and have tried most of their menu, so here are my top 3 dishes for the sweet AND the savory, whatever you’re in the mood for! In no particular order, Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, Avocado Toast & the Monte Cristo. Each of these are so perfect in their own way and whichever way you order you can’t go wrong! After going to Little Spoon, it is close enough in walking distance to anything that you could want to see in Center City. That is one of the amazing perks of Little Spoon, it’s just outside of the Rittenhouse Square Neighborhood, it would only take about 10 minutes to walk there!
Green Eggs Cafe is the one brunch spot that people travel for.
It has three different locations in Philadelphia and is known for its outrageous French toast flavors and huge portions.
These guys have a set menu with eggs Benedict, skillets and French toast but they also switch up specials every few weeks with the season...and it’s always an amazing surprise when they release the specials. A few of my favorites from the main menu, however, are the Apple Pie French Toast, Veggies Benedict, The Kitchen Sink, and their Quinoa Porridge. If you’re looking for a meal that will put you in a food coma, you won’t be let down with the kitchen sink. This meal has biscuits, gravy, eggs, potatoes, sausage, peppers….you name it...it’s incredible. Now for the three locations, one of the Green Eggs Cafes is in Center City and it's always packed, so I always choose to go to either the South Philly location or the Northern Liberties location.
Front Street Cafe—one of the more versatile cafes.
It's a vegan friendly (but not exclusively vegan) cafe, with some incredible choices for brunch. Normally, I go to Front Street Cafe with my laptop and a mission to sit in this adorable cafe with a coffee and a smoothie to get work done, but occasionally I’ll go here to take a break and get a meal. Front Street Cafe NEVER disappoints both with their food and their service. You can’t go wrong with their açai bowl or the lean green hot cakes if you are in the mood for something sweet. The portions are perfectly sized, and just sweet enough to satisfy your morning craving. If you’re in the savory mood, however, I would recommend the Veggie Hash (the sweet potatoes in this are incredible) or the Front Street Benedict. I am a huge veggie fan so both of these options really excite me, they are packed with all different types of veg.
Last, but definitely not least is Cafe La Maude in Northern Liberties.
A personal favorite of Paige, this is a French-Lebanese restaurant serving some very interesting dishes that are so awesome. Not only is the overall atmosphere of this restaurant very welcoming and homey, but the employees (and the incredible food) are what make Cafe La Maude Paige’s number one breakfast spot in all of Philly. My go-to on this menu has to be the Sweet Potato Benny, after trying this for the first time I don’t think I’ve ever had better poached eggs. The eggs in this dish were silky and perfectly cooked, it was honestly almost shocking tasting eggs that ON POINT. Whenever Paige goes over to Cafe La Maude she orders the Brisket Huevos Rancheros or the Sweet Potato Benny, both she describes as unlike anything she’s ever tasted before. Also, not to forget the vanilla iced coffee that we both order every time we stop by.
I know you’re probably thinking that it seems like I’ve tried all of the breakfast food possible in Philadelphia… and you’re right. Every weekend I continue this endless brunch adventure and find more unforgettable food every time. So here it is, my ultimate guide to all things brunch in Philly. Try one or try them all (you should try them all).
Sienna & Paige
philafoods.com // @philadelphiafoods
Combining our passion for delicious food and original photography, we came together to create @philadelphiafoods. Whether enjoying some of our favorite places or discovering a hidden gem, we review Philly's best eats and share them with you. We live our lives with the philosophy that there is never a bad time for food.