Monday, December 13, 2010

Top Pittsburgh Brunch Places

After 3 years in Pittsburgh (whew can you believe time flies that fast? It seems like just yesterday I was an only-lived-in-Massachusetts-my whole-life kind of girl), I felt a need to let others know what awesome brunch places to hit up when they're in this town.

I love brunch because something about a lazy Sunday morning eating delicious food with great people = ABSOLUTELY AWESOME.

These are the places I had heard wonderful things about all along, collecting sage pieces of brunch advice from random people, but only recently have I hit up a lot of them. I've often just wanted someone to tell me where to go eat, so I figured I'd share what I've learned. So bring your friends, family, and out-of-town visitors! And in no particular order...
  1. Zenith - My hand's down favorite brunch dining experience. Both experience and value wise. It's a funky vegetarian spin on brunch, hidden away in a secret little antique shop in the Southside. They do Sunday Brunch, starting at 11am, but there's often a line that starts before then. You can browse the antiques while you wait, and are seated at big family sized tables you might often find yourself sharing with another group. You choose from a list of tasty entrees, then can have your go at a vegetarian brunch buffet, all for $10! My favorite buffet items include almost all their bundt cakes (they have over 8 kinds usually!) and the Asian peanut noodles. When I leave Pittsburgh, I'm going to miss this place tons. Where else will I find my hipster vegetarians?Delicious vegan cake spread from Zenith's brunch buffet.
  2. Pamela's- Definetly a fun Pittsburgh tradition, with locations in Oakland, Sq.Hill, and Shadyside (all neighborhoods with places in my heart, and I'm sure they have more locations)- I've been to all three! They have your classic American brunch items and are well known for their hotcakes (like thin buttery/crispy pancakes seen below) and Lyonnaise potatoes (delish). Brunch items are ~$6 and the diners all have a colorful retro vibe. Lines galore on the weekends, so get there early or be prepared to wait. I typically like to order a veggie omelet here, but I'm a savory breakfast person so to each her own.
  3. Coca Cafe- A cute little cafe in Lawrenceville. They have some fun brunch specials (like gingerbread waffles around the holidays) depending on the weekend. I like their fresh ingredients and their entrees are a nice step up from the usual brunch. Be willing to pay a bit more, though sometimes it can be hit or miss. I've only been here once, enjoyed my wild mushroom omelet well enough, but a lot of my friends really like it.
  4. Square Cafe - Located in Regent Square, I loved the colorful circles that decorate this cafe the moment I stepped in! They have a lot of brunch selections and some good vegetarian options, but out of the two times I have gone I wasn't particularly wowed by the quality/creativity of the food or the value. I've heard good things about the Breakfast Wrap and Green Eggs and Ham. I would also say their Pumpkin Chai in the fall is delicious. They get a thumbs up for a cheery atmosphere, fun decor, and outdoor seating options.
  5. Point Brugge Cafe - I like the small intimate feel of this place, it's almost smack in the middle of a neighborhood south of Shadyside. Never would have guessed it was located there! I technically have not had brunch here yet, but I've heard good things. Other meals considered, their mussels are apparently THEE thing to get there along with Belgian Beer. I had a veggie Viet sandwich there which was alright, and their Brugge fries were good but definitely tasted of oil.
  6. Food Glorious Food - Have not made it here yet, but close friends have said they have an amazing spread of baked goods available for purchase every Saturday morning. Technically, I think you can just buy and sit there and eat it, so not your traditional brunch. I've tasted some of their cakes (for breakfast, why not?) and they are very good and reflect the season.
  7. Strip District Adventure- Felt a need to add this since there are a lot of fun places in the Strip to get breakfast/or breakfast food items. I've heard DeLuca's is amazing, but no friends have really recommended it as something I should try before leaving Pittsburgh. You can get a freshly brewed beverage from Presto George (specialize in fine coffees and teas, I've had their Irish Creme Hot Cocoa before, YUM), head to one of the many bakeries and Enrico's Biscotti Company for breakfast treats. There are also tons of vendors on the streets, food/clothing/pretty flowers :). It's just fun to shop there on a Saturday morning (summer + fall, there is a farmer's market there), but parking is not easy to find. You are forewarned.
Note: I'm no expert on Pittsburgh brunch. Should there be a place you think is def a top place for Pittsburgh to brunch at, please comment! :)