French toast at Portage Bay Café. Would you wait 45 minutes for it?

The Stack

Chaces Pancake Corral
Proof aplenty that Bellevue is not entirely shiny and polished, Chace’s is ancient, tiny, crowded, cramped, and loaded with character. The pancakes and other stock breakfast items are just exactly what you would expect, God love ’em.
CLAIM TO FAME Fifty years and still in the Chace family.
BEST-KEPT SECRET Arrive before 8am and you probably won’t stand in line.
POURING Boyd’s drip, no espresso
BREAKFAST IS SERVED Mon—Fri 6am—2:30pm; Sat 6am—3pm; Sun 6:30am—3pm
Chace’s Pancake Corral, 1606 Bellevue Way SE, Bellevue, 425-454-8888

Cyndys House of Pancakes
You know the feeling. You’re motoring down Aurora, weary and famished, in profound need of the twin comforts of light buttermilk pancakes and the decor of your childhood (red Naugahyde, fake wood paneling). And then you spot it! Cyndy’s with two y’s!
CLAIM TO FAME None of the three syrups is real maple. But one of them’s coconut!
BEST-KEPT SECRET Ask nicely, and they’ll put gravy on anything.
POURING Farmer Brothers drip, no espresso
Cyndy’s House of Pancakes, 10507 Aurora Ave N, Greenwood, 206-522-5100

Original Pancake House
All knotty pine and gingham-checked curtains, this freakishly popular Portland-based national chain is like a 31 flavors for pancakes: buckwheat, coconut, blueberry, Swedish, buttermilk, chocolate chip, Georgia pecan, you get the idea—respectably made and served in staggering proportions.
CLAIM TO FAME OPH’s Dutch baby—a plate-sized eggy baked confection to which you add butter, lemon, and powdered sugar—has a following larger than some religions.
BEST-KEPT SECRET Five kinds of omelet, six kinds of crepe, seven kinds of waffle—life ain’t all pancakes at the Original.
POURING Metropolitan French Roast blend drip, no espresso
BREAKFAST IS SERVED Mon—Fri 6:30am—2:30pm; Sat & Sun 7am—3pm
Original Pancake House, 8037 15th Ave NW, Ballard, 206-781-3344; 130 Parkplace Center, Kirkland, 425-827-7575;


Now looking to lunch? Check out our favorite downtown spots.

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Geraldine’s Counter Like Mom’s own kitchen with better hash browns.

The Down-Home

Eats Market Café
If you had a Bubbie, then brunch at Eats in Westwood Village will bring back misty memories of her savory herb-roasted potatoes and hot whole-grain cereal. If your Bubbie could bake…well, then, buckle up for cinnamon-raisin goo buns and moist streusel coffee cakes. You’re going on a nostalgia ride. 
CLAIM TO FAME Co-owner Toby Matasar is a French-trained pastry chef who produces waffles, a relative rarity in restaurants, accoutered with bananas and toasted pecans (weekends only).
BEST-KEPT SECRET Breakfast is served till 4pm, even weekdays. 
POURING Lighthouse Coffee Roasters drip, no espresso
BREAKFAST IS SERVED Tue—Fri 9am—4pm; Sat & Sun brunch 8:30am—4pm 
Eats Market Café, 2600 SW Barton St, West Seattle, 206-933-1200;

Geraldines Counter
The sunny breakfast nook of Rainier Avenue delivers all the warmth of Mom’s own kitchen, only with better hash browns. The ongoing renaissance of Columbia City has as much to do with the community-building draw of Geraldine’s booths as anything else.
CLAIM TO FAME The French toast gets all the attention (El Greco, featured in our “French Toast” sidebar, page 69, is Geraldine’s sister restaurant), but we’re down with the down-home biscuits. With gravy.
BEST-KEPT SECRET Geraldine’s offers that Holy Grail of breakfast foods: real maple syrup.
POURING Caffé Vita Sumatra Mandheling organic blend drip, no espresso
BREAKFAST IS SERVED Tue—Fri 7am—3pm; Sat & Sun 8am—3pm
Geraldine’s Counter, 4872 Rainier Ave S, Columbia City, 206-723-2080;

Maltby Cafe
The 1937 schoolhouse that launched a thousand Sunday drives is a breakfast café of deserved renown: satisfyingly rural but sophisticated enough to know its audience. (Crème fraîche is a side order.) Portions are sized for carbo-loading athletes, many of whom make pit stops here on bike rides.
CLAIM TO FAME The cinnamon rolls, which are moist and frosted and ample enough to feed three.
BEST-KEPT SECRET It feels like the middle of Montana, but really you’re only about 45 minutes from Seattle.
POURING Starbucks Caffé Verona blend drip and espresso
BREAKFAST IS SERVED Mon—Fri 7—11:30am (limited breakfast menu till 3pm); Sat & Sun brunch 7am—3pm
Maltby Cafe, 8809 Maltby Rd, Snohomish, 425-483-3123;

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Mae’s Phinney Ridge Café Kids will love their Shake and Eggs till the cows come home.

The Kid-Pleaser

The Dish Cafe
Everybody loves the affably alt Ballard breakfast house where the scrambles are delectable, the grilled red potatoes are no mere supporting act, the portions are mammoth—and the ’50s Formica tables, consequently, stay crammed all day. Little kids love it best.
CLAIM TO FAME The flapjacks are the Rembrandts of kid pancakes: grape eyes, orange slice mouth, cantaloupe hair. If your kid won’t eat this, your kid won’t eat.
BEST-KEPT SECRET Parties of two advance through the inevitable weekend line fastest. For the rest, there’s a carafe of coffee on the sidewalk.
POURING Tony’s Café Carmelita blend drip, no espresso
BREAKFAST IS SERVED Tue—Sat 7am—2pm; Sun 8am—2pm
The Dish Cafe, 4358 Leary Way NW, Ballard, 206-782-9985

Luna Park Café
Lots of places offer all-day breakfast and huge portions. How many offer all that plus crayons and paper for the kids, a jukebox in every booth, antique lunch boxes on the walls, a vintage Batmobile you can ride in, and Peppy the dancing clown?
CLAIM TO FAME Eggs, which are served as piles (fried eggs over hash browns), hobos (eggs scrambled with hash browns), or omelets (folded eggs served beside hash browns).
BEST-KEPT SECRET Fresh-squeezed OJ and the mimosas to exploit it.
POURING Tony’s Coffee Songbird blend drip and espresso
BREAKFAST IS SERVED Mon—Fri 7—11am; Sat & Sun 7am—noon. Limited breakfast menu (except pancakes and French toast) Sun—Thu 7am—9pm; Fri & Sat 7am—10pm.
Luna Park Café, 2918 SW Avalon Way, West Seattle, 206-935-7250;

Mae's Phinney Ridge Café
You wait all morning to sit in the booth shaped like the cow’s mouth, then rationalize ordering a cinnamon roll with your corned beef hash because your toddler is shrieking, “I want a milkshake with my eggs!” Welcome to parenthood. Do it at Mae’s.
CLAIM TO FAME The kitsch, from the daffy junk-store decor (check out the salt and pepper shaker collection) to menu items like, yep, the Shake and Eggs.
BEST-KEPT SECRET This is not the sort of place you would expect to find house-smoked salmon and trout, or house-roasted coffee beans—but find them you will.
POURING Mae’s Café Roasters drip and espresso
Mae’s Phinney Ridge Café, 6412 Phinney Ave N, Phinney Ridge, 206-782-1222;


Already planning your next meal out? We map out other top-notch restaurants Seattle has to offer.
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Café Besalu Head to Ballard for perfectly flaky pastries.

The Pastry Case

Café Besalu
And you thought Fremont was the center of the universe. Nope, it’s Ballard, where the finest French pastries in town are made at the cozily European bakery called Café Besalu. No matter how cold it is outside it’s warm in here, thanks to the roaring ovens, the friendly vibe, and the ever-present crush of fans.
CLAIM TO FAME It’s all flake-perfect—the chocolate croissants, the brioche, some of the city’s best quiche—but you’ve got to try the soft, sweet ginger biscuits.
BEST-KEPT SECRET Here’s how to snare one of the eight tables: Stand really close to one of them, then stare at the people eating there. Works like a charm.
POURING Lighthouse Roasters Choice blend drip and espresso
Café Besalu, 5909 24th Ave NW, Ballard, 206-789-1463

Macrina Bakery
Most folks use the crazy-popular Macrina Bakery as their go-to for to-go pastries—the crispy-chewy apple tartlets, moist morning glory muffins, cherry almond scones, and ham and cheese dumplings, to name but a few—that Macrina has earned its reputation on.
CLAIM TO FAME The Budapest coffee cake, a swirl of cocoa, walnuts, brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins.
BEST-KEPT SECRET Both Belltown and Queen Anne offer weekend brunches, destination meals done with the same care as the pastries and offered with—we love this—wine recommendations.
POURING Caffé Vita organic Macrina blend drip and espresso
BREAKFAST IS SERVED Pastries Mon—Sat 7am—7pm; Sun 8am—6pm. Sat & Sun brunch 9am—3pm.
Macrina Bakery, 2408 First Ave, Belltown, 206-448-4032; 615 W McGraw St, Queen Anne, 206-283-5900;

Sweet and Savory
This teensy jewel box on the ridge of Mount Baker has just a few stools, a table or two, and a case of classy French pastries brought off with sweet sugar-crusted edges and two and a half tons of butter by Parisian-trained chef (and caterer!) Cynthia Brock.
CLAIM TO FAME The pain au chocolat and the ham-and-cheese croissant vie for the blue ribbon—but you’d better arrive before 11am, because when they’re gone…they’re gone.
BEST-KEPT SECRET Shhhh! They bring out the fried-egg sandwiches around 11 on weekends, but don’t let that get around.
POURING Caffé Vita Sumatra Mandheling organic blend drip, Caffé Vita Caffé del Sol blend espresso
BREAKFAST IS SERVED Tue—Fri 6am—2pm; Sat & Sun 7am—2pm
Sweet and Savory, 1418 31st Ave S, Mount Baker, 206-325-2900;

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Library Bistro and Bar: The big deals go down with big-deal omelets.

The Power Breakfast

The Georgian
There’s no more elegant place to be at 7am than the Georgian, off the opulent lobby of the Fairmont Hotel, when morning light pours through the Palladian windows. Whether in business suits or tourist togs, everyone looks just a little more European in here.
CLAIM TO FAME This is the place to bring out-of-town clients, who will regard the smoked salmon Benedict and the Starbucks coffee as edible souvenirs.
BEST-KEPT SECRET Every morning chef Gavin Stephenson blends a new juice of the day, like orange and passion fruit or melon and lime.
POURING Starbucks drip, Illy espresso
BREAKFAST IS SERVED Mon—Fri 6:30—11am; Sat & Sun brunch 7am—noon
The Georgian, Fairmont Olympic Hotel, 411 University St, Downtown, 206-621-7889;

Library Bistro and Bar
When hitting up VCs for startup funds or strategizing a corporate lawsuit, the high banquettes for two in the warm, book-lined library-bistro are about as private and clubby as it gets. Unobtrusive servers arrive promptly then leave you alone to negotiate the terms of the deal over your steel-cut oatmeal with brown sugar and currants.
CLAIM TO FAME Have-it-your-way omelets with lesser-seen options like roasted chicken, chévre, and spinach.
BEST-KEPT SECRET Booth 16, at the end next to the French doors to the terrace. Très privé.
POURING Caffé Vita Sumatra Mandheling organic blend drip and espresso
BREAKFAST IS SERVED Mon—Fri 7—10am; Sat & Sun brunch 7:30am—2pm
Library Bistro and Bar, 92 Madison St, Downtown, 206-624-3646;

o/8 Seafood Grill
It’s smack in the heart of Bellevue, a valet will take care of your car, and the big booths and two-tops mean it gives good meeting. If there’s a handier place on the Eastside for a business breakfast, we don’t know it.
CLAIM TO FAME They know you don’t have time to waste, so they give you fast food in two forms: a breakfast buffet complete with scrambled eggs, breakfast meats, home-baked scones, and fruit; or (the better plan) your choice of various Continental options like oatmeal, bagel, croissant, and fruit. Guaranteed on your table within eight minutes.
BEST-KEPT SECRET A window-lined private room in back divides into sections for meetings of 12 to 110.
POURING Torrefazione Italia drip and espresso
BREAKFAST IS SERVED Mon—Fri 6:30—11am; Sat & Sun breakfast 6:30—9:30am; Sat & Sun brunch 9:30am—2pm
o/8 Seafood Grill, 900 Bellevue Way, Bellevue, 425-637-0808;

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Boat Street Kitchen The open-faced bacon sandwich drips with melting cheddar.

The Epicurean

Boat Street Kitchen
Just like at its sister restaurant the Boat Street Café, there’s whimsy and loveliness to every little thing about the Kitchen: its whitewashed walls, its flickering votives, its wintry floral arrangements, and weekend brunches so inventive and extraordinary you may never eat pancakes again.
CLAIM TO FAME There’s the open-faced bacon-tomato sandwich, redolent of Dijon and heavy with melting cheddar. There’s the ramekin of baked eggs loaded with sweet onions and strewn with buttery crumbs. There’s eggs Benedict in not one but two rich versions. But mostly there’s the rustic cornmeal custard cake, a French toasty revelation served in a puddle of maple syrup with one perfect sausage. Like I said: Pancakes no more.
BEST-KEPT SECRET Who cares that they don’t have espresso? They do have large pots of French-press coffee.
POURING Lighthouse Yemen blend drip, Lighthouse espresso
BREAKFAST IS SERVED 10:30am—2:30pm daily
Boat Street Kitchen, 3131 Western Ave, Belltown, 206-632-4602;

You want truffled scrambled eggs, lemon curd for your cherry-almond scone, and an heirloom tomato Bloody Mary? Come to Tilth, where Maria Hines’s soaring creativity meets pristine ingredients in Seattle’s only certified-organic brunch.
CLAIM TO FAME Flavors more vivid than most of us are accustomed to, from the capers and red onions in the sockeye smoked salmon hash to the addictive roasted Yukon Gold potatoes.
BEST-KEPT SECRET So popular is Hines’s decadent Grand Marnier French toast, made with Essential Baking Company’s featherweight challah bread, she also offers it as a half-priced side order.
POURING Caffé Vita drip, Caffé Fioré espresso
BREAKFAST IS SERVED Sat & Sun brunch 10am—2pm
Tilth, 1411 N 45th St, Wallingford, 206-633-0801;

Now looking to lunch? Check out our favorite downtown spots.

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Peso’s Kitchen Come for Breakfast Happy Hour weekday mornings.

The Morning After

The 1950s red vinyl chairs, teal Formica tables, and the collage-art imbedded in the cement countertop are reason enough to frequent this Belltown institution—but so is the mango-coconut French toast in rum sauce. Nothing says “hair of the dog” quite like it. Except maybe Cyclops’s Bloody Mary, which is potent enough to do the job nicely.
CLAIM TO FAME Cyclops takes uncommonly fine care of vegetarians, with exotics like Thai tofu scrambles, eggs over Italian polenta cakes, and Greek omelets made entirely meat-free.
BEST-KEPT SECRET When they say “two eggs,” they appear to mean “four.”
POURING Caffé Umbria Arco Etrusco blend drip, no espresso
BREAKFAST IS SERVED Sat & Sun brunch 9am—3pm
Cyclops, 2421 First Ave, Belltown, 206-441-1677;

The Hurricane Café
Faint of heart? Then don’t go near the Hurricane, land of the 3am 12-egg omelet, the 6am first call, and all the loose screws and nuts who gravitate toward these brands of debauchery. The joint that was once the Dog House (rest its soul) is your textbook dive: red banquettes, yellowed air, servers who’ve seen it all—twice—and patrons who may or may not be part of the decor.
CLAIM TO FAME Call it faint praise if you must, but of the all-night breakfast joints—Beth’s Café, the Five-Point, 13 Coins—the Hurricane is currently slinging the highest-quality hash.
BEST-KEPT SECRET All-you-can-eat hash browns!
POURING Various drip, Tully’s espresso
The Hurricane Café, 2230 Seventh Ave, Belltown, 206-682-5858

Peso's Kitchen and Lounge
Don’t let the Mexi-rococo decor, loud music, big-screen TVs, strong mimosas, hungover frat-party clientele, or, um, well-endowed female servers give you the wrong idea about Peso’s. The food—caramel French toast or hearty Mexican-influenced huevo dishes—is honest-to-God delish.
CLAIM TO FAME Breakfast Happy Hour, which at Peso’s means weekday breakfasts are a couple bucks off.
BEST-KEPT SECRET Weekends are slammed, but take heart: Once you’re seated your food will arrive at lightning speed.
POURING Caffé Vita drip, no espresso
Peso’s Kitchen and Lounge, 605 Queen Anne Ave N, Lower Queen Anne, 206-283-9353;

Already planning your next meal out? We map out other top-notch restaurants Seattle has to offer.

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Serafina An Italian brunch for two couldn’t be more romantic than this.

The Table for Two

Madison Park Café
It’s small and crowded, and nobody minds. After a cup of coffee and a crumbly homemade currant scone, the softly clinking silverware and cheerful conversation lend this civilized little house a cozy feel. You wanted an excuse to scoot closer to your sweetie, anyway.
CLAIM TO FAME Stunning French toast: slices of baguette dipped in almond-and-vanilla egg batter, grilled and baked, then topped with fresh strawberries, creamy butter, and Vermont maple syrup.
BEST-KEPT SECRET In winter when the leafy patio is closed, snagging a table becomes more of a trick. You’ll have a much shorter wait Saturday than Sunday mornings.
POURING Zoka drip and espresso
BREAKFAST IS SERVED Sat & Sun brunch 8am—2pm
Madison Park Café, 1807 42nd Ave E, Madison Park, 206-324-2626;

Walls the color of candlelight, gossamer sheers, nooks and crannies aplenty—if Serafina were any more romantic, authorities would have to be called. Italianate Sunday brunches are lush and transporting, particularly if one of Serafina’s harissa-kissed Bloody Marys makes an appearance.
CLAIM TO FAME Originality. The brunch menu includes savories like borsellino della Pasqua (Black Forest ham “baskets” filled with polenta, mushrooms, and poached eggs) and sweets like amaretto-laced brioche French toast with cherry compote.
BEST-KEPT SECRET A live combo provides mood music, making Serafina’s the best jazz brunch in town. (It’s also the only jazz brunch in town, but let’s not be peevish.)
POURING Caffé Vita drip and espresso
BREAKFAST IS SERVED Sun brunch 10am—2pm
Serafina, 2043 Eastlake Ave E, Eastlake, 206-323-0807;

35th Street Bistro
If you honeymooned in Western Europe, brunch at the civilized 35th Street Bistro might elicit a heart-fluttering flashback or two. Everything about it feels fresh, from the morning light pouring through the floor-to-ceiling windows to the exquisite simplicity of productions like bistro frites blanketed with crème fraîche, garlic oil, and chives or crab-and-artichoke frittata with Gruyère and roasted tomato.
CLAIM TO FAME White peach Bellinis, perfect in morning.
BEST-KEPT SECRET We know dessert isn’t your typical climax to eggs Benedict and orange-ricotta French toast—but if pumpkin flan is on offer, you owe it to yourself to accept.
POURING Caffé Vita drip and espresso
BREAKFAST IS SERVED Sat & Sun brunch 11am—3pm
35th Street Bistro, 709 N 35th St, Fremont, 206-547-9850;

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Señor Moose Café Tortillas, eggs sunny-side up, and black beans beckon from a Ballard storefront.

The Globetrotter

Café Campagne
It’s entre deux guerres Paris in the heart of Pike Place Market, with the glossy wood appointments and vintage French posters and classy bohemian esprit that make the café equally fine for a solo brunch as for an intimate tête-à-tête.
CLAIM TO FAME A transporting oeufs en meurette: a pair of poached eggs served on garlic croutons, with pearl onions, bacon, and mushrooms, in a fathoms-deep red-wine-and-foie gras sauce alongside pommes frites.
BEST-KEPT SECRET Serving weekend brunch till 4pm, Café Campagne accommodates truly Gallic souls who want their café au lait to carry them into cocktail hour.
POURING Caffé Vita Caffé Luna blend drip, Caffé Vita Caffé del Sol blend espresso
BREAKFAST IS SERVED Sat & Sun brunch 8am—4pm
Café Campagne, 1600 Post Alley, Pike Place Market, 206-728-2233;

Jade Garden
If savory shrimp dumplings and steamed pork buns are your kind of wake-up call, then Jade Garden’s your kind of joint. Of all the dim sum spots in town, Jade Garden draws pilgrims from the Eastside and beyond for its vast daily selection, fresh ingredients, and screamin’ deals.
CLAIM TO FAME Fifty kinds of dim sum! Seventy on weekends! (Whose job was it to count?) But be careful—even though you could stuff yourself silly for under $15 here, best not to eat all 50 dishes at one sitting.
BEST-KEPT SECRET If you don’t look Chinese, the servers won’t point out the chicken feet and other exotics—so adventure diners, stay alert.
POURING Nothing in the way of coffee, but don’t miss the jasmine tea.
Jade Garden, 424 Seventh Ave S, International District, 206-622-8181

Breakfast is breakfast, right? Not if Tom Douglas created it. Here at his Greek-tweaked outpost, the sleekly Old World room off the lobby of the Hotel Ändra, breakfast or weekend brunch might consist of a plate of butternut squash, pork belly, grilled octopus, and an olive-oil-fried egg.
CLAIM TO FAME Prefer your breakfast sans tentacles? No problem: Douglas earned his name making ordinary food taste extraordinary. Witness a recent omelet loaded with bacon and chèvre, topped with sweet tomato jam, presented with moist and garlicky smashed potatoes, accented by thickly sliced wheat toast from the Dahlia Bakery. Divine.
BEST-KEPT SECRET Lola’s central downtown location and free Wi-Fi lets foodies combine business with the pleasure of their feta-spinach scrambles.
POURING Starbucks Verona blend drip and espresso
BREAKFAST IS SERVED Mon—Fri 6—11am; Sat & Sun brunch 7am—3pm
Lola, 2000 Fourth Ave, Downtown, 206-441-1430;

The minimalist aesthetic extends from the spare decor to the plating of the food—in which the chefs arrange everything geometrically on stark white dishes—which creates a serenity belying the name. The Vietnamese flavors tell a different story: unexpectedly bold, exotic, and delectable.
CLAIM TO FAME Varied parties and multiple personalities will like that Monsoon offers three brunches in one: a smattering of classic dim sum, Vietnamese entrées like curried duck leg and lemongrass chicken and…
BEST-KEPT SECRET …French-colonial fare, from coconut crepes topped with fresh mango to brioche French toast with caramelized pineapple.
POURING Victrola Coffee Roasters Empire Blend drip, no espresso
BREAKFAST IS SERVED Sat & Sun brunch 10am—2:30pm
Monsoon, 615 19th Ave E, Capitol Hill, 206-325-2111;

Señor Moose Café
For a city of its latitude Seattle loves its desayuno, from Baja Bistro on Beacon Hill to the brand new Austin Cantina in Ballard. But the best of the best remains Señor Moose—just look for the morning lines in front of the cozy Leary Ave storefront—where the huevos come rancheros and then some, and nobody’s stinting on the chilies.
CLAIM TO FAME Chilaquiles are the star of the menu, but a stellar supporting cast includes the sensational entomatadas Oaxaca: tortillas afloat in mild salsa, topped with cotija cheese and two sunnies, then served with black beans. Arrrrrriba!
BEST-KEPT SECRET The coffee’s so good because Kathleen Andersen, a Mexican expat, imports her beans from Mexico, then roasts them here. 
POURING True North Special Blend drip and espresso
Señor Moose Café, 5242 Leary Ave NW, Ballard, 206-784-5568;

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The Lazy Weekend

Café Flora
Not every weekend breakfast forage—you know the kind, you’re baseball-capped, showerless, up at the crack of noon—has to lead to a trough of artery stoppers. The vegetarian Café Flora can be counted on for plates that are light but satisfying, like the terrific yam quesadillas, or the pesto-tomato scramble with artichoke hearts.
CLAIM TO FAME Stealth-health for incorrigible meat lovers. As with its evening menu, Café Flora is adept at rolling out vegetarian brunch plates that don’t seem vegetarian. The family platter brims with scrambled eggs and soy sausages.
BEST-KEPT SECRET Ask for a seat in the atrium, where the tables are spread farther apart than in the main dining room, and the foliage and fountain provide the requisite soundproofing for a little weekend gossip.
POURING True North Roasting House fair-trade blends drip and espresso
BREAKFAST IS SERVED Sat & Sun brunch 9am—2pm
Café Flora, 2901 E Madison St, Madison Park, 206-325-9100;

Portage Bay Café
A breakfast institution at the north end of the University Bridge, whose vast menu pays particular attention to pan-fried breakfast foods and the fresh fruits, nuts, and syrups that enhance them. Order anything off the pancake or French toast list, then embellish to your heart’s content.
CLAIM TO FAME All the dripping fruit you can eat (as long as you’ve got pancakes to put it on).
BEST-KEPT SECRET Can a restaurant go to great lengths to ensure mostly organic, sustainably sourced, and/or fair-trade foods and still maintain prices competitive enough to draw crowds? Portage Bay Café (and the ever-present line of diners waiting for a table) is thriving proof that the answer is yes.
POURING Fonté drip, True North espresso
BREAKFAST IS SERVED Mon—Fri 7:30—11am (limited breakfast menu till 3pm); Sat & Sun 8am—3pm
Portage Bay Café, 4130 Roosevelt Ave NE, University District; 206-547-8230;

Volunteer Park Café and Marketplace
Tie the pooch outside and stroll on in to the come-as-you-are capitol of Capitol Hill, where the room is folksy, the mood is languid, the crowd is family, the lines are long, and the ethereal scones are worth it.
CLAIM TO FAME Anything pastry. To wit: the caramelized-banana brioche French toast, starring thick vanilla-bean custard and a crackly, caramelly crust of walnuts and sugar.
BEST-KEPT SECRET There’s no decaf drip—perhaps things are already relaxed enough—but a decaf Americano understudies nicely.
POURING Caffé Vita Caffé del Sol blend French press; Caffé Vita Caffé del Sol espresso
BREAKFAST IS SERVED Tue—Fri 7am—4:30pm; Sat & Sun brunch 8am—4:30pm
Volunteer Park Café and Marketplace, 1501 17th Ave E, Capitol Hill, 206-328-3155;

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Calcutta Grill The Eastside spread redefines brunch with sushi and sashimi.

The Spread

Calcutta Grill
Atop the Eastside world sits the Golf Club at Newcastle, anchored by a chateau with a sprawling dining room—all elegant box beams and gleaming mahogany in the British colonial style. It has to be enormous: Brunch alone fans across several rooms.
CLAIM TO FAME This brunch has the “everything” factor: a beef-carving station, made-to-order crepes and omelets, salmon and salads and breakfast meats galore, the usual carbfest of pastas and potatoes, glistening fresh fruits and desserts, a kids’ section with chicken nuggets and silver dollar pancakes…even a complete spread of hand-rolled sushi and fresh sashimi.
BEST-KEPT SECRET To the west you can see Russia. (Or is that the Olympic Peninsula?)
POURING Tully’s Madison blend drip and espresso
BREAKFAST IS SERVED Sun brunch 10am—2pm
Calcutta Grill, 15500 Six Penny Ln, Newcastle, 425-793-4646;

Salish Lodge
Generations of locals came of age celebrating graduations and grandmas’ birthdays at the storied Snoqualmie Falls Lodge, home of waterfall vistas and whopping four-course breakfasts. Now it’s the Salish—and since its star turn on Twin Peaks, more glossy than folksy—but weekend breakfasts still pack ’em in.
CLAIM TO FAME Order the Country Breakfast; they’ve been making it since 1916. It’s fruit, steel-cut oatmeal, eggs, bacon, shoestring potatoes, and a buttermilk biscuit, and then, yes, buttermilk pancakes. Pace yourself.
BEST-KEPT SECRET Remember Honey from Heaven? Say the word and your server will indulge your nostalgic wish to have your honey poured onto your biscuit from above, the way they did it when you were a kid. (Your server, however, wishes to remind you that target practice was not a formal part of his training.)
POURING Starbucks drip and espresso
BREAKFAST IS SERVED Mon—Fri 7—11am; Sat & Sun brunch 7am—2pm
Salish Lodge, 6501 Railroad Ave SE, Snoqualmie, 425-888-2556;

Salty's Seafood Grills
It’s a classic Seattle word association: Say “all-you-can-eat brunch” and nine out of 10 locals will shout “Salty’s!” Hard to say which is the more eye-popping spread: the groaning board of breakfast savories and desserts, or—at Alki—the Seattle skyline unfurled over Elliott Bay. Mother’s Day nirvana.
CLAIM TO FAME A burgeoning seafood display, including local oysters shucked to order and huge galvanized buckets overflowing with peel-and-eat shrimp.
BEST-KEPT SECRET Puyallup Fair scones all year round.
POURING West Seattle: Starbucks Guatemala Casi Cielo blend drip, Starbucks espresso. Des Moines: Seattle’s Best Henry’s Best drip and espresso
BREAKFAST IS SERVED West Seattle: Sat brunch 9am—1:30pm; Sun brunch 9am—2pm. Des Moines: Sun brunch 8:30am—2pm.
Salty’s Seafood Grills, 1936 Harbor Ave SW, West Seattle, 206-937-1600; 28201 Redondo Beach Dr S, Des Moines, 253-946-0636;

This article appeared in the January 2008 issue of Seattle Met Magazine.