The Runny Yolk

The Harvest Vine

Just as it does for dreams of lazy Spanish evenings, Harvest Vine fulfills Seattle’s longing for a ray of Basque sunshine at daybreak. Consider the pato confitado: a layered dish of sliced potato and onion, generously topped with musky shreds of duck confit dripping thickly with the rich yolk of a perfectly poached egg. (Ask any chef: The hardest job in the restaurant biz is poaching an egg.) There’s nothing outlandish or nouveau about such a creation; dripping egg yolks are as timeless as health-department-mandated warnings against them. They are, however, everywhere; now gilding every great breakfast advance from wood-fired pizzas to biscuit sandwiches.

And don’t miss…

MistralKitchen Sixty-four-degree egg with mushroom confit and carrot puree
Sitka and Spruce Ful medames with fried peppers, harissa, and egg


The Hash

Brave Horse Tavern

It’s Tom Douglas’s most “everyman” property—a dark, brick-lined upstairs tav with a pool hall vibe and the game on TV. Don’t let the all-Sunday-happy-hour aesthetic fool you, however; the weekend brunches please foodies and footballers alike. Take the hash: a dish that’s typical of the New Breakfast genre, but which here is achieved with big moist chunks of smoky brisket all griddled up with peppers and onions and satisfying potatoes, along with plenty of the crispy bits a smoked brisket will shed when cooked with suitable patience, and a royal crown of eggs sunny-side up. Oh, this is good eatin’.

And don’t miss…

Emmer and Rye House-cured corned beef hash with new potatoes, sweet onions, and hollandaise
Hunger Housemade corned beef hash with poached eggs and red wine demi-glace
The Publican Brussels sprouts, parsnip, and rutabaga hash topped with horseradish creme fraiche
Terra Plata Winter hash with fried herbs and poached egg


The Sea Creature


From brandade to oysters to gravlax, fish and shellfish are showing up with increasing frequency across morning menus. But no one puts the sea in Seattle breakfast quite like Lola, Tom Douglas’s downtown homage to the cuisines of Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean. Exhibit A: Tom’s Big Breakfast, a hash of rotating seasonal ingredients that might include white beans and caramelly cauliflower and chewy bacon over chive yogurt and crowned with a sunny egg—but which always stars grilled Pacific octopus, in bite-size bits, charry yet tender, and extraordinarily flavorful. Where to bring the out-of-towners.

And don’t miss…

Bastille Pacific cod brandade with fried egg and arugula salad
Cafe Nola Smoked salmon latkes with lemon creme fraiche, poached eggs, black pepper truffle oil, and caviar
Ma’ono Crispy fried Pacific oyster, bacon, roasted pepper, and egg


The Chicken and Waffle

The Publican

Geographically, few places in the mainland United States are farther removed from Southern food than Seattle. But wow, do we appreciate a good hunk of well-fried chicken. Set that chicken on a waffle, add maple syrup, and it’s socially acceptable to eat this rich combination for breakfast. Purists might object to the fact that the Publican, Tangletown’s new sibling to Brouwer’s Cafe, uses boneless chicken. But finally—an easier way to get that crisply fried meat and soft, bacon-studded waffle on the fork at the same time. We’re guessing those same purists won’t have an issue with the generous pour of gravy that finishes off the plate.

And don’t miss…

Local 360 Fried chicken and waffle with maple syrup
Skillet Diner Fried chicken thigh with cornmeal waffle and eggs


The Brioche French Toast

Volunteer Park Cafe and Marketplace

The Seattle area has its impossibly crisp French toast (Geraldine’s Counter soaks the bread overnight), its challah bread French toast (Cafe Nola’s caramel pecan version, thrust to fame on the Food Network)—and now, in versions aplenty, its brioche French toast, a breakfast sensation so wickedly rich it needs an offshore bank account. We’re pretty sure we’d love the sunny community breakfast nook that is Volunteer Park Cafe even without its caramelized-banana brioche French toast—two thick slices, stuffed with vanilla bean–ricotta custard, topped with caramelized bananas crisp with cinnamon sugar, and dusted with toasted pecans. We just wouldn’t love it quite so loudly.

And don’t miss…

Cafe Campagne Brioche French toast fried in bourbon egg batter with maple syrup
Cafe Nola Caramel pecan French toast with maple syrup, orange bourbon butter, and bacon
Geraldine’s Counter Brioche French toast with blueberry compote and creme fraiche
Macrina Bakery and Cafe Thick-cut brioche French toast with blueberry–Earl Grey compote, vanilla-sugar whipped cream, and toasted pecans
35th Street Bistro Brioche French toast with mascarpone cream, housemade jam, and maple syrup


The Porridge


No Dickensian gruel, this, but the city’s most ethereal version of congee—the rice porridge popular across Asia and Seattle’s International District. Where but Revel would top the bowl of warmth with such revelry? Productions vary by season but typically include a savory—think mushroom, bacon, kale, and red curry—and a sweet—a squash of some sort perhaps, with brown sugar and rummy raisins. Another sweet variant, enjoyed of a recent wintry morning-after, was a pumpkin porridge topped with streusel of sweetened pine nuts and papery slices of that candy of vegetables, delicata squash. In this clattering house of culinary artistry every flavorful nuance is intentional and harmonious, rendering hangovers but one of the conditions cured.

And don’t miss…

Dahlia Lounge Coconut congee with jasmine rice, grilled prawns, poached egg, Chinese doughnut, and pickles
Monsoon Dungeness crab congee with egg yolk, cilantro, and crispy garlic


The Gravy Pour

Meander’s Kitchen

Biscuits and gravy are having a moment on breakfast menus, but why confine good gravy to just one dish? This year-old West Seattle diner, with its ramshackle interior and killer comfort food, ladles perfectly peppery gravy over hash browns and tops it with eggs in a dish aptly named “The Hangover.” Slabs of country ham come covered in red-eye gravy, while vegetarians won’t stop raving about the meatless version. But really, the basic gravy is some of the best in the city. Let that information be your guide when perusing Meander’s enormous menu. And bring cash.

And don’t miss…

Grace Kitchen Montreal-style poutine with mozzarella cheese curds and sausage gravy
MistralKitchen Polenta with soft egg and sage gravy
Nook For $1.50, top any sandwich at this joint with a slathering of sausage or vegetarian butternut squash gravy
Terra Plata Manchego biscuits with chorizo gravy and chicharrónes


*If a dish isn’t on the menu during your visit, not to worry. It’s likely on rotation with some other delectable innovation.