This open-all-day-and-half-the-night bar is Eric and Sophie Banh’s love song to the street food they ate as children in Saigon; what began as a more casual offshoot to the siblings’ Monsoon restaurants has become a reliable go-to with three locations and counting. Ba Bar’s menus change throughout the day, but its congee with pork belly, vermicelli bowls topped with grilled chicken or charry prawns, and certainly those bowls of pho—heady with basil and onions and mint and sprouts—translate remarkably well to the morning hours (especially, ahem, if you were out late last night). Stiff, sweet Vietnamese-style coffee is also an effective jump-start.
French, Oyster Bar
Renee Erickson’s Normandy-inspired oyster bar on Capitol Hill is one of two of her restaurants to serve brunch (the other being the Whale Wins), maybe because that corner space at 10th and East Union has a huge bank of windows designed to stream sunlight onto tables of buckwheat crepes, smoked black cod salad atop a housemade english muffin, steak tartare, and the most photogenically crispy frites this side of Pike/Pine. Plus oysters, of course. Bar Melusine’s brunch plates are dainty and lovely, not the sort of potato- and cheese-laden concoctions that demand a postprandial nap. But if you need something hearty, consider the quarter-pound burger slathered with tomato jam or a doughnut made two doors down at Erickson’s General Porpoise.
From the folks behind Brouwer’s Cafe in Fremont, this upmarket Wallingford pub turns out brunches as big and hearty as the imperial stouts on the draft list. Choose from classics like french toast and biscuits and gravy, or go big with roasted mushroom hash topped with brisket or the house Spam sandwich, wherein Hawaii’s favorite pressed meat is served on brioche with gruyere and a fried egg. If you’re not feeling daytime beer, there’s a nice little lineup of brunch cocktails.
This beloved Eastside destination for xiao long bao, aka soup dumplings, has jumped Lake Washington to open a new location in Chinatown–International District. And like its four sibling locations, weekend mornings are hopping. That’s due in large part to those dumplings (arguably the best around), but also the dan dan noodles, crisp green onion pancakes, and a bevy of other superlative dumpling and noodle dishes. *Crowds at Dough Zone can be fierce, but you can add your name to the wait list via text message. Look for the sign with more details at each location.
The Central District still cherishes its memories of Catfish Corner, but the hospitable chicken and waffle house that took over its longtime home at MLK and Cherry has become a neighborhood fixture in its own right. As the name implies, the thing to get here is crisp fried chicken, brined in buttermilk and pickle juice, generously seasoned, and served atop old-style thin waffles, the kind with tiny squares. Elsewhere on the menu dwell biscuits, beignets, flavorful grits, and a BLT slathered with pimento, all $12 or less. Fat’s somehow manages to be both family friendly and an excellent place to recover after a long night.
Just when you think Gather Kitchen and Bar is your typical stylish brunch destination for upscale benedicts and decadent french toast, chef Ryan Donaldson comes at you with a spanish omelet that’s a glorious commotion of flavor and technique—tender octopus, crispy potatoes, deeply flavored chorizo around perfect eggs. Gather’s brunch menu has a ton of personality and an entire section devoted to “hangover specials,” like fried chicken and waffles rescued from maple syrup overload with buffalo sauce and house pickles. The pate a choux doughnuts look alarmingly large, but are actually light and airy—at least as far as fried dough is concerned.
If La Medusa is Columbia City’s dining room and Tutta Bella its kitchen, Geraldine’s is its breakfast nook. Packed with families, clattering with action, and staffed with the kind of servers who stop and clap when a toddler does the Pancake Dance in the aisle—let’s just say this modern urban diner ain’t the place for an intimate talk, or, for that matter, any kind of talk at all. It is, however, a swell place for sour batard french toast, crispy hash browns, and a lineup of divine coffee cakes by morning, chili and hand-formed burgers by night—from folks who value quality ingredients, in a sensational brick-and-windowed room that has become the warm soul of its neighborhood.
You can be pleasantly distracted by anything on the menu at Glo’s, though for true love it’s the eggs benedict, available in five luscious varieties including one with spinach and another with smoked salmon. Classic hollandaise sauce, refreshing with lemony sweetness, cloaks two poached eggs sitting like cloud puffs on top of the (thank you) grilled tomatoes and thick cuts of ham. The balance is so perfect that together the ingredients seem like some chic new confiture for the english muffins beneath. As for the little diner—an alcove with dreams of glory, really—it’s 12-table tiny and staffed with cooks and servers who are more than friendly and sometimes less than fast. But true love waits, doesn’t it?
One of Seattle’s genuinely electrifying culinary adventures, Joule is a Korean-fusion steak house—close quarters buzzing with loud music and a lively vibe—where the humblest cuts of beef (rib eye steak, short ribs) get draped in chili sauces and served with sides like rice cakes with greens and chorizo or Chinese broccoli with walnut pesto, all with admirable consistency. Brunch in this swank and modern room is no afterthought. The clever lineup of Korean-spiked waffles, hash, and egg dishes all include a visit to the serve-yourself array of apps and pastries, all of which are legitimately fascinating.
Capitol Hill’s plant-filled juice bar has grown into a fully fledged cafe where virtue is awfully tasty. Much of the menu is free of gluten, like seasonal scrambles and a hash filled with better-than-average veggies like sunchokes and rutabaga, topped with horseradish coconut yogurt and a fried egg. Of course this place serves fancy toast specials, and of course every last one is photogenic. Chase all this clean eating with one of the green juice blends—they’re all good.
Southern, Creole, Cajun
Technically Edouardo Jordan’s second restaurant in Ravenna, JuneBaby serves lunch, not brunch on the weekends. Whatever you call it, this thoughtful telling of Southern food leans deep into comfort and foregoes the usual evening crowds. Get there for megabuttery biscuits, a lineup of meaty sandwiches that aren’t on the dinner menu, and some of the chef’s obsession--driving pimento cheese. The shrimp and grits also make a successful transition to daytime. (JuneBaby’s elder sibling restaurant, Salare, also does a stellar, mostly savory, brunch.)
A country-house aesthetic prevails in this airy, two-level space off Occidental, with its bakery, deli, and in-house flower shop, painting a Jane Austen dream of the English countryside—right down to the cobblestones and leafy London plane trees out the window. Foodwise it’s breakfast, lunch, and brunch iterations of Matt Dillon’s (Sitka and Spruce, Bar Ferdinand) signature passions: bold salads with grains and vegetables, lots of cultured dairy, extraordinary brown bread for spreading, and plenty of vinegar counterpoints. Don’t miss a slice of strawberry cake or gateau basque for dessert—this bakery is outstanding.
Sure, Rob Roy’s walnut-clad sibling gives lesser-known beer the same nuanced treatment that craft cocktails enjoy all over town. But it’s also become an unexpected go-to for brunch, with dishes like a fried oyster omelet garnished with a sweep of remoulade and paddlefish caviar. You can also order off chef Jeffrey Vance’s snack menu, which delivers the rugged, salty-savory pleasures of bar fare in dishes that look like art. Best of all, brunch is served every day until 2pm.
Do restaurant concepts get more offbeat than “vegan tiki bar”? Either way, Ballard’s palm-thatched, bamboo-adorned evolution of the No Bones About It food truck serves a crazy fun, crazy tasty vegan brunch. Some dishes are naturally plant based, like blackberry and mango french toast with decadent coconut whip. Others, like an everything bagel covered with carrot “lox,” involve some sleight of hand. House specialties like beer-battered avocado tacos and the towering Northwest nachos, made with cashew and smoked-poblano faux queso as a decadent stand-in for the real thing, feel just as essential at brunch as they do on the dinner menu. Expect long waits. *This exuberant vegan chain opened a second location in Portland and has a Chicago location in the works.
Honestly, the conceit sounded harrowing: street foods from cultures around the globe. But what rang like a recipe for amateur hour has become an inspiring Capitol Hill destination for Cuban sandwiches, Malaysian prawns, and mellow Trinidadian goat curry. Nue also delivers its unlikely surprises via a new brunch menu of shakshuka, sweet and savory dutch pancakes, and a chicken-and-waffle dish made with the fiery szechuan chicken wings that are a hit on the nighttime menu. Even bloody marys and micheladas receive international makeovers.
By day, Eric Donnelly’s casual, raw-beamed restaurant in the heart of Fremont delivers the same inspiring seafood treatments we rave about on RockCreek’s dinner menu—wild prawns and grits, a fried oyster po’boy, and, brunch perfection, oysters on the half shell. The fish-free side of his brunch lineup leans into pork (smoked ham benedict, lentils and sausage) and takes great care with little details like housemade sausages and lemony hollandaise. Tables on the upper level have a slightly quieter vibe than the lively downstairs dining room.
This town needs more Thai brunch, as evidenced by the coconut waffles, rotilike crepes, and massaman french toast served amidst 14-foot ceilings and custom rustic-industrial decor at this Isan-focused spot just off Pike/Pine. Chef-owner Yuie Wiborg is particularly adept with the menu’s piquant grilled meats, like sliced kor moo yang pork collar, served by day with eggs and wedges of fried papaya. Lunch and dinner favorites like khao soi curry noodle soup make a graceful transition to the brunch menu. Be advised, the blood marys are fired up with bird’s eye chilies.
A festive family room of a spot importing all the community and color of the Greek marketplace to the Ravenna commercial strip. Walls drenched in the hues of light blue waters, lilting bouzouki music, long communal tables, a generously stocked play area for the kids, a deli counter, imported olive oils and salads for sale, a staff of large-hearted employees—it all adds up to an ambience of irresistible warmth, against which a Mediterranean omelet, breakfast pita, vegetable salads, and ricotta pancakes simply shine. Owner Thomas Soukakos also owns the excellent Omega Ouzeri, another spot that infuses Greek classics with distinctive flourishes and consistently makes it all taste inevitable and comforting. All that…and retsina too.
Pastries overburden the antique case up front—big almond, orange blossom, and blueberry buttermilk cakes, triple chocolate chip cookies, biscuits filled with raspberry freezer jam—and yes they taste as moist and sumptuous as they look. This laid-back breakfast-lunch spot on 15th is a teensy shot of the Carolinas, by way of owner-baker Heather Earnhardt’s Southern heritage. If close tables and drafty quarters sometimes compromise comfort, her food sure doesn’t: Biscuits, the rightful specialty of the house, crackle thickly at the edges and surrender to fluffy interiors that melt away on the tongue—pure pleasure when piled with soft egg and cheese and Benton’s chewy bacon, or with fat chunks of expert fried chicken sharpened with aged cheddar and flooded over with fiery sausage gravy.