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Brunch: It’s what we do in Portland on weekends. Whether we jump up ready to start the day with exercise, or drag our sorry selves out of bed — possibly regretting (ahem) beverage choices made the night before — chances are we’ll be sitting down to a plate of eggs or pancakes sometime before noon. Preferably accompanied by both coffee and a cocktail. We could also be tucking into huevos rancheros, fried chicken and waffles, Caribbean-spiced corned beef hash or crepes — just a few of the widely varied dishes found on brunch menus around the city. We’ve rounded up 26 restaurants where brunch is not just a noun, it’s a verb. As in, “Let’s brunch.” To which the answer should always be, “Yes!”
A standout Bloody Mary is almost mandatory at brunch. To customize theirs, some local bartenders go over the top with mix-ins and add-ons. Take a look at these:
10 Dana St. 772-1330; 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The contemporary Italian menu includes various antipasti, egg dishes, salads and pizza. A signature cocktail, the Vig-osa, features Grand Marnier, fresh OJ and prosecco.
110 Exchange St. 879-4747; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Harding Lee Smith’s Italian restaurant offers an “abbondanza” of options at brunch, from fried-to-order donuts and Italian French toast to pizza, pasta and panini.
83 Exchange St.; 207-772-7774; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The Latin-leaning choices include huevos rancheros, Johnny’s tri pork Cuban sandwich, empanadas and fish tacos.
190 Exchange St.; 207-553-7044; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. French bistro classics dominate the menu: soupe a l’oignon; a variety of crepes; croque madame and pastries are among the options.
98 Portland St.; 207-774-0005; 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. Where locals go for omelets and benedicts, but also for dark chocolate waffles and seafood bisque.
555 Congress St.; 207- 761-0555; 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. A small, balanced menu includes steak and eggs, fish and chips, or simpler options like a cheese plate and granola with fruit and yogurt.
89 Congress St.; 207-773-1116; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. This neighborhood bistro serves creative takes on classic egg dishes, sandwiches and salads.
58 Pine St.; 207- 772-1110; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. The whimsical menu changes regularly, but may include housemade cinnamon and sugar pop tarts, smoked salmon croque monsieur and egg creams.
685 Congress St.; 207-761-7909; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Options include Caribbean spiced corned beef hash with eggs, smoked salmon bagel plate, burgers and salads.
73 Congress St.; 207-773-3366. One of Portland’s most popular brunches is a daily event, served from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The menu ranges from baked beans and brown bread with eggs and biscuits and gravy to salads and sandwiches.
349 Cumberland Ave. 207-773-1997; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Portland’s only German restaurant serves a rib-sticking brunch that includes potato pancakes with house cured salmon, bratwurst with sauerkraut and the “Sunday roast” with potato dumplings and gravy.
86 Middle St. 207-774-8538. Brunch is served 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday and Monday, so restaurant folks can also take advantage of a changing menu that always includes oysters and at least one dish starring pork belly.
703 Congress St., 207-871-5005. This fun-loving restaurant serves breakfast and lunch Monday-Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sundays from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., when we’ll call it brunch. The house specialty is corned beef hash and it’s one of the few places in town with grits on the menu.
57 Center St.; 207-780-1506; 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The menu features hearty egg dishes, sandwiches and pub fare that pairs well with beer or with $2 Bloody Marys.
543 Deering Ave. 207-774-4935; Breakfast/brunch served Monday-Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Just off the peninsula, this Cajun food haven serves gumbo, red beans and rice and a host of omelets, including Mudbug Madness (crawfish, cheddar and homemade salsa).
Custom House Wharf; 207-773-4653. 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. Sunday. The menu at this waterfront mainstay is centered on ramped-up diner classics such as steak and eggs, biscuits and gravy and the Casco Bay omelet – lobster, crab, tomatoes, arugula and local goat cheese with lemon hollandaise.
One City Center; 207-772-1400. Not a traditional brunch, MJ’s “Sunday Funday” means $3 make-your-own waffles and $3 glasses of bubbly, starting at 10 a.m. Not at all a bad way to start the day.
505 Fore St., 207-772-8242; Saturday and Sunday beginning at 11:30 a.m. Sophisticated takes on classic Mexican egg dishes, all of which go beautifully with one of the specialty margaritas, such as blood orange or habanero watermelon.
231 York St. 207-747-4166; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. The menu changes regularly, but may include duck confit hash with eggs, lobster eggs benedict and flat iron steak and eggs cooked sous vide.
111 Middle St. 207-747-5307; 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Husband and wife chefs Damian Sansonetti and Ilma Lopez do brunch Italian style at this rustic-chic gem. Try the classic spaghetti carbonara or fritelle — the Italian version of pancakes, with orange marmalade, maple syrup and vanilla cream.
40 Washington Ave. 207-772-0360; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. From the Hashpipe Burrito (veggie burger, sauteed tofu, veggies, vegan cheddar and bbq sauce) to Moonstruck Toast, the menu at fun-loving Silly’s literally has something for everyone.
414 Fore St. 207-805-1085; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday and Monday. Go for the signature “bread and butter,” sourdough pancakes or the crudo that helped land chef Chris Gould’s restaurant a spot on Bon Appetit magazine’s list of the 10 Best New Restaurants in America 2014.
649 Congress St. 207-899-3529; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Portland’s vegan Mecca has brunch options for meat eaters too. Options run the gamut from breakfast sandwiches and tofu scrambles to vegan cinnamon rolls.
101 York St. 207-780-8226; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Dunk churros in your coffee or dig into migas (eggs scrambled with tortillas, salsa and cheese), breakfast burritos and other Mexican favorites.
106 High St.; 207-518-9283; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The menu includes benedicts, biscuits and gravy, crab cakes, burgers and salads with some pub favorites too. The tap line-up changes often.
23 Forest Ave.; 207-774-9698; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Egg dishes, including several different benedicts, fruit pancakes, waffles and “satanic eggs” (deviled eggs with various fillings), plus creative brunch cocktails, draw a crowd of local fans.