Sunday April 20th 2014

Brunch: 28 places to do it right in Portland

By: Susan Axelrod

Eggs Florentine is a popular brunch dish at The Porthole Restaurant on Portland’s waterfront. (Press Herald file photo)

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 Japanese egg pancakes — just a few of the widely varied dishes found on brunch menus around the city. We’ve rounded up 28 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!”


The queen of brunch cocktails

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:

Bodacious bloodies: hot brunch cocktails with something more


 

Where to brunch in Portland

Vignola Cinque Terre

10 Dana St. 772-1330; 10 a.m. to 3 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.

 

 

 

The Corner Room

110 Exchange St. 879-4747; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 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.

 

 

 

Sonny’s

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.

 

 

 

Petite Jacqueline

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.

 

 

 

Bintliff’s

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.

 

 

 

Five Fifty-Five

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.

 

 

 

Blue Spoon

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.

 

 

 

Caiola’s

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.

 

 

 

Local 188

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.

 

 

 

The Front Room

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.

 

 

 

East Ender

47 Middle St.; 207-879-7669; 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Fancy fried chicken and waffles or pulled pork for brunch? Get ‘em here, along with Montreal smoked brisket hash and more expected egg dishes.

 

 

 

Schulte & Herr

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.

 

 

 

Eventide Oyster Co.

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.

 

 

 

 

Pai Men Miyake

188 State St.; 207-541-9204; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. If you prefer savory to sweet, this is the brunch menu for you: Japanese egg pancakes with Miyake farm pork, noodle dishes layered with flavor and a sake Bloody Mary spiced with wasabi are among the iconoclastic choices.

 

 

Hot Suppa!

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.

 

 

 

Brian Boru

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.

 

 

 

Bayou Kitchen

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).

 

 

 

The Porthole

Custom House Wharf; 207-773-4653. Serving breakfast/brunch from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and 7 a.m. to closing Thursday-Sunday. Chef Jesse Poirier’s menu 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.

 

 

 

MJ’s Wine Bar

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.

 

 

 

Taco Escobarr

548 Congress St.; 207-541-8097; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. There are various tacos, naturally, but also huevos rancheros, chilaquiles and the sweet Mexican rice drink called horchata.

 

 

 

Zapoteca

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.

 

 

 

Outliers

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.

 

 

 

Spread

100 Commercial St. 207-828-8233; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. An eclectic, French-influenced menu includes egg dishes, seafood, burgers and pastries, served in one of the city’s largest and chicest spaces.

 

 

 

Silly’s

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.

 

 

 

Local Sprouts Cooperative

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.

 

 

 

El Rayo Tacqueria

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.

 

 

 

Little Tap House

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.

 

 

 

Bibo’s Madd Apple Cafe

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.