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Susan Axelrod

Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business for 15 years before turning to journalism. By day, she is the social media editor for Portland Press Herald. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs, preferably followed by a cocktail or a Maine beer. Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or saxelrod@mainetoday.com On Twitter: @susansaxelrod

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Posted: April 5, 2016

Brunch: 30-plus places to do it right in Portland

Written 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 crepes — just a few of the widely varied dishes found on brunch menus around the city. We’ve rounded up 31 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!”

Where to brunch in Portland

 

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).

 

 

Bibo’s Madd Apple Cafe

23 Forest Ave.; 207-774-9698; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday – Friday. Egg dishes, including several different benedicts, sandwiches and salads, plus creative brunch cocktails, draw a crowd of local fans.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Blue Spoon

89 Congress St.; 207-773-1116; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. This neighborhood bistro serves creative takes on classic egg dishes, sandwiches and salads, plus a toast bar.

 

 

Brian Boru

57 Center St.; 207-780-1506; 10:30 a.m. to 2 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.

 

 

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.

 

 

Central Provisions

414 Fore St. 207-805-1085; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday and Monday. Go for the signature “bread and butter,” cinnamon roll French toast, 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.

 

 

The Corner Room

110 Exchange St. 207-879-4747; 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.

 

 

120667_687080-croonersCrooners & Cocktails

90 Exchange St.; 207-536-0469; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. This 60s-style supperclub is known for martinis and Sinatra tunes, and it’s brunch menu also pays tribute to old-school classics. Pair Boston cream pie-stuffed French toast, lobster thermidor benedict or a grilled meatloaf sandwich with a souped-up bloody Mary garnished with sweet and spicy meatballs and a sour pickle.

 

 

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.

 

 

Five Fifty-Five

555 Congress St.; 207- 761-0555; 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. A small, balanced menu includes “traitor’s eggs” with lobster, Bangs Island mussels, or simpler options like a cheese plate and granola with fruit and yogurt.

 

 

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.

 

 

Hot Suppa!

703 Congress St., 207-871-5005. This Southern-style joint 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.

 

 

LTHbrunchLittle Tap House

106 High St.; 207-518-9283; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The menu includes poutine and eggs, omelettes burgers and salads with some pub favorites too. The tap line-up changes often.

 

 

Local 188

685 Congress St.; 207-761-7909; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. A lighthearted vibe and top-notch cocktails keep this West End staple bustling. At brunch, options include breakfast paella, smoked salmon bagel plate, breakfast burrito and a burger.

 

 

Local Sprouts Cooperative

649 Congress St. 207-899-3529; 8 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.

 

 

lolitaLolita

90 Congress St. 775-5662; Starting at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. A small plates-focused menu, wood-fired grill and substantial wine list are the hallmarks of this Munjoy Hill restaurant, which also features a hand-cranked prosciutto slicer and hand-pulled espresso machine.

 

 

MJ’s Wine Bar

One City Center; 207-772-1400. Not a traditional brunch, MJ’s “Sunday Funday” means $4 make-your-own waffles and $3 glasses of bubbly, starting at 11 a.m. Not at all a bad way to start the day.

 

 

Outliers

231 York St. 207-747-4166; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. The menu changes regularly, but may include duck hash with eggs, lobster eggs benedict and blueberry eggs benedict.

 

 

Piccolo

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, frittata, or an Italian version of chicken and waffles.

 

 

The Porthole

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.

 

 

roustaboutRoustabout

59 Washington Ave. 536-4008; 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Design-wise, the industrial-meets-nautical space pays homage to Portland’s working waterfront, while earthy Italian dishes anchor the menu. At brunch, they may be eggs baked in tomato sauce and French toast with homemade ricotta.

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

20150507_EatAndRun_01-e1434575989813The Sinful Kitchen

906 Brighton Ave. 536-0611; 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. daily.  Owner Dave Mallari also has a pig roast catering business called The Pig Kahuna, so go for the Pulled Pork “Bennie,” one of four variations on eggs benedict on the menu. You can also build your own burger, or go all in for the cinnamon roll waffles with cream cheese icing. Most of the items are also available gluten-free.

 

 

slabSlab

25 Preble St. 245-3088; 110 a.m. – 8 p.m. Sunday. Slab offers huge portions of well-made dishes, including sandwiches and salads as well it’s namesake pizzas, served on wooden boards or in paper boats. At brunch, you’ll find hangover helpers like the French toast slab with sunnyside-up egg, sausage, and honey.

 

 

Sonny’s

83 Exchange St.; 207-772-7774; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The Latin-leaning choices include huevos rancheros, Johnny’s tri-pork Cuban sandwich, empanadas and fish tacos.

 

 

surlieSur Lie

11 Free St. 956-7350; 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sunday. This sophisticated, yet friendly downtown eatery has been hopping since it first opened its doors. The bar is somewhat of a “scene,” while the dining room, with well-spaced tables, makes for a more traditional setting in which to enjoy chef Emil Rivera’s imaginative dishes, including homemade apple cider donuts at brunch.

 

 

122619_505768-20151102_182458Terlingua

52 Washington Ave. 808-8502; 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sunday. Terlingua brings a mashup menu of barbecue classics and Latin American dishes to  up-and-coming Bayside, where it shares a block with Oxbow’s tasting room and Roustabout. On the brunch menu: Pulled pork benedict with a green chili biscuit, pan fried rainbow trout, and chilaquiles.

 

 

brunch-vignola-150x150Vignola Cinque Terre

10 Dana St. 207-772-1330; 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The contemporary Italian menu includes various antipasti, egg dishes and salads. A signature cocktail, the Vig-osa, features Grand Marnier, fresh OJ and prosecco.

 

 

Zapoteca

505 Fore St., 207-772-8242; 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Chef Shannon Bard’s inventive menu features flavorful dishes inspired by Mexican cuisine, all of which go beautifully with one of the specialty margaritas, such as blood orange or habanero watermelon.

 

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