South Florida's Best Brunch
Taco Bell may have invented "second dinner" as an utterly transparent way to sell more tacos to drunken college kids and stoners (happy 4/20, by the way), but whoever invented brunch -- essentially second breakfast -- deserves a tasty trophy constructed out of French toast, a croissant, and maple syrup. From bloody mary bars to omelet stations that never seem to run out of ammo, brunch is serious business in a region that caters to tourists and weekend warriors. To help you prep for your Saturday and Sunday plans, we've assembled a list of ten of the best brunch spots in Broward and Palm Beach counties. As always, feel free to use the comments to tell us who you think belongs on this list.
1. Pelican Grand Beach Resort
At $39.95 per adult, this popular brunch on the beach is a Sunday-morning investment. Served from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., the spread at Pelican Grand's North Ocean Grille includes cold nibbles like shrimp ceviche salad and tropical fruit skewers and meaty treats like apple-wood-smoked bacon and country sausage. Find heartier sustenance by way of an omelet station, carving stations, and pasta dishes. Dessert and drinks -- mimosas and bloody marys, naturally -- are included in the feast.
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Brunch at this Wilton Manors institution is lively, but it's no trifling affair. The "Sunday Funday" event calls for an all-day party with beer-bucket specials and an expansive menu that includes tons of decadent dishes, leaving little room for moderation. There are nearly ten variations on batter-based goods like pancakes, waffles, and French toast, each more outlandish than the last. Most everything -- egg dishes, entrées, sandwiches -- is given a punny name, and nothing is priced higher than $12.50.
3. Steak 954
For some, brunch is about the eggs Benedict (there are four versions here). For others, it's all about the pastries and other carb-heavy treats (choices include carrot raisin muffins or chocolate croissant). For many, it's about chasing down and defeating last night's hangover. For those who favor a hair-of-the-dog approach, Steak 954 specializes in the bloody mary, with a signature recipe, plus two new incarnations: the tomatillo with garlic and jalapeño, and the chipotle and barbecue with smoked tequila. Brunch is offered 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and also includes a raw bar and entrées.
The proximity to the beach is a major plus for the Sunday brunch offered at this seafood restaurant that's popular both with visitors and locals. The lobster Benedict ($16) is among the more indulgent options in a brisk menu, which also includes kid-friendly options like a stack of three chocolate-chip pancakes ($9) or simple favorites like the three-egg omelet. There are lighter choices like a fruit bowl or granola and yogurt, but who wants to spend nearly $10 for something that doesn't have legs? Better to go with a plate that will stick to the ribs, like shrimp and grits ($14) with cheese grits and bacon gravy.
5. The Downtowner Saloon
Reliable and affordable, the all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch is stocked with the hangover-fighting power of an omelet station, carving station, pastas, and eggs Benedict, among other traditional favorites. The pricing -- $12.99 per person -- seems almost as much a throwback as the setting itself. Situated in a storied space overlooking the New River, it's not a bad spot to stop for a plate or two of fats and carbs to get the day going. Brunch is served 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.
6. Tom Sawyer Restaurant and Pastry
Hearty and nowhere near chichi, brunch is served 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, though it's difficult to fathom just who in the hell would start in on brunch at such an ungodly hour of the morning. Nothing will cost more than ten bucks, and simple pleasures like the cinnamon bun French toast ($6.50) or the croissant French toast ($5.75) are positively steals. Got a hankering for protein? A four-egg omelet with any number of meaty or veggie fixings is available to give you the energy you need to head back home and grab a spot on the couch.
7. The Circle at the Breakers
This is the ace in the hole when you've got some wealthy relatives visiting from out of town. At $90 a head (plus tax and tip), it's also nice if they're the kind of folks who are inclined to pick up the tab. This is an elaborate spread with buffets of hot and cold offerings and an unholy number of decadent desserts. There's no rolling out of bed and slinking to a table with last night's party smeared across your face: Dress is "resort casual," so be sure to look the part.
8. Deck 84
The recently upgraded brunch menu includes twists on classic brunch items -- like the "24-hour French toast" made with thick slices of brioche soaked in custard and topped with wild berries -- plus nonbreakfast fare, like a variety of flatbreads. One of the biggest draws for the weekend meal is the build-your-own-bloody-mary bar with fixings like stuffed olives, peppers, and a dozen types of hot sauce.
9. The Floridian Diner
Got a foodie friend surfing your couch for the weekend? This is not your pick. If it's Gramps you have visiting for a few days, this is the place to steer him to on Sunday morning. The food is mostly serviceable, but the prices will make your company smile, as will the comforting Old Florida vibe to the surroundings. Portions of familiar fare like hash browns and scrambled eggs are beyond generous, and outdoor seating is available.
This is the destination for your pal who yawns and rolls her eyes at the very whisper of brunch. Yes, Lips offers a variety of familiar brunch staples -- bottomless mimosas, an omelet crammed with seven ingredients, eggs Benedict, and so on -- but that's where the similarities to your standard hotel restaurant buffet end. Lips' Sunday Gospel Brunch with the Sisters of Sequin is drag-show dining in all of its sparkling, defiant glory. Even if you aren't insane over "second breakfast," you can delight in the sheer spectacle of it all.
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