By Brooke Viggiano, 5/1/2019
No matter the weekend. No matter the weather. Brunch will be there with its promise of perfectly cooked eggs, piping hot coffee, and effervescent mimosas. And while there are plenty of brunch options dotting the city’s every nook and cranny, sometimes you simply can’t muster up the energy to leave your neighborhood bubble.
We totally get it! So we’re breaking down H-town’s choicest brunch options, ‘hood by ‘hood. Each spot we've selected is naturally boozy, but the real kicker is every single one has an unquestionably good menu and a kickass, weekend-ready atmosphere. Read on to see why Houston brunch reigns supreme.
Snooze, an AM Eatery
Best brunch for inducing a pancake coma
With locations around the city (including Clear Lake), this Denver-born chain has earned Houston’s affection one smothered pancake at a time. Locals flock here for cheap pancake flights and hollandaise-coated everything, from eggs Benny to corned beef hash. Drinks are equally as enticing, with morning concoctions like the Bangkok Bloody Mary (with Sriracha and fish sauce) and the Snoozed Fashioned (a coffee and whiskey mix). And the best part? You can unofficially “brunch” seven days a week.
An extravagant Sunday spread showing off the flavors of Mexico
Don’t be fooled by its location inside a hotel, this masa-loving eatery is one of the Best Mexican Restaurants in America. On Sundays, James Beard Award-winning chef Hugo Ortega’s Downtown venture offers up an insanely good Oaxacan brunch buffet that is worth every single one of the 3,000+ pennies you spent on it (be sure to check out the interior and coastal Mexican spreads at sibling establishment Hugo’s and Caracol, too). Sure, you could go Saturday and order a la carte, but then you couldn’t refill your plate with all the ceviches, chilaquiles, rellenos, tamales, crudos, camarones, carnitas, tres leches, and churros that you possibly can before your pants spontaneously combust.
Modern American fare that is as diverse as the city of Houston
Any brunch that starts with buttermilk biscuits and jam and ends with chocolate icebox cake is a good brunch. That’s exactly what you’re getting yourself into at this neo-American spot. In between, you’ll also find everything from spiced Moroccan eggs and huevos rancheros to carrot juice Bloodys and an EaDo Brunch burger that mashes a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich with a Wagyu burger. Brunch cocktails include a Carrot Juice Bloody Mary, a Blood Orange Mimosa and Badabing!, which is a riff on a Manhattan with coffee liquor (bourbon, coffee liquor, Vermouth, rum, whipped cream, orange bitters).
Better Luck Tomorrow
Where the drink holds is just as important as the food
You may be thinking, “hold up, a bar has the best brunch in the Heights?” Well, when hometown heroes Bobby Heugel and Justin Yu are two of the masterminds behind said bar, you bet your ass it does. BLT blends its craft cocktail prowess with playful takes on comfort foods that will make any weekend better. Fill up on eats from custard french toast with Angostura creme fraiche to the cheesy, gravy-laden hangover-curing hash browns as well as the spaghetti sandwich (do NOT knock it until you try it). And be sure to pair the dishes with a spiked coffee, morning cocktail, or refreshing tomatillo Bloody.
A damn good brunch that will lead you straight to naptime
Warning: you’ll need to put on your most comfortable pants -- the ones with the stretchy elastic waistbands -- when dining at this gluttonous local favorite. Start with a peach sangria or candied bacon-studded Beaver’s Mary, then get into the seriously excellent mix of brunchy and non-brunchy eats, like the Beaver-Rito, a BBQ brisket and queso loaded number that packs eggs and habanero salsa; or the crispy pecan buttermilk waffle, which can come with a side of fried chicken if you so please (hint: you do).
High-class brunch eats take a ride through the Dirty South
Helmed by internationally-trained chef Drake Leonards (whose pedigree includes NOLA hotspots like August, Domenica, and Shaya), this Cajun-Creole brasserie pairs European and Gulf Coast bites. Hit the striking dining room or Live Oak-shaded patio and experience sensory overload in the form of hearth-roasted oysters, double-smoked duck poppers, and hand-pulled burrata with Cajun caviar...and those are just the starters. Steak and eggs, blue crab omelettes, crawfish etouffee, and a standout 44 Farms cheeseburger are a few of the larger, recommended offerings.
A farm-to-table brunch with fresh elixirs
You can feel pretty fantastic about smashing fat buttermilk biscuits and fried chicken smothered in gravy when you dine at this local mini-chain. That’s because those biscuits are made fresh, that chicken is cage-free, and the gravy, well, it’s damn tasty. The farm-to-table spot puts an emphasis on the farm, with a focus on locally-raised meats and agriculture produced in or around Houston. If that’s not enough to sway you, its brunch plates are fantastic and it offers a Karbach cocktail called the “Bromosa” that will make any morning spent in Katy very worthwhile.
A taste of South America from coast to coast
You can always brunch at the East End institution, Ninfa’s on Navigation (and you really should some time), but Andes, a slightly more under-the-radar cafe, is worth a look too. Take a culinary journey through South America via breakfast plates and tasty shareables like sweet corn cachapa and pork empanada, an assortment of ceviches and tiraditos, and huevos up the wazoo. Up the ante with passion fruit mimosas and mango micheladas.
Modern Tex-Mex with a Texas Hill Country feel
You’ll want to make your way through the playbook of Tex-Mex classics at this Tejano joint. Said playbook hosts staples such as chilaquiles, migas, and Delta style tamales and eggs along with more Texas-style entrees like the BBQ brisket and egg sandwich on Texas toast. Quench your thirst with aguas frescas -- horchata, naranja, pomelo and seasonal, or do the weekend justice with a zesty michelada, Bloody Maria, or sangria del dia.
State Fare Kitchen & Bar
Where the plates and flavors come bigger than Texas
Sometimes, you just want your weekend brunch with a side of gluttony, and that’s just what you’re getting at this comfort food spot. The food here is lowbrow in a good way -- think brunch burgers topped with spicy brown sugar bacon, egg, American cheese, and hash browns; and buttermilk biscuits smothered with house sausage and fat-laden, East Texas cream gravy. Don’t miss the XXL griddle cake for two, served with good ol’ maple syrup and whipped butter or topped with anything from chocolate chunks to H-town hot chicken.
A baller’s brunch with New Orleans swag
There are times when brunch calls for cheap Champagne and literally anything that includes bacon. And then there are times when brunch calls for an epic three-course feast that makes you feel like you own an oil company. That’s where this jazzy (for real, there’s a jazz band) New Orleans-kissed classic comes in. Luckily, you don’t actually have to own an oil company to afford it. Seasonal riffs on creole dishes commingle with Southern staples like eggs Brennan, shrimp & grits, and whiskey-lacquered quail, all of which you’ll want to pair with Marys, punches, and fizzes. If you have a few extra monies to get rid of, add on the crazy seafood tower. Then invite us next time.
The Pass & Provisions
Creative takes on brunch classics that are perfectly shareable (or not)
There are almost too many options for brunch in Montrose, so we’ll help narrow it down for you. If you’ve never dined at the more casual half of dual dining concept The Pass & Provisions, brunch is the time to do so. The neighborhood stunner livens up the weekend with a seasonally-refreshed menu and cocktails made with fresh juice and unconventional ingredients. Start with a beer-backed P&P Bloody Mary infused with black garlic and yuzu kosho, a worthy companion to your 6-pack of oysters on-the-half-shell. Continue the friendship with best in class plates like harissa-honey fried chicken biscuits, roast pork belly and grits, and smoked salmon and latkes. Before you clean your entire plate, know that there is a Mexican chocolate cinnamon roll for dessert.
A brunch with serious soul and Southern charm
At his eponymous Southern charmer, chef/owner Chris Williams pays homage to his great-grandmother, Lucille, via innovative takes on authentically Southern flavors, with a few of great granny’s recipes, too. Tuck into Lucille’s famous chili biscuits, hot cake stacks, and fried green tomatoes. Move on to plates like chicken-fried eggs benny with smothered collard greens or fried catfish and eggs over perfectly done stone mill grits.
Mexican fare with Texas swag
Chef Ronnie Killen’s latest endeavour brings new age Tex-Mex to Pearland, and more importantly for the purposes of this list, a killer Sunday brunch (the first time Killen has offered brunch at one of his restaurants). Hit the buffet to score tamales and ceviche, bacon and eggs, shrimp and grits, and mouthwatering carne guisada. Or go a la carte with options from crab tinga omelets and smoked chicken chilaquiles verdes to brisket hash and impossibly fluffy pancakes topped with horchata whipped cream. Either way, you can pair your brunch with a mix of fresh mimosas, sangrias, Bloody Marias, margaritas, and micheladas.
Jupiter Pizza & Waffles
Two iconic dishes, one fantastic brunch
This homegrown spot takes two foods every human loves (pizza and waffles) and makes you struggle to decide until you order both of them. Sound frustrating? It’s not. Simply come with friends and split a few fluffy Belgian waffles and 650-degree stonefired sourdough pizza pies. While the pizzas land fully on the savory side -- with toppings from truffle mushrooms to Vietnamese BBQ pulled pork, the waffles come both sweet and savory. Get one topped with honey ham, eggs and Hollandaise, and another with dulce de leche and whipped cream.
Helen Greek Food and Wine
Modern takes on classic Greek dishes with a small but powerful brunch menu
This Hellenic haunt’s Sunday brunch menu may be small, but it packs a Mt. Olympus sized punch. All crispy-edged, cherry-topped, and vanilla-laced, the semolina pancakes are definitely something we recommend; and the local lamb and egg breakfast sandwich is a stunner not to be passed on. For best results, add on a buttery greens-and-cheese pie and sugary, deep-fried doughnut holes that come kissed with fennel and whipped Greek yoghurt. Then wash it all down with a sparkling wine cocktail or negroni through a Hellenic lense.
Poppin’ bottles in the classiest way possible
Even with so many fantastic brunch options in the mix (Backstreet Cafe, State of Grace, and Brasserie 19 are just a few of them), a’Bouzy is an easy favorite. Helping it earn the top spot is the restaurant’s penchant for booze… the bubbly kind, to be precise. Treat yourself to a Champagne-soaked meal (sparklings run the gamut from $12 to $2,000) complete with morning pastries and jams, a solid eggs benny, Champagne-marinated fried chicken and waffles, and crispy AF pommes frites that take a double dip in duck fat. If you’re really feeling your Sunday Funday, come back a few hours later to learn the art of sabrage (for real, “Saber Sunday Nights” run from 5-8pm).
A Houston institution rocking a wildly good Sunday brunch
Set in an century-old log cabin, this wild-game-loving haunt is a Houston icon. At Sunday brunch, you’ll find plates running the gamut from smoked duck gumbo and wild boar carnitas to buffalo short rib benedict and game sausage and eggs. Even better? Mimosas and Champagne are just $2 until 3pm.
Indo-fusion street eats and pastries in a fast-casual setting
If you haven’t had a taste of everything cardamom-kissed and cinnamon-spiced from this Indo-fusion street eats spot, you’ve been brunching wrong, y’all. Remedy that by hitting up Pondicheri’s fast-casual cafe or upstairs bake lab and get a taste of the good stuff, which comes in the form of masala scrambles, chocolate brioche buns rolled in saffron sugar, and the Morning Thali, a traditional Indian variety plate that shows off Houston dining at its finest.
The Classic All Day
Not your mama’s classic diner dishes
The former benjy’s on Washington has been transformed into a classic all day diner that will have you rethinking what it means to brunch. What do we mean by that? Well, you may find yourself sipping your Bloody Mary alongside outside-the-box brunch starters, like the dreamy pelmeni dumplings (order these) or good ol’ kettle of matzo ball soup. Oh, and that Bloody Mary you’re sipping? It comes smokey with hints of tabasco and charred peppers. Continue the brunch euphoria with mains from a hamachi-studded soft scramble and a butcher’s cut steak and eggs to an Insta-worthy Dutch baby pancake.
Fielding’s Local Kitchen + Bar
Home of locally-sourced American classics and the Bloody Mary flight
The libations get a weekly change up at this modern American kitchen and bar, but you’ll always find the must-order Bloody Mary Flight, a roster of Bloodys decked out with things like whiskey and bacon, house pickled veggies, and smokey sriracha -- mimosas are available, too, if bubbles are more your speed. Pair your drinks with drool-worthy Dutch pancakes, pulled pork hash, and smoked salmon croissant eggs benny.