Brunching is practically a pastime in Portland and one taken seriously, with diners queuing in long lines to grab a fork in some of tastiest spots. Even if you have a wait before you can sit down at your table, the Oregon brunch spots we have highlighted here will leave you all too happy about lining up for the next one on the list.
Stepping Stone Cafe
Close to historic Northwest Portland homes and near enough to always-bustling NW 23rd Avenue sits this delightful spot. If it weren’t for the bright red door and people loitering outside trying to get a table, you might miss out on tasty brunch at this little diner. Don’t let the wait discourage you, though. So hungry you could eat a whole stack of pancakes? Then the plate-size Mancakes are for you. Top them with fresh strawberries and whipped cream for the ultimate indulgence. The Smothered Badass is another favorite: chicken fried steak, hashbrowns, onions, jalapeño and cheddar, covered with a generous helping of gravy. Since breakfast is served all day and night, one of the best parts about Stepping Stone Café is that you can stop by after an evening out with friends — the restaurant closes at 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays — and enjoy brunch then, too.
The Heathman Hotel
Whether you are sitting outside at The Heathman Restaurant and Bar’s sidewalk café or cozied up in the elegant dining room, brunch at this Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star downtown wonder is a delightful uniting of Pacific Northwest flavors with French cuisine. Executive chef Michael Stanton’s dedication to seasonal ingredients and partnerships with the area’s select growers, producers and vintners result in brunch favorites such as the Oregon Dungeness crab and pepper jack omelette or smoked salmon eggs Benedict. For diners with a sweet tooth, the fleur de lis brioche French toast with Kiyokawa Family Orchids apple compote is a flavorful choice. While we’re fond of the fruity white peach rosemary bellini, the Portlandia Mary, featuring Krogstad Aquavit distilled at Portland’s House Spirits Distillery, is another winner.
Irving Street Kitchen
This establishment is well known for its drinks and dinner, but brunch is just as delicious. The comfortable dining room styled with bookshelves, private dining nooks and rustic décor is complemented by the great service. You’re happy to be there before you even try the food. Order the smoked soft scrambled egg nachos with refried red beans, tomatillo salsa and grilled avocado for the table to share. It’s nachos, but it’s not. The textures and flavors are a unique combination that keeps your hand reaching out for more. Try the subtle sweetness of Belgian waffles or a savory Pacific Northwest take on eggs Benedict (Skuna salmon gravlax Benedict and buttermilk biscuits). Save a little room for the divine butterscotch pudding with crème fraîche and vanilla bean caramel — it’s one of our favorite desserts, no matter the time of day.
Harvest at the Bindery
Because ingredients are used in such exciting ways during brunch at this Northeast Portland eatery, you won’t even notice that meat isn’t on the menu. This farm-to-fork favorite features evolving menus dictated by which ingredients are in season and what’s available at farmer’s markets, which makes for fresh food and imaginative offerings. You can’t go wrong with the mouthwatering hazelnut country griddle French toast topped with maple-chocolate syrup (yes, you read that right — maple plus chocolate!) and coconut cream. Alternatively, for a flavorful twist on a traditional number, try the fall hash made from root vegetable puree, roasted potatoes, market vegetables and house-made chèvre. Complete your brunching experience with the Spicy Mary cocktail and we promise you’ll be back when the new season’s menus roll out.
With an open kitchen, stellar service and delicious Southern cuisine, Muscadine has stormed onto the Portland brunch scene and it has the long lines to prove it. Start with the beignets, warm from the oven and dusted lightly with powdered sugar. After that, order the Meat + Three, consisting of spicy catfish and three sides. The perfectly fried fish isn’t terribly heavy; collard greens, grits and fried okra round out it nicely. Between sips of grapefruit mimosa or bourbon-spiked Kentucky Coffee, bask in the utter happiness that comes along with a leisurely weekend brunch.