Breakfast Beat

Where to Find the Best Breakfasts in Greater Phoenix

Otro Cafe's muesli is one of its excellent breakfast offerings.
Chris Malloy
Otro Cafe's muesli is one of its excellent breakfast offerings.
Greater Phoenix is awash in satisfying breakfast options. Flowing from our past Breakfast Beat column and some serious eating before and after, here are 10 of our favorites, reached after considering not only food but other virtues, like atmosphere, restfulness, and originality. So make your weekend morning plans or call in late to work; there's a new staple or old favorite ready to serve you.

Carolina's Mexican Food

1202 East Mohave Road

For a longtime staple best known for later-day meals, Carolina's draws a lot of people to its timeworn white-walled dining room for morning eats. Breakfast runs until 10:30 a.m., and every iteration but one quesadilla comes rolled up in a chewy, pliant, beautiful flour tortilla. The breakfast burro is religion here. In order to practice, you better come hungry. Each burro is the size of a pitcher's mound. Order right, and they'll come enchilada-style, meaning smothered in velvety sauce softly electrified with chiles. Shaved orange cheese blankets the top, the lower pieces melting into the sauce like snowflakes into water. With eggs and some combination of machaca, chorizo, potatoes, and beans inside, putting away one of the legendary breakfast burros will assure, but for some miracle, that you're full until lunch.

click to enlarge Picture this French toast on your plate at MBB. - MATT’S BIG BREAKFAST
Picture this French toast on your plate at MBB.
Matt’s Big Breakfast

Matt's Big Breakfast

Multiple Locations

The Terminal 4 location of Matt's Big Breakfast may be a half-step behind the original, but, given what you can eat at the original, this puts even that location in good company. Matt's has been serving a focused, unusually tight selection of breakfast staples to hungry downtowners since 2004. Unlike many breakfast places, Matt's doesn't shirk quality when it comes to ingredients. Butter and extra virgin olive oil are the cooking lipids, and eggs come from cage-free hens. A breakfast sandwich comes with smoky bacon and melted cheese on a fluffy roll that seems to be made for soaking up yolks and hot sauce. Steak and eggs appear on breakfast menus across the country, but Matt's does one better: a thin curving pork chop, well-browned and looking like a sail atop lacy potatoes and nicely cooked eggs.

New Wave Market

7120 East Sixth Avenue, #20, Scottsdale

The dining room adjoining Super Chunk Sweets & Treats opens just one day a week in the morning, Saturday, from 8 to 11 a.m.. That said, Country and Sergio Velador pack an extraordinary amount of originality and care into these three weekly hours. The breakfast menu centers around plates and bagel creations. Plates include the likes of a brisket hash with maple gastrique and a house-baked Hawaiian bread turned into a dreamlike French toast, jazzed with luscious mascarpone whipped cream, blueberry jam, and more. Bagel combinations will be hard to pass over. Look to one that remixes avocado toast, another spotlighting an egg fried in ghee, and the ultimate bagel creation here: a sandwich spilling caper cream cheese, pickled shishito peppers, and smoked salmon from Chula seafood. Another option: roll the dice and try the chef's choice breakfast board, a shifting lineup of eggs, bagels, spreads, pickled vegetables, and proteins.

An Oaxacan tamale from Otro Cafe's breakfast menu. - CHRIS MALLOY
An Oaxacan tamale from Otro Cafe's breakfast menu.
Chris Malloy

Otro Cafe

6035 North Seventh Street

Without a doubt, Otro Cafe has one of the best breakfasts in town. A Mexican influence runs through breakfast dishes like a cool chile heat. There are two kinds of tamales: Oaxacan (in a banana leaf) and standard corn. Chilaquiles can be ordered red, green, or Christmas-style. The tortillas are baked and come in a lasagna-like stack that rises above the sauce (rather than swimming in it). Deeply browned discs of cooked cheese can be found in the stack. Or you can pull the trigger on a full-on Mexican plate breakfast. Doing so will bring two eggs, chorizo, tortillas, and beans to your table. There are hidden gems on this menu. One of them is, surprisingly, muesli that uses quinoa, faro, and oats for the base. The bowl's flavors are rich and wheaty, with a robust cereal-milk-like flavor coming through just sweetly enough. The quality of the muesli shows the menu's range. The best way to attack this menu may be to order a few things and split them with your co-eaters. This is an uncommon approach to breakfast, one nicely suited to an uncommonly good breakfast restaurant.

Comedor Guadalajara

1830 South Central Avenue
Some days, you need a huge Mexican breakfast to change things up, keep them steady, help your hangover, or lift your mood. And on those mornings, consider Comedor Guadalajara. At this Mexican restaurant in South Phoenix, service is warm, sincere, efficient.The food at Comedor has a warm, homestyle essence. You can feel the aura of home in the hot sluice of beans, the velvety red sauce that drowns the chilaquiles, the smooth tangy salsa and the hunks of tripe that bob to the surface of menudo. You can get eggs with shrimp, red or green chile, two kinds of steak, ham, bacon, chorizo, and lots more. You can get eggs with red chile and nopalitos. You can get huevos rancheros and breakfast enchiladas, breakfast chicharrones, and breakfast chimichangas. Come to Comedor Guadalajara if you're craving a huge Mexican breakfast.

Breakfast burrito nirvana. - CHRIS MALLOY
Breakfast burrito nirvana.
Chris Malloy

Phoenix Burrito House

4140 North Seventh Avenue

At Phoenix Burrito House, breakfast doesn't end when morning does. If you want, you can chow down on egg-and-potato burritos all day. Portions at Phoenix Burrito House are large. The burrito road forks and re-forks into enough paths that there should be the right combo for everyone. If you choose to customize a burrito, you get, for $5.50, eggs, potatoes, and beans, plus your choice of a meat: ham, chorizo, bacon, or sausage. From there, you can add more meat, cheese, peppers, or grilled onion. The cheese is a mixture of cheddar and jack. There is also another way: the machaca burrito. It comes with eggs, grilled onions, potatoes, and jalapenos. It comes bursting from its flour wrappings. Feel the nicely toasted tortilla, and you can easily sense the pressure being laid on by the fillings. They tumble out when you cut in with a knife. The potatoes are warm, the machaca stringy and deep, the salsa cool and fresh.

JJ's Delicatessen

23425 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale

A true New York-area bagel with the wondrous combination of fleeting shatter and ferociously pliant chew is an elusive find here in the Southwest. You can find bagels with shades of the back-East classics, with attributes that nod and hint and at least conjure similarities and memories if you have them. JJ's Deli is one such place that boils a passable bagel. They come in many versions. You can get smooth, marbled bagels paved with mellow jalapeño cream cheese to whole-wheat-everythings heavy with whitefish or lox. Looking beyond the bagel, the cinnamon rolls by the ordering counter will quickly snare your eye (right after the framed New York Rangers jerseys). They are paved with a glacier of thick, white frosting, which conforms to the roll's coiled furrows and slopes. Other Jewish-deli-style breakfast options abound: stuffed challah French toast, eggs scrambled with matzo, corned beef hash, and omelets ranging from Spanish to cheeseburger.

A Mexican breakfast spread. - CHRIS MALLOY
A Mexican breakfast spread.
Chris Malloy

Irma's Kitchen

906 North 15th Avenue

You can get a sizable Mexican breakfast at Irma's Kitchen for a reasonable price. Things start with chips and salsa. They progress to the main event: chilaquiles, breakfast burros, huevos rancheros, taquitos with eggs, and so on. The menu isn't as comprehensive as those at other spots that offer Mexican breakfast. Menudo is offered daily. The red version at Irma's isn't all that hot. Spiked with raw onions, cilantro, and lemon juice, the soup's thinly spread tripe honeycombs and hominy bring you to life. The soup has mellow flavors and a thin, restorative broth that, together with steaming tortillas, will launch you into your day feeling good. Many of the breakfast platters come with a hearty, silky mudslide of beans, a sidekick just as good as the feature.

Morning Glory Café

6106 South 32nd Street

Dustin Christofolo, executive chef of Morning Glory and Quiessence (the farm-to-table restaurant behind Morning Glory), takes breakfast dishes seriously. Morning Glory Café is part of the Farm at South Mountain. The sunny patio where folks dig into eggs and waffles under umbrellas sits in front of the kitchen, beside an herb and vegetable plot. You feel like you're eating in the country at a friendly farmer’s house. You kind of are. The setting is ideal for the food: rustic breakfast slightly refined. Highlights include breakfast enchiladas, an omelet made with house-smoked trout, and the general experience of eating out on the farm. If you’re willing to drop a few more bills than usual on breakfast, Morning Glory Café serves a great a.m. meal that can scratch the brunch itch, the craving for nature and sunshine, and the biological need to inhale enchiladas.

French toast made with Proof Bread. - CHRIS MALLOY
French toast made with Proof Bread.
Chris Malloy

The Uprooted Kitchen

3000 East Ray Road, Gilbert

The Uprooted Kitchen in Gilbert offers a genuinely surprising plant-based breakfast. You can order breakfast sandwiches with tempeh instead of meat, black bean burgers, or a quinoa breakfast bowl. A buckwheat crepe comes with a litany of fillings including hummus, cauliflower, various vegetables and nuts, and dates from Agritopia. If you're into French toast, Uprooted Kitchen's take is a must. Uprooted transforms Proof Bread sourdough into French toast using a bake rather than a sizzle. This creates lightness, and all the other ingredients, including blueberry preserves, granola, and coconut yogurt, keep to this baseline. The Uprooted Kitchen is a great spot for people who are into plant-based foods, and people who keep open minds.

Editor's note: This story was originally published on November 17, 2018. It was updated on September 18, 2019. Elizabeth Maria Naranjo contributed to this article.