Breakfast. It's the most important meal of the day, so we don't want to squander it by eating at any old restaurant. No, around these parts, we take our breakfast very seriously, which means we hunted down the best places in metro Phoenix for everything from pancakes, bacon, and eggs, to more non-traditional morning fare like pork chops and doughnuts smothered in syrup and authentic New York bagels loaded with pastrami and eggs.
10. Fàme Caffe
This sun-soaked Central Phoenix cafe, located south of Camelback Road on Central Avenue, serves healthy morning fare in a setting that's guaranteed to make you feel good. You won't find anything overly complicated on the menu, but the selection of omelets, French toast, and other dishes is always consistent and made from scratch with local ingredients including vegetables from Maya’s Farm, cheese from Crow's Dairy, and, of course, meats from Schreiner's Sausages. With a near-perfect cup of Passport Coffee and free Wi-Fi, you'll be armed to settle in for a leisurely meal.
You won't find any breakfast innovations at this Gilbert eatery, but you will find hot coffee, friendly servers, two dozen varieties of omelets (in addition to the choice to design your own), and some of the best cinnamon rolls in town. Hidden in plain site just next door to newer, trendier spots like Liberty Market and Postino, The Farmhouse transports you far away from the burgeoning streets of downtown Gilbert and into a picture perfect rural setting, where breakfast is always hearty and served with a smile. Ham steak and ground chuck patties come served with eggs your way — but whatever you do, save room to share one of the restaurant's famous Farmhouse Cinnamon Rolls.
Breakfast doesn't get more fun than at Snooze, an AM Eatery, a Denver-based breakfast and brunch chain with four locations in metro Phoenix (Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale, and Gilbert). Diners can look forward to a retro-modern design and perks like free coffee and games while you wait for a table — which you almost always will do on weekend mornings. Once you're settled into your signature round booth, select from options including an extensive menu of pancakes, seasonal varieties of eggs Benedict, and an impressive lineup of breakfast cocktails — Snooze offers not one, but four types of Bloody Marys and five different kinds of mimosas.
7. Original Breakfast House
In many ways, Original Breakfast House is the quintessential neighborhood diner. There's the pot of coffee your server leaves on the table so you can refill your mug at your leisure, the eclectic décor (which includes both a Bob Marley poster and a white board of daily specials), and the casual chatter of regular diners as they're greeted by staff. But take a closer look at the restaurant's menu and you'll find a few unexpected entrées listed alongside plates of "San Francisco style" French toast, omelets, and biscuits and gravy. We love the linguica and cheddar scramble, which features spicy Portuguese sausage, and the Spam and eggs, served over cliantro-lime rice and a side of mango salsa. The restaurant's pancakes also are worth a try. Kissed with a hint of lemon, they're just the right amount of sweet even before you dip them in Mrs. Butterworth's syrup.
6. Ollie Vaughn's
Lindsey Magee's bakery and sandwich shop on McDowell Road might just be the most underrated breakfast spot in the Valley. For under $8, you can snag a made-to-order breakfast sandwich served on a housemade biscuit or croissant and loaded with eggs and your choice of meat, cheese, and vegetables. And while the sandwich makes a great breakfast on the go, we also love options like the pork chile verde, a succulent mound of shredded pork served over a biscuit and topped with a fried egg, and ricotta pancakes, a triple stack that comes topped with fruit compote and butter.
Restaurateur Eliot Wexler's Tempe restaurant Nocawish promises "fine food fast," but that sentiment doesn't quite capture his penchant for turning normal breakfast foods like bagels and burritos into decadent dishes loaded with housemade pastrami and stuffed with triple-fried frites. Wexler goes the extra mile to bring in high-quality ingredients, like bagels from New York's H&H Bagels and smoked salmon from Russ & Daughters. Then he uses these ingredients to create sinful delights like a pastrami and egg sandwich served on an everything bagel and smothered in melted Gruyere and cream cheese. Even better is the imported Yonah Schimmel potato knish, which can be topped with anything from fried chicken and gravy to pastrami and bordelaise.
Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza's Barrio Urbano is our favorite place to go for an out-of-the-ordinary breakfast. Not only does the restaurant, located at The Yard in Phoenix, serve breakfast all day, its menu also includes dishes like torrejas, or French toast made with Mexican bolillo toast, and Chihuahua-style menudo that you're just not going to find anywhere else. One of our favorite breakfast dishes has to be the simple huevos divorcados, a photo-worthy plate of two eggs each swimming in their own pool of salsa — one a red chile de arbol, the other a rich salsa verde. Halfway through, you'll be grateful for the sides of black beans and breakfast potatoes, which work wonders when it comes to cooling the fire cause by both sauces.
Located on Seventh Avenue and McDowell Road, this breakfast spot comes from local restaurateur DJ Fernandez and offers an eclectic menu of morning fare ranging from eggs Benedict and French toast to Portuguese doughnuts and savory crepes. One of the restaurant's most interesting — and decadent — options is the B.M.O.C., a morning meal that includes a smoked pork chop, waffle, two eggs cooked your way, and a Portuguese doughnut, all of which then gets smothered in an apple-maple syrup. The sweet-savory combination is near impossible to resist, just be sure to grab a cup of the restaurant's excellent Japanese cold-brewed coffee to go along or you may end up back in bed in a severe food coma after you finish your meal.
2. Butters Pancakes & Cafe
Everything from the fresh-squeezed orange juice to the fluffy buttermilk pancakes at Butters Pancakes & Cafe never fails to impress. This clean-cut Scottsdale breakfast spot might not look like much from the exterior, but sit down for a meal and you'll be won over by the courteous and quick service and exceptionally well-executed fare. Scrambled eggs come out light as air, hash browns grilled to deliver a perfect crunch, and the pancakes, well, they're some of the best in town. Though the dining room offers a nice enough atmosphere, opt for a seat on the back patio if you can. You'll be happy to linger over your never-empty coffee cup while soaking up some sunshine.
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Metro Phoenix's most famous breakfast spot, Matt's Big Breakfast serves homestyle breakfast, including plates such as the Hog & Chick, a classic combination of two eggs, bacon or sausage, toast, and potatoes. Known as much for its long lines as for its excellent food, Matt's recently added a second restaurant near the intersection of Camelback Road and 32nd Street and plans to open a Tempe location later this year. Just about everything on the restaurant's short but satisfying menu is worth a try, but for your first visit, don't miss the thick-cut peppered bacon, buttery hash browns, and homemade strawberry preserves.