There's something inherently enjoyable about brunch. Maybe it's because most of us can only fit it in once a week. Maybe it's because the hybrid meal allows the freedom to eat pretty much whatever you want. Most likely, it's because it's an acceptable excuse to drink well before 5 'o'clock. But for whatever reason, it's easily our favorite meal of the day, er, week.
And because choosing a place to enjoy your brunch outing is as important a dining decision as you'll face, we've compiled a list of the 10 best restaurants in the Valley for brunch.
(It's important to note that we only included restaurants that serve booze and that we didn't include any resorts or resort restaurants in this list.)
Chef Cullen Campbell has been serving an impressive brunch spread every Sunday since October last year. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Crudo offers a menu of Italian-inspired dishes made with top-quality meats and produce. In addition to egg-based staples, you can dig into polenta "hoe cakes" and a pork belly poutine with fingerling potatoes that might just be the best poutine in town. The jars are also not to be missed -- in particular, the housemade ricotta and persimmon one. And thanks to a chill soundtrack of independent rock and the restaurant's beautifully lit dining room, you're in for a meal that will make you feel like a million bucks without having to spend anywhere near that much.
There are two big draws for brunch at Postino, and they are live music and a great wine selection. Vino lovers will have plenty to choose from during Postino's brunch, served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday at all three locations. Mimosas, bellinis, wine by the glass, and pitchers of beer are all $5 until 5 p.m., making a booze-filled brunch quite a steal. The limited menu includes small plates like the walnut toast with triple crème Brie and housemade berry jam, as well as simple but enjoyable entrees like grilled foccacia with over easy eggs, asparagus, tomato salad, and herbed butter, and a Farm Scramble with roasted Yukon Gold potatoes, herbs, onions, Gruyere, and white cheddar.
The Herb Box
The Herb Box's upscale, casual vibe makes it a comfortable spot for brunch and the menu of fresh, but accessible food means even your unenlightened dining partners will find something to enjoy. Both the Southbridge location in Old Town Scottsdale and the restaurant at DC Ranch serve brunch on Sunday mornings. You'll find healthy fare like Brussels sprout hash and Manchego omelet alongside sweeter choices like the outstanding red velvet pancakes with mascarpone whipped cream. And the Market Street BLT, with its runny fried egg and crispy pancetta, pretty much epitomizes all there is to love about bringing breakfast and lunch together into one glorious meal.
It can be hard to find a restaurant in Scottsdale that manages truly to feel like a neighborhood spot. But since Orange Table is practically hidden within the Scottsdale Civic Center Plaza, it miraculously manages to do just that. The service may not be the best in town, but as soon as we dig into a plate of "flannel," a mixture of corned beef and your choice of other ingredients, we pretty much forget about all that. The impressive selection of cocktails also is a plus, though our favorite brunch indulgence is a glass of Orange Table's housemade coffee soda mixed with a shot of Kahlua. Trust us, it's delicious. The restaurant serves a full breakfast and lunch menu seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., so you can stop in for brunch any day of the week.
O.H.S.O. Eatery & nanoBrewery
For beer lovers, there isn't a brunch in town that can rival the deal at O.H.S.O. This sprawling brewery and restaurant offers plenty of seating both inside and out and serves Beer Brunch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays. The deal is straightforward and pretty sweet: get your choice of entrée plus a locally brewed beer for just $10. You can choose from options such as a breakfast flatbread, French toast, biscuits and beer gravy, and Churrasco steak and egg to pair with any Arizona-brewed beer on O.H.S.O.'s extensive tap list. Bonus: Dogs are welcome on the patio, so feel more than free to bring Fido.
Kevin Binkley's midtown restaurant serves Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and as you would expect, offers a seasonally sensitive menu of hot and cold veggie dishes as well typical brunch favorites. At Bink's Midtown, you can go with heavier fare like the bacon burger (the bacon is ground into the beef patty) or opt for more tradition brunchtime eats, like the skillet of Green Chile Braised Pork over cheddar drop biscuits. The sweet offerings (including Cake Doughnut Holes) will be hard to resist, but be warned that the giant cinnamon roll, which comes with butterscotch sauce and cream cheese frosting, makes a great sharable appetizer.
Vincent's Market Bistro
When it comes to charming brunch spots, Vincent's Market Bistro pretty much takes the cake. The cozy eatery off Camelback Road isn't the hottest spot in town and specializes in French favorites done quite well -- and at an affordable price. Once you sit down for Sunday brunch you'll get a plate of buttery croissants and jam, which -- particularly when enjoyed with a perfectly made mimosa -- will make you forget that the weekend's nearly over. And all the quiches are a smart choice for your meal, but the Ratatouille Omelet is the sort of dish that will make you appreciate the goodness of eggs done right.
Chef Matt Carter's The Mission offers a sophisticated Sunday brunch where the atmosphere perfectly complements the modern Mexican food. During dinner this restaurant is dark and sexy, but the two patios offer beautiful breezy brunch settings. Definitely don't skip the Abuelita, or hot chocolate, which comes in two flavors: pumpkin and dulce de leche. Seafood lovers will enjoy the corn pancakes topped with pieces of Dungeness crab and smoked Oaxacan pasilla crema, though the artful take on a classic huevos rancheros also is a delectable dish.
This Colorado-transplant landed in Phoenix last year and quickly has become a popular spot for brunch favorites any time you want them. Snooze, an A.M. Eatery offers just about any kind of breakfast you could want from omelets to Benedicts and everything in between. The pancake selection is of particular note, since the restaurant serves a Pancake of the Day in addition to staples like pineapple upside down pancakes and sweet potato pancakes. And the cocktail menu is an achievement in its own right. Forget normal mimosas and Bloody Mary's and go for a Brewmosa (that's beer and orange juice) or a crazy cocktail like the Bangkok Bloody with Mell Vodka Siracha, lime, cilantro, basil, fish Sauce and Snooze's House Bloody Mix.
Virtu Honest Craft
This tiny Scottsdale restaurant has exploded on both the local and national scene since opening last year. And lucky for brunch lovers, Chef Gio Osso serves brunch at Virtu from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. The menu includes crepes, Benedicts, sandwiches, and "Cast Iron Creations" -- a category that includes the Frittata di Pasta, a unique baked dish of pasta, sopressata, scamorza, roasted peppers, and ricotta cheese. Every dish, including the stylishly plated burrata, roasted beets and butternut squash salad will be picture-worthy, right down to dessert (if you're smart and save room).