Avocado toast all jazzed up from Ruze.
Avocado toast all jazzed up from Ruze.
Chris Malloy

5 Great Spots for Breakfast or Brunch in Metro Phoenix

We have no shortage of breakfast and brunch options here in the Valley. As temperatures cool, kids get in the groove back at school, and the "on" season returns, you'll want to head out for morning meals. To soak up the gorgeous weather. To drink lattes, polish off eggs, and inhale flaky pastries. Here, we share five great spots that do breakfast and/or brunch. These range far, from a Scottsdale bakery with cotton candy vegan French toast, to a Cave Creek standby that deals in eggs and nostalgia. A good morning will start at any one of the below.

Ruze Cake House now does a limited weekend brunch.
Ruze Cake House now does a limited weekend brunch.
Chris Malloy

Ruze Cake House
7033 East Main Street, #100, Scottsdale

Ruze Cake House is now serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Just four items are on the menu, but they're unlike anything you've seen. There's a vegan carrot cake French toast, breaded with cornflake-like cereal and surrounded by edible flowers from northern Arizona. On top of the French toast teeters a poof of house-made cotton candy, dusted with freeze-dried strawberries and specks of basil. Under the cotton candy, entombed within the toast, is sweet coconut cream. Ruze also offers an original version of avocado toast called "croast" — toast but a croissant. Pesto adds flavor. So do roasted cherry tomatoes. Finally, Ruze does a pair of tacos. They come on croissants; one features cotija cheese from Crow's Dairy, avocado mash, pico, cilantro, and a cinnamon sugar base, and the other features strawberry cheesecake. (Note: brunch only.)

French toast with sauces and sausages.
French toast with sauces and sausages.
Rudri Bhatt Patel

The Grotto Cafe
6501 East Cave Creek Road, #8, Cave Creek

The Grotto Cafe offers a wide range of breakfast options and plenty of space to unwind, relax, and eat. The menu includes savory and sweet options, as well as various muffins and other breakfast pastries. A bowl of oatmeal with the "works" (fresh berries, bananas, and pecans) will keep you feeling good about your morning meal. Bagel sandwiches, breakfast burritos, and yogurt parfaits are each strong bets as well. Baked goods are made on-site and include an array of chocolate-chip, blueberry, and banana nut muffins. Grotto's highlight is its French toast, topped with bananas and strawberries, and served with bacon or sausage. The French toast has caramel sauce made with sweet condensed milk. Bacon comes thick and isn't crispy or limp. Plump sausages have been nicely browned and show grill marks. For those wanting a hearty Southern breakfast, biscuits and gravy will keep you full until dinnertime.

An Oaxacan tamale from the breakfast menu.
An Oaxacan tamale from the 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, the corn coming with fried eggs. A frittata unites the foolproof combo of mushrooms, spinach, goat cheese, and caramelized onion, the slight south-of-the-border nod coming from pico de gallo. A BLT uses chewy telera bread. Chilaquiles come red, green, or Christmas-style. The tortillas have been layered in a lasagna-like stack that rises above the sauce. Deeply browned discs of cooked cheese can be found in the stack. Light these up with some of that luscious salsa verde, or the roasty, spicier red salsa. There are also hidden gems on this menu. One of them is, surprisingly, a muesli of quinoa, faro, and oats. 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.

Loaded fruit parfait, eggs, and red chile in the background.
Loaded fruit parfait, eggs, and red chile in the background.
Chris Malloy

ZuZu Restaurant
Hotel Valley Ho, 6850 East Main Street, Scottsdale
ZuZu offers more than a perfunctory hotel breakfast. In the parade of options you will find seven breakfast starters and, every day of the week, breakfast cocktails that go beyond mimosa. An "Aperol spritz" gets fancy with Campari-flavored blood orange foam. If you need more velocity, you may want to spring for the Sundance Margarita. Savory food options include a breakfast BLT, breakfast burrito, smoked salmon plate, and an intriguing number called "planks + eggs." The planks are potatoes. Cooked to warmth and outer crispness, they come with eggs, cotija, tortilla strips, and red chile. The dish has potential, but the red chile could use a little more heat. (You can add that yourself with hot sauce.) Pancakes are a safe, solid bet. Sea salt butter on top is a nice touch. Other sweet options include red velvet waffles and brioche French toast with Polynesian flavors. A breakfast parfait comes generously studded with various fruit.

A German pancake.
A German pancake.
Allison Trebacz

Egg N’ Joe
3131 South Market Street, #101, Gilbert

If you have a soft spot for German pancakes and are in the mood for a reliable diner breakfast, Egg N’ Joe is your place. The German pancake is baked in a cast iron pan until the edges are a golden brown, crunchy, and start to curl in toward the yellow, center. When it’s done, the butter is melted over. It bubbles up on crust and pools in the center of the pancake. Then it’s showered with powdered sugar and a handful of lemon wedges are tossed into the center. The result is a mildly sweet, butter-soaked pancake with just enough lemon and sugar. The pancake straddles the line between crepe and traditional American pancake. It’s a simple pleasure, but one that’s worth the trip. Egg N' Joe also serves standard breakfast fare like eggs Benedict, shredded hash browns, omelets, and Belgian waffles. There will be a wait if you get there after 9 and you’ll have to hang out in a parking lot until your table is ready – which could take 40 minutes – so get in early.

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