EDITOR’S NOTE: We define brunch as a weekend-only meal. Restaurants that serve breakfast throughout the week—while they may be perfectly tasty—were not eligible for this list.


Malai_Kitchen_French_Toast (1) Malai's Banh Mi French Toast. Photography by Kevin Marple

Malai  Kitchen

Brunch served Saturday and Sunday

Brunch at a Thai restaurant may sound off-putting, but Malai Kitchen’s breakfast fare with a Thai-Vietnamese twist will set you straight. Don’t go expecting Sterno-heated chafing dishes; everything here is cooked to order. We found the cozy patio surprisingly quiet on a Saturday at noon, but the friendly service made up for any loneliness we may have felt. Each diner receives an amuse-bouche of sticky rice and eggplant dip. Chef Braden Wages turns French toast into an Asian delicacy. He tops thick slices of a Vietnamese baguette with flambéed bananas. Warm coconut syrup, which is made with coconut milk and palm sugar, and contains hints of tamarind and mango, comes on the side. His version of eggs Benedict is done Malai style, which means coconut-spiked biscuits, Thai basil, shrimp, and poached eggs, all covered with a Thai chile hollandaise sauce. We admit we were leery of this dish, but it turned out to be the highlight of the meal and worth every artery-clogging calorie. Other offerings include a scrambled egg mix with curry “salsa,” Vietnamese noodle soup, fried rice topped with a fried egg, and a Vietnamese burger. There are $3 mimosas and $5 Bloody Marys, but splurge on a Lemongrass Fizz, a concoction of Ketel One Citroen, St-Germain, lemongrass syrup, and sparkling wine designed by mixologist Jason Kosmas. The flavors don’t collide with the cuisine.


Brunch served Saturday and Sunday

Owner and Chef Abraham Salum’s love affair with chiles is evident all over Komali’s brunch menu. From rich pasillas to smoky chipotles to mellow poblanos, his regional Mexican cooking is soothing and fragrant, a far cry from cheesy-greasy Tex-Mex (not that there’s anything wrong with that). With its sisal-covered walls and airy, light-filled interior, Komali feels like a Baja getaway. Brunch entrées are likewise a respite from the ordinary. Huevos ponchados feature two corn sopes—thick masa patties lightly fried—topped with chorizo, poached eggs, and pasilla hollandaise. It’s a zesty, dense dish for those with hearty appetites. A lighter option is the lump crab-stuffed crepes bathed in a lovely poblano cream and queso Oaxaca. Migas and chilaquiles—no strangers to most Texans—are traditional Mexican breakfast options cooked well by chef Salum. For a sweet ending, you can’t go wrong with sugar-dusted churros. At Komali, they come with a cup of Mexican hot chocolate.

Nick & Sam’s Grill

Brunch served Saturday and Sunday

Perched on one of the more prominent corners in Uptown, this restaurant has patrons who are almost as beautiful and savory as executive chef Constancio Rodrigues and corporate chef Samir Dhurandhar’s culinary creations. Yes, it’s a taut crowd at the popular casual sibling of Nick & Sam’s Steakhouse. Arrive early and grab a prized seat on the patio while you choose between a starter of crispy breakfast flautas stuffed with scrambled eggs and serrano peppers or N&S’s famous sticky buns, studded with pecans and raisins and drizzled with caramel. Brunch entrées range from the classic (Toad in the Hole with barbecue pork and poached eggs set within a slice of toast and topped with deviled hollandaise) to the whimsical (Cap’n Crunch-coated French toast). Considering its lineage, one would expect steak here to be expertly prepared, and Nick & Sam’s Grill doesn’t disappoint. The flat-iron steak is tender, perfectly cooked, and accompanied by two eggs, bearnaise, and a corned beef potato hash cake. For the fat phobic, fresh-squeezed juices in 10 varieties and a “hangover” smoothie with organic low-fat yogurt, fruit, and mint make it easier to fit into those skinny jeans. But from the looks of things, Nick & Sam’s Grill is the one place where the see-and-be-seen crowd of Uptown throws caution and carbs to the wind. Of course, a $6 carafe of mimosas has that effect.


TheGrape_friedchicken_biscuit The Grape's Fried Chicken Biscuit. Photography by Kevin Marple

The Grape

Brunch served Sunday only

Know this about brunch at The Grape: a reservation is not required, but you should make one anyway. The tiny dining room and patio fill up fast, and the last thing you want is to be turned away after you’ve already gotten a whiff of the aromas wafting out of chef/owner Brian Luscher’s kitchen. When Texas Monthly named The Grape’s classic cheeseburger—served only at Sunday brunch and Sunday and Monday dinner—the best burger in the state in 2009, the already-popular brunch spot got a big bump in business. Depending on your taste in burgers, those TexMo cats just might be right, but don’t put all your brunch eggs in the burger basket. The breakfast on a bun is everything breakfast should be—eggs, homemade sausage, and cheese on a huge pain au lait roll. The polenta cheese fritters are the perfect side for the table to share. And the spicy Bloody Mary—served with a Spanish olive, a chunk of sharp cheddar cheese, and a hunk of salami—could almost be a meal on its own.


The Libertine

Brunch served Sunday only

The Libertine is a full-service establishment for serious beer drinkers. Every Saturday night they tempt with pints (and pints) of Belgian Chimay and sinful-sounding lagers such as Southern Star Bombshell Blonde. On Sunday morning, the kitchen offers a brunch menu designed to ease the pain those pints inflicted the night before. Take a seat—preferably the same one you occupied only a few hours earlier—and order a Snake in the Grass, a soothing concoction of green chartreuse, St-Germain, citrus juice, and Peruvian bitters. As the fog begins to lift, pluck sautéed shrimp from creamy manchego cheese grits. If you’re craving eggs, go with a ragin’ Cajun-style Benedict with andouille sausage and grilled crawfish piled atop an English muffin and covered with a poached egg and a runny dollop of hollandaise. Need a stiffer kick-start? Order the chilaquiles, a spicy mixture of eggs, tortilla slices, and tomatillo sauce.