While watery mimosas and insipid eggs Benedict may have given brunch a bad name, there’s no reason this meal has to be basic. These exceptional spots all around Europe offer plenty of delicious reasons to get out of bed on a weekend morning.
Bar Pinotxo, Barcelona
The best time to visit La Boqueria, one of the world’s most famous food markets, is in the morning before the hordes of tourists descend. In the early hours, you’ll find locals sipping breakfast cavas and digging into plates of chickpeas with blood sausage at Bar Pinotxo. While some of the vendors at the market bristle at travellers, Juanito Bayén and his hospitable staff will make absolutely anyone feel at home.
Bread and Wine, London
A bastion of the St. John restaurant empire, Bread and Wine makes for a delightfully unfussy start to the day. Order the house-made granola with fresh nectarines and yoghurt, or opt for a more decadent doughnut. St. John excels at nose-to-tail dining, which means you can also find deviled kidneys on toast and blood cakes with brown sauce and fried eggs.
G’s Brunch Boat, Amsterdam
If you’re in the mood for a different sort of brunch, consider ordering the waffles topped with bananas, bacon, real maple syrup, and a dusting of cinnamon sugar aboard the G’s Brunch Boat. This vessel plies the waters of the Dutch capital’s famous canals, making for a leisurely sight-seeing tour. Oh, and did we mention G’s do over a dozen different Bloody Marys?
Isla Coffee, Berlin
A peaceful sanctuary from the surrounding chaos of Hermannstraße in Neukölln, the patio at Isla Coffee is the perfect spot for a languid coffee. For brunch, order the signature French toast, a sumptuous dish that happens to virtually zero-waste. It’s made with leftover pastries, which come drizzled with whey caramel and strawberry top vinegar, then topped with fresh strawberries, cinnamon crumble made with leftover sourdough bread, and a scoop of homemade ice cream.
Given how late and bountiful dinners in the Eternal City tend to run, most Romans want nothing beyond an espresso and a cigarette in the morning. Should you find yourself craving something a touch more substantial, the bakery arm of Roscioli, a fourth-generation institution near Campo dei Fiori, can oblige with a buttery pastry.
Philos Athens, Athens
While much of the Athen’s charm resides in its crumbling, millennia-old ruins, this airy café inside a concept store feels decidedly of-the-moment. The refurbished neoclassical mansion that now houses Philos Athens once belonged to the prominent art collector Evripidis Koutlidis. Order a towering stack of pancakes crowned with apple purée, pine tree honey, and a cloud of whipped cream, then spy on the local celebs.
The Union Kitchen, Copenhagen
Even in this food-obsessed town, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better brunch than the one at The Union Kitchen. Vegetarians should try the addictive sweetcorn fritters, which come with halloumi, avocado, kale and wobbly poached eggs, or the green bowl, with a rainbow’s worth of sweet potatoes, pistachios, masala-spiced lentils and other goodness. The less healthfully inclined can opt for the aptly named “hangover” bacon cheeseburger with truffle fries.
From açaí bowls brimming with fresh fruit to a moreish spin on avocado toast with smoked salmon and poached eggs, Kafeine on Avenida da Liberdade has it all. The coffee is superb and the ambiance makes it easy to while away a lazy morning here.
Scroll through any fashionable Parisian’s Instagram feed and you’re likely to find an artfully composed shot of this on-trend café. Vegan dishes like hibiscus granola with roasted pears and coconut yoghurt at Ob-La-Di are as tasty as they are photogenic. Whatever you do, be sure to save room for desserts like the homemade fig galettes.