Brunch! Top Orlando Options for the Undisputed Queen of Meals

Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson
Photo courtesy of Dexter's of Winter Park
By A.D. Thompson, Orlando Local Expert

Brunch: the supreme goddess of meals. It’s not quite breakfast, not quite lunch and implies you’re in leisure mode. Going for brunch says, “No, there’s nowhere I have to be and yes, I’d love an extra plate so the warm au jus from my prime rib doesn’t run into my apple tarte tatin. Thank you!” Of course, brunch doesn’t have to be hoity-toity or even haute. It could mean a big ‘ol egg on top of corned beef hash, ready to loose its warm, runny yolk into the fray of your well-done home fries. It could mean shrimp and grits or it could mean chicken and waffles. But whatever it means, it often involves vodka and/or champagne. In Orlando, lucky us, we’ve got almost as many brunch options as Disney has animal-shaped topiaries. Craving something saucy in the way of entertainment? Try Hamburger Mary's Broadway Brunch. Looking for something foodie-forward but down-home? Se7en Bites may be right up your alley. And if you want straight-up posh, head to the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort and its Plancha golf-side restaurant and luxuriate amid custom brunchery at its five-star best.

10. Hamburger Mary's Orlando
Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

Eat, drink and "be Mary," they say - and at Hamburger Mary's regular Sunday Broadway Brunch, this mantra comes between show tunes. Reservations are recommended and seating begins at 11:00 am for a noon show that brings with it the Mynx, Nicky Monet and the Broadway Brunch dancers. Mary's menu may be well known for its decadent burgers; it is no less so at brunch. Omelets, pancakes, biscuits, burritos and more populate the roster, along with drink specials to get you singing right along, of course. And if you're not in the mood for a show - or just feel like sleeping in - no worries. Brunch is served until 3:00 p.m.

9. Dexter's of Winter Park
Photo courtesy of Dexter's of Winter Park

Warm, house-made banana bread? Creamy cheddar-grits with savory Andouille sausage and shrimp? How about the aptly named "Hot Mess," a big 'ol plate of biscuits and fried chicken topped with fried eggs and sausage gravy? It's a plate you'll see servers toting all morning long as fans of Dexter's' brunch file in with little on their minds save good food and full glasses with family and friends. Of course, if you're the rare bird for who caramelized banana and nutella crepes hold no appeal, no worries. You can go the lighter route with honey-almond granola and fresh berries instead. Like every other art form, brunch is subjective. Average entree cost is about $10.

8. The Boheme
Photo courtesy of Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando

Hotel: a delicious word that conjures crisp sheets, sleeping in, vacation. "Brunch" is another sleep-in kind of word. And when the accommodations in question are as top-tier as the Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando, then you know the brunch – in this case a Jazz Brunch at its acclaimed Boheme restaurant – is going to be something truly exceptional. Whether it's to linger in the last moments of your sumptuous weekend stay, in celebration of a special occasion or simply a decadent splurge, Sunday brunch at the Boheme will run you $45 per person ($15 for kids 6-12) and showcases all the hallmarks of high-end: a prime rib carving station, custom omelet station and fresh waffle station among them. Of course, brunch being what it is, it makes sense that you might want some snow crab legs, oysters or steamed shrimp to pair with that waffle. And did we mention the Kitchen Action Station, where seafood and meats are prepared to order? And that's not even the spread in its entirety. We're not sure how you'll save room for dessert, but we're sure you'll manage. Start strategizing now.

7. The Smiling Bison
Photo courtesy of The Smiling Bison - Sanford

When the Smiling Bison added brunch to its repertoire, local foodies clamored. Why? For breakfast takes on some of its rich, creative offerings and brunchy takes on cocktails, of course. Take the Brunch Dog, for example, which consists of a smoked sausage slathered with maple-braised apples tucked into a pillowy French toast bun. And if you've had their house poutine, you'll love the brunched-up variation come Saturday morning. For those of you who partied a little too hard on Friday night? The Smiling Bison doesn't have a bottomless mimosa option, but at $2/per ( or $3/per Bloody Mary) they offer Hair of the Dog at very, very reasonable prices.

6. The Stubborn Mule
Photo courtesy of The Stubborn Mule

If we had a 10Best Neighborhoods for day drinking and eating list the areas around Thornton Park would certainly make the roster. And with its outdoor seating (and rustic-modern interior) the Stubborn Mule would get a mention. Brunch sort of screams "let's sit outside," as well, and so it would get a double-tap. Dining here is a la carte and predictably sumptuous but foodie'd up for your pleasure via options like egg-laden hash, bourbon-maple drizzled fried chicken and a dish called the Mr. Wilbur (beer-braised pulled pork, crispy polenta cake, poached egg and white BBQ finished with Hollandaise) that will make your tummy happy and your cardiologist cry. Meh. Don't stress. Brunch is meant to be indulgent.

5. Maxine's on Shine
Photo courtesy of Maxine's on Shine

One of the beauties of brunch is that it's something of a "Vulcan Meal Meld," giving foodies the option of cobbling together goodies they love for breakfast with fare they generally eat at lunch or dinner. Maxine's is no different, offering seasonal salads and seafood in the same breath as decadent, creative omelets, Benedicts and waffles. Though Maxine's on Shine is a delightful place for date night cocktails and dinner and live music, it retains its cozy, eclectic, neighborhood vibe – not to mention gracious hosts and staff --- in broad daylight, as well. That's why they call their brunch a "Rejucination." And if you're booked on Sunday, pop in for brunch on Saturday instead!

4. Santiago's Bodega
Photo courtesy of Santiago's Bodega

To be fair, this tony tapas outpost is well known for many things, but being a one-dollar-sign venue is not one of them. On Saturdays and Sundays, however, Santiago's Bodega offers a brunch option. For about $40 per person, you can partake of its excellent fare ad nauseum. Just how "nauseum" will depend on your own self-control. Mimosas and sangria are included in the price, which allows diners to test drive the place before deciding to come back for tapas. Prime rib, crab, custom omelets and an array of delightful eats clog the menu. And your arteries. Enjoy some sangria and offset the effects; red wine is heart smart.

3. Plancha
Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

You want posh? We're not sure you can do better that brunch on the cusp of the greens at Tranquilo Golf Club – which belongs to the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort. Plancha is a divine respite for Cuban-American fare on other days, and you'll see that influence come Sunday morning, as well, when the brunch bell rings out loud and clear. Bloody Mary and mimosa stations beckon, as does a massive upscale buffet of Four Seasonian (not a word, but roll with it) proportions. Guests can go full buffet with bottomless beverage options, buffet only or a la carte with dishes beyond decadent.

2. Se7en Bites
Photo courtesy of Se7en Bites

This quaint working Milk District bakery is open for breakfast, lunch and brunch with a manageable, fresh-made menu that changes near daily and makes choosing easy. Okay, that's arguable, since how one chooses between creative, handcrafted meatloaf sammies, beyond-cheesy grits and bacon-corn bread waffles is subjective. Easiest method? Bring a friend and share everything! Cakes, breads, cookies, pies – the smells emanating from the Se7en Bites kitchen are wrong in all the best ways possible. Be thoroughly prepared for a sweet-related impulse buy to take home. Eggs and biscuits, scones and soups, Southern comfort classics and lots of surprising modern twists.

1. K Restaurant
Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

We're not saying you CAN'T maintain your clean eating regimen at K's Sunday brunch (10 a.m. - 2 p.m.) - after all, they do source ingredients from many local and organic purveyors - you'll just have to do some mental gymnastics to include pork belly Benedict on your roster of what's clean. And hey, you could always have a salad. But it's unlikely you'll want to. And no one would blame you in the face of fried chicken slathered in sausage gravy on flaky, fresh-baked biscuits, or bagels piled high with gravlax, or s'mores waffles (graham waffle, marshmallow fluff, chocolate chips, bourbon syrup) served with bacon that's cut and cured in-house, or seriously sumptuous shrimp and grits. While you won't find bottomless mimosas here (you can get a carafe for $25), you will find brunch fare of the highest order in a setting that's just as suitable for romance as your grandma's birthday.