Looking for brunch in Providence? The restaurants, dishes and drinks you can’t miss

Looking for brunch in Providence? The restaurants, dishes and drinks you can’t miss

Wake up your Sunday with comfort food, a Mimosa and good conversation. Meet up with friends and catch up over coffee with benes, crostini boards or French toast. Or do you prefer a cocktail with a burger, salad or that great uniter of breakfast and lunch, chicken and waffles?

Who among us doesn’t love a nice, weekend brunch?

Providence has a great brunch tradition. You can trace popular ones back to Rue de l’Espoir starting in the mid-1970s, Leon’s on the West Side in the 1980s and Downcity Diner in the 1990s.

That trio is gone but Nicks on Broadway and Julian’s still rule their blocks on Broadway while CAV holds court on the other side of I-95 in the old Jewelry District.

What about the new kids in town? Since the pandemic shutdown of 2020, there’s been a re-shifting of restaurants with the opening of many new ones. Six spots that have opened in the recent past offer brunches that shine, each in their own way.

Blu Violet Roof Bar

The season is over for outdoor dining but the views of the city remain at The Blu Violet Roof Bar at the Providence Aloft, 191 Dorrance St., (401) 252-0711, bluvioletroofbar.com. Food is served until 3 p.m. and drinks until 4 p.m.

The vibe: They have a DJ spinning music from 10 a.m. The crowd is young and they bring an energy to the rooftop. If it’s too loud, you’re too old. Service is stellar. The views of the city will always delight. The Aloft is modern and new and in the city’s newest neighborhood, the Innovation District. Take a walk after on the pedestrian bridge.

Don’t miss: The chicken and waffles are the biggest portion you’ll find anywhere. The waffles, often forgotten in this dish, are stellar, made thick and with buttermilk. The brunch menu is kept fresh and changes regularly so you won’t get bored. It currently includes smoked salmon toast, steak and eggs and a breakfast bowl with short ribs and pico de gallo.

The drinks: They have Mimosas and specialty cocktails as well as a non-alcoholic cocktail. But how can you turn aside a Brunch Punch that serves two to four people and your choice of rum, sangria or prosecco?

The George on Washington

The George on Washington, 121 Washington St., (401) 642-6840, thegeorgerestaurantri.com, serves Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The vibe: Come for the most comfortable dining chairs and stylish dining room. This is in what was the Dreyfus Hotel, and the stained glass is still intact. Operating partner Alex Tomasso graciously greets guests at the door. (He sings in the bar some nights.) They call it a grand brunch and the food fits the setting. Service is by team and never lags.

Don’t miss: You’ll find more benes than you can eat here. Egg Benedicts include the usual with ham and hollandaise and Florentine with spinach but also lobster, salmon and short rib. There are also a bunch of sandwich options including a delicious spicy sausage grilled cheese and grilled spicy burrito.

The drinks: Don’t miss the brunch cocktails that pay homage to the First Ladies. They are served in stunning cut crystal glasses. I’m going for the Lady Bird because that combo of banana liqueur, espresso and rum is perfect for breakfast. On the lighter side is the stellar Jackie-O made with local Rhodium Gin. The Dolley is old-fashioned-ish with maple syrup.

Bellini

Bellini Providence is in The Beatrice at 50 Westminster St., Providence, (401) 443-2960, bellinirestaurant.com/providence. Brunch is offered on both Saturday and Sunday, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is valet parking.

The vibe: Bellini is pure elegance. The dining room is reminiscent of the past, when restaurants were as glamorous as the diners. The rich woods are meant to make you feel you are on a yacht, but it feels more like you are in a movie – a wonderful old movie. The bar evokes the feeling of a cool European spot in a big city. Service is as elegant as the room.

Don’t miss: I hate to start with dessert first (that’s a lie, but go with it). But you do not want to miss the dessert here. You shouldn’t miss their trio of homemade gelato in the flavors of the season. It lets you leave with a smile. I like to dine on the later side here because there is no way I’m not having one of their perfect pasta dishes and plenty of bread. There are also fish and poultry dishes which are beautifully composed. But for breakfast, you can’t go wrong with the classic French toast that comes with berries.

The drinks: This is a no-brainer. The Bellini cocktail combines prosecco and peach puree and is served in a Champagne glass or coupe. Talk about old-world charm mixing with an Instagrammable photo. You’ll find the wine list here is world-class, too.

The Patio on Broadway

The Patio on Broadway, 166 Broadway, Providence, (401) 227-9366, thepatiori.com. Brunch/lunch is served five days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday to Monday.

The vibe: There is so much youthful energy here, you want to stay and enjoy it. There are sports playing on the televisions at the bar. OK, my prejudice is out in the open here. I love to see sports, even at brunch. There are tables and plenty of bar seats but you need to reserve for Sundays if you want a seat.

Don’t miss: The French toast with all the bananas. Yum. But you must start with the Avocado Crostini Board. My favorite was the grape tomato, arugula and balsamic versions. The Shakshuka is excellent and shareable for those who love that egg dish. It’s a nice find.

The drinks: They have pumpkin spiced coffee and a cold drink called Wake Up which is delightful with vodka, Bailey’s Irish Cream and coffee liqueur. They have plenty of cocktails, including a nice Blueberry Lavender mimosa. They have coffee and espresso but no cappuccino, and I think that is a miss.

Little Sister

Little Sister, 737a Hope St., Providence, (401) 642-9464, littlesisterpvd.com.  Brunch is 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The vibe: Little Sister is tiny and intimate and you need a reservation and you better respect the time. This is not the place to sit yourself down for the day. Other people are waiting for their spot because there are so few. But the reward is you are transported with the flavors of chef/co-owner Milena Pagán’s native Puerto Rico. Everything is made with great care.

Don’t miss: Little Sister is the spot where you can absolutely indulge your sweet tooth with homemade pastry after pastry. The quesitos is an amazing palate pleaser with puff pastry and sweet guava. Is it a jam? You won’t care. There are cardamom knots, palmiers and empanadas. Oh my. The breakfast sandwiches are exceptional, too. The Mallorca Breakfast sandwich comes with Black Forest Ham, Swiss cheese and egg on a fabulous bun. The French toast, too, satisfies every craving as it is Dulce de Leche with a berry compote. Shakshouka is also a specialty.

The drinks: This is where you find the best coffee, hands down, among all the new brunch spots. They take care in brewing every cup and use coffee beans imported from Puerto Rico. Go for the Horchata latte. Horchata is made when coffee grounds are steeped with almonds, rice and brown sugar, blended, and then brewed. Delicious. You can also enjoy fruit juices and iced tea. They have wine tastings and events on Sunday nights so that is another option for dining here.

Kin Southern Table + Bar

Kin Southern Table + Bar, 71 Washington St., Providence, (401) 537-7470, kinpvd.com. Brunch is Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The vibe: Kin is a work in progress. They can get slammed on a Saturday night and you might not be able to order their signature biscuits for breakfast. That happened to us, and it feels like a loss in a restaurant of Southern comfort food. The staff couldn’t be nicer and they want to please.

Don’t miss: Kin may well make the best fried chicken you’ll find on a waffle. Anywhere. It has great spices, is crunchy, and has tender, moist chicken. That is the trifecta for fried chicken. But it may not be what you expect. It’s chicken wings that sit on the squares of thin waffles. I think that’s what makes it great, the wing meat. Also, don’t miss the grits.

The drinks: Don’t miss the Juju Juice, made with two kinds of rum plus pineapple mango juice, grenadine and lime. It’s different and delicious.

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