It's been said that brunch was created by and for those bold enough to live recklessly. The particularly sleep-forward among us who delight in making extra time for our beauty rest and who, when questioned by the early-to-rise, refuse to apologize for whatever late-night foolishness necessitated this tradition in the first place.
And guess what? Brunch does belong to those carefree enough to select neither breakfast, which requires navigating morning's least reasonable demands, nor lunch, which far too often neglects the singular importance of bacon, eggs and mimosas.
So, if the thought of avocado toast conjures not just exhaustion with yet another millennial meme, but a profound appreciation for two of life's greatest pleasures (i.e., avocado and bread — that's truly all it is), then sit back and enjoy the best brunch in Portland.
The Cricket Cafe, Sunnyside
Most kids never fail to get a kick out of the name, but what keeps folks coming back to the Cricket is its unyielding commitment to serving up one of Sunnyside's tastiest brunch menus. The flavors burst, the drinks pop and the staff go to great lengths to ensure every one is as comfy as possible in the Age of COVID.
Hot tip: Order the Fancy Ham Benny, featured above.
Fuel, Alberta Arts District
With its close proximity to Portland staple Tin Shed, Fuel can sometimes feel like a hidden gem in the Alberta Arts District. This, despite the waiting list you'll almost certainly need to scribble your name on, and the bevy of delicious, organic-heavy offerings have made it a foodie destination in its own right.
Our suggestion: South of the Border Omelette. Hands down.
Bertie Lou's, Sellwood
We have no choice but to tip our hand here: Bertie Lou's is the best brunch in Portland, hands down. The menu is snarky, the coffee is strong and the service, despite the quaint confines of its tiny home-esque Sellwood location, is bewilderingly fast. It's a veritable Portland landmark. (Not, like, officially. But it should be.) You should really go. You should wait for me to order first, but then you should definitely give it a whirl.
Best bet: The Sante Fe Omelette. But also everything else.
The Cheerful Tortoise, Downtown Portland (Near PSU)
A bit of a dive, perhaps, but for those young enough at heart to appreciate the sanctity of a bargain-bin breakfast, The Cheerful Tortoise in Downtown just might be tops. A longtime haven for PSU students and football fans — we don't know how they do it, but this place is always split exactly evenly between supporters of the Hawks and Niners — the Cheerful is the kind of place you visit when you're wondering just how unhealthy, really, are back-to-back hangovers.
Oh, and you'll want to try the Wilbur. No one has ever gone wrong with the Wilbur.
Nob Hill Bar & Grill, Nob Hill
It's been said that one night, years ago, after abandoning their car to the snow up near Pittock Mansion, a young couple trudged back to civilization across the icy expanse we once knew as Nob Hill. When they eventually arrived — bleary-eyed, convinced they were standing on the verge of hypothermia — the only place willing to welcome their weary bones was the Nob Hill Bar and Grill.
Legend has it that the man ordered something involving eggs and bacon and that his wife drank something spicy. To be honest, many of the details have been lost to time. The point is that the couple, before leaving, reported feeling wildly content. They had made the only choice available to them, they said, and it was the right one.
Pro tip: Tony's Traveler. Aside from owning perhaps the most perfect name in the history of dive brunch, TT has everything you're looking for, which is why it's on the list for best brunch in Portland.
Go forth and brunch
People like to say life's an adventure, something to be grabbed, explored, conquered. And who knows? After enjoying the best brunch in Portland, you may come to agree. Life may be deliriously unpredictable, but as long as you're still able to mix scrambled eggs with tomato juice and vodka, you really shouldn't complain.