Our first ever trip to Philadelphia, and we went there for breakfast. And what an excellent breakfast it turned out to be.

On a recommendation from a member of Fodors.com, we chose the Blue Cat Restaurant for its excellent brunch menu and its proximity to both the railway station and the Barnes Collection (a museum that we both wanted to visit). Located a short cab ride from 30th Street Station (you could walk, but being new to the city and having a timed ticket for the museum meant we didn’t want to take our chances), the Blue Cat Restaurant is bathed in sunlight thanks to enormous windows which give you an excellent view of the street – perfect for people-watching travellers like us. The staff are friendly, efficient and helpful, and we were soon settled with a large jug of iced water and a couple of menus. We were surprised that the place was relatively empty for 9.45 on a Saturday morning, but we figure it’s the city’s loss.

The memory of an excellent vegan soup at Au Pain Quotidien in 2012 meant that the Blue Cat’s selection of soups was definitely tempting – from spiced tomato and seafood soup to black bean soup with onion and lime, there’s something for everyone. Salads are also available, as are grilled sandwiches. However, we decided to go down a more traditional route, ordering ranch eggs and homefries (him), and cinnamon French toast (me). The staff are also flexible: I don’t like bananas, which the French toast normally comes with (I’m weird, OK?), so I asked if it could be served without. Not only did they accommodate this request by removing the bananas, but they also topped the toast instead with delicious strawberries, which made it perfect for me. Portions are extremely generous, too. Remember what your parents told you about never eating anything bigger than your own face? At the Blue Cat, you can forget that rule:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhile the bread possibly could have been a tad chewier, the combination of flavours (maple syrup, strawberries, nuts, icing sugar, cinnamon…) was such a wonderful haze of sweetness, sharpness and spice that one can easily forgive them that. The ranch eggs also got a thumbs up, as did the fresh fruit juice – even though it’s $4 a glass, it’s freshly squeezed, and again the serving size is generous.

At some point the large winOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAdows and beating sunshine became a problem, as it really did get quite toasty where we were sitting, but we were able to move without incident. The sunshine and background jazz, though, proved incredibly relaxing and satisfying in combination with the excellent food. We topped this off with an espresso each, which set us up for our trip to the museum (staff were even able to give us directions). Costing us $34 in total before tax, this also wasn’t bad value for money at all – especially as it kept us full for a good six hours, before we needed refuelling with snacks from the Whole Foods Market (more of which another time).

Overall, we enjoyed our short trip to Philadelphia so much that we are already planning another, longer visit in future, where we can explore even more of the Fodorites’ recommendations for brunch, which are as follows:

  • Rembrandts (741 N. 23rd St.)
  • Garden Restaurant @ The Barnes Collection (2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway)
  • Sabrina’s (1804 Callowhill Street; 227 N34th St; 910 Christian Street)
  • London Grill (2301 Fairmount Avenue)

As for us, though, the Blue Cat definitely has a strong place now in our affections.

1921 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA