Brunch bunch: 30 go-to spots for weekend brunch around the bay

Here's where to find a mighty good in-between meal.

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click to enlarge You can't go wrong with brunch at downtown St. Pete's Red Mesa Cantina. - Angelina Bruno
Angelina Bruno
You can't go wrong with brunch at downtown St. Pete's Red Mesa Cantina.

What do these 30 Tampa Bay dining spots have in common? They each serve up a mighty good brunch. Whether you toast to your Sunday Funday (or Saturday) with mimosas and Bloodys or eggs and bacon, this rundown of local hangouts, from laid-back to sophisticated, should keep you craving that in-between meal for weekends to come.

9th Bar Coffee Co. Order a drink made with beans from Perc Coffee Roasters, and then cozy up with the shop's selection of wholesome morning goodies — chia pudding, muffins, overnight oats and breakfast wraps included. Menu items are made with a focus on local produce, meats and dairy. 949 Huntley Ave., Dunedin, 727-733-2572 ,

Anise Global Gastrobar It's hard not to flock here on the regular, but definitely don't miss the downtown Tampa eatery's brunch. A steak and eggs burrito, specialty Benedict (crab cake, smoked salmon or pork belly) and Reyka Vodka Bloody bar — not to mention the regularly awesome cocktail collection — are more than convincing. 777 N. Ashley Drive, Tampa, 813-225-4272,

Banyan Cafe & Catering Although it can get a little snug inside the original location for this St. Petersburg darling due to its popularity, brunch here is well worth the crowd. With breakfast sandwiches, burritos, omelets and a vanilla bean Belgian waffle offered on the weekends, you can't go wrong. Order a cup of locally roasted Kahwa Coffee while you're at it. 689 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N., St. Petersburg, 727-896-6100,

Bon Appetit Waterside dining wakes up guests of this eatery's Sunday Bistro Brunch. Chow down on everything from sweets (cornflake-crusted French toast or bandy milk punch, anyone?) to savory delights. The lineup has an obvious seafood slant, however, with options that include Mediterranean octopus, salmon tartare and Maine lobster roll. 148 Marina Plaza, Dunedin, 727-733-2151,

The Bricks Get down on some brunch in Ybor City with a food and drink hangout that's known for its eats — and far from ordinary. Highlights include biscuits and veggie gravy, a loaded Bloody Mary (translation: there's some Sriracha candied bacon on there), shrimp 'n' grits, and a messy egg sandwich (yes, yes, yes). 1327 E. Seventh Ave., Tampa, 813-247-1785,

Cafe Hey A recurring feast, held the last Sunday of every month, that's truly a vegan dream. There's a mix of meat-infused dishes at the Not Just for Omnivores Brunch, but with vegan chicken and waffles, eggs Benedict, and shrimp 'n' grits, need we say more? 1540 N. Franklin St., Tampa, 813-221-5150,

Caretta on the Gulf Food with a view welcomes locals to this Sunday brunch. You'll find the upscale restaurant at the Sandpearl Resort, where the beach is mere steps away. Snag unlimited Champagne or mimosas, then make multiple trips to the carving stations, omelet bar and other tasty stops. 500 Mandalay Ave., Clearwater Beach, 727-674-4171,

Ceviche Who says brunch has to be all about eggs? Kick back with endless red and white sangria and endless paella during the Paella Porch Party, hosted from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Sunday at Ceviche's South Tampa location. It's $25 to go all in, but other cocktail deals are available, too, so diners won't have to part ways with traditional brunch booze. 2500 W. Azeele St., Tampa, 813-250-0203,

Craft Kafé Gluten-free baked goods made fresh daily, plus vegan options. Specialty coffee drinks jolt diners awake, as do hearty selections like quiche, house sandwiches, soup and organic salads. On the weekends, the GF café treats patrons to build-your-own omelets stuffed with ingredients like chicken sausage, goat cheese, sheep's milk ricotta and olives. 6653 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-914-7443,

Datz For updated spins on brunch favorites, choose from savory options like the short rib biscuit Benedict, or go sweet with crème brûlée French toast. There's no shortage of boozy beverages, either. Sip the prickly pear mimosa, Datz-a-Mary or Bacon and Eggs, a cocktail made with bourbon and egg whites. 2616 S. MacDill Ave., Tampa, 813-831-7000,

Ella's Americana Folk Art Cafe Feed your soul at this Soul Food Sundays brunch. Expect a menu of down-home classics such as fried chicken and waffles, cornbread, fried catfish and okra succotash. Ella's also serves up Kansas City-style barbecue on Sundays, allowing guests to enjoy brisket, ribs and even a delicious vegan barbecue sandwich. 5119 N. Nebraska Ave., Tampa, 813-234-1000,

Engine Rose Ten kinds of Benedicts — yep, 10 — help diners reach brunch nirvana at this indoor-outdoor Grand Central District restaurant. Chicken and waffle, fried green tomato, smoked salmon, huevos rancheros, yakamein and on and on. 2901 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-498-8951,

Gaspar's Grotto Arrr you ready for brunch? Diners jam to DJ-spun tracks at the pirate-themed joint's outside bar, but the real magic happens inside. Every Sunday, the Booze Cruize Brunch spotlights bottomless Champagne and mimosas, a Bloody Mary bar and an unlimited buffet spread that's more than 50 feet long. 1805 E. Seventh Ave., Tampa, 813-248-5900,

Green Lemon Modernly twisted Mexican cuisine on the SoHo strip, which means customized fiesta bowls, a breakfast burger, street tacos and whatever's in between during brunch. 915 S. Howard Ave., Tampa, 813-868-5463,

click to enlarge Mimosas and coffee abound on this brunch guide. - taedc via Flickr
taedc via Flickr
Mimosas and coffee abound on this brunch guide.

The Hangar Restaurant & Flight Lounge There's nothing "plane" about this aviation-themed dining spot that's located on the second floor of Albert Whitted Airport — and overlooks the runway. In addition to breakfast combos, sandwiches and omelets (till 11 a.m.), as well as lunch grub, brunch-goers are treated to views of small planes landing and preparing for take off. 540 First St. SE, St. Petersburg, 727-823-7767,

Lenny's This no-frills landmark boasts the slogan "Best Breakfast in Clearwater," and the complimentary Danish basket that arrives at your table definitely counts for something. Come for brunch to nosh on country-styles breakfasts, house-made bagels and a variety of Benedicts, plus deli specialties if you're in the mood, all day. 21220 U.S. Highway 19 N., Clearwater, 727-799-0402,

Marchand's Bar & Grill Boujiee up Sunday brunch at this sophisticated restaurant on the Vinoy property. Local cheese and charcuterie, a seafood bar, coffee-crusted strip loin and key lime pie yogurt abound at the buffet, alongside the create-your-own Bloody bar and unlimited mimosas that round out your meal. 501 Fifth Ave. NE, St. Petersburg, 727-894-1000.

Marker 39 A taste of the island and the Sunshine State in downtown Safety Harbor. Patrons relax while downing fusion dishes like the roast plantain-stuffed crab cake Benedict, Bahamian conch wonton and Florida Cracker beer-battered fish 'n' chips over brunch. Marker 39 also offers yummy beverages that include organic Cuban coffee and passion fruit-mango Bellinis. 155 Fifth Ave. N., Safety Harbor, 727-791-1939,

Mermaid Tavern Crêpes and bubbly are the focus on Saturdays and Sundays. Brunch brings a number of savory and sweet selections to this Seminole Heights gastro-tavern, in addition to non-crêpey items such as the oyakodon rice bowl and sweet potato chicken pancakes. 6719 N. Nebraska Ave., Tampa, 813-238-5618,

New World Brewery Another Ybor destination that's fit for Sunday brunching. Go for the food, which has included breakfast enchiladas, orange-ginger pancakes and deviled eggs with pickled mustard seed and dill in the past, and stay for the craft beer list. 1313 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa, 813-248-4969,

Noble Crust Fine Italian with Southern flair by night — and day. This Fourth Street eatery, which appeals to modern and traditional tastes, delivers a lineup of Sunday brunch eats ranging from ricotta gnocchi and a short rib Benny to the "Chicken Fried Chicken Parm" and lemon ricotta pancakes. There's a full bar to boot. Now, mangia! 8300 Fourth St. N., St. Petersburg, 727-329-6041,

Oxford Exchange Stylish, made-for-Instagram digs boost the Oxford Exchange's brunch appeal. But a bill of fare with irresistible cuisine — including tomato and prosciutto flatbread, kale scramble, ricotta pancakes and fried avocado wedges — helps, too. 420 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, 813-253-0222,

Oystercatchers A grand (and busy) Sunday brunch at the Grand Hyatt, indeed. Serve yourself as little, or as much, as you want from the medley of something-for-everyone brunch offerings. 2900 Bayport Drive, Tampa, 813-207-6815,

Pinky's Diner The Best of the Bay-winning brunch at this South Tampa destination offers crowd-pleasing fare, plain and simple. Artfully presented fruit and yogurt for the health-conscious types, as well as huge pancake sandwiches for those looking to indulge. 3203 W. Bay to Bay Blvd., Tampa, 813-831-9339.

The Queens Head Croque-madame, chip butty (cherry-wood bacon, fried egg, English chips and red cabbage slaw on toasted ciabatta) and additional Euro-style weekend brunch treats. Plus, the brunch-worthy hard stuff like sparkling cava. 2501 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-498-8584,

Red Mesa Cantina The picturesque downtown St. Pete location for Red Mesa features two full bars and a Latin-Caribbean brunch menu of new takes and old favorites, everything from Mexican bread pudding bites and ceviche to sweet potato pancakes and breakfast tacos. But don't forget to mark hair of the dog off your weekend checklist with a breakfast shot, complete with a slice of bacon. Salud! 28 Third St. S., St. Petersburg, 727-896-8226,

The Refinery Peruse the Seminole Heights gem's elevated-yet-affordable menu while downing the 40 Proof Sake Mary or Big Ol' Mimosa. Dishes with funky names demand your attention, including the vegan Twigs and Bark with mushroom and root veggie hash, quinoa, eggplant "bacon" bits and salsa verde. Meat lovers aren't left out with offerings like the Meat Sweats, composed of pork belly, sweet Italian sausage, porchetta, chorizo, provolone, hot pepper relish, honey aioli, Cuban bread and Yukon gold fries. Phew! 5137 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, 813-237-2000,

Sono Cafe Bloody Marys, art and dessert in one place. This café from Mise en Place is tucked inside the Tampa Museum of Art, where it doles out tomato goat cheese tarts, chorizo chimichurri yucca hash and fresh pastries, to name a few, for weekend brunch. Salted caramel gelato or blood orange sorbet make for a sweet finish, and a view of the downtown skyline from the covered patio ain't half bad either. 120 W. Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa, 813-421-8367,

Sweet Sage Cafe Featuring a pooch-friendly outdoor oasis called the Garden of Eatin', a peaceful place to land a weekend brunch smorgasbord. The buffet, with items like corned-beef hash and waffle bites, is an amalgam of staples and one-of-a-kinds. 16725 Gulf Blvd., North Redington Beach, 727-391-0453,

Wildflower Café This sunny, casual café gives off loving Grandma vibes, in the best way possible. Dig into homestyle plates — the deep-dish quiche, chicken pecan tart and signature crêpe among them — during Sunday brunch inside or out along the dog-friendly deck. There's also a lineup of beer and wine, so get those bubbles flowing. 1465 S. Fort Harrison Ave #105, Clearwater, 727-447-4497,

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