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Where to Go to Grab a Gourmet Brunch in Albany

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Looking for brunch in Albany? Whether you’re in search of a morning meal that’s bougie or boozy, the Capital Region has it all.

By Zarah Kavarana, Sabrina Sucato, and Matt Moment

Risotto

 

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Located in Loudon Plaza, this Capital City brunch favorite lets variety reign supreme. Take your pick between bottomless beverages like classic mimosas or poinsettias—that’s champagne with cranberry juice instead of orange—then dive into the fan-favorite chicken and waffles or one of the three-egg omelets (the bacon egg-acado with sriracha hollandaise is tough to top). All weekend long, you can count on this Italian-Mediterranean fusion joint to serve up the good stuff.

City Beer Hall

Well-known for its late-night vibe, City Beer Hall is equally popular among the early crowd. Brunch-goers rave about the BBC omelet, which hits all the flavor cravings with broccoli, smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, and home fries. If you’re more in the mood for something sweet, look to the French toast with strawberries, blueberry tahini, and whipped butter. To sip, you could go for a classic breakfast cocktail, but don’t forget to check out the robust tap list at this beer-slinging spot.

The Cuckoo’s Nest

 

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For those looking for brunch in the tenor of Southern comfort, this is the place to dine. The menu features unique options like the jalapeno popper deviled eggs and the smoked wings mango peach serrano sauce alongside more standard—but equally decadent—options like the lobster mac and cheese. Have you ever had catfish for brunch? If not, there’s a first time for everything. The Cuckoo’s Nest serves theirs with pork rinds and Nashville hot aioli.

The Olde English Pub

 

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This brunch menu is chock-full of classic breakfast items and creative cocktails. Pack your plate with savory ingredients in the way of the house brunch sandwich—that comes with egg, bacon, avocado, cheese, onion, and garlic aioli on a brioche bun with home fries—and wash it down with a “pick your spritz” cocktail. If you prefer not to drink but still want to enjoy one of the hand-crafted cocktails, don’t fret—many of the beverages translate seamlessly to a mocktail.

O’Toole’s Restaurant Pub

 

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Brunch in a pub? You bet. O’Toole’s offers “a modern twist on breakfast classics” in the way of dishes like the Big Mouth Scramble, a mammoth of a brunch dish complete with smashtots, bacon, eggs, peppers, onions, tomatoes, cheese, and house-made sour cream. You’ll need something to wash down all of that deliciousness—how about bottomless mimosas? And better yet, if you dine in on Sunday morning, you can look forward to a live piano performance as you enjoy your bites and booze.

Jack’s Diner

 

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If you’re looking for a good, but unpretentious meal, this is your go-to brunch destination. Feel-good diner dishes like eggs made your way and old-fashioned pancakes create an eclectic menu, while the retro-style interior begs to be photographed. So fear not if $18 for a Benedict seems out of your budget. Instead, follow the likes of frequent visitors like Albany politicians and even the famed Jurassic Park actor, Jeff Goldblum.

Wellington’s

Downtown meets down home with posh twists on brunch favorites like the Hudson Valley apple pancakes, New York Benedict, house-made pastrami hash, and much more. The swanky Capital Region restaurant pays homage to local farms, using fresh ingredients sourced from sustainable practices. On top of the finely tuned menu, the restaurant is visually stunning—complete with furniture of dark wood and bare metal—which certainly adds to the dining experience for anyone in the mood for brunch in Albany.

Ideal for Vegans & Vegetarians

Iron Gate Cafe

 

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A part of the historic James Holroyd Mansion property, Iron Gate’s quirky memorabilia and antiquated charm make for a memorable brunch in Albany. The Elvis room offers an eccentric setting, but, when weather permits, a meal on the garden patio is a great way to get your daily serving of vitamin D. Plant-based eaters will love the vegan French toast, topped with seasonal berries, granola, and maple syrup. For those who lack a sweet tooth, try the ultimate vegan breakfast sandwich, made with tofu, Beyond sausage, pickled red onion, avocado, and vegan cheese on a toasted ciabatta roll. But don’t worry, carnivores: the cafe has plenty of options for you, too.

Café Madison

With a menu devoted entirely to breakfast and brunch provisions, it’s no wonder why Café Madison is a morning favorite among those looking for brunch in Albany. Vegetarians should go for the crowd-pleasing oatmeal pancakes with bananas or build their own omelet from an assortment of non-meat ingredients. If you’re in the mood for a fruity cocktail alongside your breakfast, this café delivers with an Aperol spritz, sangria, raspberry mule, and more.

Related: 6 Spots to Savor a Gourmet Brunch in the Hudson Valley

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