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A swirling, golden brown, sugar-coated cinnamon roll on a white doily.
A cinnamon roll from Ollie Vaughn’s.
Ollie Vuaghn’s

Start the Morning Right at Phoenix’s Top Breakfast Spots

Where to eat piping hot breakfast burritos, towering chilaquiles, and Portuguese doughnuts

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A cinnamon roll from Ollie Vaughn’s.
| Ollie Vuaghn’s

Greater Phoenix has excellent breakfast culture infusing dishes with Southwestern spirit (bring on the red and green chili) and various Mexican influences (Read: menudo, chilaquiles, pan dulce, and so on). Brunch culture is also big in parts of the city, and a few spots are making the hybrid meal intriguing.

Overall, as in many cities, Phoenix has a questionable abundance of chain restaurants and big-name coffee brands that aspire to world domination, sure, but with some searching you can do much better. Here are nine dependable options for when you’re ready to kick off a day in the Valley of the Sun right.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Irma's Kitchen

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Following a move a few years back, Irma’s Kitchen remains one of the dependable family options in town for hearty Mexican breakfasts. Irma López plates meals far beyond the breakfast burrito (though these, brown-splotched flour tortillas crammed with fluffy egg, are a favorite). Regulars tuck into big plates of huevos rancheros and chilaquiles that come with ample portions of refried beans and rice. Irma’s is also a popular place for menudo.

Vovomeena

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This neighborhood breakfast-only restaurant combines influences from the U.S., Europe, and Mexico, not to mention a thoughtful coffee program with options such as Japanese cold brew and pour-over flights. Many of the breakfasts lean hearty, such as biscuits and gravy, johnnycakes, or the pork chop, waffle, egg, and Portuguese doughnut combo. The eggs Benedict here comes with chorizo on sopes.

PHX Burrito House

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This low-key Melrose spot lives up to its name: It’s a kitchen set up in a tiny house that specializes in burritos. The house opens late at 9 a.m., and people hustle in to dig into plates of huevos rancheros or attempt to finish huge — seriously formidable — burritos. Choose your meat and add fillings like jalapenos, potatoes, and grilled onions. PHX Burrito House also fixes carne asada and machaca burritos.

Otro Cafe

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Central Phoenix neighborhood gem Otro Cafe cooks breakfast six days a week. The menu ranges from Mexican to American and keeps things creative with an impressive muesli made from quinoa, farro, and oats; pancakes can topped with cajeta and candied peanuts; and savory breakfasts like avocado toast, barbacoa and eggs, and teetering plates of chilaquiles made from baked tortillas and blanketed in red or green sauce.

Ollie Vaughn's

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In Phoenix’s Coronado neighborhood, Ollie Vaughn’s fills with crowds from the early morning hours, with many people lingering to work for part of the day. Morning pastries are homey with choices like ham and cheese croissants and cinnamon rolls alongside simple, well built options like quiche, lemon ricotta pancakes, and avocado toast loaded with sprouts. Check social media for specials, which venture a bit more into offbeat territory.

The Original Carolina's Mexican Food

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There are several locations of the late Carolina Valenzuela’s classic no-nonsense Mexican restaurant, but the best location is the original. Breakfast is served until 11 a.m. with an extensive roster of morning offerings centered around burritos wrapped in, newly pressed, warm, and pliant and griddled flour tortillas. Burritos (called burros here and at many other established Phoenix eateries) are utterly loaded with eggs, beans, potato, and meats like chorizo and machaca. The South Phoenix standby also offers a few of these egg-and-meat combinations in plato form.

Essence Bakery Cafe

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Eugenia Theodosopoulous’s European cafe excels in preparing breakfasts and baked goods, including baguettes, brioche, and sourdough made with local grains. Her baking prowess extends to Viennoiserie. Croissants, naturally leavened, come in a range of flavors from olive and rosemary butter to passion fruit and chocolate. Theodosopoulous also serves egg sandwiches on toasted brioche, slow-scrambled eggs, and huevos “Frenchos.”

Prep & Pastry

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Tucson import Prep & Pastry injects a bit of circus into breakfast, and takes brunch to a new level — even for downtown Scottsdale. The pastry case is filled with an ever-evolving roster of imaginative creations like a maple-bacon croissant-doughnut hybrid. There are nine different breakfast cocktails, not counting the 11 mimosa options and duo of sangrias. The same kind of whimsy is behind dishes like breakfast poutine with pork belly and a savory a Monte Cristo with pineapple-jalapeno mascarpone.

The Uprooted Kitchen

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Inside of Barnone in Gilbert’s Agritopia, Erin and Chad Romanoff of former food truck the Uprooted Kitchen serve a plant-based breakfast with choices like baked French toast with coconut yogurt, tempeh and naan breakfast sandwiches, oat-buckwheat waffles, and berry scones made with white Sonora wheat. Vegans should note that some items on the menu utilize honey.

Irma's Kitchen

Following a move a few years back, Irma’s Kitchen remains one of the dependable family options in town for hearty Mexican breakfasts. Irma López plates meals far beyond the breakfast burrito (though these, brown-splotched flour tortillas crammed with fluffy egg, are a favorite). Regulars tuck into big plates of huevos rancheros and chilaquiles that come with ample portions of refried beans and rice. Irma’s is also a popular place for menudo.

Vovomeena

This neighborhood breakfast-only restaurant combines influences from the U.S., Europe, and Mexico, not to mention a thoughtful coffee program with options such as Japanese cold brew and pour-over flights. Many of the breakfasts lean hearty, such as biscuits and gravy, johnnycakes, or the pork chop, waffle, egg, and Portuguese doughnut combo. The eggs Benedict here comes with chorizo on sopes.

PHX Burrito House

This low-key Melrose spot lives up to its name: It’s a kitchen set up in a tiny house that specializes in burritos. The house opens late at 9 a.m., and people hustle in to dig into plates of huevos rancheros or attempt to finish huge — seriously formidable — burritos. Choose your meat and add fillings like jalapenos, potatoes, and grilled onions. PHX Burrito House also fixes carne asada and machaca burritos.

Otro Cafe

Central Phoenix neighborhood gem Otro Cafe cooks breakfast six days a week. The menu ranges from Mexican to American and keeps things creative with an impressive muesli made from quinoa, farro, and oats; pancakes can topped with cajeta and candied peanuts; and savory breakfasts like avocado toast, barbacoa and eggs, and teetering plates of chilaquiles made from baked tortillas and blanketed in red or green sauce.

Ollie Vaughn's

In Phoenix’s Coronado neighborhood, Ollie Vaughn’s fills with crowds from the early morning hours, with many people lingering to work for part of the day. Morning pastries are homey with choices like ham and cheese croissants and cinnamon rolls alongside simple, well built options like quiche, lemon ricotta pancakes, and avocado toast loaded with sprouts. Check social media for specials, which venture a bit more into offbeat territory.

The Original Carolina's Mexican Food

There are several locations of the late Carolina Valenzuela’s classic no-nonsense Mexican restaurant, but the best location is the original. Breakfast is served until 11 a.m. with an extensive roster of morning offerings centered around burritos wrapped in, newly pressed, warm, and pliant and griddled flour tortillas. Burritos (called burros here and at many other established Phoenix eateries) are utterly loaded with eggs, beans, potato, and meats like chorizo and machaca. The South Phoenix standby also offers a few of these egg-and-meat combinations in plato form.

Essence Bakery Cafe

Eugenia Theodosopoulous’s European cafe excels in preparing breakfasts and baked goods, including baguettes, brioche, and sourdough made with local grains. Her baking prowess extends to Viennoiserie. Croissants, naturally leavened, come in a range of flavors from olive and rosemary butter to passion fruit and chocolate. Theodosopoulous also serves egg sandwiches on toasted brioche, slow-scrambled eggs, and huevos “Frenchos.”

Prep & Pastry

Tucson import Prep & Pastry injects a bit of circus into breakfast, and takes brunch to a new level — even for downtown Scottsdale. The pastry case is filled with an ever-evolving roster of imaginative creations like a maple-bacon croissant-doughnut hybrid. There are nine different breakfast cocktails, not counting the 11 mimosa options and duo of sangrias. The same kind of whimsy is behind dishes like breakfast poutine with pork belly and a savory a Monte Cristo with pineapple-jalapeno mascarpone.

The Uprooted Kitchen

Inside of Barnone in Gilbert’s Agritopia, Erin and Chad Romanoff of former food truck the Uprooted Kitchen serve a plant-based breakfast with choices like baked French toast with coconut yogurt, tempeh and naan breakfast sandwiches, oat-buckwheat waffles, and berry scones made with white Sonora wheat. Vegans should note that some items on the menu utilize honey.

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