Uptown / Midtown
The brunch buffet at this modern restaurant in uptown's Westin Hotel is known for being more than worth the $19 it costs. The decadent Belgian waffles are a must, but make sure to load up your plate with the made-to-order omelets, fresh berries, domestic cheeses, and delicacies like smoked salmon as well.
601 S. College St., 704-335-2064
Original Pancake House
Original Pancake House
Sure, the pancakes are good -- and unavoidable, because they come with everything. On weekends that's the draw, with families and couples lining up outside the door by 10 a.m. On weekdays both locations are the place to do business. On Fridays look for public officials (who want you to see them) in the midtown location; every other day look for white col- lars amid blue collars discussing the deals of the day.
4736 Sharon Rd., 704-553-8364
915 Charlottetowne Ave., 704-372-7099
Vivace Italian Trattoria
Expect to see sundresses and khakis -- and some seriously good food -- at this modern Italian trattoria's Sunday brunch. Vivace uses traditional Italian ingredients on American brunch classics like sau- sage and eggs: think grilled Italian sausage with a perfectly fried egg, creamy polenta, and grilled radicchio ($9).
1100 Metropolitan Ave., Ste. 100, 704-370-7755
Mert's Heart and Soul
On Saturday and Sunday mornings, uptown has a vibe different from the workday bustle of weekday mornings and the after-dark party atmosphere. Longtime fave Mert's is a great place to soak it in. Among the three-egg omelet choices, opt for the Lowcountry, with shrimp and salmon, and definitely get the biscuit ($5.95). The Sweet Potato Pancakes ($6.29 for three) are huge and sweet, and if you're in the mood for savory, don't miss one of the city's best shrimp and grits, which comes with awesome toasted foccacia ($11.25).
214 N. College St., 704-342-4222
Tucked away to the side of the lobby at the Dunhill Hotel, this traditional restaurant serves the quintessential elegant hotel breakfast: white tablecloths, attentive serv- ers who quietly refill coffee cups, and classic breakfast items with an upscale twist. Look for tasty options like the vegetable and egg frittata ($8, topped with fresh greens in a tangy dressing), and the Southern ($9), a traditional plate of buttermilk biscuits with gravy, creamy grits, fluffy scrambled eggs, and spicy sausage patties.
235 N. Tryon St., 704-342-1193
It should come as no surprise that the restaurant that has become one of the city's hottest nightlife destinations offers a fully stocked Bloody Mary bar and a weekend brunch dish aptly named Hangover Hash ($14) featuring roasted potatoes, scram- bled eggs, cheese, and sausage. What might come as a surprise, though, is just how sophisticated—and delicious—much of the fare here is: a roasted red pepper and goat cheese frittata ($7) is light and fluffy and a fruit bowl ($7) comes with fresh berries served in a carved out melon and topped with sweet vanilla bean syrup and mint.
118 W. Fifth St., 704-333-7989
Zink American Kitchen
Zink American Kitchen
After a late Saturday night uptown, return to Tryon Street on Sunday morning to Zink American Kitchen. Here you can cure your headache with a customizable $5 Bloody Mary and the all-you-can-eat brunch buffet ($16.95), featuring an omelet station, grits bar, waffles, and even a sliders selection -- or just relax on the sunny patio with a fruity mimosa ($5) and a view of the city.
201 N. Tryon St., 704-444-9001
Although it's in the historic and well-trafficked Latta Arcade building, this newish café still feels like a secret, which it shouldn't be. Omelets are the specialty here, with several inventive choices, but we like The Miguel, with chorizo, avocado, green chilies, onions, and cheese served with salsa and sour cream ($6.95). In a city surprisingly bereft of good Tex-Mex breakfast fare, this one is muy bueno.
317 S. Church St., 704-376-8161
A bargain breakfast it is not, but at this chic restaurant just off the lobby of the Ritz- Carlton you'll find a tasty array of morning eating options. For the health conscious there's a large selection of freshly squeezed juices ($6) or creamy yogurt topped in granola and fresh berries ($14). Not interested in calorie counting at a steakhouse? Try the eight-ounce strip steak 'n' eggs, served with crispy home fries ($24). And if dining at the Ritz has you feeling extra decadent, sip on one of the smooth lattes ($6).
110 N. College St., 704-972-438