Food

Sunday Brunch seems to be climbing to the top of the list of America’s favorite dining-out meals – and brunch in Annapolis is no exception. We have a growing list of options downtown and beyond. This month, I focus on some personal favorites – most within walking distance of the city’s major hostelries.

Baroak, the popular restaurant in the Loews Annapolis Hotel, has a traditional a la carte brunch menu featuring an All-American Breakfast of bacon and eggs any way you want them as well as crab Eggs Benedict. In addition to the cavernous main dining room, you’ll find a dog-friendly sheltered terrace and a cozy outdoor area warmed by a fire pit.126 West St. 410-295-3225.

Café Normandie is a charming French-themed treasure, open for breakfast 9-11 am, with brunch specials kicking in from 11 am-3 pm. Expect Belgian waffles, crepes with a wide choice of fillings, eggs Florentine, and French toast. Enjoy the cozy ambiance, including a fireplace in chilly weather. For private parties up to 20, reserve the second level. 185 Main St. 410-263-3382.

Carpaccio Tuscan Kitchen at Westgate Circle offers tempting a la carte choices (including Crepes Suzette, Lox Frittata, Tenderloin Benedict) and half-price Bellinis and mimosas at its 11 am-3 pm Sunday Brunch. Weather permitting, enjoy the “water view” provided by a magnificent fountain on the outdoor terrace. 1 Park Place. 410-265-6569.

Fado Irish Pub helps you greet (or say goodbye) to your Sunday with bottomless mimosas, Irish coffee, lamb and corned beef hash, smoked salmon bagels with a fruity side salad, a hefty breakfast sandwich and TVs devoted to sports of the day. Fado is a friendly place, with well-behaved pets welcome. Sunday Brunch 10 am-3 pm. 1 Park Place. 410-626-0069.

Galway Bay, on charming Maryland Avenue just off State Circle, is authentically Gaelic – from its hospitable Ireland-born owners and servers to its menu. They put on a fine Sunday Brunch, with specials that include bangers, eggs and mash; three-egg omelets with a variety of fillings; and a fine Irish-style country breakfast of a rash of bacon, sausage, black and white pudding and grilled tomatoes. Enjoy in a brick-walled dining room or at the lively bar where Guinness reigns supreme. Sunday Brunch 10 am-3:30 pm. 63 Maryland Ave. 410-263-8333.

Harry Browne’s occupies a special place on State Circle, with outdoor tables and an elegant indoor dining room. In addition to its make-your-own Bloody Mary bar and complimentary mimosas, this brunch features an a la carte menu, whose variety of breakfast items includes Belgian waffles, grand Marnier French toast and custom-made omelets. Sunday Brunch 10:30 am-3 pm. 66 State Circle. 410-263-4332.

Iron Rooster is a relatively new and very popular “breakfast-all-day” restaurant across from the Market House at City Dock. Accolades from patrons as well as the press place it high on the list of favorites for its food and downhome atmosphere. Lines are long on weekends. If you are patient, you’ll find a warm welcome and generous portions of well-prepared comfort food. We love the biscuits, the Belgian waffles and the warm monkey bread with rum-raisin sauce. 12 Market Space. 410-990-1600. Breakfast daily 7 am-10 pm.

McGarvey’s Saloon & Oyster Bar, the iconic establishment patronized by celebs and loyal local fans during its 30-year lifetime, is a good place for a spicy Bloody Mary and above-average Eggs Benedict.  Oysters are a specialty and the burger rates high marks. Longtime owner Mike Ashford just transferred his legacy to three USNA grads who vow to “not change a thing.” Remember this option when you are told there will be an hour-long wait at a nearby restaurant. 8 Market Space. 410-263-5700. Sunday brunch 10 am – 12 pm.

Middleton Tavern pioneered Sunday Brunch back in the seventies, offering a single choice: Bloody Mary with sirloin steak and eggs for $7.95.  Today, that popular special is $17.95 and the brunch menu now includes porridge, granola, omelets, pancakes, waffles, good grits with bacon and tomato.  People-watch on the covered outdoor café (dogs welcome) or cozy up inside an historic building dating back to 1750.  Hours 10 am-1 pm. 2 Market Space. 410-263-3323.

Miss Shirley’s, a Baltimore-owned eatery, came roaring into town about a year ago as “the place for brunch.” Big and bold, the place draws hordes of wanna-be diners who wait patiently on the sidewalk for a place at one of its tables. Its Southern-accented menu is a delirious exercise in culinary imagination – featuring triple-layered bagels packed with smoked salmon, collard greens and Tasso ham, omelets every-which-way and an October special of pumpkin cheesecake pancakes. Entrees are pricey ($16-$19); citrus vodkas star in a roster of “morning cocktails”. Daily 7 am-3 pm. 1 Park Place. 410-268-5171.

Pusser’s Caribbean Grille, located on the Annapolis Harbor waterfront inside the Annapolis Waterfront Hotel, sheds its nightclub image for breakfast daily or Sunday Brunch. I recommend it mainly for the experience of sitting at a table on the dock with a close-up view of watercraft and people-at-play on kayaks or stand-up paddle boarders. Breakfast is served starting at 7 am, with the $12.95 Sunday Buffet available from 9 am-noon. 80 Compromise St. 410-6266-0004.

Rams Head Tavern on lower West Street has many faces. It’s known as a prime music venue that hosts big time performers in its auditorium, as well as a favorite place for brunch on its tree-shaded back terrace – where dogs are welcome. The menu goes beyond the expected with scrapple and bacon teamed with cheddar, eggs and a burger; buttermilk biscuits stuffed with scrambled eggs and smoked bacon; and a hefty four-egg omelet with a choice of fillings.  33 West St. Brunch 10 am-2 pm. 410-268-4543.

Red Red Wine Bar has a jazzy Sunday Brunch – a New Orleans-Creole party complete with beads and music to set the upbeat tone. Beignets and the Creole-inspired quiche are on the morning a la carte menu ($10-$15) and a “Champagne Cart” stocked with domestic and imported bubbly makes the rounds of the restaurant’s wonderfully eclectic dining rooms. Owners Lisa and Brian Bolter raise the bar on how to make a celebration of every day – especially Sunday! 410-990-1144. Sunday Brunch 10 am-2 pm.

Mary Lou Baker

Mary Lou Baker is a longtime food and travel writer who relishes the opportunity to tell her readers about good eating and drinking in the Chesapeake Bay area. Among her culinary credits are as a weekly columnist and restaurant reviewer for the Capital, (the Annapolis daily newspaper; a monthly columnist for Chesapeake Life Magazine; former food and wine editor for Baltimore Magazine; co-author of "Dining in Baltimore"; and co-author of Seafood Lover’s Chesapeake Bay: Restaurants, Markets, Recipes & Traditions, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the United States Naval Academy Gift Shop. A native New Englander, she is happy to have called Annapolis her hometown for most of her adult life. Cooking is her favorite thing to do, second only to sampling the talents of the chefs who make Annapolis and the Eastern Shore a mecca for food-loving visitors. She can be reached at [email protected]