In Italy, a traditional breakfast looks nothing like breakfast or brunch in the U.S. Indeed, the very first daypart is typically comprised of milk or coffee paired with something sweet like a bombolone (essentially a cream-filled doughnut). And, if you happen to find the word “brunch” on a menu in Italy, it’s there solely to please tourists, since brunch in Italy does not exist. In the U.S., however, brunch is arguably as beloved as Italian cuisine. Combining the two presents a potentially lucrative opportunity for restaurants. Here’s a look at a few Italian brunches that are making the dream a reality.
At Servino, managing partner Natale Servino says that ingredients are often what makes a brunch more Italian. “Serving an Italian brunch means bringing traditional favorite dishes to life with fresh and clean ingredients,” says Servino. “We will often create a frittata or an omelet with seasonal ingredients that you would commonly find in Italian kitchens, like heirloom or Roma tomatoes and Portobello or chanterelle mushrooms, finishing the dish with a variety of soft cheeses, like sheep’s milk ricotta or fresh mozzarella. We also cook with extra virgin olive oil instead of butter or cream.”
This Sunday buffet brunch in Chicago, has become popular for its rotating selection of Italian specialties and house-made ricotta doughnuts. Alongside assorted breads and fresh produce are Italian cheeses, artisan salumi, egg strata, crispy Calabrian potatoes, farfalle, roasted chicken marsala, and Italian pastries.
Served on Saturdays and Sundays, brunch at 10 Corso Como includes Italian-inspired breakfast dishes such as uovo in purgotorio (poached eggs, tomatoes, and pepperoncini); frittata with spinach, mushrooms, and Parmigiano; and uovo al forno (baked eggs, pork sausage, and kale).
The extensive brunch menu at La Tavola offers guests everything from pasta and panini to specialty dishes such as pork Milanese with mushroom gravy, arugula, radish, and poached eggs. Rounding out the menu is the beer and cocktail list with highlights such as Afternoon on the Piazza, which combines Old Fourth Distillery gin and house-made grapefruit soda.
In addition to its regular brunch menu, LDV Hospitality’s Scarpetta, located in New York City’s NoMad district, is launching a prix-fixe Sunday brunch called The Good Life Brunch. For $40 per person, guests can enjoy two brunch cocktails, one shared item, one brunch entrée, and one after-brunch sweet. The menu features signature dishes such as spaghetti with tomato and basil; ricotta pancakes with Chantilly cream and Vermont maple syrup; and espresso budino.
Frittatas, paninis, ricotta pancakes, pasta and polenta are all available on a brunch menu that changes seasonally and is offered daily at Virtù Honest Craft in Scottsdale. Arizona’s balmy breezes attract additional guests onto the restaurant’s outdoor patio for imaginative brunch cocktails and wines.
Three breakfast pizzas are featured on Flour & Barley’s brunch menu, including a smoked salmon pizza, Eggs Benny pie, and this French toast pizza, which is topped with honey ricotta, cream cheese, maple syrup, berries, and powdered sugar.