The heavenly combination of breakfast and lunch, known fondly around the world as ‘brunch’, is a phenomenon that has risen in popularity over the years. It’s become an event, with iterations of the meal popping up in countless restaurants, all with their own unique selling point. But what’s the best city in the world to munch on brunch?
If you need more help to compare mortgages than select your fave brunch option, the mortgages experts at money.co.uk can help.
We’ve figured it out once and for all, by gathering the results on the following data points:
Search volume figures and trends for brunch related terms in the selected countries
Search volume figures and trends for the term ‘best brunch in [city]’
Number of places serving brunch compared to other meal types
Tripadvisor reviews and ratings of the above places
We combined these findings together to score each city out of 100 to discover once and for all the best city in the world for brunch. Hungry for the results? Keep on reading.
You’ve seen it on Sex and the City. You’ve seen it on Instagram. You’ve seen it pretty much everywhere in the last few years. Drag brunches, bottomless brunches, just plain old no-frills brunches: this meal has taken over the world, but its origins may be further in the past than you’d think.
In 1895 (yep, a whole 126 years ago), English author Guy Beringer suggested this combination of meals as a Sunday morning remedy for those feeling the effects from the night before. Not only would the late timings be kinder on a delicate stomach, but the meal was also supposed to be a chance to share stories of Saturday night’s ragers - or whatever the 1800s equivalent was - with friends. From this, the modern tradition of brunch was born. Thanks, Guy.
Bottomless brunches are by far the most popular iteration of this meal at the moment - but this is still a fairly new phenomenon. In fact, searches for the term didn’t even start to gain traction until 2015. However, over the past five years, almost two million articles have been written about the bottomless brunch, and in June 2021, the term hit its peak number of searches - and it’s still growing.
So we know that brunch is popular now more than ever, but if you want the best of the best, where in the world should you go?
By combining data on the countries in which brunch is most popular, we were able to locate the cities where you’re most likely to have a brilliant brunch experience.
In Chicago, only 8.98% of restaurants serve brunch, but the ones that do get amazing reviews, putting Chicago in the top spot with 75/100 in our index. The restaurants’ average rating on Tripadvisor is 4.29, and 54.62% of reviews are ‘excellent’ - on the other end of the spectrum, only 2.20% of reviews are ‘terrible’. The people in Chicago are huge brunch fans, too, with an average of 14,800 monthly searches for ‘best brunch in Chicago’. It seems they’ll have plenty of great places to choose from.
The city that never sleeps has plenty of options for its mid-morning munchers, too, with 19.95% of restaurants serving brunch, scoring New York City 72.1/100 in our index. The average Tripadvisor rating for these places is 4.23, and 48.22% of reviews are ‘excellent’. Only 3.51% of reviews are ‘terrible’, so if you’re out for brunch in NYC, chances are it will be pretty good. It’s not just big billboards that the city does well.
In Miami, a huge 27.6% of restaurants serve brunch, so there is no shortage of choice when it comes to going out for this meal. The average rating of a brunch place in Miami is the same as in New York City, at 4.23, but the number of positive reviews blows NYC out of the water: 60.83% of the reviews were ‘excellent’. 4.26% of reviews were ‘terrible’, the highest amount of any city so far, but the positive reviews are high enough to offset this, landing the city a total of 66.7/100 in our index.
In Los Angeles, only 8.17% of restaurants serve brunch, but the average rating for these is a high 4.25, so the city manages to land sixth in the list of the world’s brunch capitals. 50.4% of the reviews are ‘excellent’ for these restaurants, and only 2.94% are ‘terrible’, so while there may not be many brunch places in LA, the ones that are there are certainly well loved. The city scores a respectable 62.9/100 in our index: quality over quantity, as they say.
10.05% of Philadelphia restaurants serve brunch, and they have an average rating on Tripadvisor of 4.21. Of the 55,083 reviews, 54.4% are ‘excellent’, while only 2.2% are ‘terrible’. Overall, the city scores 62.1/100 in our index. There are only around 5,400 searches per month for ‘best brunch in Philadelphia’, so while it may not be as in demand as in other cities, the brunch options here certainly seem to be good ones. It’s always sunny (side up) in Philadelphia.
London has the UK’s top brunch score, with 65.4/100 in our index. There’s an average of 12,100 monthly searches for ‘best brunch in London’, so the people are clearly demanding services. Lucky for them, 26.64% of restaurants in this city serve brunch, so it won’t be too hard to find it. The average rating for these places is 4.16 on Tripadvisor, and just over half of the reviews for them are ‘excellent’ (51.13%, to be exact). 6.36% of reviews are ‘terrible’, though, so if you’re going out for brunch in London, make sure you’re not turning up to one of these places. Do brunch justice.
Leeds is another great UK brunch hotspot, scoring 55.8/100 in our index. With the highest percentage of brunch restaurants of all the top 10 cities, 29.13% of Leeds restaurants serve the delightful combination of breakfast + lunch. They have fairly high ratings, too, with an average of 4.26 on Tripadvisor. 57.57% of reviews for Leeds’ brunch restaurants are ‘excellent’, but they have a fairly high percentage of ‘terrible’ reviews at 6.31%. There are also only 720 average monthly searches for ‘best brunch in Leeds’, so while there are plenty of great places to go, demand doesn’t seem to be too high.
Searches for ‘best brunch in Barcelona’ have increased by 392% since this time last year, so demand is clearly growing. The city scores 63.8/100 in our index, making it a European brunch hotspot. In this city at the moment, 24% of restaurants serve brunch, but judging by the growth in search trends we won’t be surprised if this number grows. The average rating for the brunch in these restaurants is 4.2, and 59.66% of reviews are ‘excellent’, while 4.77% are ‘terrible’. The Barcelona brunch scene is one to watch.
Madrid scores 54.6/100 in our brunch index, putting the city overall in 12th place when it comes to the best brunch cities in the world - not bad. 15.98% of restaurants here serve brunch, and these places have an average TripAdvisor rating of 4.04. Additionally, a huge 59.21% of reviews for the brunches offered are ‘excellent’, while only 4.8% are ‘terrible’. So, if you’re after an authentic Spanish brunch experience, chances are you’ll find something delicioso in Madrid.
Scoring 61.7/100 in our delicious index, Montréal is carrying Canada’s brunch game on its back. In the past 12 months, the search volume for ‘best brunch in Montréal’ has gone up by a huge 1,588%, showing that Montréalers are big fans of two meals combined. 11.97% of restaurants in this city serve brunch, and they have an average rating of 4.19. Of all the reviews, 53.32% are ‘excellent, compared to the 3.31% that are terrible. We’re suddenly really in the mood for some Canadian bacon.
19.52% of restaurants in Rome serve brunch, so even though Italy may be famous for its amazing pizza and pasta, it could be time we start giving Italian brunch the respect it deserves. The average rating for these restaurants is 4.25, and a huge 65.4% of the reviews are ‘excellent’, and all of this positive feedback means Rome scores a total of 60.8/100 in our index. 4.29% of reviews are ‘terrible’, which, when compared to the good reviews, seems like something we can overlook. Prego, Italy.
The Aussie brunch culture has grown massively over the last few years, with a special emphasis on great coffee and chic cafe atmosphere. Melbourne is the country’s top brunch hotspot, with 24.24% of restaurants serving the meal receiving an average TripAdvisor rating of 4.15. Of all the reviews, 47.78% are ‘excellent’, and only 4.36% are ‘terrible’, so the city scores a total of 54.6/100 in our index.
Sydney’s up next, scoring 45/100 in our index. The city is Australia’s second best place to go if you’re after a great brunch, with 25.26% of restaurants serving it. These establishments have received an average rating of 4.11 on TripAdvisor, so you can be pretty sure that your avocado on toast will be made to perfection wherever you end up. 43.7% of reviews are ‘excellent’, and 6.4% are ‘terrible’. Not the best ratio on this list, but we’d say it’s worth taking the risk. If the Aussies know how to do anything, it’s massive insects and brunch (not together).
For any hardcore brunch lovers out there, you may decide on where you want to live depending on the brunch options in the city. We don’t blame you. Just make sure that your mortgage deal is as good as the one for bottomless brunch in your closest mid-morning establishment.
Choosing the Cities
The term 'brunch' was searched in Google Trends globally for the last 12 months, and the top countries from this search included Canada, Australia, USA, UK & several European countries. The same process of using Google Trends and the term ‘brunch’ was repeated for each of these countries to identify all of the cities that had been searching for ‘bottomless brunch’. The search volume for the term ‘bottomless brunch’ was then collected for each of these cities. The top 5 cities from each country were then determined for the Tripadvisor data, as well as the 10 largest European cities. Various translations for ‘brunch’ and ‘bottomless brunch’ were trialled in non-English speaking countries, but with low or negligible results compared to the English form. Ultimately deciding which terms used to compare worldwide data, then compiled with Tripadvisor reviews.
Each of the top cities were then searched in Tripadvisor under the 'restaurant' category. The restaurant filter was removed and each of the ‘meal’ features were selected to identify the total number of restaurants in the city. These filters were then removed to leave only ‘brunch’ selected and provide the number of locations that provide brunch. These two figures were then used to show the % of restaurants in each city that sell brunch. All of the locations that sell brunch were scraped to collect data on average reviews and number of reviews, as well as how many were ‘excellent’ and ‘terrible’.
James is our senior personal finance editor and has spent the past 15 years writing and editing personal finance news. He has previously written for ReachPLC, was money editor of Mirror Online and Yahoo Finance UK, and has recently been quoted in City AM, Liverpool Echo and Daily Record as well as featured on national radio shows TalkRadio and the BBC.