From drag queens to killer views, there's a brunch with your name on it (if your name is French Toast).
By Maria Arguello
For many of us, brunch is our favorite meal of the week. After all, the word itself is a combination of breakfast and lunch, an event that involves scarfing everything from omelets to raw oysters for half a day and, in Miami, the opportunity to dine al fresco in the sunshine. Whether you're spending Sunday with the family or looking to take the edge of that pounding hangover, here are some brunch faves that range from the simple to the show stopping.Simple, Satisfying and Soft on the Budget: Deli Lane
Deli Lane is a long time favorite for many South Miamians and has recently spread the love and pancakes to Brickell. The menu offers a variety at great prices, and the signature colorful umbrellas provide a relaxed atmosphere that's children and pet friendly. Be sure to get your name to the host/hostess as soon as you arrive. Deli Lane South Miami , 7230 SW 59th Ave. South Miami; 305-665-0606; Deli Lane Brickell 1401 Brickell Ave., Brickell; 305-377-8811Lush, Luxury: The Biltmore
A staple for luxury, the Biltmore has hosted its brunch for eight years and provides an atmosphere of indulgence in an Italian courtyard with centerpiece fountain and a view overlooking the perfectly manicured golf course lawns. From the ever-popular seafood station to the old Miami surroundings, this is the place to bring guests looking for good food set in lush, tropical opulence.Biltmore, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables; 305-913-3202; $65 buffet, drinks included; 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. reservations recommendedComfort and Tradition: Rusty Pelican
For over 35 years the Rusty Pelican's Champagne Brunch has kept locals and tourists coming back for more. The chocolate fountain is the first sweet treat that'll catch your eye, followed by the bananas and then the view of the bay and downtown Miami. The oceanfront tables are first come, first serve and worth the wait if you can handle being surrounded by several enticing stations.Rusty Pelican 3201 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne; 305-361-3818; $32.95 buffet, drinks included; 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. It is recommended to call ahead for reservations
Modern and fresh: The Conrad
Located in the heart of Brickell, The Conrad provides brunch for Miami's skyscraper enthusiasts. Set on the 25th floor with city and bay views, the Conrad offers live music, a make your own risotto station and an Asian/raw bar station. They also offer a hangover corner with lots of fresh fruit juices and smoothies to help you ease into recovery.Conrad, 1395 Brickell Ave., Brickell; 305-503-6529; $55 buffet, drinks included; 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Brunch Party: Nikki Beach
Nikki provides the best brunch party in town. Yes, there's a buffet full of great stations and you can enjoy food all day, but more important is the vibe. This place is teeming with beautiful people and a youthful, fun-loving energy. There's also beach access so diners can sunbathe and snack while enjoying the music and the atmosphere. This is the Sunday brunch tourists imagine when they think of South Beach.Nikki Beach, One Ocean Dr., Miami Beach; 305-538-1111; $33 buffet (drinks are not included)Brunch and The City: Icebox Café
If Carrie and friends lived in Miami, this is where they would have their weekly brunch gatherings. The menu goes from very healthy to very decadent. The pancake and french toast offerings change weekly, and after brunch you can peruse the Lincoln Road farmer's market or catch a movie two blocks away.1657 Michigan Ave., South Beach; 305-538-8448Just the spot: La Brioche Doree
Sometimes we just want a great meal -- no frills, no thrills, just simple, delicious food and good service. That's when one should head to La Brioche Doree. This tiny, charming restaurant/bakery offers the best croissant in Miami, but you can't go wrong with anything on the menu. Quiet and peaceful, bring a newspaper or book and enjoy some quiet time. PS: Grab a chocolate or almond croissant for later.La Brioche Doree, 4017 Prairie Ave., Miami Beach; 305-538-4770; 7 a.m.-4 p.m.
Designer Brunch: Brosia
Brosia, the latest kid on the design district block, serves a great brunch on Sundays. Expect ample parking, great service and a twist on the traditional brunch menu. Their take on the traditional eggs Benedict is very popular, but their custard-soaked French toast verging on bread pudding is a must-have. They have indoor and outdoor seating, and it's a great place to go and enjoy a good group conversation. Don't miss the sangria.Brosia, 163 NE 39 St., Design District; 305-572-1400; 11 a.m.-3 p.m.Vive le brunch: Le Bouchon du Grove
You've probably walked by this place a hundred times on Main Highway and always told yourself you needed to eat there sometime. That time should be brunch, as they offer a simple, French menu. The décor is an homage to all things French mais bien sur. The ambiance adds to the charm and you can people watch while enjoying their banana pancakes. Work them off with a stroll through the Grove afterward.Le Bouchon de Grove, 3430 Main Hwy., Coconut Grove; 305-448-6060; 8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.Not your Grandmother's Brunch: The Girlie Brunch
A mimosa, an omelet and three drag queens - the Girlie Brunch offers a lot more than what's on the menu. Enjoy a complete show of singing, dancing an acting by FernanDcute, Pussila and Geraldine. If you're lucky (or not, depending on your affinity for performing in public), you'll be part of the show.The Girlie Brunch, GEM, 671 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-674-0958; 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; www.thegirliebrunch.com
A fruit tarte from La Brioche Doree. Photo: Chuck Fadely.