21 Places to Take Your Mom to Brunch This Mother’s Day
While the veneration of mothers is as old as motherhood, the modern Mother’s Day was first declared a national holiday in the United States in 1914. In the past century, the celebration has spread to more than 46 countries across the globe.
Most mark Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of May — the original date set out by Mother’s Day founder, Anna Jarvis — others celebrate motherhood on the spring equinox (March 21) or International Women’s Day (March 8), among several other dates scattered throughout the year.
To this day, Mother’s Day generates some of the highest annual numbers for card and flower sales (and phone calls placed) in the United States.
Founder Anna Jarvis, a college-educated literary and advertising editor, was herself never a mother. But she credits her own, Ann Reeves Jarvis, for encouraging her to pursue an education and for giving her the idea the holiday. The first-ever celebration was held on May 10, 1908 in Grafton, West Virginia at the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church, now known as the “International Mother’s Day Shrine.”
Though she was wildly successful in popularizing the holiday, Jarvis eventually soured on what she saw as its commercialization. In a May 1935 letter to Time magazine, Jarvis wrote, “A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother — and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.” Jarvis’s idea endured beyond, and even despite, her best intentions: moms are just that popular.
In the spirit of Jarvis’s full-throated commitment to mom appreciation (and with a nod to modern day tastes), we propose taking Mom out for the perfect Mother’s Day activity: brunch. You'll spend quality time, together, and treat her to something delicious. There's even enough candy (or mimosas) for everyone at the table.
We found our favorite spots for midday meals across the world, in case you want to take your mom out near home, or venture somewhere a little farther. Either way, she’s worth it.
Al Ameer in Dearborn, Michigan
Winner of the James Beard America’s Classics Award, Al Ameer offers up an immensely satisfying selection of Lebanese cuisine, from sujuk sausage (rich with paprika and cumin), to shredded lamb (served with almonds, yogurt, and rice), to the sweet and simple “milk cocktail” (made from milk, banana, honey, and ice). This Middle Eastern hot spot is a great choice for vegetarians and meat eaters alike, as well as moms less interested in a boozy bunch.
Amisfield Bistro in Queenstown, New Zealand
On a vineyard outside of Queenstown, New Zealand, in the foothills of the Remarkables mountain range, Amisfield Bistro brings together Central Otago wines — pinot noir, pinot gris, Riesling, sauvignon blanc, and a méthode traditionnelle (or Champagne-like) variety — with local specialties. Look for dishes that include ingredients like gooseberries or scorpion fish; Highland bull tongue or Paua (a kind of large sea snail). If the weather suits, grab a table outside. This spot is perfect for wine-loving moms, so splurge on the tasting menu with specialized wine pairings.
andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge in Tanzania
When you stay at andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, you can share Mother’s Day brunch with a pod of hippos. Though spring is generally the off season for safaris, there’s never a bad time to see animals at Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater, with its unparalleled diversity. At andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, which is perched on the crater’s rim, morning and midday meals are best consumed on the go. Celebrate your animal-loving mom with a sumptuous buffet (complete with chairs, tables, and table cloths) beside wallowing hippos or a sea of flamingo pink.
Anthos Geusewn in Athens, Greece
In the upscale Athenian suburb of Kifisia, Anthos Geusewn (the name translates roughly to “Flower Flavors”) combines Greek elements with traditional brunch fare. There's wild boar prepared with paprika, honey, and lemon on hot roasted potatoes; a raw organic egg on spaghetti served with Cretan Gruyere and smoked pancetta; honeyed bacon alongside a stack of fluffy pancakes. Anthos Geusewn sources fresh ingredients from Greece, and Greek beers, wines, and cheese abound. Their coffee and cocktails (incorporating flavors like ginger and mastic) are worth sampling as well.
Barcelona Wine Bar & Restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia
Though Barcelona Wine Bar has locations across the East Coast, Atlanta’s Westside Ironworks location has executive chef Benjamin Meyer at its helm (he previously served as the restaurant group’s supervising chef-at-large). Meyer combines the staples of Spanish tapas with Southern specialties: try the crispy-fried pig ears, or the “soft scramble montadito,” served with truffled goat cheese and watercress. The local Georgia white shrimp, accompanied by red chimichurri sauce, are especially delicious. Especially brave moms can order the roasted bone marrow and, when they’re done, slurp down some sherry (“a bone luge”) using the empty bone.
The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida
At The Breakers, Palm Beach’s Gilded Age hotel first built during the resort town’s earliest history, Mother's Day brunch is served with all the requisite pomp and circumstance. The hotel’s Circle Restaurant has both incredible views of the ocean as well as an incredible buffet. Browse the offerings of the omelet station or the Bloody Mary bar, along with fresh fruit, eggs benedict, Belgian waffles, and a raw bar. Did we mention there are more than 30 desserts available for the picking? Perfect for moms with a serious sweet tooth.
Café de Tacuba in Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico celebrates Mother's Day on May 10, but moms are welcome all year round at the traditional Café de Tacuba. Though elements of the historic restaurant are touristy (like live mariachi), it’s still an experience well worth having (just like live mariachi). Enjoy a simple hot chocolate and fresh pastry for breakfast, or break into the Mexico City institution’s more elaborate dishes, such as enchiladas Tacuba (with a parmesan and spinach sauce) or the pineapple empanadas. More than a 100-years-old, Café de Tacuba is decorated by a series of murals that dramatize Mexican history, from the Aztecs to the conquistadors to the 17th-century poet and nun, Inés de la Cruz.
Candlenut in Singapore
The first ever Peranakan restaurant to be awarded a Michelin-star, Candlenut celebrates the local cuisine that developed from the combined food cultures of Chinese migrants and Malay natives as they settled Singapore. A best-of-both-worlds kind of fusion, Peranakan food frequently highlights the restaurant’s namesake, candlenuts, along with coconut milk and galangal (a rhizome similar to ginger). Chef and Singapore native Malcolm Lee cooks up blue swimmer crab curry with turmeric and kaffir lime, a fish and cabbage omelet known as a “money bag,” and, for dessert, a Durian soup.
Cannon Green in Charleston, South Carolina
A farm-to-table warehouse-turned-garden restaurant, Charleston’s Cannon Green looks like a brunch-themed Pinterest board. This lovely space is the perfect backdrop for a prix fixe Mother's Day brunch menu, accompanied by a DJ spinning old school classics. You can expect lowcountry cooking here, from blackened shrimp and “geechie boy” grits, to cobblers, curds, buttermilk biscuits, and lavender scones. With a bright and airy indoors, Cannon Green’s real show stopper is the open-air courtyard — perfect for a warm May day with Mom.
Castillo Forestal in Santiago, Chile
Next to the green Parque Forestal in Santiago’s historic downtown, Castillo Forestal provides an escape from the hustle and heat of city life. Next to the Museo de las Bellas Artes, this “little castle” lives up to its name, with a charming brick turret next to its spacious, shady upstairs patio. May means early fall in Chile, which is the perfect time to sit outside and enjoy a hot coffee or a hot chocolate (or both) as well as freshly squeezed juice and just-baked pastries. A great option for vegan and vegetarian moms, Castillo Forestal features both French and Chilean influences on their well-balanced menu.
Compère Lapin in New Orleans, Louisiana
When St. Lucia-native Nina Compton first arrived in New Orleans, she fell in love with the place. It’s no surprise, since she came to the city to compete on Top Chef (where she was a runner-up and fan favorite), and afterward opened up a restaurant. Serving plates both small and large, Compère Lapin — which takes its name from the French Caribbean counterpart of Brer Rabbit — offers a menu that combines Compton’s Caribbean past with her Creole and Cajun-influenced present. Sip the bottomless brunch punch and snack on the unbelievably flaky biscuits, then try the chilled shrimp with coconut curry and tostones.
Dame’s Chicken & Waffles in Durham, North Carolina
A Durham institution, Dame’s Chicken & Waffles is frank about the origins of the namesake dish. Though the ingredients are undoubtedly Southern, the ingenious combination likely first occurred in Harlem in the mid-20th century. But Dame’s puts its own spin on the staple. It’s never just plain chicken and waffles here. Choose among several waffle batters (classic, sweet potato, gingerbread, blueberry), sauces (barbecue, whiskey crème, honey Dijon, plum), and “shmears,” or whipped and flavored butters (orange-honeycomb, peach-apricot, maple-pecan) for a personalized breakfast with Mom.
Greydon House in Nantucket, Massachusetts
In Nantucket’s downtown historic district, the new boutique hotel Greydon House is planting a flag for fine dining on the tiny island, combining Nantucket’s attention to straight-from-the-ocean ingredients with British Chef Gleadow-Ware’s Michelin-starred experience. Whether or not your mom plans a stay at the hotel (its restaurant is open to all), Greydon House’s immaculately designed historic building looks straight out of time and, simultaneously, out of your coolest friend’s Instagram feed. For brunch, try a Nantucket-brewed beer with an order of the Monte Carlo (oysters poached in champagne along with halibut, egg, caviar, and a velouté sauce).
Il Ciliegio in Monterosso, Italy
Midway up the steep green slopes of Cinque Terre, Il Ciliegio, just above the northernmost town of Monterosso, looks out over the teal blue of the Ligurian Sea. A proto farm-to-table restaurant (after all, Italians did invent slow food), this La Spezia restaurant sources its ingredients from the surrounding fields, gardens, and waters. When in northwestern Italy, order the pesto. After all, it was invented there. Call in advance to arrange complimentary pick up from downtown Monterosso, otherwise you'll have plenty of time to chat with Mom during the long walk up the side of a winding highway. If your mother loves to cook, sign up for an intimate culinary class after the meal; they’re held at the restaurant Mondays through Thursdays.
Junoon in Dubai
Junoon is the Hindi word for passion, and it’s a good way to describe restaurateur Rajesh Bhardwaj, a New Delhi native who opened his first restaurant in Queens in 1997. With Junoon, he combines the traditional trappings of fine dining with the rich flavors and dizzying diversity of pan-Indian cuisine. It makes for an extremely versatile menu: great for wine lovers and mixology enthusiasts, meat eaters and vegetarians. Splurge on the multi-course midday meal, and sample eggplant chaat, goat served with ghost chili, and coconut fennel mousse with sandalwood parfait. It’s an unbeatable meal, whether you are celebrating Mother’s Day on the American calendar (second Sunday of May), or the United Arab Emirates calendar (March 21), or both.
L’Appart in New York City, New York
L’Appart — a play on the French word for apartment — is tucked inside an upscale grocery story that’s tucked away inside a newly built mall in New York’s Financial District. It’s an unlikely location, but once you find the Michelin-starred restaurant’s understated door, it’s as if you've passed through a portal. The very small dining room, complete with an open kitchen, is meant to replicate the intimacy of eating at a friend’s place, but the precisely plated and intensely seasonal menu (it changes every week), is anything but casual. For Mother’s Day, grab a table on their outdoor terrace, which overlooks the Hudson River.
Little Goat Diner in Chicago, Illinois
Breakfast is served all day at the Little Goat Diner, the sister restaurant of the more formal Girl & the Goat (Chef Stephanie Izard’s lauded flagship restaurant just across the street). There’s a strong goat theme here ,if you haven’t already noticed. The goat chili cheese fries are made with real goat meat, and the chocolate goat's milk is made from real goat milk. Neither should be missed. For the ultimate in brunch indulgence, settle on the Fat Elvis Waffles, served with peanut butter-flavored butter, sliced banana, and bacon maple syrup.
The Oakwood in Vancouver, Canada
There is no Bloody Mary on the menu at The Oakwood, but you can find a superb version of its Canadian equivalent, The Caesar, which is made with clamato rather than tomato juice. This plaid and antler-filled Vancouver restaurant, located in the hip Kitsilano neighborhood, is dedicated to ethically sourced foods. Eggs come from a nearby organic farm, and they only buy seafood recommended as “ocean friendly” by the Vancouver Aquarium. A self-consciously Canadian endeavor, Oakwood serves up northern twists on brunch classics, from smoked ham hock benedict to banana bread French toast.
Paradise Beach Resort on Nevis
There’s nothing like breakfast in bed, especially when bed is in a villa on a Caribbean beach and when the breakfast is cooked by a personal chef. At Paradise Beach Resort on the island of Nevis (part of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis and the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton), celebrate Mother's Day with the whole family in a multi-bedroom seaside villa equipped with a full kitchen, a private pool, and — on the day itself — fresh juices delivered straight to your door. The resort’s private chef is also available for in-villa breakfasts, where brunch can be prepared before your eyes (and without you leaving the house).
Ribalta in New York City, New York
There’s no bad time of day to eat pizza. With Campania-sourced ingredients like Buffalo milk mozzarella as well as Italian yeast and flour (the famous pizza-specialized 5 Stagioni), Ribalta’s pies are as chewy and light as their Neapolitan counterparts. The true test of any pizzeria is its plain cheese pizza (here the pitch-perfect Margherita Rossa) but the Pizza Nobile, generously laden with shaved black truffle, is just as good. Even the calamari is refreshing in its quality and simplicity, served with a plate scraping-good parsley and lemon aioli. Order a bottle of prosecco: your mom deserves it.
RockCreek Seafood & Spirits in Seattle, Washington
For moms who love seafood, the airy — and loosely camp-themed — dining room of RockCreek Seafood & Spirits is a perfect brunch spot. This Fremont “fishing lodge,” built from local and reclaimed materials(with repurposed farm equipment as decoration), presents a wide array of globally minded dishes, from bacon and oyster benedicts to wild Carolina prawns prepared St. Helena-style with brown butter and rosemary. Don’t skip the fresh, Washington State oysters served up on the half shell or the sweet, piping hot caramelized apple-and-ricotta beignets drizzled in a vanilla and caramel crème anglaise.