On the Table: A meal for mom -- options for Mother's Day

Classic brunch and unconventional options

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Sunday brunch on Mother's Day entails dining rooms filled with families. Tables display bubbly cocktails and plates layered with omelets, greens, bacon and decadent desserts.

With the holiday less than two weeks away, reservations at Cafe Phipps at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Oakland have been sold out for a month, while Eleven in the Strip has few seats left. Grand Concourse in Station Square offers brunch all day, but the only tables that remain are after 7 p.m.

Fear not. Here are some available brunch options as well as alternatives for mothers who shy away from the Sunday restaurant ritual.

Habitat at the Fairmont Hotel offers an 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. seating for $65 per person. Kids 5-12 years old are $25 and under 5 are free. Brunch is a sprawling buffet of small plates, salads, charcuterie, traditional breakfast fare, a carving station and an array of pastries inspired by spring.

510 Market St., Downtown. 412-773-8848; habitatrestaurant.com.

Lidia's touts value at this brunch for $29.50 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It includes a table of baked goods, antipasti and entree choices of bacon and eggs, crispy chicken livers, salmon filet, wild boar ravioli and more.

1400 Smallman St., Strip District. 412-552-0150; www.lidias-pittsburgh.com.

Girasole will maintain an a la carte brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. as well as specials from chef Jennifer Gerasole. Reservations are strongly recommended for seats in the dining room and on the patio.

733 Copeland St., Shadyside. 412-682-2130; www.733copeland.com.

Zenith Vegetarian Cafe on the South Side presents an a la carte brunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Housed in a charming antique shop, the restaurant whips up $10 offerings, such as blueberry pancakes, a seitan reuben, scrambled eggs and portobello stew. Reservations are not accepted.

86 S. 26th St., South Side. 412-481-4833; www.zenithpgh.com.

Verde Mexican Kitchen & Cantina will serve brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with an la carte menu of burritos, tortas, chips and salsa as well as caballeros pobres -- a Mexican version of French toast-- and granola with pepitas, cranberry, apricots and yogurt.

4951 Penn Ave. Garfield. 412-404-8487. verdepgh.com.

Casbah in Shadyside will offer a prix fixe from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The menu of starters and main dishes includes a mimosa, bloody mary, sangria, bellini or salty dog for $24. Choose from creamy polenta, tomato basil bisque, cheese plates and salads for a first course, with eggs Benedict, ramp and cheddar omelet, crab cakes and braised lamb and eggs for an entree.

229 S. Highland Ave., Shadyside. 412-661-5656; www.bigburrito.com/casbah.

Open from 2 to 7 p.m. on Mother's Day, Vivo Kitchen offers "super simple stuff," said owner Sam DiBattista. Grilled lobster tail, strip steak, crab cakes and pasta, each with a starch and vegetables, will be featured for $18 to $32 per person. Corkage and shared plate fee is $15.

432 Beaver St., Sewickley. 412-259-8946; www.vivokitchen.com.

Penn Avenue Fish Company debuts its first all-you-can-eat fish taco brunch for $12.99. The restaurant in the Strip is BYO fuel to add to fixings from the bloody mary and mimosa bar. Sunday taco brunch will be offered every week from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

2208 Penn Ave., 412-434-7200; PennAveFishCompany.com.

For mothers who prefer a brunch alternative, grazing at home or something simpler, consider these options:

Tea at the Frick: A tiered-tea service displays chef Seth Bailey's homemade pastries, finger sandwiches and scones served with English cream and jam for $18; $24 with tea as well as a glass of wine. Members may call ahead to reserve tea times between 2:30 and 5 p.m.; non-members can call the day of for seating.

7227 Reynolds St., Point Breeze. 412-371-0600; thefrickpittsburgh.org.

Charcuterie board from Crested Duck Charcuterie: This reasonably priced option from Crested Duck in Beechview or the Strip costs $10 per person. Owner Kevin Costa says Penn Ave. salami made with fennel, garlic and pink peppercorn, as well as Moroccan lamb coppa are among the favorites. Laden with cooked or smoked meat, baguettes, cornichons and other accoutrements, this board is assembled for a meat-loving mom.

1603 Broadway Ave., Beechview. 412-892-9983 or Terminal Building on Smallman St., Strip District. www.crestedduck.com.

Pastries from La Gourmandine: The French bakery offers Sunday hours for the first time on Mother's Day, said owner Lisanne Moreau. She recommends a raspberry tart, a shell filled with almond cream and fresh raspberries or the chocolate parfait. She also recommends the newest pastry, a macaron filled with lichi mousse and fresh raspberries, twice the size of the dainty round of the traditional pastry.

4605 Butler St., Lawrenceville. 412-682-2210. lagourmandinebakery.com.

A Blue Moon cocktail , courtesy of Stir Society: From the book "Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails," Stir Society consultant Marie Frances Perriello, bartender at Tender Bar + Kitchen in Lawrenceville as well as Acacia on the South Side, offers a variation of the classic aviation to make at home. Measure 2 ounces of dry gin such as Beefeater; 1/2 ounce Creme de Violette and 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice. Shake and serve in a coupe glass.


Melissa McCart: 412-263-1198 or on Twitter @melissamccart


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