A meal that has been adopted by countries the world over, Sunday brunch was (supposedly) dreamed up in the late 1800s by a British writer who thought that the noonday feast would be a welcome treat -- and much-needed hangover cure -- for "Saturday-night carousers." But no matter the origin, brunch has come to be a weekly staple -- and the silver lining to a day often overshadowed by the start of a new work week looming in the future. So whether it's buffet-style, booze-focused (bottomless Bloody Marys, anyone?), or family-oriented, brunch can put a smile on just about anyone's face. We've chowed down at plenty of happiness-inducing brunches across the U.S. and have come up with a list of our favorite spots to grub on Sunday. Check 'em out!
The Garden Court at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco
Sunday brunch at the Palace is legendary. Not only is the setting beautiful -- we're talking 40- to 50-foot vaulted ceilings, neoclassical marble columns, and six-foot-wide crystal chandeliers, topped by a sunlit translucent windowed ceiling -- but a jazz trio plays beautiful music as hotel guests, locals, and visitors pile tasty treats on their plates. Sushi (with sushi chef), omelets (with omelet chef), crepes (with crepe chef), fresh fruit, sandwiches, salads, oysters on the half shell... you name it, it's part of the buffet. Plus unlimited coffee, orange juice, and champagne.
Oyster's Pick: Cinnamon-raisin French toast with flame-heated maple syrup
Sou'Wester at the Mandarin Oriental Washington DC
Also with live jazz, Sou'Wester at the Mandarin offers traditional brunch specials with a focus on Southern comfort food. And their cocktails -- including their version of the Bloody Mary, complete with ham-infused vodka -- are just as comforting as the entrees! Guests can enjoy views overlooking the marina as they feast on tasty (and expensive) meals loaded with eggs, bacon, and other brunch staples.
Oyster's Pick: Pumpkin pie pancakes with roasted banana bourbon butter, pumpkin seed brittle, and maple syrup
Henrietta's Table at the Charles Hotel-Harvard Square, Boston
The plump pig (available for purchase in the form of stuffed animals) is a fitting mascot for Henrietta's Table, as diners are sure to feel stuffed after a scrumptious meal at this local produce-focused hot spot, which has won several awards for its famed Sunday brunch. Though the restaurant is closed through January 17th for a "facelift," guests can look forward to the all-you-can-eat buffet when it reopens. Along with unlimited coffee, tea, and orange juice, the buffet offers items such as omelets, breakfast pastries, desserts, carved meats, bagels, waffles, bacon, eggs, and even pasta.
Oyster's Pick: The raw bar's offerings, including Wellfleet oysters and jumbo shrimp
Norma's at Le Parker Meridien, New York City
Norma's is one of the most popular places to get brunch in the city, making it a destination unto itself. With a massive menu that includes all different kinds of pancakes, waffles, French toast, crepes, and eggs Benedict -- as well as other tasty specials, Norma's starts serving Sunday brunch bright and early, at 7:30 a.m. And considering how long the wait can be, it would be wise to get there when the doors open.
Oyster's Pick: The $1,000 lobster frittata, with six eggs, several lobster claws and 10 ounces of Sevruga caviar -- we dare you
Caulfield's Bar and Dining Room at the Thompson Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
Named for the narrator of The Catcher in the Rye, Caulfield's is a party spot by night, and a delicious brunch locale by day. In fact, many of those late-night, see-and-be-seen partiers show up on Sunday morning to nurse their hangovers with the restaurant's tasty breakfast and wide selection of "superjuices."
Oyster's Pick: Superfood special with sunnyside eggs, onions, kale, mushrooms, avocado, sriracha, and a side of blackberries
Deca Restaurant and Bar at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago, a Four Seasons Hotel
Opened in 2010 and helmed by chef Mark Payne, Deca is a relatively laid-back option (with a loungey vibe) in the otherwise elegant Ritz-Carlton. Complete with an espresso bar, cheese platters, raw bar, and a long list of signature appetizers and entrees, Deca is a popular spot for a hearty brunch before shopping along Magnificent Mile.
Oyster's Pick: Red wine poached farm eggs with brioche, house-made bacon, pearls onions, seasonal mushrooms, and red wine sauce