Shanghai's best family-friendly brunches

These awesome restaurants and cafés have got the eggs-factor for your whole gang

Photograph: courtesy Al's Diner
Whether it's long and leisurely over a couple of cocktails or a quick late-morning bite, brunch is an institution in Shanghai and should be done right. From pancake towers dripping in syrup and flaky pastries to avocado toast and eggs Benny, here are some of the city’s top family-friendly brunch spots cater to everyone – including your pint-size crew.

Al's Diner, Xinle Lu

This fun and relaxed neighbourhood diner turns out classic American comfort eats that’ll satisfy all appetites. As you might expect, the pancake game at Al’s is strong. The super fluffy stacks range from the simple whipped cream and syrup to the signature blueberry lemon ricotta to the totally OTT Monkey See, Monkey Do – topped with sugar-glazed banana, crispy bacon, sesame crumble and toffee sauce. For smaller appetites, there’s also the option for a 'mini' plate with two 75g pancakes instead of the standard three at 170g. Riding the savoury train? Get a load of the hangover busting all-day breakfasts.

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204 Xinle LuOnline booking

The MEAT

Part buffet, part à la carte, Kerry Hotel Pudong’s splashy steakhouse and grill puts on a mean weekend spread. You and your minis are free to dig into luxe appetiser and mountainous dessert buffets, while mains are ordered separately with dishes like Wagyu sirloin, rack of lamb and truffle and matsutake risotto for adults; and steak and mash, mini burger and fries and spaghetti carbonara for kids. The set also comes with free soft drinks and juices, as well as craft beer, house wine, coffee or tea for parents (free-flow prosecco and Veuve Clicquot deals are also an option). Another serious draw? Kids who brunch at The MEAT also get a one-time entry to the hotel’s indoor play park, The Adventure Zone (capacity is currently limited and reservations are required 24 hours in advance at 6169 8886).

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1388 Huamu Lu
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Green & Safe

Organic greengrocer-cum-deli-cum-café- cum restaurant Green & Safe draws in the crowds by delivering on its name; the whole ethos of the Taiwanese chain is built around using high-quality and clean ingredients sourced from its own farm in Kunshan. While there’s no children’s menu, all of its venues welcome families and the menu offerings are broad enough to cover all cravings. The all-day brunch dishes feature classics like avocado toast with poached eggs and seasonal fruit, an American fry-up and muesli with yogurt. Elsewhere on the menu, there’s salads, grilled meats and burgers, pizzas and more.

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6 Dongping Lu

Brut Eatery (Pudong)

Decorated with bright and whimsical nature-themed wall murals, the Pudong location of this popular café is the local brand's most family-friendly, complete with a lofted kids’ chill-out space that’s stocked with books, LEGO, colouring supplies and stuffed animals. When it comes to ordering, for adults the all-day brunch menu has inventive takes on classic egg dishes (with the option to swap in huangjiu scrambled eggs), but the six-spiced chicken and waffle with jujube honey are where it’s really at. For your brunch-lovers-in-training, the kids’ breakfast menu serves up kid-approved creations like simple breakfast sandwiches, house-made yogurt with fruit and a half-sized Brut fry-up. Don’t sleep on the fresh fruit milkshakes.

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199 Fangdian Lu

Mayita

Why limit yourself to weekends? Get into the summer holiday spirit at Mayita’s
daily Mexican-inspired brunch. While it’s arguably best known for its dangerous free-flow drink deal (sangria for 150RMB; margaritas for 185RMB), it’s a great place for families. The sprawling terrace – which gets rowdy with small and big kids alike through the warmer months – has plenty of grass for youngsters to run around and it shares a play area with Element Fresh next door. As for the food, kids can choose from the likes of beef quesadillas and DIY tacos (veggie option available), while the adults’ menu is really all about the huevos – think poached eggs and chorizo on a masa cake and a jalapeno and goats’ cheese omelette. For serious appetites, The ‘champion’ platter is a hefty combo of enfrijoladas, chorizo, grilled Australian flank steak, two eggs sunny side up, Mexican rice and a side of guac and green salad.

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98 Shouning LuOnline booking

Bread etc, Xiangyang Lu

Lively French-Israeli café and bakery Bread Etc packs out every weekend with Shanghai residents from all walks – young families, groups of hungover twentysomethings, solo laptoppers... Served all day, the brunch sets come with a hot drink, fresh juice and showcase some of the kitchen's house-made bakes. There’s the Energy Breakfast with eggs however you like them, chewy rye bread, quinoa salad and homemade granola with yogurt, or the French pastry basket – loaded with bread, brioche, a croissant and marble cake and perfect for picky eaters. Alternatively, let your brood choose the sweet treats themselves from the bakery cases packed with pastries and cakes, including delightfully buttery and flaky croissants, banana, blueberry or carrot muffins and fruit tartlets. Looking for something with a little extra kick? Diverge from the brunch set and order the signature shakshuka for runny eggs baked in a spicy tomato sauce and served with a wedge of challah or grain bread.

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500 Xiangyang Nan Lu

Element Fresh, Kwah Centre

Best known for its low-fuss and health-conscious salads, sandwiches, pastas and smoothies, Element Fresh has locations dotted all over the city making it an easy meal fix for any day of the week. Come weekends, the kitchen turns out the usual suspects like smoked salmon eggs Benny, egg-white omelettes and granola and yogurt. Great for younger children, the kids’ menu has smaller portions and 'lighter' flavours, with PB&J sandwiches, mac and cheese and cheese pita pizzas – it’s also got puzzles and colouring to keep your little ones distracted while you wait. For a tasty way to pack in the vitamins, don’t skip the extensive list of fresh juices and smoothies.

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1028 Huaihai Zhong Lu
Online booking

Geneva

The sister restaurant of Taojiang Lu’s restaurant and bar Abbey Road, Geneva is about as family-friendly as they come. A great space for groups, there’s a playroom for kids to let loose (complete with a padded floor and seating) housing books as well as all kinds of toys and games, like ring toss and puzzles, and a projector and screen for films. The kids’ brunch menu offers waffles dripping with maple syrup or topped with banana and chocolate and mini fry-ups, while parents can tuck into all manner of eggy breakfasts – and a 10am-8pm happy hour on brunch tipples like mimosas and bloody Marys.

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112 Jinbang LuOnline booking

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