444 North 4th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19123-4124
Although not much to look at from the outside (it's housed in the ground floor of a building full of condos), Cafe Estelle is like the girl at the dance that seems homely at first, but it turns out she is a real sleeper.
They make some fantastic brunch items, including a delicious rotating stuffed French toast. Although I usually don't go for the French toast, I am a big fan of theirs. They cut out the top of the bread halfway, as though they are making toads in a hole, stuff, and replace. This particular morning, it was served with a light creamy filling of ricotta, honey, and pear and served with warm maple syrup. Slightly sweet, slightly savory, and totally delicious.
In addition, they had a special that was impossible to pass up. Salt cod fritter benedict. SAY WHAT? That's right. Perfectly poached eggs atop sweet and salty cod fritters, coupled with an orange/citrus hollandaise. This is a variation on the brunch staple that works better than the original.
The homefries were legit as well. Crispy ends, soft interiors, this is what homefries are all about. Cafe Estelle is one of the better brunch spots around, and you will get to shave quite a bit of wait time off of some of the more well-known spots. Just be advised that parking kind of sucks (bring change for a meter or go around the corner to fifth and park for free).