Papa Cenar Brunch Review
Neighborhood: Logan Square
- Bloody Mary
- Spanish Omelet
- Fall Squash Salad
- Smoked Whitefish Toast
- Salted Caramel French Toast
Spanish-Mediterranean restaurant, Papa Cenar, is now serving a Spanish-American brunch in addition to their tapas style dinner! It’s a smaller menu with more traditional American options like French toast while still holding onto their Spanish influence with their Spanish omelet (which I like more than American omelets).
Brunch is a laid-back affair at Papa Cenar with Velvet Underground casually playing in the background making it really feel like a Sunday morning. I can’t have brunch without a Bloody Mary ($10) though, so of course I had to try it. It was perfectly spiced and thick. I just wish they had some toppings like olives, but perhaps they don’t do that in Spain. However, the Bloody Mary itself had seamlessly blended flavors and was a very smooth cocktail.
We tried a mixture of their breakfast, lunch and side items. While their dinner menu is tapas style, their brunch can be shared or individually ordered (about $12-16 per dish) with very satisfying portion sizes. They don’t really have any vegan options but do have some vegetarian and pescatarian options, and they made their Spanish Omelet vegetarian for us (minus the ham).
The Spanish omelet was what we think of as a frittata in the US — stuffed with potatoes and onions. By itself it was a bit dry and felt like it was missing something but when paired with the arugula fennel salad and burrata, the textures were much better and juicier. I wasn’t sure where the burrata came into this, but I’m not complaining because I love burrata.
The highlight of the meal though was the Fall Squash Salad. They know how to make squash so well at Papa Cenar! The squash was insanely flavorful and delicately roasted with a sultry brown butter vinaigrette, a splash of goat cheese and a perfectly poached egg. The spiced pepita seeds added a crunchy texture. Brunch dishes are typically heavier, so it was quite wonderful to have a salad with a poached egg to maintain the brunch vibe.
The smoked whitefish toast was also another stand out item as it was a loaded toast with subtly smoked white fish, pickled veggies, arugula, and of course, my favorite, avocado. I think they could do something with this dish to veganize it because the stars were the vegetables in my opinion. The pickled chilis and onions really brought everything together, and their bread is always so good and tastes really fresh.
For the sweet part of our brunch we tried the Salted Caramel French Toast and their Doughnut. The French Toast was incredible – instead of their banana chutney, they served it with an apple chutney, which was the component that really tied everything together. I do think the citrus flavor dominated the toast a bit but if you like citrus, you will enjoy it as my dining partner did. On one hand, I am not super into citrus, but I loved the apple component.
On the other hand, I thought the Doughnut was even more incredible. It’s one giant, fresh donut with a mascarpone glaze accompanied with fresh strawberries and a sweet blueberry sauce. I loved every second of it. It’s more of a savory donut with sweet accompaniments. After eating all of these tasty plates, we were full and ready for a post-brunch nap!
Given how great of a location this is, I am happy to have another brunch option in Logan Square, and I am excited to see how their brunch continues to unfold as Papa Cenar branches out and expands. I would go back just for that squash and casual 1960’s vibe with Velvet Underground on a Sunday morning. It was just too appropriate.
Interested in more Mediterranean style spots? Check them out here!