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The Friendship Café
703 Congress Street

Three Plates  
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The Friendship Café Reviewed: Winter, 2000

There's nothing like going out to breakfast on Sunday morning after a long Saturday night. We've only had a couple of opportunities to do so since moving from Bostonwhere Sunday brunch was a weekly tradition for us. On this one occasion, we tried to get a table at several other restaurants, encountering tremendous waits with no waiting room, before ending up at The Friendship Café.

It was about 10:30 when we arrived and, due to the small size of the restaurant, we found a considerably shorter 30 minute wait. So we decided to stay. Despite the frigid early February weather outside, the waiting area was naturally heated by the beaming morning sunlight shining through the windows. Outside, there was an enormous flock of happy chirping little birds all sitting in a single bush that adorns the tiny garden in front of the Friendship Café. The general décor both inside and out encompasses the welcoming pineapple, a friendly and refreshing trademark.

We were finally seated at a perfect four person sized booth and quickly looked over the specials board and ordered. The wonderful service was incredibly prompt and attentive. The coffee was decent and our cups were always kept full and hot. I ordered my usual bagel, onion flavored this time, with cream cheese and a side of home fries. I must say, I have had trouble finding a decent bagel in this town and this onion bagel from The Friendship Café holds the number one slot thus far. It tasted like homemade, was very moist and had plenty of crunchy onion bits sprinkled on top. The cream cheese was in a prepackaged tub that I applied myself. The home fries were diced, not shredded, seasoned with spices and cooked until crispy and golden, just perfect in taste and portion.

My friend ordered the pancake special of the day, Pumpkin Pancakes with Maple Cream Sauce and a side of home fries. Being a pancake connoisseur, his first experience with pumpkin pancakes proved very positive. The large pancakes, resembling fluffy pumpkin bread, very thick and moist, were drizzled with the creamy maple flavored icing, creating a delicious blend of breakfast flavors. One of our other friends sampled the Spanish omelet with Italian bread toast and home fries and another tried the scrambled egg special which consisted of spicy tofu, veggies, and two eggs scrambled with home fries and wheat toast for $5.50 along with a big glass of OJ. All four of us were very satisfied with our breakfast experience.

wheelchair accessible
vegetarian selections
vegan selections
most credit cards accepted
To briefly recapture just a few of the many menu items, the Friendship Café also offers fresh muffins, pineapple and blueberry on this particular morning, pancakes, plain or blueberry, porridge, biscuits with sausage gravy, a breakfast burrito of eggs and veggies, and a breakfast sandwich of egg, cheese and bacon on an English muffin. Most breakfast plates come with home fries, a choice of bacon or sausage as well as a toast option but there are also may other sides including but not limited to side of one pancake, bagel, or English muffin.

Our total bill came to a very frugal $25 plus tip for all four of us. We will definitely return to this quaint breakfast niche for the delicious food and great service. The Friendship Café is open for breakfast every morning and lunch every day except Sunday.  back to the top

      Tracy B. Wheeler is a classical flutist and freelance writer who lives in Portland.

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