Breakfast in L.A. used to mean sliding up to a Formica counter for a combo plate of grease and carbohydrates. While coffee shop cuisine is still one of the city’s cherished morning mainstays, today’s Angelenos can wake up to lobster Benedict or wafer-thin breakfast pizzas, cinnamon brioche French toast or blueberry-lemon-ricotta pancakes, boudin blanc or huevos rancheros—all while basking in the sun’s early rays on a tree-lined patio. Coffee is now a shade-grown, fair-trade, precision-roasted affair, and the doughnuts we dunk come peanut butter filled or bacon topped. Sure, our tendency to linger over gojiberry oatmeal as happily at noon as we do at 6 a.m. may throw outsiders for a loop, but we embrace the day at our own speed and with an ambitious appetite. Here are 20 superior places for indulging, from everyday good-for-you starts to wicked weekend-only brunches. Rise and shine, Los Angeles! Breakfast is served.
7494 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, 323-850-7258
Keep your eye on the open kitchen at this butchery-focused restaurant. You’ll see sweet rolls—fresh from the oven—getting sprinkled with citrus zest, a giant hunk of house-cured slab bacon being sliced thick, and fat whole grain griddle cakes browning in butter. The menu changes every week, so the show’s always new. » Brunch Sat.-Sun.
1929 Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz, 323-644-0100
The brick patio is a people-watching scene. The line is long for a reason—several, actually: crab cake or steak Benedict, oozing panini, Nutella crepes, and a protein-packed power breakfast of egg whites and chicken breast. Too good for you? Try the breakfast cocktails next door at Big Bar. » Breakfast daily.
7360 Beverly Blvd., L.A., 323-933-5300
Corn is the building block of John Sedlar’s flashy Latin brunch menu. Fresh cracked corn masa stars in a pulled pork tamal beneath a fried egg. A tender maize cake is dubbed “Jewish,” thanks to the addition of smoked salmon and crème fraîche. The blue corn muffins with almond butter are non-negotiable. » Brunch Sat.-Sun.
11648 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood, 310-806-6464
The smell of fresh-baked everything hits you at the door. You can stop right there and enjoy the Larder’s pretty pastries, like pain au chocolat and sticky buns. Or continue into the dining room, where sunshine pours through skylights and Suzanne Goin applies her seasonal California spin to the brisket hash and the summer squash frittata. » Breakfast daily, brunch Sat.-Sun.
2128 Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz, 323-661-0055
Eggs are a specialty of chef Brandon Boudet-—teamed with roasted mushrooms on country bread, sunny side up on a pizza with speck, or baked in a frittata with house-made Italian sausage. The fried potatoes might kill you; that whole bottle of prosecco for $12 will push back those Sunday errands. » Breakfast Mon.-Fri., brunch Sat.-Sun.
235 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-271-9910
It’s not all mimosas and oysters at Thomas Keller’s brasserie, though there are plenty of both. Luxe morning offerings include braised short rib hash with piquillo peppers, an exquisite link of boudin blanc with soft-scrambled eggs, and our pick for the best croque madame in town. As for the sweets—mon dieu! » Brunch Sat.-Sun.
1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, 310-450-1429
This trendsetter is quintessential Abbot Kinney: fashionably disheveled beautiful people in the courtyard, a casually cool vibe, and dishes with seasonal local produce. Chef Travis Lett knows a good egg, whether it’s poached and served over polenta or soft and scrambled with just the right amount of smoked salmon and asparagus. » Brunch Sat.-Sun.
911 Seward St., Hollywood, 323-461-3663
They call it crack bacon for a reason: The sweet, thick-cut slices of pork fat are addictive. At chef Betty Fraser’s converted bungalow, a low-key crowd noshes on hefty portions of cinnamon-vanilla French toast and monster-size egg sandwiches served on croissants. Outside beneath the umbrellas, one feels miles away from Hollywood—a good thing this early in the morning. » Breakfast Mon.-Fri., brunch Sat.-Sun.
7450 Beverly Blvd., L.A., 323-930-9744
The B gets top billing at this neighborhood favorite. There’s something to sate all cravings, from house-made granola and organic yogurt to bacon-and-cream-cheese-stuffed French toast. Savoring a strong cup of coffee and a newspaper for hours is encouraged, especially on weekdays. » Breakfast Mon.-Fri., brunch Sat.-Sun.
4854 Fountain Ave., Los Feliz, 323-661-1109
The crowds are omnipresent in front of this earthy little café at the southern end of Los Feliz. Go for cast-iron skillets crammed with grits and braised mustard greens, stacks of fluffy pancakes, or bowls of steel-cut oats with maple syrup and bourbon pecans. Ingredients are key, right down to the locally sourced eggs and artisanal jams. » Breakfast daily.
524 S. Main St., downtown, 213-623-8301
Yeah, there is a bacon doughnut. But the downtown hipster diner delivers many more sweet-savory revelations. Cameron’s Puppy Pile tops pancakes with a chicken-apple sausage and a fried egg; creamy polenta comes with maple syrup and bacon garnish. What doughnut? » Breakfast Tue.-Sun.
6710 La Tijera Blvd., Westchester, 310-670-1441
A pre- or post-LAX must-stop, the 53-year-old diner makes some of the finest Southern-style breakfasts in the city. The buttermilk biscuits just about float away; fried chicken-and-waffle or catfish-and-egg combos could feed an entire table. The Googie architecture and don’t-mess-with-me-honey waitstaff are from another era. » Breakfast daily.
3219 Glendale Blvd., Atwater Village, 323-666-7133
This rustic bistro is a local gem at dinner, and brunch is no different. On the chalkboard menu a towering quiche lorraine joins an Asian-inflected fried farro dish with bacon, egg, and Sriracha sauce. The dense ricotta coffee cake induces a sugar high. » Brunch Sat.-Sun.
5544 Pico Blvd., L.A., 323-934-6900
The flower-powered café’s massive menu covers the spread from über-healthful (fruit smoothies and gojiberry oatmeal) to Mexican (crispy chilaquiles and a chicken chorizo burrito) to a selection of classic “bennies,” in which poached eggs pair with portobello, spinach, or smoked salmon. » Breakfast daily.
225 26th St., Santa Monica, 310-566-2400
The fussy techniques applied to eggs at Thomas Keller alum Jeffrey Cerciello’s operation inside the Brentwood Country Mart should clue you in—they don’t take this meal lightly. Shirred eggs are accompanied by chorizo and greens, coddled with smoked salmon and a mushroom conserva. Rolled eggs refers to a sublimely simple omelette with fresh herbs. Pastries take the cake. » Breakfast Mon.-Fri., brunch Sat.-Sun.
The Hungry Cat
1535 Vine St., Hollywood, 323-462-2155
Seek out David Lentz’s spot for brunch, especially after a trip to the Hollywood Farmers’ Market. Expect lots of seafood, from the raw bar (the oysters are always superb) to the decadent crab cake Benedict with house-smoked bacon. Don’t overlook the seasonal fresh fruit cocktails. » Brunch Sat.-Sun.
8225 Beverly Blvd., L.A., 323-655-6566
Steak and eggs have never been this sophisticated. There’s something novel about dressing for brunch these days, and Jar’s swank digs might inspire you. Trust us, chef Suzanne Tracht’s lobster Benedict and green chilaquiles with roasted pork are so worth giving up the comfort of your yoga pants. » Brunch Sun.
101 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-319-3111
Two reasons to experience Sunday brunch at the Fairmont Miramar’s sunny dining room: the bacon waffle and the Bloody Mary menu (yes, that’s foie gras in your tomato juice). The daily breakfast warrants a trip, too: Chef Ray Garcia uses market finds in dishes such as the egg white frittata with green veggies. » Breakfast daily, brunch Sun.
The Griddle Cafe
7916 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, 323-874-0377
It’s all down-home cooking at this joint for syrupy specialties. Try Mom’s French Toast, two pieces of egg-soaked bread with sweet whipped butter, or the signature Red Velvet PanCAKE, a lumberjack-size take on the craze under swirls of cream cheese icing. » Breakfast daily.
Aroma Coffee & Tea
4360 Tujunga Ave., Studio City, 818-508-0677
There are plenty of crannies in which to tuck with a book or Kindle. Each morning chic Valley dwellers queue up for cappuccinos, while the stroller set crowds the patio to dine on croissant French toast and poached eggs with smoked salmon on a potato pancake. » Breakfast daily.
Photograph by Misha Gravenor