People love brunch. I mean, what’s not to love? An indulgent late morning or early afternoon meal where cocktails are encouraged. Sounds pretty good to us, but in a diverse city like LA, brunch can look a lot of different ways. Of course there are the typical waffles, pancakes, and eggs, but you can also find dim sum, Tex-Mex, and many vegan brunches throughout the city. Here are some of your top brunch picks for the LA area. Unfortunately, I think the Bloody Marys might still need to be DIY.
At this casual Echo Park café, it’s all about supporting what’s in season and growing locally. The menu is full of organic vegetables from small farms found at the Echo Park, Hollywood, and Santa Monica farmers markets. Everything is customizable, from the noodles, rice, and garnish of your bowl to the extra fillings in your sandwich. They really take into account all dietary restrictions, too; they have options for gluten-free, vegan, and paleo folks. Grab a breakfast bowl with sweet potato hash, poached egg, avocado, bacon, greens, herbs, and sumac and a No Fomo smoothie with kale, spinach, avocado, mango, banana, and chlorophyll. Your body will thank you.
If you didn’t know already, this pizza and pasta go-to also does a really good brunch. Jon & Vinny’s opened in 2015 and now the restaurant has three locations throughout LA. Sure, the cacio e pepe rigatoni is amazing, but so are the buttermilk pancakes that come topped with salted butter, maple syrup, and fruit, and the olive oil–fried eggs that come with grilled Tuscan kale, crispy potato, and ’nduja sausage. It’s the perfect Italian twist on the diner-classic morning fry-up.
If you live in Los Feliz, chances are you know this neighborhood staple well. Right on a quaint Hillhurst corner, there’s no need to line up with the crowd since we can deliver its notorious brunch to your door. The brunch menu still has their Italian American flair, with some of our favorites being the ricotta and blueberry pancakes and the “this just so happens to be gluten-free” polenta and eggs, made with buckwheat, braised kale, Calabrese butter, and a fried egg, topped with a shower of Parmesan. Who knew Italians did brunch so well?
Yes, we think of New York as the bagel capital of the world, too, but recently, LA has had a bit of bagel-aissance. One of our favorites happens to be Maury’s. It was opened in 2014 by an East Coast transplant, Jason Kaplan, who couldn’t find a decent bagel. Naturally, he started his own shop. His bagels are the crispy, chewy, yeasty, and a little sweet kind. Grab a half dozen everything, a half pound of New York smoked Eastern Nova salmon, and some classic deli cream cheese for a DIY brunch spread, and you can pretty much feel yourself becoming more of a New Yorker.
For something totally different from the standard bacon, eggs, and pancakes brunch, try the legendary Taiwanese dim sum import. Known for their soup dumplings, xiao long bao, which we can attest are some of the best we’ve ever had, Din Tai Fung started with one man, Bing-Yi Yang, in 1927. Good thing they made their way to Glendale and Century City. We love to get a few things to share for the true dim sum experience. An order of the Kurobuta pork xiao long bao is essential, but so are the chicken and mushroom buns, you know, those perfectly fluffy ones. With an entire section devoted to greens, a side of Taiwanese cabbage with garlic makes it a meal.
The vibe at HomeState is Tex-Mex to the core. In 2013, Texas native Briana Valdez wanted to bring the breakfast tacos, queso, brisket, and housemade flour tortillas she loved growing up to her new Los Angeles home. For brunch, we’d go for some breakfast tacos, maybe a Don't Mess with Texas, filled with charro beans, Beeler's bacon, potato, and cheddar, or maybe something more vegetarian friendly, like the Comal, filled with pasture-raised eggs, black beans, and Monterey Jack cheese. To honor your inner child, you should get a Cookie Milk Cold Brew—it's chocolate chip cookie–steeped oat milk and iced coffee combined.
Kitchen Mouse is a Highland Park brunch institution. With a large menu, there really is something for everyone, even the gluten-free, vegan, carnivores, and pickiest among us. They do brunch all day everyday. An order for us always includes Mikey's Chilaquiles, with tortilla chips, enchilada sauce, cashew cheese, cilantro cream, black beans, avocado mash, slaw, pepitas, and green onion. We also love the freshly squeezed OJ that they make in house daily from California-grown citrus. Don’t forget a side of cashew-based queso; it’s vegan and oh, so creamy.
If you don’t know about Chad Robertson and Liz Prueitt’s Tartine by now, let us tell you: Their sourdough loaf was the bread that got everyone into bread again. Back in 2002, they opened their first location in San Francisco and have since expanded to include locations throughout the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and even Seoul. For brunch, it’s often a tartine, either avocado or smoked salmon, both served on the thickest slice of lightly toasted sourdough and topped with whatever looked the most gorgeous at the farmers market. We’re also always in favor of ordering an extra country loaf or a salted chocolate buckwheat cookie to snack on later.
At Amara Kitchen, they’re taking familiar classics like breakfast burritos, granola parfaits, and pancakes and making them vegan, paleo, or gluten-free. Most menu items have a few customizations so you can find an option that suits your dietary needs. No one feels excluded. You can get the paleo version of the pancakes, and your friend can do them gluten-free or vegan. Just when some of you thought you’d never be able to eat your favorite childhood breakfast again, Amara has your back.
Dare we say the best brunch and breakfast in Venice? No need to wait in those notoriously long weekend lines to order or grab a table because we’re bringing you those bagel sandwiches. Gjusta is a self-described California deli, and we wouldn’t disagree with that; we’re always after their pastries—hopefully a baklava croissant if they haven’t sold out—but we’ll take a chocolate one if we have to. On the savory front, you can’t go wrong with the croque madame on their iconic sourdough with fried egg, ham, Gruyère, and Mornay sauce, or the truly Californian avocado rice bowl, topped with kimchi and pickled turnips.
Sage has been around a good while; they opened their Echo Park restaurant more than 20 years ago, and they now have four locations throughout the LA. area. It’s a total all-day restaurant, with scrambles in the a.m., sandwiches at lunch, and great beer-drinking food in the evening. Sage serves all-American classics but with a plant-based twist. For brunch, we’re after sweet potato pancakes that happen to be gluten-free, soy-free, and nut free and come topped with fruit, maple syrup, and “butter,” or the breakfast burrito, made with a scrambled tofu egg, hash browns, rice, beans, pico de gallo, avocado, and habanero “cream cheese.”
At this West Hollywood Italian restaurant, brunch might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but we promise they do it well. Italian-born chef Gino Angelini opened his namesake on Beverly over 20 years ago, and he continues to deliver all those Italian staples, like meatballs, arugula salads, and calamari. On the brunch front, you should go for the breakfast panino, made with scrambled eggs, mozzarella, applewood bacon, and sliced tomato, or an order of pastries that comes with two cornettos, one plain and one chocolate, and a sweet raisin twist. You can turn your terrace into a terrazzo.
Very few things scream brunch louder than a bagel and cream cheese. Two friends, LA natives, opened the bagel shop as a pop-up in 2012 with the mission to be as local as possible, to “make good food using ingredients from the city that raised us for the city that raised us.” We have to say they are doing their hometown proud. You can go classic with a McB sandwich—lox, tomato, red onion, capers, and plain cream cheese—or dive into unfamiliar territory with the Westlake, a bagel topped with pastrami, Swiss cheese, slaw, and thousand island dressing. Or DIY by ordering a half dozen of whatever strikes your fancy.
The most virtuous of the bunch, but sometimes a big old green juice is exactly what you need on a weekend morning. Naturewell Juice packs as many local and organic ingredients as possible into their smoothies, bowls, and juices with as many nutrients as possible. If you’re in the mood for a smoothie, we’d highly recommend the coconut kale, which comes packed with coconut meat, coconut water, banana, kale, cinnamon, and agave. If you’re after something more spoonable, you can still get your greens with the green power bowl, a blend of acai, spinach, kale, and spirulina that’s topped with fruit and coconut flakes.
Porto’s is a total taste of Havana right here in LA. The growing family-owned and -operated bakery now has six locations in the area, from Burbank to West Covina. It all started in 1976 with Rosa Porto selling cakes right out of her Echo Park home. If you’re in the mood for something savory, go for the chorizo and cheese omelette sandwich, which comes with eggs, shredded cheese, Spanish-style chorizo, mayo, and mustard. If you’re looking for something sweet, you must get the torrejas, Porto’s twist on French toast. It’s thick slices of Porto's croissant loaf, topped with guava sauce, powdered sugar, and tropical fruit salad, served with a side of whipped cream cheese.
The “M” in M Café stands for “macrobiotic.” If you’re not familiar with the Japanese lifestyle that stresses balance through diet and exercise, don’t worry. It doesn’t matter because you’d never be able to tell that their smoky tempeh bacon has a healthy halo. Brunch here can go a few ways; you can lean more American and grab a breakfast burrito with scrambled tofu wrapped in a gluten-free tortilla with black beans, brown rice, kale, vegan cheddar, soy crema, and chipotle sauce, or lean more Japanese and start your day with a fish bento and miso soup. We promise it does the body good.
If you’re in Venice—or actually pretty much anywhere else in the city—you know Gjelina. Well, this is its casual little sister just down the street. As with all of their restaurants (they have the all-day café Gjusta as well), it’s about the bread and pastries here. The avocado toast isn’t just any avocado toast: It comes on the house sourdough and is topped with pistachio dukkah, cilantro, and lemon. Grab a seasonal scone and a refreshing ginger limeade to go along with it.
Urth Caffé has been around for a minute, since 1989 to be exact. Husband and wife team Jilla and Shallom Berkman met a coffee farmer on a trip to Peru and decided they needed to import his beans, so they opened a café. They now have nine locations in the LA area. The menu is filled with California breakfast classics like fresh corn waffles, parfaits, and burritos. If we had to choose, we’d steer you toward the banana nut waffle, a Belgian waffle topped with fresh bananas and caramel sauce as well as brûléed banana and roasted walnuts. Or, if you’re not after that level of indulgence, try the egg sandwich, which features a rolled omelet with avocado, Jack cheese, mild chiles, Roma tomatoes, and mayonnaise served on a rustic roll.
If you’re in the mood for pastrami, there are only a few places to turn in the city, and Canter's is one of them. The Canter family has been running the place since 1931, bringing all those New York deli classics to West Hollywood. A little secret that no one talks about is that it has one of those huge diner-style breakfast menus filled with pancakes and eggs. Of course you can still get a Reuben, but why not go for the more brunch-appropriate Sunrise Sandwich; that’s fried egg, thick-cut bacon, tomato, and cheddar cheese on pressed challah. Or indulge your inner child and go for the chocolate chip pancakes. That’s seriously heaven.
Well, the name really cuts to the chase here. It’s no surprise that this bakery specializes in New York–style bagels. For 65 years, they’ve been making them fresh everyday the old-school way, by boiling before baking them. A bagel sandwich is a good choice; we particularly like the one with bacon, egg, avocado, and cheese that comes on your bagel of choice topped with punchy pickled onions. They also have a bagel-shop rarity: a side of breakfast potatoes that are perfectly oven-roasted and topped with caramelized onions.
It’s all about the burritos and coffee at this Fairfax shop. Opened in 2014 to give the neighborhood some quality a.m. caffeine, they quickly realized their customers were hungry, too, so they launched breakfast to go alongside the cold brew. Choose from five different burritos, two breakfast sandwiches, and just about every jolt of caffeine you can think of. We like to go for the veggie burrito with smoked veggie hash (potatoes, bell peppers, and onions), scrambled egg, Jack cheese, pico de gallo, and crushed tortilla chips. And don’t forget to grab an iced vanilla latte with oat milk.
At this Los Feliz restaurant, it’s a menu full of American comfort classics like banana cream pudding, ultra-smoky barbecue, and thick-cut french fries. Located in a historic building that once housed the legendary Brown Derby restaurant back in the classic Hollywood era, the mission now is to keep things as local and seasonal as possible. How very California of them. On the brunch front, we’re after the 30 Minute Biscuits that are baked to order and served with whipped fennel butter and housemade preserves, or the A.M. Sando, ciabatta stuffed with cheesy eggs, truffle aioli, and oven-dried tomato, served with fries on the side.
The name of the game is small-batch handcrafted pastries and specialty coffee at this Echo Park restaurant. But we’d offer that it’s actually a lot more than that since they have a whole menu with everything from salads to breakfast burritos. If you’re in the mood for something traditional, we’d suggest the Thomas Breakfast that comes with two sunny-side-up eggs, applewood-smoked bacon, grilled tomato, a biscuit, and jam. Or go new-school with a breakfast quesadilla; they do two different kinds that are both vegetarian friendly.
This Los Feliz restaurant is known for its breakfast. A true low-key neighborhood spot that has everything from scrambles to their version of McMuffins, there is something to satisfy every brunch craving. Do a Mediterranean scramble with sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, spinach, and feta cheese, which comes with potatoes and toast, if you’re looking for something savory. If you’re in the mood for sweet, it’s a toss-up between the maple syrup–drizzled brioche French toast or the oatmeal cinnamon pancakes.