10 Underrated Brunch Spots in Los Angeles
Angelenos love brunch, and though many of us tend to be loyal to our beloved neighborhood spots, we're also down to find a new one that makes our breakfast-meets-lunch dreams come true. We thought we'd name some great places to do brunch that often get passed up by the "best of" lists (including our own). Many of these are local favorites that we think deserve city-wide glory—sorry in advance for outing your hidden gem. As always, share your favorites in the comments section.
Lemon Poppy Kitchen
Hidden in a Glassell Park strip mall, Lemon Poppy Kitchen doesn't even have its own sign, but those in the know head straight to space marked "Bakery #1" for buttery biscuits, breakfast sandwiches made with those biscuits, egg-topped griddled grains, and polenta cakes. Planchintas, the restaurant's specialty, are Romanian flatbreads filled with delicious things like, feta, dill and scallion or bacon and cheddar—you can get one topped with two eggs over easy, greens, and sour cream until 3pm on the weekends. The food can take a while, so grab a piece of freshly baked coffee cake or a fruity scone while you wait.
Lemon Poppy Kitchen is located at 3324 Verdugo Road, Glassell Park, (323) 739-0012
Every time we hit Solstice Canyon for a hike, Plate is where we go to fuel up. The quiet and friendly Malibu restaurant serves a tasty, satisfying selection of healthy dishes with an emphasis on local, organic ingredients. The breakfast menu, served until 3pm on weekends, includes berry-topped waffles, house-baked granola, breakfast burritos, and three types of eggs benedict—traditional, crab, or lox. Fresh juices with listed benefits (and calorie counts) are also available, plus it's vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free friendly.
Plate is located at 22601 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu; (310) 317-6800
Wahib's Middle East Restaurant
Open since the 80s, family-owned Wahib's is one of the best Middle Eastern restaurants in town, and they really go for it on the weekends. From 11am-9pm, the Alhambra eatery offers a full buffet, with all the impossibly creamy hummus, grilled meats, fresh vegetables, pickles, and baklava you can eat. If buffet isn't your thing, you can also order from the breakfast menu, which is available daily, and includes Armenian sausage or kebabs with eggs.
Wahib's Middle Eastern Restaurant is located at 910 East Main Street, Alhambra; (626) 576-1048
My Two Cents
Sunday brunch at this Mid-City gem is a good time. Not only is there a DJ spinning nostalgic Hip Hop and R&B records, there's also a delicious menu of Southern-style dishes that you'll be craving days later. One of the most popular dishes is the Chicken "in" Waffles, which includes a fluffy waffle with bits of fried chicken stirred into the batter, expertly fried chicken strips and eggs. We also love the shrimp with cheesy grits, the veggie quinoa scramble, and house-made agua frescas. Bonus: If chef Alisa Reynolds finds out you're a new customer, she'll step out of the kitchen to greet you with a big smile and a rousing shout of "first timer!" Brunch happens here Sundays 11-4.
My Two Cents is located at 5583 W Pico Boulevard, Mid-City; 323-938-1012
Mike & Anne's
South Pasadena residents have Mike & Anne's all to themselves, but we think everyone should know about it. Their shaded patio is the perfect place to laze away the morning or afternoon while feasting on challah bread french toast or hand-cut corn beef hash and potatoes topped with two yolky eggs. The neighborhood restaurant also serves three types of pancakes (the lemon ricotta are the fluffiest) and a seriously stuffed quesadilla with ham, bacon, and scrambled eggs. And, yes, there is a full bar! Brunch is served until 2:30pm on Saturdays and 3pm on Sundays.
Mike & Anne's is located at 1040 Mission Street, South Pasadena; (626) 799-7199
This sunny little cafe serves brunch—or "Breakfast for Lunch" as they call it—every single day, and with such creativity. Think strawberry shortcake pancakes, omelets heaping with tender short rib, and eggs served with duck confit. Fans, like food blogger Shauna Der of The Minty, rave about the pork belly chasu, the marinade for which has been developed over the 70 years that owner-chef Glen Ishii's family has been running restaurants in Little Tokyo. The meat is hashed, bathed in the sauce, and topped with two perfectly cooked 6-minute eggs.
JiST Cafe is located at 116 Judge John Aiso Street, Little Tokyo; (213) 792-2116
Leo & Lily
Leo & Lily is a favorite among Woodland Hill locals, and it's no wonder. Everything on this Euro-Med menu is made from scratch, right down to the borekas, delicious little puffed-pastry pies filled with three kinds of cheese and herbs. There's also a lovely shakshuka, a corn-flake-coated french toast concoction that look like a sundae, and a benedict made with crispy duck prosciutto. Eat on the patio.
Leo & Lily is located at 22420 Ventura Boulevard; 818-222-6622
We can think of few cozier places to be on a Sunday than the round, roomy booths at Highland Park's Sonny's Hideaway—though the patio's not bad either. The low-lit lounge offers a small menu of unexpected dishes. On the sweet side, we love oatmeal cooked in coffee and almond milk with a sprinkle of pistachios while savory dishes, like corn cakes with bacon and eggs or fried chicken served with a poached egg and a buttermilk biscuit, are a nice way to start the day. There's also an entire list of brunch cocktails—try the refreshing Aperol Spritz with orange oil. Served from 11am-3pm only on Sundays.
Sonny's Hideaway is located 5137 York Boulevard, Highland Park; (323) 255-200
This colorful, casual eatery prides itself on serving an organic, sustainable menu. Breakfast, served until 3pm on weekends, is a mishmash of California cuisine. Options like egg sandwiches, lox plates, omelets, chorizo-stuffed burritos, and griddle treats galore means there really is something for everyone. Quite excitingly, the BLTA comes with a side of hash browns. They also serve a nice selection of cocktails and provide crayons for table drawing.
Cheebo is located 7533 W. Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood; (323) 850-7070
Another Kind of Sunrise
Giving new meaning to the term "breakfast nook," Another Kind of Sunrise serves up cereal, chia pudding, and acai bowls in a tight Venice alleyway on Abbot Kinney all day long. There are just a few benches for sitting, but it's not hard to balance a bowl of health-ified versions of nostaglic kiddie cereals (think: Cocoa Crispies and Peanut Butter Puffs) topped with lots of fruit, on your knee. Prices might seem a little steep for cereal, but there's a lot of fiber going on, and you'll likely be full for hours. They're also now serving frittatas—and that buttery paleo coffee if you want it.
Another Kind of Sunrise is located at 1629 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice; (909) 334-2567