Ask any millennial and they will tell you that brunch has become a quintessential part of any weekend morning. What better date than one that starts with a freshly baked croissant or homemade pupusa? Los Angeles is filled with the best breakfast bites a city can offer. So rather than take your date for a late night drink or the overwrought dinner-and-a-movie, try a lazy Saturday morning at a brunch spot in the city. I have compiled several reviews of some of my best and most interesting LA brunch experiences.
Food Type: Unique Bites
Neighborhood: East Hollywood
Address: 720 N Virgil Ave Ste 4, Los Angeles, CA 90029
Hours: Breakfast 8am-4pm
Phone: (323) 284-8147
Highlight: Sorrel Pesto Bowl
Sqirl is a Los Angeles brunch staple with an array of unique rotating dishes and a constant flow of enthusiastic guests. With such an array of interestisng and innovative menu offerings, I found myself poring over the menu the night before my first Sqirl experience. I wondered if I would stick with the popular and highly touted Sorrel Pesto Bowl or venture into the seasonal cauliflower hash. The Famed Ricotta Toast (truly titled as “famed”) also called my attention.
After reading the good, the bad, and the ugly reviews on the Sorrel Pesto Bowl, I decided it was essential I join the discussion and try for myself. I found the pesto rice to be imbalanced in its zesty lime and saltiness. Although I still enjoyed it, these flavors were definitely more pronounced than they should have been. The other aspects of the dish, however, were singularly delicious and masterful when combined. The goat feta cheese was creamy and perfect (as only a Greek who knows her feta can attest), the egg was poached to perfection and the radishes added another level of flavor that created a delightful blend when combined together. There were also some lovely herbs sprinkled into the mix.
One word for the wise, visiting the uber popular LA brunch spot on a weekday is definitely the way to go. Should you choose to make your plans for 10am on a Saturday, prepare to wait in a winding line while you hunger for socca pancakes and vegan hot coffee. If you have no idea what either of those things are, it may be time to schedule your Sqirl visit.
Food Type: Healthy Brunch
Neighborhood: Culver City
Address: 9755 Culver Boulevard, Culver City, CA 90232
Phone: (310) 287-0140
Highlight: Organic Brown Rice Pancakes
Cafe Vida was on my must-try-brunch-spots list for quite some time now. The adorable patio and a breakfast menu full of fresh, healthy and delicious sounding dishes initially drew me in. Options include plates like the Yucatan Egg White Omelet, Morning Wrap (in a spinach tortilla) and Blueberry Corn Cakes. On my first visit, I enjoyed the Scramble Balance Breakfast Bowl and Organic Brown Rice Pancakes.
The Brown Rice Pancakes are made with flax and chia seeds plus slivered almonds. They come topped with various berries and powdered sugar (as well as maple syrup). These pancakes definitely stole the show. The gluten-free treats were light, sweet and completely satisfying. I am not one to often indulge in the sweeter selections (especially during breakfast) but I could not help but add one of these highly praised pancakes as a side to my bowl.
The Scramble Balance Breakfast Bowl was wonderful in its own right. I ordered it with tofu, in addition to the egg whites, guacamole, spinach, mushrooms, zucchini and roasted tomato sauce on top of quinoa. Brown rice is also an option. It had a sort of spiciness to it that I enjoyed but overall I definitely gravitated towards the pancake. One was enough for me and I enjoyed leftovers from both parts of my meal. Cafe Vida has several locations and is a simultaneously healthy and delicious morning option.
Café de Olla
Type: Traditional Mexican
Address: 2315 W Victory Blvd, Burbank, CA 91506
Phone: (818) 588-3684
Highlight: Chilaquiles Poblanos
Café de Olla is a small, family-owned breakfast joint that is as friendly and welcoming as it is delicious. The nondescript restaurant front does little to convey the warmth and liveliness within.
My visiting mom and I discovered Cafe de Olla early on a Friday morning and both enjoyed a lovely dining experience. Although my mom initially planned to go “the safe route” and stick with scrambled eggs with bacon, cheese and avocado, she was beyond enamored with the chilaquiles poblanos. These chilaquiles poblanos have been touted as a “mouthgasm” and “the best chilaquiles I’ve had in years”.
The dish was simply perfect. The blend of homemade sauces with the tortilla chips and cheese was tantalizing. The entire experience was one that encouraged my mom to be bold and try new things, which is a true testament for greatness in a restaurant. The servers were helpful and accommodating. Their famed chilaquiles truly did not disappoint and the staff was more than humble while my mom showered on the compliments. For an added plus, the plate was only $11.50, a reasonable meal compared to the typical LA breakfast.
Café de Olla is a hidden gem among Los Angeles breakfast spots and a surefire way to impress a date. The sweet staff and rightfully hyped chilaquiles make this brunch spot worth the trek to Burbank.
Elizabeth is a longtime writer and current documentary filmmaker from Los Angeles California. Knowing the greater story of all who cross her path is her inspiration. She’s deeply passionate about food and health and enjoys cooking, exercise and being active in nature whenever possible. You’ll likely find her on a hike, in a documentary screening or at the local Farmer’s Market.