Bad & Bougie Brunch: Los Angeles
In Los Angeles, the land of the lotus (and kale) eaters, brunch reigns as the supreme ruler of meals. Essentially a validating reason to drink alcohol in the AM while the serendipitous California sun is shining, brunch is more than a scene in LA, its a lifestyle. From the shores of Malibu and Santa Monica to the warehouse lined streets of the Arts District, the LA brunch scene is as diverse as all the neighborhoods the city calls its own. There's the quasi-upscale seaside eats in Malibu and Santa Monica, all you can drink specials all over, bad & bourgeoise bakeries, quintessential celebrity hunting grounds, and even an elevated skytop perch.
A modern French bakery + bistro in La Brea providing an airy and open communal space reminiscent of a refined & rustic French Farmhouse between all the wood, brick, and ironwork. That's just the design. The food is absolutely orgasmic. Between the bakery offering a plethora of breads, pastries, and sweet treats; the artisanal coffees and cocktails; and the deliciously diverse brunch menu with everything from a standard country breakfast to sweet treats like the melt-worthy French toast to Shakshouka and vegetarian friendly plates there is something for everyone.
Located in downtown LA with a rooftop view over Pershing Square, Perch is a comfortable, elegant, and gorgeous spot to kick back with some killer cocktails like their Bellini, Bloody Mary, Mimosa, a Sangria pitcher, or your own bubbly poison of choice. And the upscale menu of French eats is stellar to say the least. They've got the classic eggs & bacon/sausage, steak & eggs, eggs benedict in more ways than one, a burger, and of course a French toast (noticing a theme yet?)
PS - only open for brunch on the weekends so plan accordingly
3. Overland Cafe
On the weekends, the Overland Cafe gets wild and raucous thanks to their all-you-can-drink Mimosa specials. The food is great, rather typical diner-esque American eats, but not necessarily as high quality as Republique or Perch. Go for the booze and see how many mimosas you and your friends can put away in the hour and half all-you-can-drink special while enjoying some Saturday college football or NFL Sunday.
After their pioneering location in Grand Central Market downtown, Eggslut branched out to Venice Beach and Glendale to offer their bomb breakfast sandwiches all over town. They're famous for their dish called the "Slut"--a coddled egg with potato puree, chives, grey salt, all poached in a jar--but all their breakfast sandwiches are intensely flavorful and savory. It's one of those meals where you sit down looking at your immaculate sandwich then five minutes later its all gone and you have no idea what happened. Food blackout!!
PS - there's almost always a line, so be patient! Worth the wait!
5. Bottega Louie
By night Bottega Louie is a classy and boisterous Italian restaurant that belongs more in the Palace of Versailles than Downtown L.A. They have a grand and opulent dining space with white marble floors & pillars, an open kitchen featuring at least 10 cooks frantically cooking away their culinary delights, and a jaw-dropping patisserie display with an overwhelming and mesmerizing selection of colorful macaroons. Their weekend brunch menu covers everything--both individual plates and small sized sharers--from the L.A. staple avocado toast to classic American breakfasts to pizza to sandwiches. Breakfast here feels special, a meal fit for kings and queens.
PS - There's no reservations and almost always a wait, so take a seat at their bar while you wait or peruse their baked delights.
6. Malibu Cafe & Farm
Located at the end of the Malibu Pier, Malibu Cafe and Malibu Farm (two conjoined but separate entities) offer two options for seaside dining with a view of the Pacific Ocean. Malibu Farm offers a little more in terms of their menu, but is located at the start of the pier as opposed to the cafe located at the end. Can't go wrong either way. Can't go wrong with morning drinking out in the California sunshine.
7. Sycamore Kitchen
Sycamore Kitchen is an incredibly L.A. venture. An urban bakery-eatery fusing vintage and industrial design as well as a wide assortment of savory baked goods (vegan + gluten free options available for the full L.A. experience) with their array of modern dishes of a worldly influence.
Located inside the Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica, just a few minutes walking away from the pier, is Fig. While the prices are typical of a hotel restaurant, Fig has a clean and green California space with plenty of options. Their breakfast menu has a combination of sweet and savory dishes as well as a "Kegs n Eggs" special of $40 all you can drink beer & Sangria with any breakfast item (or get their punch bowl served in a crazy copper pineapple!)
9. Urth Cafe
Urth Cafe is the epitome of the L.A. food scene. Clean, green, organic, farm-to-table food presented artistically, cooked phenomenally, and packed with flavor. Their coffees and teas are gigantic, practically the size of your head, and the latte art is uncanny (flowers, hearts, birds, etc). Go for brunch, lunch, or a morning coffee/tea and enjoy a chat in the sunshine with friends and family...perhaps you might even catch a glimpse of a celebrity!
Locations: Beverly Hills, DTLA, Melrose, and Santa Monica
10. Jacks N Joe
There's a good chance I'm biased because I worked here, but Jacks n Joe is easily the best pancake house in L.A. county. If you like pancakes they have them all: chocolate chip, peanut butter banana, apple cinnamon, buckwheat, bacon (yes, bacon in the batter!), crepe-like thin pancakes, pineapple coconut, and even a Hawaiian sweetbread french toast. Most famous menu items include the 7 minutes in heaven (hawaiian sweetbread French toast with nutella, bananas, and strawberries) and loaded hash (pictured left)!
Every Sunday at the Alameda Produce Market in downtown L.A. Smorgasburg sets up shop offering a plethora of exquisite and diverse food vendors as well as vendors from the worlds of design, fashion + style, California wellness, etc. All sorts of food backgrounds from East to West are represented: acai bowls, donuts, bahn mis, tacos, fried chicken, seafood, burgers, vegan food (it's LA duh!), coffee, pizza, ice cream, legit everything. Also doesn't hurt that most of the options are friendly to your wallet. Go for the food and stick around to browse through the other eclectic and essentially California influenced vendors!
12. Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles
A famous soul food icon of the Los Angeles area is Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles. Open from 8am to 4am, Roscoe's is a breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and late night option. You go to Roscoe's for one reason and one reason only: the incredible fried chicken and waffles. Each and every time it's a blackout of a meal; the food is dropped off and next thing I know it's all gone and I have no idea what just happened.