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The best pancakes in Los Angeles

We’re getting sweet with the best pancakes in LA—from Bea Bea's green tea version to BLD's blueberry ricotta stack

Who says Angelenos are all about egg white omelets and acai bowls for breakfast? Batter and a griddle are a terrific tag team, and LA has inventive chefs that know how to coax peak flavor from both. Come brunch time, you'll find tables sporting stacks of pancakes drowning in thick, melting pats of butter and savory maple syrup alongside cups of coffee and boozy beverages. Whether they’re made with buttermilk, berries, alternative grains or indulgent ingredients, here are 10 of the city’s best pancakes—carbs be damned.

 

Try these 10 decadent pancakes

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
1/10

Lemon buckwheat ricotta pancakes at Gjelina

Fran Camaj and chef-partner Travis Lett have created what may be the quintessential LA restaurant on Abbot Kinney, complete with reclaimed barn wood, brick floors and a knockout back patio. At breakfast and brunch, they feature some of the city’s most sumptuous pancakes. Gjelina’s lemon buckwheat ricotta pancakes ($13) involve three fluffy cakes folded with lemon zest and pockets of ricotta. On top, you’ll find a tangy, cooling dollop of crème fraîche, plump blueberries, sweet-tart syrup made from blueberry compote and maple syrup, and a light dusting of powdered sugar. Dig in.

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Venice
Photograph: Courtesy BLD
2/10

Ricotta blueberry pancakes at BLD

Chef Neal Fraser and wife/partner Amy Knoll Fraser nail breakfast at their modern Mid-City café, BLD. The eatery (who's name, in case you didn't know, stands for Breakfast Lunch Dinner) serves three meals daily to diners in a space with wood tables, an abstract tree branch and stone art feature, along with wraparound sidewalk seating. Stopping in for breakfast? BLD's ricotta blueberry pancakes ($15) are simultaneously substantial and fluffy thanks to yeast raising and folds of fluffy cheese. The two-cake short stack comes with Berkshire maple syrup in a small log cabin container—it's so darling that it arrives without the cap, so that the cabin isn't sneaked into somebody’s purse.

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Fairfax/Beverly/La Brea/Third St.
Photograph: Josh Lurie
3/10

Buttermilk pancakes at Jon & Vinny's

Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo build on their Fairfax legacy that started with Animal by opening this popular restaurant with skylights, an open kitchen, an overflowing pastry case and Helen’s wine shop in back. During lunch and dinner, Italian-American cuisine dominates the kitchen, but for breakfast the buttermilk pancakes ($13.25) are a coveted item. Crisped on a griddle with vegetable oil and topped with seasonal berries (blueberries, strawberries and, if you're lucky, limited edition ollalieberries), the stack is blanketed with airy salted butter and saturating maple syrup.

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Fairfax/Beverly/La Brea/Third St.
Photograph: Courtesy Julienne
4/10

Whole grain and oat pancakes at Julienne

This San Marino institution, which the late Susan Campoy opened in 1985 and daughter Julie now steers, remains one of LA's best places to grab breakfast. Diners gravitate towards the charming plant-lined patio with exposed rafters and fans to combat the San Gabriel Valley heat, where they can dig in to Julienne's tempting pancakes. The whole grain and oat pancakes ($12.50) involve hearty whole-wheat discs created with flour, buttermilk, heavy cream, butter, brown sugar and oats. Three pancakes are topped with chopped pecans, sweet tart dried cranberry, powdered sugar and a spicy scoop of crystallized ginger butter, which melts into the cakes. Pour from a pitcher of maple syrup and have at it.

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San Marino
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
5/10

Buttermilk blueberry pancakes at The Belvedere

Not everything about The Peninsula Beverly Hills is stuffy. At The Belvedere, the hotel's marquee restaurant, executive chef David Codney and his crew cut loose for breakfast, where diners can choose from two types of pancakes. If you ordered the lemon and ricotta flapjacks with candied almond butter, we wouldn’t blame you, but keep your eyes on the buttermilk blueberry pancakes ($19). This sumptuous four-stack is crafted with barley flour, spelt, oats and flax; the cakes burst with plump sweet-tart blueberries and come with a metal pitcher of maple syrup and a ramekin of soft butter.

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Beverly Hills/Bel-Air
Photograph: Sungjin Ahn
6/10

Green Tea Monster at Bea Bea's

Sure, Bea Chanchaisri sells sandwiches, salads and burgers at Bea Bea’s in a Burbank shopping center, but as she says, "Breakfast is everything." People flood her retro dining room, which sports a '70s color scheme of brown, orange and yellow. Pancakes come in outlandish flavors like Thai tea, S'mores, and Super Pumpkin, but the best move is to embrace the Green Tea Monster ($10.95). These three fluffy pancakes, which are folded with matcha powder and white chocolate, come topped with green tea mascarpone and a generous dollop of whipped cream. And yes, there’s maple syrup for good measure.

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Burbank
Photograph: Eric Shin
7/10

TCHO chocolate chip and banana pancakes at Jist Cafe

Glen Ishii and business partner Caroline Shin carry on a family tradition in Little Tokyo that spans more than seven decades. Now Jist Café resides next to the East West Players theatre and features a dining room with reclaimed wood walls and a shaded, brick-walled back patio with historic stone flooring. For breakfast, there are plenty of pancake options to choose from, but the TCHO chocolate chip and banana pancakes ($12) are the best. Ishii blends batter with crème fraîche to form the airy backbone, while bittersweet chocolate coins from TCHO (a Berkeley-based chocolate company) join sliced bananas and house-made whipped cream atop three cakes.

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Downtown
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
8/10

Oatmeal griddle cakes at Salt's Cure

Critics' pick

Chris Phelps and Zak Walters have created a sustainable, constantly evolving culinary wonderland on a West Hollywood street corner. Brunch stars daily and changes based on what’s seasonal and available, but the Oatmeal Griddle Cakes ($10) are a constant. The stack arrives as a trio, with crispy edges still smoky from the griddle. They’re crafted with a mixture of oatmeal, butter, sugar and eggs, and come dusted with powdered sugar. Instead of being doused with syrup, these griddle cakes come topped with a dollop of molasses butter, which melts to form a de facto syrup. Phelps’ mom started making oatmeal griddle cakes for him starting at age two, and they’re still going strong.

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West Hollywood
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
9/10

Buttermilk rye pancakes at Sycamore Kitchen

This La Brea cafe from chef Karen Hatfield and husband Quinn has earned a dedicated following at breakfast and lunch thanks to its seasonal California comfort food, a packed pastry counter and a fashionable space that includes brick walls, exposed wood rafters and an umbrella lined patio. If you can make it here for breakfast or brunch, the buttermilk rye pancakes ($11) are a true breakfast treat. Each fluffy cake is created with eggs, butter, flour, baking powder, a little sugar and vanilla, salt, buttermilk and rye, and comes with salted butter and maple syrup.

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Los Angeles
Photograph: Josh Lurie
10/10

Priests pancakes at Tavern

Weekday pancakes are available at The Larder at Tavern thanks to divine intervention. Chef-owner Suzanne Goin’s grandmother had a family friend who was a priest. He used to visit her Los Feliz home for breakfast, and shared his favorite pancake recipe. Goin grew up eating Priests Pancakes ($12) and now serves them in the Brentwood eatery she owns with Caroline Styne. The pancakes may not look unique, but they’re exquisite. Goin melts butter and separates eggs before whipping in the whites with milk to make the cakes—five to an order— extra fluffy. Served with a pitcher of Vermont maple syrup and soft butter, they're the perfect way to start your weekend morning—or any morning, for that matter.

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Brentwood

Comments

4 comments
Guybrush T
Guybrush T

Du-pars used to have the best, fluffy, vanilla-y, yummy pancakes. Last time I went, they were not great, but I'm hoping that was an off day.

Susan S
Susan S

Not sure how you can talk pancakes and not mention Griddle Cafe.

P. W
P. W

Images 4 onward do not load. :o(

Jim G.
Jim G.

It may not be of the moment or chic, but ever-reliable Basix on Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood serves what may be the best buttermilk pancakes, and has so for years. They are flavorful with buttermilk and cooked perfectly, browned on the outside and lightly fluffy inside. And they're huge! My only complaint is that they are no longer served with real maple syrup. Right behind Basix comes Joan's on Third on W. 3rd St. near the Beverly Center. Again, buttermilk pancakes, this time smaller, are perfectly cooked, with tons of flavor and they are served with real maple syrup.