Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles: Pancakes

We’re getting sweet with the best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles for pancakes—from Axe's giant, 9-grain to BLD's fluffy, blueberry ricotta.

Photograph: Benny Haddad

Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles: 9-grain pancake at Axe

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles: Buttermilk pancakes with huckleberry compote and bourbon-barrel maple syrup at Cooks County

Photograph: Benny Haddad

Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles: Lemon ricotta pancakes with almond-blueberry butter at Fig

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles: Snickers pancakes at Beer Belly

Photograph: Benny Haddad

Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles: Buttermilk pancakes with bacon-infused maple syrup at Square One Dining

Photograph: Benny Haddad

Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles: Mango macadamia nut pancakes at John O'Groat's

Photograph: Courtesy BLD

Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles: Ricotta pancakes at BLD

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles: Oatmeal griddlecakes at Salt's Cure

Photograph: Annie Kikuchi

Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles: Baked pancake with Meyer lemon custard at Canelé

Here in style-conscious Los Angeles, we often get a bum rap for being overly carb-conscious, but that's not quite true. Come brunch time, you'll see that for every egg white omelet and seasonal fruit bowl on the table, there are also stacks and stacks of pancakes drowning in thick, melting pats of butter and savory maple syrup. From traditional buttermilk flapjacks to refined versions with ricotta and lemon, here are a handful of great pancakes around the city. Carbs be damned.

Recommended: See more of the Best brunch restaurants in Los Angeles

Beer Belly

On Sundays, Koreatown craft-beer bar Beer Belly serves up a boozy bevy of brunch dishes to help you sop up that wicked morning hangover. Snickers pancakes ($7) are perfect for morning munchies: Bits of peanut-nougat-chocolate Snickers bar are embedded like gold nuggets in a huge, dinner-plate-sized pancake that’s worth every carb. Whatever risk it runs of being too sweet is balanced by the savory maple syrup served alongside. And to drink? Beer, natch. If it's on tap, the Firestone Velvet Merlin, an oatmeal stout, makes a particularly good pairing. Beer and pancakes: the breakfast of champions.

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Square One Dining

On weekends, the sidewalk outside Hollywood’s Square One Dining is packed with neighborhood locals waiting for a table—and taking in the view of the very blue Scientology building across the street. When hungry diners are finally seated, at least one order of pancakes is inevitably placed, and with good reason. The buttermilk pancakes ($9) have purists rejoicing, but they're just the starting point for pancake deviants. Add-ons include fresh fruit and vanilla whipped cream ($3 extra) or bacon-enriched caramel sauce,($3)—thick sauce to drizzle as you please atop bacon lardons—living proof that sweet-savory bacon still lives strong in this town.

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John O'Groat's Grille and Pub

Chaperoning the kid's softball team out for a post-game pancake breakfast, you could do far worse than land at John O'Groats. Located right next to a huge park, the Rancho Park restaurant is a popular destination for many a little league team, and families in the neighborhood, all of whom line up for the ever popular breakfast pancakes. In addition to the rightfully titled Renowned Buttermilk Pancakes ($8.15)—two oversized discs served with packets of butter and maple syrup—you'll find varieties for the kids (chocolate chip) as well as for the coach (high-fiber buckwheat), plus signature specials (mango macadamia nut with coconut flakes). Large, round tables give you and the team plenty of real estate for prime pancake-eating everyone can enjoy.

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West L.A.

Cooks County

The seasonal fare at Cooks County makes the restaurant a popular dinner destination for neighborhood locals, so it's no surprise that the same crowd shows up on weekend mornings for brunch. And a good number of those folks order Cooks County's lovely—and enormous—buttermilk pancake. (Don’t worry: It's lighter and fluffier than its diameter and thickness implies.) With crisp, chewy edges and a sweet, toothsome interior, the cast iron skillet–baked creation is finished with a dusting of powdered sugar and almost doesn't need anything else to top it off—but it's made perfect with the accompanying huckleberry compote and bourbon-barrel maple syrup.

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Fairfax/Beverly/La Brea/Third St.


Located in the beachside Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, Fig gives you the choice of brunching in its gorgeous dining room or outside next to a bluer-than-blue pool. In other words: There's no better setting to eat pancakes. Thankfully, Fig doesn't rely only on its ambiance to convince you that it's one of the best brunch spots on the Westside; instead, it offers luxurious lemon ricotta pancakes ($15) that strike just the right, subtle balance between sweet and tangy. And that thick pat of almond-blueberry butter? Icing on the pancake.

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Santa Monica


If you have a longstanding grudge against whole-grain pancakes—they usually taste like cardboard or are too dense to eat more than a forkful—get yourself to Venice's Axe. There, the 9-grain pancake ($12) forces you to rethink your preconceptions. Made with the brown oats, flax, millet and other grains that wouldn't be out of place in a proper whole-grain loaf or a satisfying bowl of granola, the pancake here is everything you thought it wouldn't be: Light. Flavorful. Sweet. Delicious. It's also huge, so order one to share.

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Of the many gems on Canele's brunch menu (house-cured bacon, French toast, etc.), the one that seems the most innocuous just might be the best. Hidden in plain sight under "Sides" is the seemingly plain Baked Pancake with Meyer Lemon Custard ($6.50). It's something between a traditional flapjack and a popover, puffed up like the top of a chef's toque and almost too pretty to eat. When you gather the courage to actually break it open—deflating it dramatically—you'll find a soft and eggy interior with plenty of sweet Meyer lemon custard. It's an exceptional, if nontraditional, pancake, and one that you'll never overlook again.

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Atwater Village

Salt's Cure

Critics' pick

If you like your pancakes hearty, you'll appreciate Salt's Cure oatmeal griddlecakes ($9). Thick as hockey pucks and served with cinnamon butter, these are the type of pancakes best enjoyed when the sun is out but the air is crisp. To complete the meal, order a strip or two of fantastic housemade, thick-cut bacon or, if you're really channeling your inner lumberjack, go for the 2x2x2—two strips of bacon, two eggs and two biscuits. Salt's Cure is small, so the wait for a table can be long on the weekends; if you can, snag seats at the bar to watch the tiny open kitchen in action.

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West Hollywood


Pity the blueberry ricotta pancake on any menu other than BLD’s. Indeed, the Mid-City West’s blueberry ricotta pancakes ($13) are so good, they're the standard to which all others—who inevitably, and tragically, fall short—are compared. BLD's version has a richness courtesy that ricotta, and there are enough blueberries dotting the pancake landscape to guarantee a burst of sweetness in every bite. On the side, Berkshire maple syrup is served in a log cabin–shaped tin; it'd be kitschy if it weren't so charming. Breakfast on the weekdays is a relaxed, casual affair; on the weekends, though, be prepared for a wait.

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Fairfax/Beverly/La Brea/Third St.


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.