Jonesing for a tall stack of buttermilk pancakes or a three-egg omelet with all the fixings? Don’t count out the San Fernando Valley the next time you’re going out for breakfast or brunch. Unlike the more publicized (and highly Instagrammed) spots in Los Angeles proper, you’ll typically find shorter wait times, parking options—sometimes even lots—and locals who don’t have DSLR cameras strung around their necks. The following restaurants serving morning eats are known lovingly by locals and brave out-of-towners alike. Head across the hill and see what the fuss is about, before the crowds attack.
1. CiCi's Cafe: If your sweet tooth begs to be soothed, look no further than CiCi’s Cafe, where you’ll find dozens of pancake options like green tea tiramisu, s'mores and piñacolada. The waffle and french toast lists are equally extensive. 18912 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana
2. Donny's Breakfast Spot: A newcomer to Sherman Oaks, Donny’s Breakfast Spot boasts Southern standbys, including salmon croquettes, catfish, cheese grits and sweet tea. If you're extra hungry, try one of the specials, like the Big Derrick Special (two eggs, grits, two pancakes and chicken drumettes). 13701 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks
3. EAT: EAT is one of those restaurants that has a little bit of everything, for everyone: from eggs Benedict and breakfast pastas, to pancakes and french toast. This is your go-to spot when the group can’t decide what to eat. If we had to suggest just one, we'd say get the Killing Me Softly French toast—three layers of brioche stuffed with raspberries and Nutella, and drizzled in homemade vanilla and raspberry sauce. Hot damn. 11108 Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood
4. Gasolina Cafe: Why have ham when you can have jamón? Or an omelette, when you can order a tortilla española? Gasolina makes that decision for you, serving up seasonal Spanish-influenced fare like patatas bravas, a stick-to-your-bones delight with cubed and lightly fried potatoes covered in sweet chorizo, serrano ham, and a mildly spicy brava sauce and aioli. 21014 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills
5. Harvest Moon Kitchen & Marketplace: This spot has your usual pancake and omelette specials, but if you’re looking for a morning meal that doesn’t leave you feeling sleepy, try the Bowl, made with quinoa, Brussels sprouts, spinach, butternut squash and Harissa sauce. 12456 Magnolia Blvd, Valley Village
6. Leo & Lilly: If Mediterranean comfort food is what you’re after, look no further than Leo & Lily, a cafe serving warm oatmeal muesli with figs, pistachios, golden raisins and apricots; and shakshuka, eggs poached in a tomato, pepper and onion sauce. 22420 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills
7. More Than Waffles: An Encino favorite since 1975, More Than Waffles does, in fact, serve more than waffles. But you should definitely come for the waffles, specifically, the Lemon Lover topped with lemon cream, blueberries, pecans and whipped cream. 17200 W. Ventura Blvd, Encino
8. Nat’s Early Bite Coffee Shop and Diner: We’re all for treating oneself, but breakfast shouldn’t leave you in a deficit. Good thing we have Nat’s, where most breakfast specials, like the large scrambles and steak and eggs, are less than $12. Locations in Sherman Oaks and Woodland Hills
9. SteamPunk CoffeeBar & Kitchen: Can you recall another restaurant named after a science fiction subgenre? Probably not, so head over to SteamPunk Coffeebar & Kitchen to bask in steampunk art and vibes, and try the Stack: a Belgian waffle topped with fried chicken, bacon and a sunny-side egg, served with sautéed kale and onions. 12526 Burbank Blvd, Valley Village
10. Sweetsalt Food Shop: You want an egg sandwich? Sweetsalt Food Shop has your egg sandwich filled with gruyère, avocado, wild mushrooms and truffle oil. 10218 Riverside Dr, Toluca Lake
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