With enough reasons from Benedicts to fluffy blueberry ricotta pancakes to rise out of bed, it’s no wonder that Neal Fraser’s BLD—short for breakfast, lunch and dinner—is packed for brunch. And even brunch haters can find something to satisfy with four different burgers, from lamb to vegan, available weekend mornings. We like the BLD house burger ($16), a savory patty—choose either beef or turkey—draped in sharp aged cheddar, caramelized grilled onions, tomato, butter lettuce, tangy Russian dressing and housemade pickles on a springy bun. Offered with French fries or a side salad of lightly dressed mixed greens, the robust burger brings the flavor.
Bottega Louie boasts more than a pristine bakery display. The Downtown restaurant provides weekend morning crowds a rescue with luxe-meets-comfort food like the hamburger ($15)—succulent Angus beef burger topped with Brandywine heirloom tomato, red onion and aioli paired with crispy Kennebec French fries—that’s downright divine. An optional slice of cheddar is offered but best skipped as the seared round holds plenty of flavor. Sit in the elegant dining room with high ceilings and celebrate with boozy bubbles like a classic Bellini ($12) with white peach purée and Prosecco or the French 75 ($12) with gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and Prosecco.
The All-American sandwich gets polished at David Myers' French brasserie, where an Angus beef patty meets sharp Vermont cheddar, iceberg lettuce and a toasted brioche bun. The Comme Ça burger ($18) is a refined specimen served with pomme frites by dapper waiters. Pair a spiked libation from the Bloody Mary menu—try a sweet and savory maple syrup and bacon variety ($13) or the Bloody Bull ($13), a bold combination of veal stock and scotch—with the insanely scrumptious burger that’s way above comme ci, comme ça.
Though famous for its seafood, David Lentz’s the Hungry Cat offers a killer burger. The Pug burger ($19) upgrades the classic with Niman Ranch ground beef, house-smoked bacon, Danish blue cheese, avocado and, for the ultimate brunch icing on the cake, a fried egg. The enormous brunch option is perched next to a pile of crispy fries that's tossed with fresh parsley. Enjoy Sunday morning's version of surf and turf with a signature Maryland Mary cocktail, a classic bloody Mary topped with a fresh oyster, to wash down the meaty two-fister.
Pasadena’s Raymond Restaurant stands as a remembrance of the town’s rich past where old-school charm—the historic craftsman cottage was once a hotel—and chef Tim Guiltinan’s classic American fare make for a popular neighborhood haunt. Cozy up next to the fireplace on one of two back patios and order the house burger ($16) with pickled red onions, piquillo peppers, melted St. Agur cheese and organic arugula served with a choice of crispy frites, sweet potato fries or a side salad. Sip on one of the specialty cocktails—we like the Chicory Flip ($12) with Yeti Stout, coffee-infused rye whiskey, an egg and caramelized chicory, or wake up to the Zombie ($13), a mix of three rums, passion fruit, Demerara syrup, lemon, lime and pineapple juice—for the ultimate hair of the dog.
Gareth Kantner’s Sunset Junction French bistro gussies up the standard burger with its house Stella burger ($12), a beef patty with a blue cheese center topped with confit tomatoes, tangy fennel-onion jam and an optional fried egg on a ciabatta roll. The perfectly cooked, piquant mouthful comes with slender herbed pommes frites that are highly addictive. Sit on the covered outdoor patio while sipping a perfectly brewed latte—made with nearby Intelligentsia's beans for one of the best cups of coffee around—and noshing on the savory brunch burger. It’s truly la vie en rose.
While local, Californian cuisine is ubiquitous in Los Angeles, this sunny, no-frills neighborhood bistro offers a menu of quality, organic ingredients at moderate prices. The refreshingly simple burger ($10)—vegetarians can opt for the meat-free version—made with an organic beef patty, lettuce, tomato, bread and butter pickles, red onions and a buttery brioche bun reminds us of the best kind of backyard barbeque. Wash it down with crisp, craft beer like the Mendocino Scrimshaw Pilsner ($4.50), while soaking up the afternoon rays on the outdoor patio.
Suzanne Goin's elegantly rustic Brentwood gem serves up refined California local and its turkey burger ($17) is no exception. The Diestel Farm patty is dressed up with tomato confit on a buttery, housemade brioche bun. For pork lovers, there's Pork, Pork, Pork made with ground pork, bacon and smoky chorizo. Choose side salad, rosemary fries or off-the-menu onion rings—gluttons can order half fries and half rings. Get a Wake Up Call ($12)—Bulleit bourbon, baileys, espresso and hazelnut syrup—at one of the leather banquettes in the light-filled Atrium.
If God is in the details, then the burger at Abbot Kinney's hot spot Gjelina is downright heavenly. Despite long waits and the perpetual snooty hostess, the draw here is the food and Chef Travis Lett’s locavore menu delivers. A juicy Niman Ranch lamb patty ($15) with spicy harissa aioli, caramelized roasted tomato and arugula on a buttery brioche bun creates a delectable bite. Pair with parsley frites to mop up any fallen (and flavorful) casualties. Laze on the outdoor back patio and start brunch off right with a ginger-lime Pilsner as you bask in the good life.