Breakfast is the meal that launched a thousand trends: bacon, acai bowls, toast, brunch. Somehow, though, it’s managed to escape the hype/backlash cycle that’s dogged all of the above, hiding out and staying humble in the early, unglamorous hours of weekday mornings. Plenty of places that are madhouses come Sunday serve up the same thick-cut bacon and perfectly poached eggs—or kimchi and kasha—at 7:30am on a Tuesday, with way less of a wait. If you’re looking for a spot for a pre-work meeting, or just need a strong cup of coffee before you start a long day, here are our picks for the best breakfast restaurants in the city.
LA's 11 best breakfast restaurants
Gjusta is the kind of place that could make even the most die-hard eastsider think twice about relocating: the all-day café does everything from a brown rice and kimchi bowl to a loaded smoked fish breakfast sandwich that piles on your choice of cured fish with traditional cream cheese and capers, as well as radishes and sprouts. Their bread and bagels might be the best in the city; luckily, if you’re not a local, you can take loaves home with you—plus a pound or two of the pastrami-cured lox—to try to recreate the experience wherever you’re based.
The line at Sqirl is almost as legendary as what you order when you reach the front of it. Pro-tip: you can always call ahead for takeout, which allows you to head straight to the front when you arrive. Either way, chef Jessica Koslow’s Famed Ricotta Toast is worthy of its name, and the sorrel pesto rice bowl remains one of LA’s most uniquely delicious dishes (It gets even better if you add bacon.). Plus, Sqirl has some of the best non-coffee drinks in town: their chicory cloud done latte style is warm and sweet and soothing on cold days, and their turmeric tonic is a burst of bright citrusy freshness for the hot ones coming up.
Cofax is one of the few spots where even carnivores will voluntarily go veggie on occasion—it brings out the distinctive smoky potatoes in their breakfast burritos. The spuds get their smoke at nearby BBQ joint Bludso’s, giving them a rich, addictive flavor tailor-made to contrast the perfectly zing-y housemade salsas that come on the side. And, okay, ordering the meaty chorizo—or bacon—inside isn’t a bad move, either. The storefront has a few seats available, but it’s best to take your burrito to go. Coffee is from Stumptown, pastries from Donut Snob are available if you need dessert and there’s kombucha on tap to help you digest.
The weekend scene at Huckleberry can be intense, so it’s worth stopping by during the week to give yourself ample time to peruse the daily specials in the pastry case and decide whether you want to pair your tartine with a fruit-studded porridge bowl or something a little more savory, like pesto-y green eggs and ham. If you are in the mood for umami, it’s hard to go wrong with a breakfast sandwich that features the trinity of gruyere, aioli and Niman Ranch bacon, for the record.
Republique inhabits the old Campanile location on a blandly gray block of La Brea. Inside, though, the high-ceilinged space is light and airy, and the menu is pleasantly concise as well as surprisingly diverse. Classics like breakfast sandwiches, omelets and waffles are represented alongside modern must-haves: ricotta toast, shakshouka and fried rice with kimchi and short ribs—plus a well-stocked pastry case. Order at the counter and expect to wait in line after 9am, but there’s plenty of seating, service is fast and friendly, and the coffee is hot and strong.
The wait to order at Eggslut can rival what you’ll face at Sqirl, so come early if you’ve got somewhere to be. Alvin Cailan’s breakfast sandwiches are worth it, though: gorgeously messy flavor bombs that pair their namesake eggy goodness with sharp cheddar, smoked meat and sauces with a spicy bite. If you’re feeling bold you can order the Slut, a Mason jar’s worth of silky potatoes, coddled egg, chives and salt—and no matter what ends up on your plate, you’ll eat it surrounded by the early bustle of Downtown’s Grand Central Market, one of the city’s best food scenes.
Pann’s isn’t just another pretty face trying to make it in LA: its eye-catching '50s look might draw in first-timers, but the consistently high-quality food and service are what have kept crowds coming back since the spot opened up near LAX in 1958. Their chicken and waffles rival Roscoe’s, and hearty portions are just right to make sure you stay full no matter how long your flight.
Clementine is a tiny, relatively unassuming spot located across the expanse of Santa Monica Boulevard from the massive bulk of the Westfield Century City mall. Once you try their buttermilk biscuits, though, you’ll understand why it’s earned a reputation as a must-visit for locals and local businessmen alike. Those biscuits come two to an order with a side of butter, jam and honey, or as the bookends to a breakfast sandwich that features Tennessee country ham and a poached egg with melted cheddar. Be careful not to get any on your suit.
Avocado toast became a staple, and then a trend and bit of a joke. If you need to be reminded why it deserves all the hype, check out Sweet Butter’s simple version, which lets the dish’s classic qualities shine. They’ve got a café and market, so you can grab something to go if you’re in a hurry, or sit and linger at one of their charming outdoor tables.
Eat at Joe’s is a South Bay classic for a reason: you can come in every day and order what the Duke ate (two eggs over medium, cheese, Spanish sauce, home fries and a tortilla, plus sausage) or pick up one of their daily specials, including the Mad Dog, which makes new use of yesterday’s leftovers. The space is bright and friendly and always feels full of regulars, perhaps because picnic table-style seating encourages you to get to know your neighbors.
If you’ve got morning business to attend to in Downtown, Little Tokyo’s JiST Cafe is the place to go for a super hearty start to the day. Their chashu hash skillet reimagines the classic breakfast potatoes with bacon and eggs as a Japanese-inflected dish complete with sticky rice on the side; if you’re looking for something lighter, they’ve got granola bowls and a Mean Lean Scramble Machine. Pancakes are made with a crème fraiche batter and topped with everything from quarter-sized chocolate coins to more traditional strawberries and bananas. If it’s nice outside, there’s a back patio where you can sit and eat.