RECOMMENDED: Best coffee shops in LA
Let's establish, first, that Cofax Coffee Shop is just as much about the burritos as it is about the coffee. Don't get us wrong: the Stumptown coffee they brew is excellent, and their draft cold brew is a refreshing summer afternoon treat. But their burritos? Hot damn. Both a chorizo and a veggie version are offered throughout the day, and the chorizo option (our favorite) features chunks of smoked potato, chorizo, cheese and eggs in one tightly wrapped and lightly grilled tortilla. You can take it to go or eat it at Cofax's narrow counter, where fellow diners might be devouring their own burrito like it's the last one they'll ever eat.
Did you think that $10 was too much for a juice? That's chump change compared to the $20 juice—called, fittingly, The Twenty Dollar Juice—at Andante Coffee Roasters. The coffee shop at the corner of Beverly and Fairfax offers coffee, tea and juices, including the aforementioned splurge which features royal jelly, bee pollen, and something called a cream party (we're not going to ask). Save your money and buy a coffee instead, made from beans that Andante roasts in Koreatown, and settle in to one of the large, communal tables in the airy space. Prefer a little more privacy? The window-facing counter is great for watching shoppers on their way to The Grove.
Items like the free-range chicken salad sandwich, brioche French toast and shakshuka are all made with local and seasonal ingredients, while the rest of the cafe's offerings (coffee beans sourced from Intelligentsia, Ecco Caffe and Coava; pastries brought in by Cake Monkey and Sweets for the Soul) continue the locavore feel. An upstairs gift shop, curated by the owner's wife and daughter, as well as an adjacent dance studio, add to the vibrant scene.
Intelligentsia coffee, Bouchon pastries and Fonut donuts fuel this uber-chic coffeehouse, which also offers free Wi-Fi. Formerly the Sonora Cafe, it's been completely transformed into a capacious, monochrome space with an art-gallery vibe, white-ceiling rafters, a white fireplace and an LED-lit peace-sign sculpture behind the counter. The counter staff is super-friendly with a laid-back style—imagine hunky men cranking out artisanal coffee served on a white, square paper napkin and accompanied by animal crackers—but the music is hit or miss. Baked goods, soups, sandwiches and all sorts of beverages are available for purchase, which makes Graffiti an excellent place to work, but take note: No outside food (not even water bottles) are permitted.
Squeezed in next to Short Cake at the Original Farmer's Market, Single Origin Coffee serves up the perfect accompaniment to the bakery's cookies, muffins and brownies—a cup of quality coffee. Order at Short Cake's counter, choosing from a selection of espressos, hand- or machine-brewed coffee, 24-hour cold brew (coffee comes from Santa Cruz-based Verve Coffee Roasters) or even a TCHO hot chocolate. Prices can be a tad steep for some drinks—the chai latte is a whopping $4.75—but stopping to enjoy a cup while watching shoppers at this legendary farmers' market is time well spent.
It may be hard at first to notice Mama's Secret when it's so close to the always-crowded (and understandably so) Joan's on Third. But don't discount this Turkish treasure, a charming little cafe offering Mediterranean food along with breakfast pastries, crepes, salads, and a slew of coffee and tea (including, of course, the Turkish variety). Try the behemoth Chocolate Leigois, a take on hot chocolate that includes a gravity-defying mound of whipped cream, or enjoy a cup of tea (they have beautiful teacups, too) on their shaded patio. For something more substantial, Mama's Secret offers one of the best Turkish breakfasts in town.
Nancy Silverton is credited with single-handedly introducing Angelenos to the joys of the fresh, flavorsome loaf. Now La Brea Bakery's newest home on the corner of La Brea and 6th Street—which opened during its 25-year anniversary— is larger than ever, accommodating space for not just large lunch groups, but lone diners looking to sit at the marble counter top while indulging in coffee and a pastry. While you're in line for an iced coffee (which gets you free refills), it'll be hard to ignore the rows of glazed cookies and fruit-filled tarts that stare up at you from under the glass counter. So treat yourself, order one, and take it to the coffee bar or outside patio where you can relax for a moment or two.
For a coffee shop that delivers a caffeine fix while perusing art, look no further than C+M at LACMA. C+M is Coffee + Milk, both of which they sell alongside nostalgic throwbacks like pop tarts and Oreo cookies. Of course, being the Patina Group—chef Josh Graves also does pastry for the museum's Ray's and Stark Bar—you won't find ordinary retro favorites; instead, Intelligensia is served with Clover milk and must-try handheld pies are buttery and refined. There's also hand-blended milkshakes—adults can request theirs spiked—and one of the best chocolate chip cookies around.
Doing brunch with the best of them, Cafe Picfair serves morning must-haves like Croque Madame, eggs Benedict, turkey omelets and breakfast croissants to bleary-eyed Angelenos. Baskets full of pastries are paraded under a glass counter, but get there early—these beauties sell out fast. If you've come for the coffee, there's plenty to go around: an iced caramel latte is a highlight, as are the beautifully made mocha lattes. Stop by after work and you might get lucky with a poetry slam or open mic night.