The Eastside Brunch Guide
photo credit: Holly Liss
The neighborhoods that make up LA’s Eastside have long been among the city’s best areas for brunch. Chalk it up to a dense population of all-day cafes or its residents’ unrelenting urge to find the purest form of egg white, but you can’t walk 10 yards on the Eastside without stumbling past an above-average veggie scramble.
Brunch in these neighborhoods can get overwhelming (and extremely crowded), so we’re here to make sure you and your friends actually enjoy yourselves. Here are the 30 best brunches on the Eastside for weekend glory.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
If watered-down Champagne and eggs benedict aren’t really your speed, then head to Azay. This charming family-run restaurant serves the only traditional Japanese breakfast in Los Angeles proper, a simple set meal of rice, miso soup, pickles, and some type of broiled fish that’s always flakey and charred in the right places. When eaten individually, these disparate dishes may seem insignificant, but together, create a combination of flavors akin to a Samin Nosrat cookbook - salty, fatty, acidic, and a little bit of heat.
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photo credit: Jakob Layman
Rappahhonnock is a fantastic oyster and seafood bar serving sweet, succulent mollusks from the Chesapeake Bay. Is it housed at the Row DTLA, a massive industrial complex that used to be an old American Apparel factory? Absolutely. But this all-day restaurant is by far the best place to eat there, with a central location right off the main entrance plus oyster po’boys, lobster rolls, and cheddar biscuits with so much cheese, they give off a beautiful golden glow.
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After a rather brunch-less year, Redbird is back with a brand-new weekend menu. Located in an old, abandoned church in Downtown LA (trust us, it’s more beautiful than it sounds and not at all a subplot on American Horror Story), Redbird is serving brunch dishes like lamb belly hash and kaya toast smothered in spicy cashew spreads and coconut custard, as well as buttermilk biscuits and duck confit chilaquiles.
The closest we’ve been to a tropical vacation over the last year was a particularly harrowing night spent staring at the old beach screensavers. If you’ve had a similar experience (we hope you haven’t), head to Manuela. Located right in the middle of the Arts District (and housed within an art gallery), this Southern restaurant just launched a new tropical garden brunch, complete with barbecued oysters, cast-iron cornbread, and grilled yellowtail, as well as vacation-ready cocktails like orange sangria and gimlets made with cucumber and mint.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
Every Monday through Saturday, you’ll find Macheen slinging tacos filled with bone-in short rib, hibiscus slaw, and an eight-hour-braised skate wing at Milpa Grille in Boyle Heights. After operating as a pop-up all over town, owner and chef Jonathan Perez took over the small Mexican restaurant in the mornings and continues to drop some of the most unique, colorful, and quite honestly joyful tacos around.
There’s just something about sitting on a patio in Los Feliz, nursing a spritz, and digging into a creamy risotto that screams “my life is a movie.” This tiny French café is an ideal place to spend the morning chatting with friends about how the weather’s been and your theories on the upcoming season of Succession. You’ll definitely want one of their excellent espresso drinks plus a few pastries and a very cheesy spinach and Gruyere omelette.
All Time looks like it could be any other Eastside cafe with a big patio, but it has much better food than most other Eastside cafes with big patios. The menu is pretty simple, but we don’t always need flowers on our avocado toast and sous vide eggs - sometimes bacon, eggs, and fantastic roasted mushrooms are more than enough. Plus, they aren’t going to hurry you off that shady patio, so it’s a great place for a lazy Sunday morning pretending you’re the kind of person who reads the paper.
photo credit: Jakob Layman
You may already be familiar with Maury’s, a bagel pop-up that used to always sell out at Dinosaur Coffee and the Hollywood Farmer’s Market. Now it’s gone permanent in Silver Lake, and it’s better than ever. The fresh bagels are very good, but the real star is the fish they cure in-house. We like the whitefish salad and traditional Nova lox, but our absolute favorite is the ikura (red caviar), served open-face with cucumbers and dill. Despite lines out the door, things move quickly, so even if you’re hungover and grumpy, you’ll still be very happy. Seating options are limited, so make sure you grab a spot at one of the picnic tables outside if you can.
Last night’s Echoplex outing got a little sloppy and you woke up with three separate “Tristan”s in your phone. Time for breakfast tacos at HomeState. The order-at-the-counter Tex-Mex spot has a constant line, but they also manage it extremely efficiently. If you can’t deal with interacting with other humans, you can also place your order online ahead of time and it’ll be there waiting for you and your hangover.
We love Mustard Seed for several reasons. For starters, the only people who go here live around here, meaning you get to bypass the hordes of aggressive weekend warriors. Second, the food is excellent. And lastly, you’ll probably see at least one cast member of It’s Always Sunny eating eggs. This is a true neighborhood spot that’ll never disappoint.
photo credit: Jessie Clapp
Some people may think the words “gluten-free” and “vegan” have no business in baked goods. But those people are wrong, and obviously have never been to Just What I Kneaded. Besides excellent puns, this bright and airy Frogtown shop serves dairy-free scones, cookies, turnovers, and galettes, many of which are also GF. Expect giant cinnamon rolls that come with what feels like a pound of icing, and their signature Poptarts decorated with horoscope designs.
It should come as no surprise that one of LA’s best patios also plays host to a pretty phenomenal brunch. It's basically the exact same menu as dinner, which means plenty of tasty tacos, quesadillas, and big plates of meat. Important: they do brunch on weekdays as well.
Completely bored of every brunch place on the Eastside? Go to Spoke Bicycle Cafe. Located right on the LA River bike path in Frogtown, this tiny spot started out as an actual bike shop, but has morphed into an outdoor cafe/community hangout that’s unlike anywhere else in the city. You order off the short (and vegan-friendly) menu at the indoor counter and then sit at one of the big picnic tables outside, scarf down some ricotta toast, watch the cyclists come in and out, and listen to a live band playing in the corner.
El Cochinito took a strip mall in Silver Lake and turned it into a day in Havana: there’s a light breeze on the patio, string lights sway overhead, and old regulars chit chat amongst themselves while nursing ice-cold lagers. Although there is no formal brunch menu here, this classic Cuban restaurant has tons of great food, ideal for being consumed while hungover. Their pollo empanizado - a deep-fried chicken dish served with maduros - is a standout and there’s an award-winning Cubano, plus an excellent wine and beer program.
You can always rely on Casita Del Campo, a classic Mexican restaurant and historic queer space on Hyperion Ave, for a good time and brunch is no exception. It’s available daily and only costs $23 - you’ll choose an entrée (think chile rellenos, steak and eggs, or carnitas simmered in garlic and oranges), plus either a house margarita, Bloody Mary, or mimosa. Pair this with a sunny morning and their gorgeous outdoor patio, and you might end up asking a server if you can live here forever.
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This soul food restaurant serves brunch like you’d have it in the South - biscuits and gravy, shrimp and grits, maple bacon, and chicken and waffles pack the menu. The twist? It’s all vegan. In May 2021, chef Velvet Jacobs turned her plant-based pop-up into a restaurant and now offers some of the best soul food around. If it’s your first time here, get the soul plate - it comes with all the heavy hitters, like plant-based chicken, shrimp, unbelievably creamy mac and cheese, cornbread, collard greens, and sweet candied yams for dessert.
photo credit: Andrea D'Agosto
You’ll find this all-day restaurant (get it? No really, do you get it?) in a bright-red building on Sunset Blvd slinging hot chicken sandwiches and breakfast burritos the size of newborns. It’s definitely one of the livelier places to grab a meal in Silver Lake, filled with chic-looking families with young children and Gen Z-ers wearing sunglasses that are too small for their face. Order the ADB biscuit sandwich - it comes with scrambled eggs, cheese, bacon or sausage, and is slathered in their signature strawberry jam.
If your preferred vision of brunch includes sunbathing by the pool, perhaps it’s time to book a reservation at Marco Polo. The sunny Mediterranean/seafood/Italian-ish (there’s a lot going on here) restaurant is attached to the Silver Lake Pool & Inn and is a great place to spend a Saturday afternoon while pretending you’re in Naples and chugging Aperol spritzes. Their brunch menu is short and sweet, packed with caprese bruschetta, Italian sausage paired with hash browns, and oysters served on the half shell.
The fact that there’s now a restaurant that says they believe “healthful cooking can be vibrant, creative, and wildly satisfying” means we’ve hit peak Silver Lake. But the good news is peak Silver Lake still means food you actually want to get out of bed for. Botanica is located on Silver Lake Blvd a few blocks from the reservoir and is the kind of bright, airy cafe you only thought existed in Katherine Heigl movies. But it’s real, and its produce-focused menu is the brunch you need after that 2am burrito last night. Get the Turkish eggs and a side of bacon.
This list has plenty of new spots, but few compete with one of the oldest brunches of them all: Millie’s. The 90-year-old breakfast landmark has been curing LA’s hangovers since prohibition, with everything from omelets to benedicts to burritos to something they call the Devil’s Mess. It’s an Eastside classic that’s always there when you just need eggs in front of your face ASAP.
Sazón is permanently closed
photo credit: Matt Gendal
One of the Eastside’s hottest new places for brunch is Sazon, a Huntington Park restaurant specializing in Mexican street food. Things here get turned up to a 10 on the weekends, which is when you’ll witness queer Latinx DJs spinning soul tracks, tropical dance hall day parties, and Selena sing-alongs. So grab your most colorful outfit and a comfortable pair of shoes, then get ready to dance while enjoying pozole verde, chilaquiles, and chorizo-stuffed breakfast burritos.
Yes, the sandwiches at Angry Egret Dinette are technically tortas, but they’re also so much more than that. Much like Baby in Dirty Dancing, you can’t box Wes Avila’s (the former chef at Guerilla Tacos) creations into a specific corner. This Chinatown shop packs sandwiches with pretty much anything your brain can think up. Deep-fried Baja shrimp? Yes. Short ribs marinated in a beef au jus? That’s right. What about gyro beef smothered in American cheese or shiitake mushrooms and home fries? Yes and yes! Grab a seat on their colorful patio and consider trying one of each.
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photo credit: Jakob Layman
Not all restaurants can say they served as a set piece in Rush Hour (or paint that fact onto the side of their building), but not every restaurant is Foo Chow. Located on Hill St., this Chinatown restaurant has had star power since the 1990’s - but unlike most big shots from that era, theirs hasn’t dimmed a single watt. They’ve added a beautiful al fresco patio to their courtyard, where you’ll eat Chinese favorites like sweet & sour fish and wonton soup in the shadow of their large, jade green building and beneath a million swaying red paper lanterns.
photo credit: Andrea D'Agosto
Brunch doesn’t always mean long lines, drunk college kids, and Hollandaise sauce for as far as the eye can see. Sometimes, it can look like a quiet meal in an idyllic Chinatown plaza that makes you feel ultra-sophisticated. At Steep, a peaceful tea shop on N. Broadway, you’ll find some of our favorite Chinese and Taiwanese comfort dishes around, like vegan bean curd noodles and Hainan chicken rice served on gorgeous handmade ceramics.
Friends & Family is a neighborhood spot that doesn’t have any kind of brunch scene, but does have very good eggs and baked goods. At one table, you might see people catching up over pancakes, right next to roommates slowly consuming patty melts to bring themselves back to life. If you’ve just moved from Chicago to Los Feliz and feel like you haven’t found your go-to Sunday morning spot yet, head here and order that patty melt and the olive oil fried eggs.
Square One Dining is permanently closed
Square One has been around for years and is still the Eastside’s best option for a simple, quality morning meal. They’re open until 3pm and lines can get long here on the weekends, so try to beat the rush if you can. The original location on Fountain Ave. will always be our favorite, but the newer Square One on Hyperion in Silver Lake has the same great food and is order-at-the-counter if you don’t have all day. Eating the brioche French toast is a religious experience.
In what might just be the most oxygen-filled set-up in town, Lady Byrd Cafe has placed plant-filled greenhouses around every table, ensuring maximum English garden aesthetics. Couple that with a menu that includes breakfast burritos, bolognese, and fresh green juices, and this all-day cafe in Echo Park might just have as good of a patio as you’ll ever find.
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Super Rich is permanently closed
This Japanese onigiri shop makes lunch feel like visiting an art gallery - picturesque rice balls come decorated with ikura, rimmed with black sesame seeds, or coyly covered with shiso leaves like a snack version of Adam and Eve. There are a few heftier items on the menu, like chicken curry and salmon donburi, but we prefer to stick with the classics, like spicy tuna onigiri and kimchi fried chicken.
Cafe Birdie is permanently closed
Cafe Birdie is a place you should go whether you’re a Highland Park local or it’s your first Saturday on York Street. There’s not usually a wait for brunch, and the room is nice enough that you could bring your mom here for birthday brunch, but not so nice that you can’t just show up after a Sunday morning hike. We like the shakshuka and the biscuits and gravy, and their lamb breakfast - flatbread with lamb, harissa, and an egg. And their spicy Bloody Marys.
Lemon Poppy Kitchen is a small cafe in a Glassell Park strip mall that serves Romanian breakfast staples like housemade pastries, meat-filled sandwiches, and planchitas - flatbreads stuffed with everything from feta and dill to bacon and cheddar. See you there.