You’ve organized the gang, packed the cooler and umbrellas, and strategized about which patch of sand will be least crowded today. You finally get to the beach, and then you realize - you forgot to eat anything this morning, and all that’s available is the half-eaten bag of almonds you found at the bottom of your bag. Next time, stop for brunch beforehand. Not only will you not be a rage-filled monster upon arrival, but you’ll also have enough mimosas to blame your hour-long nap on the booze, not on the fact that you take one every day.
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MB Post might not be drive-from-North-Hollywood-worthy anymore, but if you’re planning a day of beach volleyball (or, more accurately, watching beautiful people take beach volleyball way too seriously) in Manhattan Beach, it should be your first stop. The menu is long and packed with things like ricotta french toast, but whatever you do, make sure you get involved with the bacon cheddar biscuits.
Uncle Bill's Pancake House
If MB Post is new-school Manhattan Beach, Uncle Bill’s is as old-school as it gets. This local’s spot has been open for 55 years, and still gets pretty long waits on the weekend. Don’t expect craft cocktails and creative uses of avocado - you’re here for giant stacks of pancakes, with a side order of waffles. Bonus: a pretty awesome ocean view.
The secret best beach in LA is Dockweiler in Playa Del Rey, and your reward for knowing this fact is pre-ocean brunch at Playa Provisions. Ignore the counter up front, head for the dining room, and ask for a spot on the patio. Order the crab benedict and then sweat it off in the sand.
Driving down to Playa Del Rey is like driving straight into the ’70s beach town you wish you lived in - everybody waves at each other and uses ‘dude’ unironically. And it doesn’t get more PDR than Cafe Milan, the basic (in a good way) breakfast spot in a mini-mall where you can eat your breakfast burrito on the sunny front patio, and contemplate relocating to the past.
There’s only one thing you really need to know about 26 Beach, which is that they have a 20-item long French toast section of the menu. Said section includes everything from the kind-of-classy sounding Lemon Curd to the not-classy-sounding Hot Fudge Sundae French toast. If (for some unknown reason) you’re skipping all of that, there are also things called pasta scrambles (yep, scrambled eggs plus pasta that should be ordered at your own risk), or regular breakfast items like a half rack of ribs with scrambled eggs. 26 Beach is not at all low-key, and you should not be mad about that.
There’s no shortage of options on the menu at The Rose, which is good because you’ll probably have been waiting outside for a while before you sit down. Once you’re seated though, you’ll be surrounded by every beautiful person in Venice that’s not at Gjusta and many opportunities to break your weeklong healthy-eating streak. This can be done in a number of ways, from the chorizo scramble to just throwing the towel in and getting carbonara for brunch. Good thing the sand is a nice place for a nap.
If you feel like a kinda-fancy brunch, but don’t want to wait a million years or be subjected to a too-clever take on avocado toast, head to Chez Tex. The bare brick walls, natural light, and glasses of rosé will still be pleasing to your eyeballs, but there’s no scene that usually accompanies such optics. For food, you could order the granola or toasted quinoa salad, but we’d recommend getting the burger.
The Anchor, at the Venice end of Main St., is completely unpretentious and also completely filled with locals. They do an excellent bottomless deal ($16 for 90 minutes of mimosas, micheladas, and soju bloodys), and the biscuits and gravy are the real deal.
Maybe you don’t want to wait an hour for eggs, or drink champagne at 11am and then fall asleep by 12:30pm. Skip brunch and have breakfast at Wexler’s Santa Monica instead. You should be ordering the Uncle Leo, and you should definitely get a slice of babka to-go. You’ll need sustenance for the five-block walk to the beach.
If you accidentally were out until 4am, but have been bullied into a day at Zuma, follow the trail of Pepperdine students to Lily’s for your pre-beach breakfast burrito needs. It’s three eggs and a whole lot of refried beans, but maybe you should get an extra one to eat on the sand later too just in case.
The brunch menu at Ollo is short, but manages to run the gamut from “I just came back from Canyon Ranch and only eat fruits” to “Give me all of the butter.” Which basically sums up Malibu. We tend to just split the difference and get the chilaquiles. Pico De Gallo counts as a vegetable.