Aside from your go-to 3am McDonalds/Wendy’s/Panda Express/El Huero order, there isn’t a more important meal in a college student’s life than brunch. Because let’s get real - it’s Sunday morning and you need to bounce back from whatever it is you did last night. The only thing that matters right now is eggs and bacon and all the pancakes in your face.
But LA’s brunch scene is a massive one, with a lot of places that are actually pretty lousy. That’s where we come in. So put down that sad omelette and go achieve your true brunch glory. Here are the 14 best places to do so within a reasonable car ride/public transport trip away.
Eggslut317 S Broadway
Located in Grand Central Market, Eggslut is a quintessential LA brunch destination - just not one where you can expect to easily kick back and spend your entire Saturday. Lines are long from the second this food stand opens, and finding enough seats to push together at GCM can be difficult. That said, the hassle is worth it. Our move is always the bacon, egg, cheese sandwich, but frankly you can’t go wrong with anything.
There are plenty of reasons to go to Little Tokyo, but one that doesn’t always stick out is Jist Cafe. The tiny cafe might not stand out amongst the throngs of tourists waiting in line for ramen and uni udon, but make no doubt about it - this place is one of our favorite brunches downtown. Jist has been around since the 1940’s, but its new space is bright, relaxed, and the perfect spot to cure whatever ails you. The chashu hash skillet is a must-order.
Last night got a little wild - it happens. But now you need a greasy spoon diner like your life depends on it, so your move is Nickel Diner. This old-school spot in the heart of downtown has absolutely everything you need, from brioche French toast to short stacks to some of the best homemade donuts in town.
You skipped the parties last night, and instead drank some tea and went to bed early. Now you woke up feeling artsy and ready to take on the world. Or at least the part of LA you can easily get to from USC. Head right to Zinc Cafe in the Arts District and live your best bohemian life. The space itself is pretty massive, with everything from a full-scale restaurant to a laid-back courtyard to a bar to even a marketplace where you can get some food to bring back to your dorm. The food is good, but you come to Zinc to hang out, read a book, and leave your roommate drama behind.
Remember - you went to college in LA for a reason. To see it. So, get out of the campus bubble and head to Echo Park. The Eastside neighborhood is filled with great stuff these days, but nothing beats an afternoon lounging at Square One at the Echo Park lagoon. This second location of one of LA’s best brunch spots sits right at the water’s edge - ideal for hopping in a paddle boat afterwards and burning off some calories.
Sqirl isn’t just the most popular brunch spot in Los Angeles, it’s one of the most popular restaurants, period. Located on a fairly empty block of Silver Lake, this order-at-the-counter cafe will have lines up the street pretty much every day of the week, but trust us when we say it’s worth it. The sorrel pesto rice bowl and brioche toast not only will look great on your Instagram, they taste unbelievable too. Seats are limited so when you see one, snag it.
Woke up in the same clothes you went out in? Grab your nearest friend and head straight to Millie’s. This Silver Lake landmark has been serving greasy, life-saving brunch for over 90 years and shows no signs of stopping. Expect everything from omelettes to breakfast burritos to something they call the Devil’s Mess - coincidentally the same nickname your friends gave you last night. This isn’t the best food on the list, but Millie’s is a place that’s always there when you need it.
You’re feeling fancy. You’re done with the mediocre pancakes and hash browns you eat every other weekend, and looking to change it up. Perch is the kind of place where you can feel all grown up - and not have to spend all your savings to do so. Located on a 16th-floor rooftop overlooking downtown, Perch is the kind of place you never even thought existed in LA. There’s live jazz music, outdoor fire pits, and a solid French-tinged menu for all your brunch needs.
One of the few solid brunch spots that’s actually within walking distance of campus, we’ll be frank here - Bacaro LA is a sh*tshow. $15 will get you bottomless mimosas, sangrias, Bloody Marys, bellinis, and screwdrivers for 90 minutes, so things are bound to get sloppy. Also important: the food is actually pretty good.
Commissary might just be the most LA-ish brunch in the whole city. For starters, it’s in an actual greenhouse. A greenhouse that sits on the pool deck of one of LA’s best hotels (The Line) in one of its coolest neighborhoods (Koreatown). It can be a scene at times, but a scene you tolerate because the food is great and the vibe is way more low-key than you’d ever expect.
Sometimes Sunday morning hits harder than normal and your sense of adventure is low. Make moves to Jacks N Joe - the all-day breakfast staple and the kind of place that’s always there when you need it. Is it the best food on this list? No. Is it the probably the closest thing to you right now? Most likely. And that’s simply what matters in times like these. Just remember - they close up shop at 2pm and lines can get a little crazy.
Good news: the subway to the ocean is now a thing and that means you can get to Santa Monica on the weekend without having to cry your way through the 10 Freeway’s traffic. Santa Monica is ripe with excellent brunch spots, but one of our favorites that often gets overlooked is M Street Cafe. Only a few minutes walk from the train stop, M Street is a casual brunch option far away from the hoards of Promenade tourists with good food, a relaxed atmosphere, and a location only two blocks from the beach.
Poppy + Rose tends to get somewhat lost in the DTLA brunch shuffle, but make no doubt about it - this place needs to be a permanent fixture on your go-to list. The casual downtown cafe is serving the kind of simple, no-frills breakfast you simply don’t find a lot of in LA. Everything from the fried chicken and waffles to the eggs benedict is worth ordering, and if you can’t make it out of bed today, we have even better news - they deliver.
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