There’s a lot to like about brunch. There are pancakes and mimosas, and everybody being in a better-than-usual mood because it’s the weekend. But it can also be a complete and total pain in the ass. If you didn’t think to get a reservation, or you aren’t out of bed and at a restaurant by 9am, your Saturday is going to be spent waiting in long lines with every other hungover person who didn’t get their sh*t together. And all you really want are some eggs and coffee and cheap champagne anyway. So skip the lines and head to any of these 16 spots where the wait times are minimal and the food is still exactly what you need.
This seafood spot at the Row in Downtown LA is a great place for a last-minute casual brunch outside. Despite having one of the best patios in DTLA, things stay pretty calm here (maybe because Smorgasburg next door is getting so much attention). That just means more lobster Benedict or shrimp and grits for you. And oysters - which, like the wine you’re going to be drinking, are appropriate for any meal, if you really believe.
There are only a few traditional “brunch” items at Jame, but we’ll take any chance we have to eat their handmade pastas. Before we get to those - be sure to get the lemon ricotta pancakes and the buttermilk fried chicken sandwich, which comes on a bacon-parmesan biscuit and is as rich and perfect as Amal and George Clooney’s marriage. Now, about those pastas. We always go for the spicy rigatoni, the ricotta cavatelli, or the capellini in a simple (but fantastic) 36-hour tomato sauce, but the specials are always great, too, so make sure to locate the little chalkboard that lists them and go nuts. It’s brunch, after all.
Orsa & Winston is an expensive tasting-menu spot Downtown from the same people as Bar Amaand Baco Mercat. But for brunch, you can order a la carte, and get the fish plate with four different kinds of house-smoked fish, souffle pancakes, and a chicken katsu sandwich all at the same meal. Their sake Bloody Mary is also one of the best in town, and we challenge you to not drink more than one.
Scopa is a good Westside party restaurant at dinner - but at brunch, it might be even better. Because no matter how late you decide that today’s a good day to get drunk while you eat eggs, there will probably be a table available at Scopa. The Italian-ish menu isn’t going to blow you away, but it’s still good - we recommend the ricotta and huckleberry blintzes, or the soft eggs with Italian sausage. But you’re here for the excellent brunch cocktails anyway. The Mezcal Mary is a very good take on the traditional brunch cocktail, and the same great Old Fashioned from the dinner menu is also available, if you’re looking for something stronger.
An upscale spot in Pasadena, Bone Kettle’s Southeast Asian brunch is ideal when you have no interest in waiting in line. Their namesake bone broth with prime rib is especially good if you’re hungover, but we like some of the other stuff on the menu even more. The sisig hash with pork belly has a nice hit of vinegar, and the confit duck with pandan waffles has a fantastic black pepper honey sauce on top, and is one of the most interesting brunch dishes around.
Throw a succulent anywhere in Los Angeles and you’ll probably hit a coffee shop with good food. Doubting Thomas is one of the newer options, but this quiet spot in Historic Filipinotown is doing more than just fancy toast and poached eggs. They also make excellent breakfast burritos, biscuit sandwiches, and pastries - plus, they have a great side patio where you can eat all of those things.
Cheviot Hills is known less for restaurants and more for big houses and an even bigger golf course. But that’s exactly why there aren’t really any crowds at Food. It’s a low-key spot with a huge chalkboard menu, filled with egg and sausage breakfast plates and a great bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich. When all you’re really looking for is food and coffee that makes it into your body as soon as humanly possible, this is a good bet - service is fast, and your coffee will never be more than halfway finished before they refill it.
If you could care less about a brunch scene and just need any version of an egg in front of you as fast as possible, King’s Road is your Holy Grail. Is this the best brunch food in LA? No. But it’s pretty solid and affordable, and there’s a good chance you’ll see Jane Lynch eating an omelette. This is the definition of a neighborhood brunch spot, where people simply go to eat breakfast and not be seen. Important: They also serve some of the best restaurant coffee in LA.
Somehow, your quiet brunch turned into something involving every friend/kid/dog you know, and now you’re looking for space to accommodate all of them. Spoke is a bicycle shop and all-day restaurant with an enormous patio, a great breakfast sandwich, and one of the best veggie burgers in LA. It’s right on the LA River bike path, which will let you look out at the “river,” drink a beer and a coffee while the kids play with the dogs, and admire people that get up early on Saturdays to go on bike rides.
Eating at the OP Cafe feels like having breakfast at a beachside B&B - there’s a heavy nautical theme, the walls are covered with old photos of the city and its residents, and the staff is incredibly friendly. While there’s no alcohol (turns out your B&B hosts are on the conservative side), the food at this tiny, daytime-only Santa Monica spot is breakfast classics done very well. And you can usually get in without waiting long (or at all).
Idle Hour remains the best spot to grab a drink in the Valley. But this kitschy, bar-inside-a-giant-barrel also does a good weekend brunch that doesn’t get too crazy because all of their patrons are still at home sleeping. With biscuit sliders and cheesy breakfast grits, there’s a Southern feel to the menu, and that’s exactly what you need after a night of regrettable decisions. The back patio is shaded and there’s a $15 bottomless mimosas situation, too.
Yes, this Culver City spot has a terrible name. But it’s also a place where we can get steak frites and/or crepes for brunch, so it’s the kind of thing we’re willing to move past. They also do an $16 bottomless brunch deal that might make you forget a few more things. This is one of the least corporate-feeling restaurants in downtown Culver, but somehow you can roll in on a Saturday and sit right down.
People of Los Feliz: Messhall is always there for your weekend brunching needs. The space is big and sort of on its own on Los Feliz Blvd., so getting a seat is rarely a problem. More importantly, the menu is enormous and involves almost anything you could want from a comfort food brunch, from pancakes and omelettes to a beet salad. Hike it all off in Griffith Park afterwards. Or, you know, just get another round.
Sometimes you wake up needing a breakfast burrito and your body won’t listen to you until it gets one. When that day arrives, head straight to Cofax. The tiny order-at-the-counter spot along Fairfax isn’t as much a brunch spot as it is a place to reintroduce yourself to the land of the living. And despite having one of the best breakfast burritos in the entire city, lines are never too terrible. Our go-to is the chorizo burrito, but their vegetarian is pretty excellent as well. If sitting inside with a burrito and a cup of coffee doesn’t cure you, just go home and sleep until tomorrow, because there’s no hope.