There’s a lot to like about brunch. There’s booze, probably some pancakes, and everybody’s in a better-than-usual mood because it’s the weekend. But brunch 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 at the end of your day, all you really want are some eggs and coffee and cheap champagne ASAP.
So skip the lines and head to any of these 14 spots where the wait times are minimal and the food is still exactly what your impatient body needs.
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? Hardly. But it’s also 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 serve some of the best restaurant coffee in LA.
Ten years ago, Lulu’s was one of the longest brunch waits in Beverly Grove. Crowds eventually moved on to newer places, but after a recent overhaul (both aesthetically and food-wise), it’s time to put Lulu’s back into your rotation. The menu has plenty of egg choices, there always seems to be a table available, and the sidewalk seating is one of the nicest in the area. In a neighborhood where brunch waits are counted by the hour, Lulu’s is an excellent option when you need food asap.
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 cornbread, steak and eggs, and pulled pork, there’s definitely a Southern feel to the menu, and that’s exactly what you need after a night of regrettable vodka decisions. The back patio is great (and shaded) and there’s a $15 bottomless mimosas situation.
Angelini Alimentari is the casual daytime sibling to the more upscale (and stupidly good) restaurant next door, Angelini Osteria. Where Osteria deals in lasagna and branzino, Alimentari is all about Italian coffee, pastries, frittatas, and some of the best gelato you’ll find in town. You order at the counter inside, and then go find a seat in the somewhat-quiet courtyard off to the side. There’s no alcohol, but the vibe is still very social and a great place to shake off last night without screaming 21-year-olds in your face. Despite the name recognition and extremely solid brunch food, Alimentari’s crowds have yet to hit fever pitch. They have a location downtown as well.
Best known as that bar in West Hollywood that seemingly clones Michael Kors models in the bathroom and programs them to socialize with you at the bar, The Hudson also has a brunch on the weekends that isn’t half bad. The Michael Kors clone army recedes back to their re-programming stations during the day, leaving the space on Santa Monica far more relaxed than what you’d find at night. The brunch menu is full of things you want to eat in the middle of a hangover, the brioche grilled cheese with short rib is a revelation, and there are $12 mimosa carafes. Happy Saturday.
While the rest of LA waits around for good (but not great) food on a very crowded patio at Alcove, your move is across the street at Mustard Seed. The tiny cafe doesn’t look like much from the outside, but their food is affordable, serving sizes are massive, and you might see a celebrity eating a club sandwich. This is one of those places that Los Feliz people love, but never talk about because they don’t actually want you going there and ruining it for them.
Abbot Kinney might be a brunch paradise, but if you don’t want to spend your day killing time trying on every pair of glasses in Warby Parker while you wait out a table, your choices are more limited. Except at Salt Air, which has recently become a kind of local’s clubhouse on this tourist-infested street. There’s a definite seafood focus (skip the lobster roll and go straight for the salmon rillette with everything bagel spice), but it’s also safe for those people who are scared of eating ocean animals. They should probably have the fried chicken sandwich.
Cafe Figaro is French to its core, except for the fact that they do a killer brunch - a meal that French people refuse to acknowledge the existence of. Maybe it’s because of this that you can walk right in and barely wait, or maybe it’s just that there are too many other brunch spots in Los Feliz to choose from. Either way - come here for oeufs many ways, crepes, carafes of mimosas, and a croissant breakfast sandwich that’s probably the best thing here. All of which can be had every day of the week.
The Ocean Park neighborhood of Santa Monica is everything downtown SM isn’t - full of locals instead of tourists, a place you can actually find parking, and home to non-chain restaurants. Local Kitchen is a total neighborhood spot where they do kinda fancy versions of classic brunch things (think brioche french toast, polenta with spicy sausage and eggs), but you’re here for the long list of brunch pizzas. You want the crispy prosciutto and burrata one.
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 $18 bottomless brunch deal that will definitely make sure you forget about that name too. 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. We like you Culver City, but you’re weird.
We have no idea why Odys and Penelope isn’t busier at brunch, but we’re also not complaining. They do things like a porchetta eggs benedict, a salmon salad, and a “McDonald’s-inspired” apple turnover, and getting a table is rarely an issue. Don’t feel like standing in line at Sycamore Kitchen and having to battle for a two-top to accommodate your five-person group? Walk a few doors down to Odys and you can sit the whole time and, more importantly, drink alcohol too.
The Larder is the kind of place you end up at when the text thread started at 10am with “Holy sh*t, I need food RN.” It’s casual enough that you can show up in stretchy pants, and you’ll also be able to get coffee into your system in record time. The breakfast toast with avocado, harissa, prosciutto, and poached eggs has your name on it.
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 for a comfort food brunch, from pancakes and omelettes to a beet salad and (for an unknown reason) hot wings. 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 feed yourself and nurse your pounding headache. And despite having one of the best breakfast burritos in the entire city, lines are never too terrible. Our go-to is definitely 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 your hangover, just go home and sleep until tomorrow because there’s no hope.