You’ve made it through the workweek without deviating from your healthy eating plan. Acai bowls for balanced breakfasts, salads for lunch, and grain bowls for dinner. Five days in you’re feeling pretty damn proud of yourself. But then you realize it’s about to be the weekend, and that means brunch.
Trying to get through brunch without consuming a giant stack of pancakes, two large potatoes in hashbrown form, a heap of bacon, or all of the above. But it’s not impossible. Next time the group text about the plan for Sunday morning arrives and you want to keep your healthy eating streak going, take charge and suggest one of these spots with plenty of healthy breakfast options.
The Westside is home to a lot of boring healthy brunch spots as well as plenty of places where you can party over champagne and eggs benedict. Little Prince manages to fall somewhere in the middle. That means you’ll find couples who definitely worked out already eating brown rice porridge and breakfast salads, but also groups of people drinking kimchi Bloody Marys and eating patty melts.
If you want health, order Highly Likely’s Saltie sandwich. It’s filled with a delicious mix of pickled eggs and raw, roasted, and pickled vegetables. If you’re not a sandwich person, there’s always the Japanese breakfast bowl or halloumi salad. This West Adams cafe is generally pretty crowded, but you should be able to find a seat between someone having coffee with their laptop and a family enjoying a post-soccer game brunch.
The OG LA healthy-ish brunch spot, Sqirl has you covered with all the alternative grain bowls your heart desires. The sorrel rice pesto bowl is the classic move, but the brown rice porridge or braised chickpeas are excellent alternatives when you’re back for the 10th time this year. You will be lining up for an eternity on weekends (and then hovering for a table), but heads up: the menu is the same during the week too.
Triniti is a coffee shop with excellent food where you can show up after a morning run to drink your coffee and hang out with people reading actual printed newspapers. The brunch menu at this Echo Park spot involves a lot of very vegetable-y things like a fantastic little gem salad with an XO sauce we’d do shots of, and greens with eggs and potatoes.
Even the diner in your hometown has a grain bowl now, and it’s probably perfectly edible. Hilltop makes one that you’re going to look forward to eating. This big cafe in View Park-Windsor Hills usually has a mix of people working and less-productive people recovering from the night before, and everyone’s eating grain bowls. The Soul Bowl with shrimp and the curried yam-filled Superfood Bowl are our favorites.
This coffee shop from the future recently started opening on weekends, so now you don’t have to come up with excuses about your sick cat to eat here. Destroyer is like a zen oasis in the middle of an industrial part of Culver City, except here they have a coffee machine that probably doubles as controls for a rocket ship. The menu of eggs, salads, and rice porridge sounds pretty standard, but when the food arrives at the table, it looks like an art project. If you think raw oatmeal is a terrible idea, one bite of Destroyer’s version will prove you wrong.
Restaurants owned by nutritionists usually involve food that’s best suited for pet gerbils, but Honey Hi is different. This place is bright and airy, and a good place to come when you’re eating with two vegetarians and someone that recently developed a gluten allergy. There’s a green curry bowl with great turkey meatballs in a coconut-y sauce, and an actually-interesting avocado toast with lots of herbs and sweet potato.
We’re not always sure that what we’re eating at The Butcher’s Daughter, the wellness blog fever dream come to life on Abbot Kinney, is in fact healthy, but they sure do an excellent job at pretending it is. If you’re playing it safe, go for one of the bowls or the tacos verdes (with lettuce leaves subbing in for tortillas). The cauliflower grits are tasty as well, if only potentially good for you.
L&E is our classic last-minute date night move, but turns out it’s just as perfect the next morning for brunch too, and loses none of its romantic charm. If you’re aiming for the world record of most salads eaten in a week, L&E’s smoked trout salad is a great way to keep your green streak going. And if your partner in brunch needs fried things to be able to deal with their day, there’s a fried oyster omelette with their name on it.
Vegan brunch can be kind of a bummer, mostly due to lacking the three main food groups of brunch: eggs, bacon, and butter. But at Plant on Abbot Kinney you probably won’t notice any of this, especially when you’re sitting on the gorgeous back patio. Obviously there’s a grain bowl, but there are also chickpea fritters, smoked tofu florentine, and if things are serious, a very good mushroom sandwich. You won’t even miss the eggs.
If you’re gluten-free and sick of being offered cardboard masquerading as toast, or having to eat your eggs with a side of nothing, get to Hugo’s. This might be an unapologetic “health” restaurant, but it’s also been around since the 70s, is not at all pretentious, and is actually very tasty. Almost everything can be made gluten-free, and there’s a dish called Almond Energy Pancakes which have to be healthier than regular pancakes.
You might think of Blu Jam as that place you go for extreme-hangover pancakes on a Sunday morning, but they also have an entire section of their brunch menu titled “Healthy & Fitness.” This Valley staple (with another location in Hollywood) is clearly happy to diversify. Go simple with granola, or channel your inner Crossfit addict with the giant Power House of scrambled egg whites, spinach, tomatoes, and chicken breasts.
Amara Kitchen in Highland Park doesn’t just have a couple of healthy dishes stuck between fried things. Their entire menu is focused on stuff that’s actually good for you. You should be ordering the paleo pancakes, but they also do creative things with eggs, like serving them with coleslaw, squash, avocado, and pesto. The space itself is pretty bare bones and service can be slow, but for a low-key Eastside brunch, Amara is a very virtuous choice.
Kitchen Mouse is the king of gluten-free, vegan-if-you-want brunch in Highland Park. Even during the week it feels like most of the Eastside is here for chilaquiles and breakfast tacos in a setting that feels like your great aunt who loves frilly things got to go wild. For our money though, the house pancakes made with oat, buckwheat, and cornflour are the thing to order here.
Mustard Seed is about as local as it gets in Los Feliz, which is just the way we like our brunch. Another thing we like: breakfast foods until 4:30pm every day. The menu is fairly healthy in general - egg whites, tofu, and frittatas all make appearances - but there’s also a section dedicated to “Protein and Fitness Specialties”, including the very intensely named Power Burrito.