You’ve made it through the week with your healthy eating plan intact. Acai bowls for pretending you’re having a balanced breakfast, salads for lunch, and all of the grain bowls for dinner. Five days in and you’re feeling pretty damn proud of yourself. But then you realize it’s about to be the weekend, and that means one thing: brunch.
Trying to get through brunch without consuming a giant stack of pancakes and an even larger mound of bacon can be tough. But not impossible. So 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. Be warned - just because there are healthy options at these spots doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of unhealthy options too. Not ordering the pastries for the table is on you.
Check out the rest of our Guide To Being A Little Healthier, presented in partnership with Bai (a drink that helps us be a little healthier).
The extreme focus on vegetables at DTLA’s P.Y.T. isn’t limited to dinner - they go all in on the healthy stuff at brunch as well. Interesting options like soft scrambled eggs with squash and wild rice are on the menu, along with more run-of-the-mill healthy things like granola and avocado toast. As for the lemon ricotta pancakes - lemon’s a fruit, so they must be OK. The space itself is small, so don’t bring a crowd, but it’s a nice spot for a low-key Sunday morning.
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.
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.
We’re not always sure that what we’re eating at The Butcher’s Daughter, the Instagram 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 tacos verdes (with lettuce leaves subbing in for tortillas). The cauliflower grits are tasty as well, if only potentially good for you.
We swear all Australians don’t surf everyday and only exist on avocado toast, but we understand why you’d think that. They also open cafes in semi-industrial parts of Santa Monica and make you the flat white of your dreams. Bondi Harvest unsurprisingly knows its way around healthy food, with a weekend menu that includes multiple cauliflower rice bowls as well as a turmeric quinoa version. Even the Australian-style bacon is way less fatty than you’re used to. This is definitely a very casual choice - there's a handful of high stools inside and big picnic tables outside, and not a mimosa in sight.
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 move to make 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.