The Ultimate Guide to Breakfast in the Valley: Part Two

Great Valley breakfast spots from Lake Balboa to Canoga Park

Crunch French Toast at Blu Jam Cafe in Tarzana
Crunch French Toast at Blu Jam Cafe in Tarzana | Photo: @pandatraveler, Instagram

Now that you've explored Part One of our Ultimate Guide, read on for more great Valley breakfast spots, from Lake Balboa to Canoga Park.

Brunch with the Panwich (bottom), Eggs Benedict and more at Humble Bee Bakery & Café | Instagram by @akhoeun
Brunch with the Panwich (bottom), Eggs Benedict and more at Humble Bee Bakery & Café | Instagram by @akhoeun

Lake Balboa: Humble Bee Bakery & Café

Located in a small strip mall in the Lake Balboa area, this bright family owned restaurant uses organic and local ingredients, offering a select breakfast menu that expands with a larger menu and farmers market specials on weekends. House favorites include the Panwich, composed of two eggs and two turkey sausages folded in a large pancake and topped with maple mascarpone and julienned apples; Horchata brioche French toast; and biscuits and gravy with turkey sausage. Don’t miss the fresh juices and freshly baked sweets available in the bakery case daily.

Chilaquiles | Photo courtesy of Claudine Artisan Kitchen & Bakeshop, Facebook

Encino: Claudine Artisan Kitchen & Bakeshop

Co-owners Chef Anthony Jacquet and pastry chef Lea Newton opened their casual all-day eatery in May 2016. Beautifully displayed baked goods tempt you to eat dessert - go ahead, but don’t miss the other eats. Order at the counter, then take a seat and relax. Breakfast is extra special and the weekend brunch kicks it up further. Wake up with Newton's 7am Breakfast (two eggs, potato wedges, maple-sage breakfast sausage, and house made toast); malted milk pancakes with cinnamon berry compote; vegan carrot cake breakfast porridge with quinoa and oats; fried egg sandwich on brioche with bacon, and more. Drinks choices include locally roasted coffee by Verve and tea by Rishi. Make it boozy with sangria, michelada, juice with bubbles, craft beer, and wine on draft.

Chocolate chip pancakes at Coral Tree Café | Instagram by @fabfoodie1

Encino: Coral Tree Café

Following the original Brentwood location, this homey counter service café opened in 2006 and is perfect for everything from a group meet-up to a casual working space. Sit in one of two rooms, or on the outside patio and your order will be brought to you. The emphasis here is serving healthy, organic, and sustainable ingredients, including coffee and maple syrup. Breakfast is available all day. Best bets include any egg skillet dish, the Mykonos omelet, Applewood scramble, and the farmhouse Panini. If you're feeling decadent, don’t miss the chocolate chip pancakes or French toast stuffed with strawberry jam and cream cheese.

Club Benedict at Lakeside Restaurant & Lounge | Photo by Karen Young
Club Benedict at Lakeside Restaurant & Lounge | Photo by Karen Young

Encino: Lakeside Restaurant & Lounge

The aptly named Lakeside looks out over a man-made lake that sits on the edge of the Los Encinos State Historic Park. The rustic seating is nestled under trees with a waterfront view (ducks included!) with outdoor front and back patios. There’s an extensive interior, but really, outside is the only place you want to be. The Lakeside restaurant Encino menu offers all-day breakfast, featuring a selection of benedicts, eggs and omelets, as well as pancake and French toast variations with such decadent ingredients as Nutella, marshmallow and dulce de leche.

Tommy's Peanut Butter Cup at More Than Waffles | Instagram by @nutritionbysarah
Tommy's Peanut Butter Cup at More Than Waffles | Instagram by @nutritionbysarah

Encino: More Than Waffles

This family-owned indoor/outdoor restaurant on the bottom level of the Encino Town Center has been a local favorite since 1975. Served warm, a house-made Belgian waffle clocks in at only 140 calories, so it’s not a splurge - unless of course you add one of the 19 toppings, such as Nutella, caramel, or banana fudge. Or indulge in the Tommy’s Peanut Butter Cup - dipped in Belgian chocolate and drizzled with peanut butter. A Belgian waffle is offered with many breakfast items, including all 21 omelettes, Grilled Chicken & Waffle, and Salami Scramble. All benedicts can be made on a waffle for an additional $1.50. But as the name states, there's much more than waffles for breakfast: crepes, pancakes, scrambles, Ultimate Burrito, chilaquiles, and a slew of healthy options like Gluten Free Breakfast Pasta.

Gluten free pancakes at The Nook | Instagram by @sweetandshaina
Gluten free pancakes at The Nook | Instagram by @sweetandshaina

Encino: The Nook

Breakfast and lunch are bustling at this eatery located in a big Encino strip mall anchored by a CVS (and a top sushi spot, Okamura), serving up extravagant waffles, French toast, breakfast and pancakes. Of course, there is also a selection of eggs, omelets, breakfast quesadillas, benedicts, and more. The breakfast combinations are more than large enough to share. It might be hard to resist Smore's Pleeze —buttermilk pancakes topped with chocolate chips, Oreos, walnuts and marshmallows. If you’re watching your waistline, opt for the Mr. Universe—egg whites served with grilled chicken breast and side of broccoli.

Brunch Plate at Uncle Bernie's | Instagram by @datenightfoodies
Brunch Plate at Uncle Bernie's | Instagram by @datenightfoodies

Encino: Uncle Bernie’s

Opened as the renowned Fromin's Deli in 1962, the restaurant changed hands a few times before Norman Green took over in 2011 and renamed it for his uncle. They feature all the usual deli suspects, but prices are a bit more reasonable than other local delis. Favorites include: fluffy toast sandwich (French toast with filled with two eggs, and bacon or sausage); brunch special (smoked fish, 2 eggs, potatoes, bagel, coffee); cheese blintzes; matzo brei with applesauce. Don’t miss the spinning cake and pastry display on the way to the table.

Crunchy French Toast and Eggs Benedict at Blu Jam Cafe in Tarzana
Crunchy French Toast and Eggs Benedict at Blu Jam Cafe in Tarzana | Instagram by @denisengvyen

Tarzana: Blu Jam Cafe

What started as a small café on Melrose has now expanded to a half-dozen locations in Sherman Oaks, Woodland Hills, Tokyo, and recent openings in Tarzana (February 2017) and Downtown L.A. (June 2017). Owner/chef Kamil Majer serves an eclectic menu with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free choices. Not to worry, there are plenty of meat and bacon options for carnivores. The one dish that most everyone talks about is Crunchy French Toast—French brioche soaked in a vanilla batter and rolled in corn flakes, grilled and topped with berries and powdered sugar. Of course, you can’t miss with any of the other breakfast selections.

Scramble with sliced tomato and avocado at The Little Cafe | Instagram by @candiceonair
Scramble with sliced tomato and avocado at The Little Cafe | Instagram by @candiceonair

Tarzana: The Little Cafe

Owner Ray Pourfarzib has been greeting guests daily since 1982, when he and former partner Ali Haghighi opened the doors of this “blink and you might miss it” storefront on Ventura Boulevard. (Ali sold his interest to Ray in 1992.) Breakfast is the main draw on weekends with a variety of omelettes, scrambles and Mexican style dishes. Griddle specialties include pancakes, French toast and Randall’s waffle (a Belgian waffle with fresh strawberries, banana, whipped cream and powdered sugar). Not to be forgotten is Andrea & Bill’s Oatmeal - a power bowl of oat bran, oatmeal, flaxseed, egg whites, strawberries, banana, raisins, walnuts and cinnamon. Make sure to check the daily specials.

VIPs Cafe Ham and Cheese Omlette
VIPs Cafe Ham and Cheese Omlette | Instagram by @vivian_varawan_kachaset

Tarzana: VIP's Café

Located on the ground floor of an office building with indoor and outdoor seating, this retro diner is renowned as legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden’s favorite breakfast spot. His memory lives on with a dedicated booth, photos, and memorabilia. The owners have changed the décor a bit over the years and it’s nothing fancy, but it continues to be an old school neighborhood spot all the way. Breakfast specials start at $6.95 during the week. How does 2 eggs, 2 pancakes, 2 slices of bacon or sausage, and toast sound? Or the breakfast burrito with hash browns stuffed inside for $8.45? There’s even free parking in back.

Shakshuka at The Baker Bakery & Café | Instagram by @nerdissa
Shakshuka at The Baker Bakery & Café | Instagram by @nerdissa

Woodland Hills: The Baker Bakery & Café

Located in a strip mall on Ventura Boulevard, this small full-service Mediterranean café houses a bakery with a display full of elaborate cakes and pastries —which makes it hard to say "no" to dessert or leave without taking something sweet to go. A complimentary basket of organic house made bread starts off your meal, along with butter, jam, olives, and herb feta. The Shakshuka Breakfast ("our house specialty") and the Israeli Breakfast (two poached eggs, chopped Israeli tomato/cucumber salad, avocado) are popular choices along with the Breakfast Sandwich.

Classic breakfast plate at Bobby's Coffee Shop | Instagram by @estheticalix

Woodland Hills: Bobby’s Coffee Shop

Opened in 1949, Bobby's Coffee Shop is about as classic they come. Located in the western part of Woodland Hills, Bobby's has a wide-open interior with a counter, open grill and stove where you can see hash browns and pancakes being flipped and even hear the oil crackle. Booths line the wall, and kitschy signs provide a chuckle. Prices are a little higher than they once were, but you can still get a full breakfast plate piled with eggs, bacon, toast, hash browns, and bottomless coffee for $10.99.

Gasolina Cafe Patatas Bravas
Patatas Bravas at Gasolina Cafe | Photo: @roxthehungryfox, Instagram

Woodland Hills: Gasolina Cafe

This cozy, modern Spanish-themed café offers 36 seats - a sprinkling of high and low tables inside, or out on the street patio. Featuring dishes with locally sourced, organic ingredients, chef-owner Sandra Cordero's credo is Food/Coffee/Tea/Fuel/Life. Favorites include several Spanish-style toast options, like pan con tomate (toast with garlic, tomato, olive oil, sea salt), pan con chocolate, or pan con manchego y membrillo (toast with quince paste and manchego sheep cheese); Tortilla Española; and Patatas Bravas: chorizo, serrano ham, home fries, aioli, brava sauce, topped with a sunny side egg. There's freshly brewed coffee and tea variations, as well as kombucha and lemonade.

Avocado Toast at Leo & Lily | Instagram by @jmarxy
Avocado Toast at Leo & Lily | Instagram by @jmarxy

Woodland Hills: Leo & Lily

Named for the owners' children, this casual bakery/farmhouse-style cafe offers indoor and outdoor seating, and serves an eclectic menu with European and Mediterranean influences. The breakfast menu includes omelettes, breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, French toast, and pastries. Must eats include shakshuka, avocado toast, smoked salmon benedict, and the quinoa breakfast bowl. Make it a special breakfast with a Bloody Mary.

Lorenzo's Tofu Eggwich at Follow Your Heart | Instagram by @littleveg

Canoga Park: Follow Your Heart Café

Opened in 1970, this small market/café is internationally known as the company that created the Vegenaise ® brand of eggless condiments and vegan cheese products. The café itself is located at the back of the market, where the '70s are alive and well with a wood themed interior décor and patio. The menu is lacto-vegetarian (some dairy products, but no meat, poultry, fish or eggs), but most items can be prepared vegan. Favorites include Lorenzo's Tofu Eggwich, the breakfast burrito (scrambled tofu, black beans, vegetarian "chorizo"), Golden Cakes (whole grain pancakes), and a 1970 original, The Om Lette - an omelette shaped tofu pancake with choice of three fillings and dairy, soy or vegan cheese.

Super Fish Platter at Brent's Deli in Northridge | Instagram by @susyfoody

Northridge: Brent’s Deli

Opened in 1967 and acquired by current owner Ron Peskin and his wife in 1969, Brent's is nationally known as one of the premier delis in Southern California. Along with deli meats, kugels, and matzo ball soup, they also serve up a spectacular all day breakfast. And in this case, smoked fish platter, blintzes, eggs every which way, pancakes, and more. Booths are filled with generations of families. Halvah and jellies can be found on the front counter. It’s about as New York a place you can find in L.A. A second Brent's location opened in Westlake Village in 2006, but there’s a certain charm that can only be found with an original.

Biscuits 'n Gravy at Joe's Café | Instagram by @realmarklandis
Biscuits 'n Gravy at Joe's Café | Instagram by @realmarklandis

Granada Hills: Joe’s Café

Chef-owner Joe Wetherbee gained notoriety from his win on the Food Network’s “Chopped” in 2014. Now his homespun café has its own reputation, as a North Valley dining destination. Breakfast menu highlights include French toast stuffed with berries and cream; croissant sandwich with fried egg and gouda; The Cure (sausage, 2 eggs over, smoked Gouda on a pretzel bun); pork belly hash; P-cake Balls (house made sausages dipped and fried in pancake batter); and Ojan’s Junk, a pancake sandwich named after the cook who invented it. Most everything is made fresh in house, including jams and fruit pies. Don’t miss the bacon chocolate chip cookies.