Around the World for International Breakfasts in LA

Start the day with a culinary trip around the world, no passport needed

bon juk
Bon Juk Porridge | Photo: Bon Juk

Los Angeles is a melting pot of international cultures, so why not begin the day by exploring a new country through food? These 17 restaurants will take you on a culinary trip around the world. No passport needed.

Traditional English Breakfast at Ye Olde King's Head in Santa Monica
King Size Traditional English Breakfast | Photo: Ye Olde King's Head, Facebook

British: Ye Olde King’s Head

Opened in 1974, this Santa Monica restaurant/pub/bakery/gift shop is a one-stop-shop for all things British. With three dining rooms, fireplaces, and English country décor, you might forget you’re a few blocks from the beach. The King Size Traditional English Breakfast is served with eggs, bacon, banger (sausage), baked beans, sautéed mushrooms, grilled tomato, and fried bread or toast. Vegetarians can replace meat with soy patties. Lighter fare includes a bacon or sausage sandwich and beans on toast. And if you really want to do it the Brit way, order a side of black pudding and a crumpet. Check out the bakery for scones, biscuits, and treacle tarts, as well as savory selections such as chicken, beef, and curry pies. It’s really not about the caliber of the food - it’s the British kitsch that will get you.

La Rose Cafe Tocino Ube Cheese Rolls
Tocino with garlic rice, eggs and ube cheese rolls at L.A. Rose Café  |  Photo: Karen Young

Filipino: L.A. Rose Café

As you approach this small restaurant in the shadow of the mammoth blue Scientology building on Fountain Avenue, you might think to turn away because of how dilapidated it looks from the outside. But take a look inside and you’ll surely be surprised. Opened in 1982, L.A. Rose Café is indeed quirky, but with homespun charm. It’s larger than it looks, with two drapery-clad dining rooms filled with wood tables topped with orchids and accompanied by rattan chairs. Asian wall art includes an impressive piece with birds and leaves inlaid with mother of pearl and jade. The all-day breakfast menu has both American and Filipino choices—plates are big enough to share. Sure you can order an omelet, French toast, or pancakes (which are very good), but why would you? Try one of the “Filipino Favorites” instead, featuring a meat selection served with rice and choice of eggs any style or house salad. The tender, sweet tocino (bbq pork) is a best-seller. Genial owner Lemuel Balagot says it is so popular they order 300 pounds a week. It’s hand-cut, cured, marinated, and chargrilled. Be sure to order it with the garlic rice. Not to be missed are the bottled, house-made dipping sauces—mix and match flavors as you go. Homemade banana walnut bread, carrot bread, or an ube (purple yam) or mango/pineapple cheese roll will satisfy any morning sweet craving.

Pitchoun Bakery Croque Monsieur
Croque Monsieur at Pitchoun Bakery  |  Photo: Karen Young

French: Pitchoun Bakery

French husband and wife team Frédéric and Fabienne Soulies opened Pitchoun ("kiddo" in French) in March 2015 across from Pershing Square in Downtown L.A. Walk in and peruse a most gorgeous display of bread; morning pastries, such as croissants, pan bagnat, kouign-amann, and chouquettes; patisseries, including eclairs, tarts, macarons, and crème brulee. Spotted among the savory baked goods on display—ham and cheese croissant, pissaladier, and quiche. Special desserts include clafoutis, flan caramel, and chocolate mousse. Made to order breakfasts are straight out of France: Parisian omelette, Provencal eggs with fried tomatoes and herbs, and tartine; croque madame/monsieur. Coffee is served in white latte bowls. The space is brightly decorated with orange walls and rustic finishings, including wine barrels for tables, and a fireplace. The wine bar in back is adjacent to the glass walled kitchen. Gourmet to-go items, such as jams and cookies, are on display. The small courtyard and street-side patio is a perfect place to enjoy breakfast with your pup.

Wallflower Bubar Ketan
Bubar Ketan at Wallflower | Photo: @showthyme, Instagram

Indonesian: Wallflower

This indoor/outdoor restaurant on Rose Avenue in Venice is the perfect spot for a lazy Sunday boozy brunch. At Wallflower, Chef Harryson Tobing serves up food from his childhood in Northern Sumatra with a modern twist. The menu is slim so come with a few people and order it all. There are two grain bowls, otherwise known as savory and sweet porridge: Bubar Ketan (black sweet rice porridge) with coconut cream and caramelized; and Bubur Ayam (chicken porridge) prepared with jasmine rice, scallion, crispy shallots and soy egg. The scallion and kimchi pancake comes with a sunny side egg on top and spiced with Korean chili and shallots. Tobing spent time cooking in Georgia, so he honors the state with homemade biscuits and jam. Most substantial is the egg sandwich—two steamed buns filled with soft egg and char siu pork. Craft cocktails from the full bar include Hijau bourbon made with matcha tea, a spicy Bloody Mary, and bottomless mimosas.

Toast Cafe Dishes
Clockwise: Green Shakshuka, La Fatut, and French toast at Toast Cafe | Photo: @wordofmouthla, Instagram

Israeli: Toast Cafe

Not to be confused with Toast on West 3rd Street, this small Ventura Boulevard café is kosher and serves scrambles and omelets, but what you really want to order is one of the Israeli breakfast dishes. Shakshuka is found at many mainstream restaurants these days, but here it’s the real deal and served two ways: traditional (a spicy base of cooked tomatoes topped with eggs—tip: get it with hummus) and the less well-known green version (sautéed onions, cilantro, pesto, green onion, and nutmeg mixed with heavy cream and topped with eggs). Malawach is flaky, fried dough shaped like a pancake, served with a hard boiled egg, shredded cold tomato salsa, and pickles. The horseshoe-shaped ziva is a puffed pastry stuffed with feta and topped with sesame seeds in an egg yolk wash with olives and a hard-boiled egg on the side.

Angelini Alimentari Uova in Purgatorio
Uova in Purgatorio at Angelini Alimentari | Photo: @laphoodie, Instagram

Italian: Angelini Alimentari

Angelini Osteria’s Gino and Elizabeth Angelini opened this marketplace/café next to their iconic namesake restaurant in the Fall of 2016. The sleek interior with an open kitchen is the focal point along with a marble counter, highlighted by a rustic wood ceiling. Italian pastries and coffee line the coffee bar and select Italian products fill the marketplace shelves. Order at the counter and sit inside, or wander out to the tree-lined patio. There’s a full breakfast and lunch menu along with homemade gelato. Italian egg specialties include Uova in Purgatorio (baked eggs, cherry tomatoes, onions, spicy 'nduja spread); zucchini frittata with tomato bruschetta; breakfast panino on ciabatta and filled with egg, mozzarella, bacon, tomato; and salmone affumicato (salmon and avocado on toast). Enjoy a croissant or cannoli along with a cappuccino. And who says you can’t have gelato for breakfast— especially if it's scooped inside a brioche?

Fukagawa Combo Salmon
Breakfast Combo D with salmon at Fukagawa | Photo: @flora_baby, Instagram

Japanese: Fukagawa

Los Angeles has an abundance of Japanese restaurants, but traditional breakfasts are not widely served. It turns out that for the last 30 years, the go-to spot for breakfast is Fukagawa at the Pacific Square Shopping Center in Gardena, where it's served in four different combinations. Combo A is pescatarian and includes a bowl of rice, miso soup, cold tofu with scallions and bonito flakes, pickled vegetables, a sheet of nori, and egg (sunny-side up, raw, scrambled or tamago - the fine egg that often takes years to perfect as seen in Jiro Dreams of Sushi). Combo B adds natto—fermented soybeans topped with scallions and a quail egg that are mixed together. Combo C doesn’t include natto, but adds a choice of steak or fish. The largest breakfast is Combo D, which includes both natto and choice of steak or fish.

Bon Juk Octopus Kimchi Porridge
Octopus with kimchi porridge at Bon Juk | Photo: @tsukasaurusu905, Instagram

Korean: Bon Juk

Korean breakfast is similar to what's eaten the rest of the day—soup, rice, meat or fish, and banchan (sides). Many eat pastries on the go, or misugaru, a multi-grain powder made into a shake or latte. There are a handful of restaurants in Koreatown open in the morning serving various types of soups, but the most “breakfast-y” is porridge—a common dish that ties through all Asian culture. Open at 7 a.m., this Korean chain restaurant is the definitive place to get porridge. The menu is divided into “Nutritional Sweet Porridge” and “Traditional Healthy Porridge” with details about health benefits from each type of porridge - illness, women’s issues, aging, growth. (Some say porridge is the best hangover cure.) There are about 20 varieties offered and all come with banchan served on a tray. Nutritional Sweet favorites include mushroom and oyster porridge, beef and mushroom, and octopus with kimchi. Traditional Healthy highlights include abalone porridge, sweet pumpkin, and mung bean. All porridges are made to order, so expect to wait 20 minutes or so. If you’re in need of comforting eats, this is the place.

Furn Saj Bakery Adjarski Egg Cheese
Adjarski with egg and cheese | Photo: Furn Saj Bakery

Lebanese: Furn Saj Bakery

There are several excellent Lebanese bakeries around Los Angeles. However, none offer a menu the size of this small, buzzy bakery/cafe in a Granada Hills corner mall anchored by a Trader Joe's. Brothers Charlie and Mel Succar serve up some of the best shawarma and falafels in Los Angeles, but their baked goods are the stars for breakfast. The namesake flatbread, saj is baked on the grill as the base for many of the savory baked goods, and also holds together a foot-long breakfast sandwich filled with scrambled eggs and cheese. Another bread is the oven-baked mana'ish offered with an array of toppings, including za’atar and cheese. Breakfast favorites are available all day and include saroukj cheese with soujouk (spicy sausage); scrambled eggs and cheese "pizza"; Saroukh cheese combo (melted akkawi, kashkaval, and halloumi) with black olives; and various khachapuris (boat shaped flatbread) filled with variations of eggs, cheese, onions, and bell peppers. Note: an egg can be added to any item for $1. Everything is served hot. Be sure to check out the “minis” that are available by the dozen and perfect for entertaining.

El Hurachito Campesino Plate
El Campesino plate at El Huarachito | Photo: @galena10q, Instagram

Mexican: El Huarachito

This cozy, no-frills family-owned restaurant in Lincoln Heights is about as authentic as they come, with colorful tablecloths under glass and sporadic cultural art on the walls. Breakfast is served all day. Tortillas are freshly made, and huevos are prepared every which way, including omelettes—with chorizo, vegetables, tomatoes, cactus, steak, and more. Chilaquiles are offered with a choice of red or green sauce, with or without eggs. For those who want basic American fare, there’s a plate with pancakes, eggs, ham or bacon. The best bet is the El Campesino plate - a bit of everything is piled with chilaquiles, grilled steak, eggs, and beans. Be sure to order a side of the house-made guacamole. Wake up with a café de olla or quench your thirst with aguas frescas.

Natas Pastries
Signature natas | Photo: Natas Pastries, Facebook

Portuguese: Natas Pastries

Get a taste of Portugal at this Sherman Oaks café and bakery that serves breakfast all day. Owner-chef Fatima Marques has designed her eatery with Portuguese tiles and wall art, and wood tables for an authentic feel. Stop by for coffee and a pastry like the namesake Portuguese custard specialty, natas, or a duchaise, a custard éclair topped with whipped cream and fios de ovos (a sugar/egg topping). French toast and breakfast sandwiches are all made with Portuguese sweet bread. Toppings for pancakes, waffles, crepes, and French toast run from simple to decadent—bananas, caramel, Nutella, fudge, cream cheese—with the works.

Olsons Scandinavian Deli Gravlax Toast Poached
Gravlax Toast with poached egg | Photo: Olsons Scandinavian Deli, Facebook

Scandinavian: Olsons Scandinavian Deli

This Mid-City stalwart opened in 1948 as a simple deli to pick up Nordic goods like cheese and smoked fish. That all changed a couple of years ago when it was bought by longtime Dan Tana's maître d', Swedish-born Christian Kneedler. You can’t miss the bright white storefront with red and blue accents, complete with Nordic country flags and a few outside tables. A deli counter backed by subway tiles highlights the modern interior with more seating, as well as an eclectic selection of traditional Scandinavian ingredients, including wine, cheeses, smoked fish and more. Sandwiches and smörgåstårta (a small, savory “cake” with layers of fillings) are the rage here, but breakfast also has wonderful offerings. Highlights include the Gravlax Toast with horseradish cream, red onion and capers (add a poached egg for $2); Swedish pancakes with a choice of jam and fresh whipped cream; house-made muesli and yogurt with lingonberry jam; and a Black Forest ham and jarlsberg quiche with leeks and crème fraiche.

A sign declares “fika time” (meaning "coffee time"), so sit back with a special cardamom latte or special iced coffee with O’ boy (a chocolate Scandinavian drink from Sweden), chat with friends or pick out a book to peruse from the bookcase. Don’t leave before browsing the candy bins.

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

Spanish: Gasolina Cafe

This cozy, modern Spanish-themed café offers 36 seats - a sprinkling of high and low tables inside or outside 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 with 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.

Huge Tree Pastry Fan Tuan You Tiao Soybean Milk
Clockwise: fan tuan, you tiao, sweet baked sesame pastry, hot salty soybean milk at Huge Tree Pastry | Photo: Jessie T, Yelp

Taiwanese: Huge Tree Pastry

Located at the end of a strip mall in Monterey Park, Huge Tree Pastry serves a la carte breakfast all day. Place your order at the counter and bring a friend so you can share a bunch of super reasonable plates. Start off with a hot bowl of soybean milk or tofu—prepared either salty or sweet. Follow that with you tiao (long, fried unsweetened donuts), pan-fried green onion pancake, or pan-fried radish cake wrapped in eggs. Don’t miss the fan tuan, it’s the closest thing to a Taiwanese burrito. Order it with everything - a purple jasmine rice roll with eggs, pickles, shredded pork, and a stick of you tiao in the middle. The pastry selections are fun to pick and choose at just $1.50 each. Favorites include green onion, red bean, pork and vegetable, and sweet baked sesame.

OTUS Thai Kitchen It's a Joke Kai-Kata
It's a Joke and Kai-Kata at OTUS Thai Kitchen & Coffee | Photo: @sharksteethes, Instagram

Thai: OTUS Thai Kitchen & Coffee

Traditional Thai breakfast is similar to Taiwanese and can range from noodle soups to porridge to you tiao (unsweetened donuts). This modern La Brea eatery with a small patio puts a twist on the expected. Favorites include: Kai-Kata served in a skillet with sweet sausage, ground chicken, green onions and a baguette with fresh orange juice or Vietnamese coffee; It’s a Joke, a riff on congee with shiitake mushroom, fresh ginger, poached egg, green onion, topped with crispy noodles; Moo Ping with Thai street style grilled pork, sticky rice, egg and papaya salad; Kook Kook Kook (garlic chicken wings); Khao Kai Jiew, a Thai style omelette with ground chicken over rice; and dipped in condensed milk, the roti is similar to "donuts’ at other Thai restaurants. Add-on options include eggs, banana, fruit, and chicken.

American choices are on the decadent side with waffles, pancakes, and French toast with toppings such as banana flambé, maple syrup, and ice cream. Baristas serve Intelligentsia coffee and create artistic animal shapes and more in lattes.