The Best Breakfast Dishes in Los Angeles

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Chashu Hash Skillet at JiST Cafe | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Forget the notion that coffee and pastries are enough to sustain you until lunch. Set the culinary pace for the day with a hearty breakfast. LA institutions like Du-par’s, John O'Groat's and The Original Pantry Café have been serving diners for decades. Here are 14 other viable breakfast options in Los Angeles.

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Breakfast sandwich at BLD | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Neal Fraser and partner Amy Knoll Fraser have a handle on breakfast, lunch and dinner at BLD, their spare Mid-City restaurant. The “B” may be the meal where the Frasers excel most, including fluffy ricotta blueberry pancakes, which come with Berkshire maple syrup in a small, charming log cabin container. Eggs pair beautifully with grilled flatiron steak, and luxuriate with thick-cut Nueske bacon, Gruyère and aioli in a toasted sourdough sandwich. Potato dishes play an important supporting role, whether they’re olive oil-roasted fingerlings, or smoky home fries that incorporate crusty Spanish chorizo. Since the chef is seasonally focused, the menu is mainly fixed - but you can expect some daily specials.

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Seasonal Breakfast Parfait at Clementine | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Clementine - Century City



Across busy Santa Monica Boulevard from the Westfield Century City mall, chef Annie Miler has built a modern classic. The original Clementine features pastel green awning, sidewalk tables, wood tables set on two tiers, a counter overflowing with baked goods, and wood-framed blackboard menus. Breakfast can be as simple as you like, which might mean house-cured gravlax with cream cheese, tangy caperberries, red onion and a toasted bagel. Seasonal Breakfast Parfait may be even simpler, a glass that arrives on a doily and contains striated layers of oat-centric cereal, fresh fruit, compote and tangy goat’s milk yogurt. Of course, there are still opportunities to indulge thanks to choices like the Clementine Breakfast Sandwich, a flaky oversized biscuit containing a poached egg disc, molten cheddar and savory Tennessee country ham. 

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Sausage, egg and cheese sandwich at EggSlut | Photo by Joshua Lurie

EggSlut - Grand Central Market



Chef Alvin Cailan and business partner Jeff Vales earned a loyal following in West Hollywood and the Downtown Arts District thanks to their egg-centric truck, which parked alongside specialty coffeehouses. In November 2013, they settled down in a spot at Downtown’s red-hot Grand Central Market, which includes a shiny black counter on the Broadway side of the building. Most menu items come with a choice of regular or organic eggs, an interesting differentiator that adds value to the once-humble egg. Sandwiches come on soft house-baked brioche buns and include fillings like cheddar, honey mustard aioli, and a juicy, chile-flecked turkey sausage patty that’s also made in-house. The Fairfax is left over from the days when the Slut parked outside Coffee Commissary, and it consists of soft scrambled eggs, Tillamook cheddar, chives, caramelized onions and Sriracha mayo. If that’s not substantial enough, consider the Steak & Egg with seared skirt steak, Manchego, arugula, and a brick of multi-layer potato pave.

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Poached eggs at Huckleberry | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Huckleberry Bakery & Café



Order at the counter and expect to wait in line at Huckleberry, the immensely popular café from chef Zoe Nathan and her restaurateur husband Josh Loeb. The airy, glass-fronted café has red chairs, blackboard menus and retro art from Nathan’s mother. If you can get past a counter that’s overflowing with tempting options like donuts and blueberry cornmeal cake, consider savory selections from the overhead blackboard menu. Morning brings brisket hash starring tender chunks of Creekstone Farms’ beef, tomato-rich sauce, potato, fried eggs and arugula. Of course they’ve got a deluxe breakfast sandwich, but even more interesting is the Green Eggs & Ham, featuring La Quercia prosciutto, pesto and arugula on a sturdy house-made English muffin.

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Chashu Hash Skillet at JiST Cafe | Photo by Joshua Lurie

JiST Cafe



This tiny Little Tokyo cafe from Noe chef Glen Ishii and business partner Caroline Shin sits next to the East West Players theatre and features reclaimed wood walls with ledges devoted to plants, a patio with brick walls and stone flooring, and flowing overhead drapes to shield diners from the sun. The Chashu Hash Skillet is the breakfast piece de resistance with caramelized pork belly chashu “deeply marinated in family history,” topped with a pair of soft 6-minute eggs and plated with crusty breakfast potatoes and red pepper strips. JiST has pancakes mixed with enlightening crème fraiche, topped with either savory or sweet ingredients, perhaps none better than 60% TCHO Chocolate coins within banana slices and house-made whipped cream. No matter how sweet you get, no meal at JiST would be complete without crispy, mildly sweet maple bacon strips.

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Spinach Gruyere Pie at Julienne | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Julienne



Vine covered walls and a massive tree greet diners at this San Marino institution, which the late Susan Campoy debuted in 1985. The space features an arched patio with a row of ceiling fans and white tablecloths. The interior houses two rooms, a library with wood shelves holding books, model ships and wine bottles, and a dining room with mustard yellow walls and stuffed buck heads. There’s even an adjacent market with a sea of prepared foods, soups, salsas, dips, aiolis, proteins, pastries, side dishes and cookbooks. Julienne is buzzing with leisurely locals at breakfast, who fill the space for egg dishes, entrees and unique specialties like Spinach Gruyere Pie, which arrives as individual rounds with flaky crust, poached egg up top and crossed apple-wood smoked bacon at the base.

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Fantastic French Toast at Marston's | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Marston's Restaurant



Otis Marston and wife Sally opened their restaurant in a charming cottage back in 1988, across from the Levitt Pavilion bandshell. Jim McCardy took over Marston’s in 2001. He continues the tradition of offering refined comfort food in a space with a prized patio, blue awning and art-lined walls, and even expanded to Valencia. Fantastic French Toast lives up to its name, featuring sourdough slabs dipped in egg batter and crusted with crisp cornflakes. Meaty bacon strips and plump chicken cilantro sausage links are natural partners to the toast. Benedicts and omelets are also popular orders at Marston’s.

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Maynard's Special at Millie's Cafe | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Millie's Cafe



This classic Silver Lake diner dates to 1926 and now features a wall of silver and black coffee pots, a vintage Pepsi sign, sidewalk banquette seating with worn tables, and eight swivel chairs at a black counter overlooking the open kitchen. Built-in jukeboxes host flip cards touting songs like “One Toke Over The Line” and “Yakety Yak,” but they no longer play. However, owner Robert Babish and chef Martin Garcia ensure the food still has life. The Devil’s Mess is the most famous dish, featuring scrambled eggs tossed with Cajun-spiced turkey sausage and cheddar, topped with salsa, guac and sour cream. Since this is Silver Lake, they've added an Angel's Mess (“Just Because It's Vegan Doesn't Mean It Has to Suck!”) substituting tofu, vegan sausage and casein-free soy cheese. There’s even No Huevos Rancheros, minus eggs. Again, since this is Silver Lake, they’ve got a dish named for a rock star: Maynard's Special name-checks Tool’s Maynard James Keenan, who apparently prefers scrambled eggs with spinach, tangy goat cheese and toasted pine nuts. There’s a choice of sides. Go for the homemade muffin-shaped biscuit and crusty griddled rosemary potatoes.

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Cheese Blintzes at Nate 'n Al | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Nate 'n Al



This Beverly Hills diner - with its brown-on-brown color scheme and long, fully loaded display case - has served Jewish comfort food since 1945, when Al Mendelson and Nate Reimer opened the establishment. They have a bunch of egg and omelet options, paired with meats like pastrami, corned beef and salami, plus fish shipped from the East Coast like kippers, white fish and lox. For something different, consider the Cheese Blintzes, which look like twin burritos, with flaky yellow pastry containing sweet farmers cheese. They’re plated with tangy sour cream, applesauce and cinnamon sugar. No matter what you order, expect a plate of dill pickle spears, and consider ordering Dr. Brown’s black cherry soda.

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Nick's Famous Ham n Eggs at Nick's Cafe | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Nick's Café



This restaurant has been open since 1948 and now resides across the street from Los Angeles State Historic Park, formerly known as “The Cornfield.” Before that, the neighborhood housed the River Station freight yards, and used to draw rail workers in droves. The space features a horseshoe-shaped yellow counter with upraised red swivel chairs. In the afternoon, light streams through blinds. The sign depicts a cartoon pig holding a cleaver, which hints at the specialty: ham. Nick is long gone - Rod, Luis, Kim and Carlos now hold the keys to his porcine kingdom. Nick's Famous Ham n' Eggs touts lean, thick-cut ham, griddled to a sear, served with a choice of toast or biscuit, hash browns or tomato. Go with biscuit and browns, and make sure to request tomato preserves, which aren’t normally on the counter (or menu). Nick’s also has omelets, breakfast sandwiches, and skillets, plus eight weekend Benedicts.

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The 5th and Main at Nickel Diner | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Nickel Diner



Before Kristen Trattner and Chef Monica May opened Nickel Diner in 2008, “nickel bag” and “dime bag” had very different definitions in Downtown’s Old Bank District. Now, a 5-Cent Bag contains house-made brioche cinnamon toast and a 10-Cent Bag touts flat iron steak with two eggs and grilled tomatoes. The space features hand-painted menus that the owners uncovered during construction, plus red booths and a semi-open kitchen that showcases short order cookery. The 5th and Main, named for the diner’s address, features spicy BBQ pork hash topped with a pair of poached eggs. Save room for a signature maple bacon donut, which Sharlena Fong created before opening nearby Semi Sweet.

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Oatmeal griddle cakes at Salt's Cure | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Salt's Cure



Chris Phelps and Zak Walters teamed on this sustainable, nose-to-tail café in West Hollywood and built a weekend brunch following before breakfast was offered on the regular. They’ve got an L-shaped counter, open kitchen, and photos of salt molded into beguiling animal shapes. The oatmeal griddle cakes come with crisp edges, a pat of cinnamon brown butter, and light powdered sugar dusting. Still, it’s the Salt’s Cure 2 x 2 x 2 that’s made the biggest impression, thanks to two eggs, firm, chewy strips of house-made bacon, pork sausage patties seasoned with ginger, sage, coriander, salt and pepper, and a biscuit to boot.

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Open face brioche with fried egg at Sqirl | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Sqirl



Sqirl has progressed organically thanks to culinary pied piper Jessica Koslow, who’s mobilized some of California’s best farms and purveyors, and some of the Eastside’s leading culinary free agents, to help her cause. Koslow started as a jam maker, and that element is still in full effect. Now she’s added space and seating to help Sqirl better deliver inspired seasonal fare to Angelenos. At breakfast, turn to the board to find toasted Proof brioche topped with sweet or savory ingredients like kale, tomatillo puree, lacto-fermented hot sauce and fried egg. Kukoho Rose brown rice serves as a vessel for toppings like sorrel pesto, preserved Meyer lemon, more of that scintillating hot sauce, black radish, French sheep’s milk Feta, and poached egg. The same rice also contributes to crispy Thai-inspired salad or creamy porridge with premium Straus milk, hazelnuts and house-made jam. Quiche and frittata are also in heavy market-driven rotation. So is specialty coffee, which also changes and emanates from the back bar.

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Pancakes at Square One Dining | Photo by Joshua Lurie

Square One Dining



John Himelstein, D’nell Larson and Manao Davidson have sustained quality at this olive green building across from the Church of Scientology’s imposing blue compound in Los Feliz. The space includes a black awning, glass front, blackboard specials, and brick patio. Inside, you’ll find canary yellow walls, wood banquettes, a central communal table, and a black and white photo of the Royal Cafe in Nome, Alaska. Start with stone ground grits with butter, big chunks of meaty, smoky bacon, and sharp white Cheddar. Pancakes and French toast are standouts, and are available with hot and cold toppings, which rotate and might include cubes of butternut squash with crushed pecans, airy vanilla cream and orange zest. Baked eggs dishes, served in cast iron skillets, are even heartier.