Los Angeles brunch service continues to benefit from a steady stream of talented chefs and a bumper crop of new restaurants. Weekends now command attention from serious diners, and not just from people who are craving a hangover cure. Discover 10 of the most exhilarating brunch options in Los Angeles, all with standout food and drinks.
Brentwood denizens have a preponderance of Italian restaurants at their disposal. Coral Tree Café’s owners are once again aiding the neighborhood’s diversification efforts with Baltaire, a stylish steakhouse with a patio that touts potted trees and a retractable roof for rain and sun, with a nice breeze. Executive chef Travis Strickland helps conduct an impressive Sunday brunch service. Start with a dozen pristine oysters that bridge the West Coast and East Coast divide and could include Kusshi and Beausoleil. Shakshuka arrives in a skillet with baked eggs topping spicy tomato sauce and chickpeas, with salty crumbled Feta cheese. If you’re looking to go all out, biscuits come piled with Alaskan King crab, pork sausage gravy, and poached egg. The bar brings refreshment in the form of sparkling wine and cocktails like the Baltaire Bloody Mary and Santa Monica Sunset.
Marina del Rey, the water-focused community that rings the harbor, practically begs for brunch. Why would anybody want to leave this neighborhood on the weekend? Josiah Citrin’s corner restaurant opened at the end of 2015, with charcoal blessing most dishes. Two high-top communal tables give way to an L-shaped bar, booths and banquettes. A Big Green Egg and grill feast on applewood and oak coals, which plant smoky kisses on brunch dishes. Yes, that’s jet black, charcoal-infused Hollandaise sauce on the signature Benedict with grilled ham, tomato compote, and poached eggs. Slices of steak sport winning sears and come with vivid yolked eggs, charcoal smoked potatoes, and grilled tomatoes. Silky house-smoked salmon joins charred lemon, tangy capers, crumbled egg yolk, watercress cream cheese, and a chewy toasted Wexler’s bagel. Cheddar buttermilk biscuits aren’t smoky, but they are addictive - crusty outside, soft inside, and calling for pepper honey. Charcoal carries a full liquor license, which allows for options to imbibe a Bloody Mary, potent cold brew cocktail, or toolbox sour “shandy.”
Connie and Ted's
The more casual seafood focused restaurant from chef Michael Cimarusti and front of house partner Donato Poto, Connie & Ted's honors Cimarusti’s maternal grandparents, who taught him to fish in Rhode Island. Located in West Hollywood, the sprawling New England-inspired seafood “shack” features a modern brunch befitting the restaurant’s setting. They present Hog Island Sweetwater oysters on the half-shell with a punchy combo of pickled onion, celery leaf, tomato juice and Tabasco. A peeky-toe crab and lobster omelette is bursting with seafood and plated with fines herbes beurre blanc and grilled Pullman bread. House-smoked King salmon arrives on a jumbo buckwheat blini with crème fraiche, crumbles of hard-cooked egg, red onion, and capers. Brunch also allows for indulgences like Connie’s cinnamon roll (“to start or for dessert”) slathered with nutmeg, orange zest, and cream cheese icing. Embrace their drinking policy (“If it is before noon, we won’t tell”) and order brunch beverages like the Bloody Mary made with celery-bay leaf infused vodka, or Rhode Island coffee milk with Rhode Island coffee syrup, whole milk, nutmeg, and a pour of Selvarey cacao-infused rum.
Local Kitchen & Wine Bar
Ocean Park is an up-and-coming Santa Monica neighborhood, and residents finally have a go-to brunch spot with Local Kitchen & Wine Bar. Maire Byrne builds on the success of nearby Thyme Café & Market. The airy space features skylights, exposed wood rafters, brick walls, and a patio with tan cushioned banquettes. Chef Stephen Murray steers a seasonal menu that’s as indulgent as you want to be. Baby Tuscan kale salad arrives tossed with bagna cauda, olive oil croutons, sliced pluots, and gobs of goat cheese. Griddled, thick-cut Olympia Provisions ham from Portland comes with salsa verde, two poached eggs, and smashed potatoes. A four-stack of sweet white corn pancakes is surprisingly light despite sporting roasted blueberries, maple syrup, and salted butter. To start or finish, you’ll probably want to add a pistachio cinnamon roll slathered with cascading icing of mascarpone, ricotta, orange zest, salt and pepper.
Odys + Penelope
Karen Hatfield and husband Quinn respectively handle the sweet and savory aspects of this industrial chic restaurant, which resides down the block from sister restaurant The Sycamore Kitchen and amidst La Brea Avenue’s trendy lifestyle shops. The impressive restaurant features wood in their welcoming design, which includes towering ceilings and comfortable booths. Wood also factors into a kitchen that employs three different grills and a smoker, each of which burns a different varietal. By all means start with biscuit-like skillet buns slathered with maple brown butter glaze and served with soft salted butter. In season, grilled melon salad with arugula, roasted beets, chickpeas, wheat berries, and paprika yogurt is a refreshing counterpart to other “small bites + starters.” The Hatfields also excel with seemingly simple dishes. Fluffy cornmeal ricotta pancakes benefit from the addition of plump Pudwill blueberries. A luxurious baked omelette with crispy edges and gooey center cradles black forest ham and molten Swiss cheese. Each order comes topped with a dollop of smoked hazelnut Romesco and lemon herb salad.
Restaurants are rarely as high profile as Otium, the grand destination from Sprout Restaurant Group and vaunted chef Timothy Hollingsworth that opened alongside The Broad Museum at Downtown L.A.’s Bunker Hill. Office towers rise above Otium, but the space still feels welcoming, with a spacious patio that fronts a lawn and a modern design with warm wood elements and an open kitchen. Hollingsworth is rooted in fine dining, which is evident in plating and sourcing, but he’s a chef who can still have some fun. Funnel cake, normally fair food, comes dressed with dollops of rich foie gras mousse, tangy balsamic reduction, sweet strawberries, and enlightening fennel (stalks and fronds). Hangtown fry riffs on the popular California gold miner dish from the 19th century - in this case it's an omelette with bacon, Parmesan mousse, chive blossoms, and fried oysters. Otium even has a tantalizing off-menu dish, smoked French toast nuggets with pork belly, maple cream, black truffle berry jam, and decorative beet leaves. Their untraditional Bloody Mary combines vodka, smoked tomatoes, clam juice, and pork fat.
Located in the former Vibiana cathedral rectory, Redbird is a spectacular restaurant from chef Neal Fraser and front of house (and life) partner Amy Knoll Fraser. The light is so good in the dining room that you might think the design is heaven sent. The food is a refined blend of European and regional American influences. A parade of house-made pastries could include a blueberry and ricotta Danish, Berliner bursting with milk chocolate pastry cream, or butter Bostock crafted with brioche, toasted almond, and peach jam. Seasonal quiche may contain morels, ramps, and Gruyere. Regardless, each slab features a flaky crust and comes with endive salad. Hopping John is a rich play on a Southern classic made with Sea Island peas, Carolina gold rice, Benton’s ham, fried egg, and collard greens. If you’re eating light, spring chicken salad is a great choice co-starring crunchy snap peas, asparagus, soft egg, radish, mizuna, and tangy kefir ranch. Head bartender Tobin Shea serves a classic Bloody Mary, as well as a unique Modern Mary with clarified tomato and lemon, white balsamic, fennel, basil, pepper vodka, and soda for fizz.
The Spare Room co-founders Marc Rose and Med Abrous have transitioned swimmingly from their roles as savvy bar owners to restaurant operators. Winsome is their sleek diner located at the base of a renovated condo tower called The Elysian. Their peacock logo apparently references the peacocks that used to roam Echo Park. The space is similarly chic, with a curved counter facing an open kitchen, comfortable cushioned booths and banquettes, Phil Dike’s painting “Sunshine in Echo Park” on the wall, and an airy back patio. Executive chef Jeremy Strubel’s modern, seasonal cooking more than keeps pace with surroundings. His brunch menu beautifully bridges the weekday breakfast and brunch menus. Potato rosti features a buttery, crusty potato pancake topped with a molded sunny-side-up egg and a choice of toppings. Bloomsdale spinach, asparagus, avocado, and basil tahini is a particularly satisfying combo. Indulgent duck egg toast comes slathered with nduja (spicy, spreadable sausage), Reading raclette, and oregano. Vegetarian dishes are also flavorful, with pastor-spiced baby carrots and root vegetables plated with cilantro yogurt, and crispy Meiji tofu squares tossed with red peppers, chiles, Thai basil, and puffed red wheat berries. Be sure to swing by the pastry case, loaded with items like flaky matcha conchas, bruleed caramel rye brownies, and monkey bread.