As a mega breakfast food lover and someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy waking up early, brunch is totally my dig. It’s exponentially increased in popularity over the years, and why wouldn’t it? It’s the perfect excuse to start drinking at 10am (hello, bottomless mimosas) and there are endless delicious combinations to serve eggs, fatty salty protein, and sugary starch.
In LA, there is a wide selection of brunch options, ranging from upscale chic to quick & easy diner-style. Here are the ones Jen and I tried during our trip this spring.
Cecconi’s West Hollywood | 8764 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA | ★★★★ | $$$
My first draw to Cecconi’s was that it’s a celebrity hotspot and a popular destination for some of my favourite actresses. Situated in West Hollywood, it’s well-frequented by all the different sorts of aspirational characters found in the area. It’s also part of the Soho House family of private establishments, spawning from its original location in London and fortunately open to the public without its prestigious membership. But upon our arrival, it was easy to see why it attracts top-notch reviews from locals and tourists alike, beyond its reputation.
Their brunch options range from charming breakfast fare like ricotta hotcakes with a blueberry compote and frittatas with asparagus and goat cheese, to heavier lunch options like dungeness crab ravioli and branzino with tomato, cherry pepper, and olive (with the likes of the latter bringing up the price rating to $$$).
I wanted to try everything on the menu. In the end, I chose a breakfast option and was very satisfied with my order of porchetta ham benedict. Just thinking about the way the flavours of the perfectly runny egg swirled with the ham and English muffin in a single bite makes my stomach rumble.
Jen chose the full English breakfast, which she confirmed was cooked and served perfectly.
And if the food hadn’t made me fall in love with the restaurant, the decor and design certainly did. Designed by Martin Brudnizki, the black and white marbled floors, blue-coloured leather and mohair velvet on the oak chairs and banquettes, and Murano-styled glass chandeliers all added to the distinctly modern West Hollywood ambiance. I’d only wished we could have sat out on the beautiful veranda, which I’ll certainly request for my next visit.
For dessert, Jen and I shared the delightfully not-too-sweet meyer lemon and berry meringata (yes, it was huge).
As the early Saturday afternoon approached, the restaurant became even busier as more patrons stopped in for lunch, and a bridal shower group occupied the large party room and another took up a long table out on the veranda.
Although there were no celebrity sightings in the end, we had a great time and a great meal and I was fine with the not-especially-attentive service. I can’t wait to go back – and judging by their other various menus, there are so many more amazing dishes to try.
Kitchen24 | 1680 N Cahuenga Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA | ★★★★ | $$
Sometimes, after an especially fun night out that involves bartenders whom you nickname “Wonder Woman” and “Victory Roll”, you just need a giant serving of bacon and eggs to soak up the remnants of that fun so that you can go on living the next day. Bonus points if you can get that serving at a cute diner-style restaurant with friendly service that is forgiving of you when you take too long to figure out what you want to eat.
Kitchen24 is like an elevated version of your classic diner experience. Filled with booths and high tables and a large U-shaped bar outfitted with pink-cushioned seats, there are touches of both modern and retro that energize you and excite you for their large menu. And they’re open 24/7.
They’ve got a ton of great breakfast options, but also burgers, soups, and salads – depending on what you’re in the mood for. Jen opted for the biscuits & gravy, while I got the “wakey wakey eggs & bakey”, which comes with pancakes and hash browns. The eggs were cooked just how I like ’em (not too runny, not too dry), and the pancakes were fantastic. The hashbrowns were oilier than they were crispy, but I was too full to finish them anyway to start worrying about it.
The meal was just what I needed, and I can imagine it’s the perfect go-to in the middle of the afternoon, at 2am after the bar, or at 10am when you’ve somehow managed to drag yourself out of bed for some good hangover sustenance.
The Waffle | 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA | ★★★ | $$
On the morning of our beach day, we wanted to find another quick-service breakfast joint to fill us up before trekking out to Santa Monica. Thanks to Jen’s Google search, we tracked down The Waffle – not too far from our hotel and just a block away from the Buzzfeed office!
In addition to The Waffle’s diner interior, it’s also got a pretty large patio with big yellow umbrellas for when the sun gets to be blazing hot. They’ve also got a pretty huge menu with options for breakfast and lunch, and – of course – every sort of waffle you could imagine, from red velvet to cornmeal & jalapeño, sticky bun, and more!
I went for the classic waffle breakfast, which was eggs, bacon, hash browns, and a half waffle (pretty similar to my brunch the day before) because, well, I just love the classics. The waffle was fluffy and cooked to perfection, though the eggs were a little wetter than my preference. If I could do it again, I’d try the chocolate chip waffle or the applewood smoked bacon waffle (bacon bits baked in!). Damnit, now I want a waffle.
One of the interesting waffle choices was the hash brown waffle, with hash browns baked right into the waffle batter, topped with eggs, bacon, cheddar, and a dollop of sour cream. Holy delightful combination, though Jen did hope for more potato in the waffle.
If you’re a big waffle nut or you’re Leslie Knope, The Waffle is worth checking out, for both waffle quality and price!
We’re very happy we lucked out with some great brunch options while on the LA leg of our trip, and that I finally got to try Cecconi’s!
Got some other brunch recommendations up in LA or Hollywood? Let me know in the comments below.