Day in and day out, many of us are hooked on the following routine: the drape over the kitchen sink to slurp up our cereal, or the dodging of speed bumps and monitoring of traffic signals between spoonfuls of yogurt or--if we're stuck in the 80s--cottage cheese. It's easy to forget that breakfast can actually be imaginative, full of flavor and, like lunch and dinner, a real meal.
As proof, here are 10 L.A. spots - listed in no particular order - that offer terrific renditions of breakfast dishes, from the exquisite to the playful to the traditional. We can do so much better than drive-thru or cereal out of a box.
1. 3 Square: Contemporary, stylish cuisine is made extra special by the addition of authentic German and Austrian pastries, breads and sausages at this Abbott Kinney corner café owned and run by the Rockenwagner enterprise. The Meusli with whole crème and chopped fruit is like cereal from the gods, and dishes like the plate size apple pancake and pitch perfect organic eggs served with pretzel rolls are fit for royalty. Just add the piping hot freshly brewed Julius Meinl coffee, and your palate will awaken and be thoroughly satisfied. 1121 Abbott Kinney Blvd; Venice; (310)399-6504
2. Bloom Cafe: Pico, between Fairfax and La Brea, never tasted so good. Breakfasts at the sun filled and modern Bloom have tremendous flavor with creative twists, like the Winter Scramble with butternut squash, garlic confit, spinach and marscapone, the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes or Roasted Potato Bacon Omelette with sour cream and scallions. Plus, there's a major lean towards the organic and the tastiest aspects of health nuttiness. (e.g.: excellent tasting green juices, power packed acai granola bowls). 5544 w. Pico Blvd; Los Angeles; (323)934-6900
3. Cecconi's: This West Hollywood hot spot makes breakfast a quiet, glamorous retreat. Even eating morning staples here, like oatmeal with strawberry marmalade with coffee (LA Mill poured out of real silver), feels like a special occasion. The menu is perfectly balanced with fresh squeezed juices, beautiful, housemade pastries, interesting sides like stewed fruits with crème fraiche, sophisticated versions of eggs, and a richly flavored but delicately presented waffle. 8764 Melrose Ave; West Hollywood; (310) 432-2000
4. Du-Par's: The ultimate classic, Du-Par's has been bringing breakfast joy to diners in Los Angeles for more than six decades, meaning you can definitely get your retro fix here if you like. Buttermilk short stacks, Blue Plate Specials and Denver omelette orders are no strangers here, nor should they be; all are lip-smacking, tried and true recipes that deliver the original breakfast flavors and aromas of Americana. Bonus: if you want to have your morning fruit in the form of pie, Du-Par's makes at least seven to ten varieties a day. 6333 W. 3rd Street; Los Angeles; (323)933-8446 and 12036 Ventura Blvd; Studio City;(818)766-4437
5. House Café: A newbie to the mid-city dining scene, House stands out with a streamlined menu of quality, upscale casual dishes with a gourmet twist, like a nice, chewy bagel with burrata cream cheese and pancakes with hints of orange. House Café also boasts the most exciting breakfast around - the Turkish Breakfast. This dish brings together several components, both savory and sweet - a Turkish sesame bread ring, soft boiled egg, a scoop of plain yogurt, marinated feta, julienned cucumbers, sliced tomatoes, olives, and cherry jam are all on one plate making it fun to mix and match however you desire. 8114 Beverly Blvd; Los Angeles; (323)655-5553
6. Huckleberry Bakery and Café: Huckleberry's morning pastries and gourmet, rustic entrees served with the bakery's artisan breads are the stuff dreams are made of. Everything here, whether it is a cinnamon sugared doughnut hole or a hearty breakfast sandwich of sunnyside up, niman ranch bacon, gruyere and arugula, fits into one of two categories: scrumptious and/or delightful. 1014 Wilshire Blvd.; Santa Monica; (310)451-2311
7. LA Mill: Known to many as a coffee connousieur's panacea, it's also a terrific breakfast spot where you can start your day in a chic setting and reward your appetite with a high quality, gourmet a.m. meal. Eggs are vegetarian hen, soft scrambled with delectable accompaniments like beurre blanc or wild mushrooms. Potatoes are roasted fingerlings with garlic and thyme. How grand these dishes, plus their vanilla-cinnamon-sugar brioche toast, are. 1636 Silver Lake Blvd.; Los Angeles; (323)663-4441
8. Nickel Diner: If whistling dixie is on your agenda for the day, then do make your way to 5th and Main in downtown LA where the Nickel Diner will serve you homemade strawberry pop tarts (!!!), maple bacon doughnuts and dutch babies - the individual cake like pancake. This artsy diner has really good food and whimsy that will brighten your day. 524 S. Main Street; Los Angeles; (213)623-8301
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9. Square One Dining: This cozy, Hollywood nook, and great patio, make classic breakfasts done to perfection. Individual skillet egg dishes with seasonal greens and sides of grits with or without bacon, a pressed egg on brioche breakfast sandwich plus exceptional coffee and, honestly, everything else, are all truly winners. 4854 Fountain Ave.; Los Angeles; (323)661-1109
10. The Griddle Café: At The Griddle Café, more is more. Pancakes as big as your head - really - topped with caramel, peanut butter and the likes, serve you right when you are looking to dive into indulgence first thing in the morning. And some of the time, why the not? Especially when names like "Scotch on the Rocks" (butterscotch chips-filled flapjacks) and "Hear You Roar" (pancakes with frosted flakes and strawberry) are irresistible. If your blood sugar needs a break, eggs, toasts and good French pressed coffee are totally acceptable and great tasting here too. 7916 W. Sunset Blvd; Los Angeles; (323)874-0377