Here in Los Angeles, we are blessed with a whole lot of chefs who take their eggs as seriously as their steak. Brunch in this town is fantastic, and always getting better. In fact, it's so good that when putting together this list of the 10 best brunches in L.A., we had to set up some ground rules in order to narrow the playing field.
Broadly, brunch is a meal consumed in the middle of the day on the weekend. But what makes brunch brunch? How is it different from the new-ish trend of all day menus? What separates it from lunch?
For the purposes of this list, we define brunch as a sit-down, full-service weekend meal at a restaurant with a dedicated brunch menu. We also believe that to truly count as brunch, booze must be available.
Given those parameters, you won't see quite a few restaurants listed that are beloved for their weekend daytime fare. Sqirl isn't on this list (no booze; no table service), nor is Gjusta (no table service), nor is Milo & Olive or new favorites Botanica and Kismet (all three have all-day menus all week long; brunch is no different than breakfast or lunch any other day).
Even with all those rules in place, the offerings were hard to narrow down, but we soldiered ahead. Here are the 10 best brunches in Los Angeles. Enjoy!
10. Little Dom's
Brunch at Little Dom's in Los Feliz is beloved for many reasons: the charm of the room, the ricotta and blueberry pancakes, the fact that you can get spaghetti and meatballs if that's what floats your hangover. But mainly, it's considered an essential L.A. brunch for its mimosa special. For less than $20, you get a full bottle of sparkling wine and a carafe of orange juice to mix it with. It's one of the city's great day-drinking secrets, and the good food and great atmosphere only sweeten its glory. —Besha Rodell
2128 Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz; (323) 661-0055, littledoms.com.
If a side of elegance is imperative with your foie gras torchon and Champagne cocktail (isn't it always?), then you're no stranger to the Redbird brunch. This is the loveliest dining room in all of downtown, and it's right up there with the city's most swoon-worthy. The former cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles might be deconsecrated, but sitting in this space — now outfitted with a grand marble bar, mod orange stools and plush banquettes — remains a spiritual experience. Complete the revelry by ordering the Basque baked eggs, a riff on the now-ubiquitous shakshouka; served here with short rib and blood sausage, it's a beautiful mess of decadence befitting the surroundings. —Mara Shalhoup
114 E. Second St., downtown; (213) 788-1191, redbird.la.
Winsome is the hippest spot on this list (narrowly edging out Animal) and the newest — and as wary as you might be about the convergence of hip, new and brunch, Winsome inevitably will woo you in. Once you're there (assuming you actually find it; the street visibility sucks), you'll quickly see what the fuss is about. You will be eating $11 avocado toast on the sun-dappled patio with the rest of the millennials, and you will be immensely happy about it. You'll be happier still with the duck egg toast, a gussied-up version of the toad in the hole of your childhood. The porky, spicy funk of the nduja makes the dish a little more grown up and a lot more fun. —M.S.
1115 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park; (213) 415-1818, eatwinsome.com.
7. L&E Oyster Bar
Weekend mornings in Silver Lake are awash in brunchers of all kinds, from the ragged party kids at Millie's to the expensively-clothed Audi drivers at LA Mill. But for some reason that is, as far as I'm concerned, L.A.'s biggest mystery, L&E is always practically empty. Is it because it's kind of dark in there? Is it that the idea of seafood in the morning is too much to contemplate for some people? You don't have to eat fish at L&E — there's a breakfast sandwich with sausage, fried egg, cheese and peach-infused hot sauce — but we recommend giving it a try. The smoked trout deviled eggs are a good starter for the table, the pan bagnat tartine is an indulgent mess, and the beet-cured salmon platter is beautiful to look at and even more gorgeous to eat, with the herbs and pickles and whipped cream cheese. Get oysters or not, but definitely get some bubbly. —Katherine Spiers.
1637 Silver Lake Blvd., Silver Lake; (323) 660-2255, leoysterbar.com.
6. Salt's Cure
The brunch at Salt's Cure is of excellent quality, but the servers don't get too precious about the menu — how could they, when the most seemingly popular item is a “secret menu” selection called the “All Star.” It's a play on the Denny's classic Grand Slam. The Salt's Cure version actually comes with more items than the original: Here, you'll get two sausage patties, two strips of bacon, two eggs, the oatmeal griddle cakes with cinnamon-molasses butter and a biscuit with jam. It's $20 to Denny's $7.99, but the quality is almost infinitely better, with everything, including the sausage, made in-house. You'll probably need a nap after eating this collection of breakfast items; if you pair the platter with the spicy tequila Fire Island cocktail, you'll probably need a long nap. It's a great way to spend a Saturday. — K.S.
1155 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood; (323) 465-7258, saltscure.com.
At dinnertime, Animal is still sometimes a tough place to snag a reservation. But there is one time of the week when you usually can walk right in: brunch. We're not sure why, because the brunch here is good enough to warrant a crowd. There's an incredible rueben benedict, a host of brunch-friendly wines (the sparkling wines in particular sing with this food), and an insane foie gras biscuit that is perhaps the most decadent brunch dish in town. While chef/owners Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo are known for their love of fatty meats, there are some lighter dishes on the menu as well, such as smoked whitefish salad, or the bright, lovely carolina gold rice congee with chicken and gobs of lemongrass. But you can also get the oxtail gravy poutine or foie gras loco moco at lunch as well. —B.R.
435 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; (323) 782-9225, animalrestaurant.com.
4. Bar Amá
In his corner of the Historic Core, known to some as the Old Bank District, Josef Centeno starts Bar Amá's Tex-Mex brunch later (at 11:30 a.m.) than most restaurants. You'll forgive the delay. Centeno's takes on migas and green enchiladas are a testament to how deft he is at elevating comfort food to culinary creativity. The full bar offers spiked agua frescas, made-to-order cocktails and a lengthy list of mezcals. —Christine Chiao
18 W. Fourth St., downtown; (213) 687-8002, bar-ama.com.
3. M.B. Post
At David LeFevre’s Manhattan Beach Post, seasonal menu changes are constant, but the bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits are eternal. M.B. Post is impossibly convivial. On an early Sunday afternoon, you might hear a throwback '90s track playing a few decibels higher than the steady din of chatter. The varying sounds are less noise than soundtrack to one of the better weekend parties you'll attend. Most dishes are easily shareable — conducive to the kind of social experiment that brings together two parties who happen to sit next to one another. —C.C.
1142 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach; (310) 545-5405, eatmbpost.com.
It’s quite a trick that Walter and Margarita Manzke have pulled off at République, a kind of sophisticated elasticity that allows the restaurant to be whatever you need at any given moment. On the weekend, stop by for brunch, when the light streams in through the front windows and the bowls of shakshouka and kimchi fried rice are devoured by happy diners at long wooden tables. You'll order at the counter, to the left of the entrance, before finding a table. After 9:30 a.m. or so, there'll be a line. The pastry case, with its piles of thick cookies, flaky tawny pastries and tarts, will tide you over. —C.C.
624 La Brea Ave., Hancock Park; (310) 362-6115, republiquela.com.
Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne’s A.O.C. has always been representative of everything great about the mashup of local cuisine and European influence. This was apparent in its original location, which opened in 2002, and it’s even more apparent in the spot it moved to in 2012, which is an utter dream of a restaurant: a cozy dining room with circular corner booths; the leafy, bricked-in magic of the patio, anchored by a candle-festooned fireplace. The feeling is of stepping into an enchanted space where everything might be taken care of. At brunch, Goin's amazing Spanish fried chicken comes with a cornmeal waffle and jamon butter, and the grilled blueberry bread is a thing of wonder. Barman Christian Rollich's inspired lunch cocktails seal the deal. —B.R.
8700 W. Third St., Beverly Grove; (310) 859-9859, aocwinebar.com.