In three different corners of the county we’ve got three of the best breakfasts in the world. Start your day completely right.
Even before Vespertine, chef Jordan Kahn was known for his visually stunning food, at Red Medicine (where dishes were as likely to turn up in goldfish bowls as on plates) but also prior to that, when he was Michael Mina’s corporate pastry chef. That hasn’t changed at his daytime place, Destroyer, despite the fact that it’s basically a futuristic cafe where Hayden Tract office workers come to get coffee and oatmeal. But the coffee is from San Francisco’s Coffee Manufactory, and the oatmeal comes raw and crunchy in a beautiful, white bowl with drifts of red currant, perfect for Instagram, as is just about everything here. In fact, Destroyer’s stark background, heavy, earthy ceramics and meticulously artful platings might make it the most Instagrammable restaurant in the known universe. Chicken confit comes in a wide bowl under a blanket of charred cabbage leaves and a flurry of cheese. Beef tartare, bound by smoked egg cream, comes under a plated armor of perfectly arranged radishes, with sprigs of dill at the edge for frondy visual appeal. This is cerebral food, but it also speaks to your more emotional needs. —Besha Rodell
3578 Hayden Ave., Culver City; destroyer.la.
Since opening in Glassell Park in early 2016, Division 3, a tiny, shacklike joint with a walk-up window and a shady back patio, has become a go-to neighborhood spot. For such a small space, D3 turns out a surprisingly diverse menu, including sandwiches, salads, pastries, hot links and something called “Jersey French toast ina’cup,” a gooey mass of syrup-soaked, toasted bread in a cardboard to-go container that you won’t be able to stop eating, especially on a hungover Sunday morning. But the star attractions here are the biscuit sandwiches, which mix various meats and veggies with an over-medium egg and an addictive, Thousand Island dressing–like substance called “D3 special sauce,” all served on a homemade biscuit that’s flaky but firm enough to hold together as it soaks up that runny egg yolk. The sandwiches come in five flavors, of which the standouts are the fennel-cured salmon, topped with crème fraîche, and the corned beef, as tender and peppery as any New York deli’s. They’re small enough that those with heartier appetites can spring for two, but even so, at a mere $5 a pop, they might be the best breakfast bargain in town. —Andy Hermann
3329 Division St., Glassell Park.
One of the great joys of living in L.A. is that you can find a dazzling array of international cuisine within reasonable driving distance. This extends to breakfast. One of the few places to find a traditional Japanese breakfast around these parts is Fukagawa — and fortunately, it’s served all day. The breakfast consists of several small dishes served on a tray: Rice, miso soup, cold tofu, a sheet of seaweed, pickled vegetables and an egg prepared one of four ways, are included in every combo. Other combos include your choice of steak or grilled fish (salmon, Spanish mackerel, mackerel) or the notorious fermented soybean dish natto. Combo D includes all of the above for the largest way to start your morning. Tucked in the Pacific Square Shopping Center, the restaurant is a fixture in Gardena, a city with a rich Japanese-American heritage. While udon, soba and a variety of other Japanese dishes are served, it’s the breakfast that keeps regulars returning to the humble restaurant that’s been around for more than 30 years. —Jim Thurman
1630 W. Redondo Beach Blvd., Gardena; (310) 324-4306.