Best Brunch or Breakfast Restaurants to Start Your Day in San Diego
By Katie Dillon
San Diego Local Expert
Wake up in San Diego, where the sun is probably shining, and make time to visit the 10 best restaurants for breakfast or brunch because these places are popular with locals for good reason.
For the times when an elaborate, champagne-filled brunch will do, the Crown Room at Hotel del Coronado is a top pick for it's multiple gourmet food stations, beachfront location and historic appeal. This brunch is often lauded as the best in San Diego by local publications and residents.
Try Hash House A Go Go in Hillcrest for interesting farm food in gigantic portions. Andy's Sage Fried Chicken Benedict with maple reduction, 2 eggs, bacon mashed potatoes and biscuit just might be your only meal of the day. Plan time for a worthwhile nap afterward.
The seaside community of La Jolla offers alfresco dining in two breakfast/brunch spots that are popular year-round. The Cottage might have a line at times, but nibble on the hosted coffee cake and coffee while you wait. The healthy or hearty fare is worth it. Brockton Villa offers serene ocean views in a restaurant that feels like someone's living room. Linger for a while, if you can and definitely splurge on the Coast Toast—a french bread soaked in whipping cream that's famous among locals.
Go ahead and bring the kids—they'll love these 10 best breakfast or brunch spots, too.
10 Snooze, an A.M. Eatery
Snooze, an A.M. Eatery, located in Hillcrest, is sort of how you'd imagine breakfast with the Jetsons to be, with a retro interior full of vibrant colors. Try the Sandwich I Am, which is an Udi's soft pretzel roll with eggs, cheese and sausage served with a side of smoked cheddar hollandaise. Equally tempting are the pineapple upside down pancakes or sticky bun french toast. Snooze serves breakfast and brunch, however, if standard morning fare isn't your thing, a hamburger or fish tacos should do nicely. Snooze recycles and composts an impressive 90% of their waste. They look for the same level of commitment from their suppliers, too. There's metered parking outside or park in a lot nearby. (6195003344)
9 Le Fontainebleau
The Westgate Hotel is meant to be a re-creation of an anteroom in the Palace of Versailles with antiques, Baccarat crystal chandeliers, plush carpets and brocade chairs. Le Fontainebleau, the hotel's modern-French restaurant, hosts an extravagant Sunday brunch with enormous variety. Highlights include a full service breakfast station with made-to-order omelettes and eggs, a sushi table, gourmet cheese and meats, fresh seafood display, a carving station and much more. They've just added a new Juice Bar composed of locally-grown freshly-squeezed fruits and vegetables in addition to its traditional champagne, mimosas, bloody Mary's and margaritas. The extensive brunch menu is available online. Dress smartly. (619-238-1818)
8 Brockton Villa
It's hard not to relax over breakfast at Brockton Villa, while gazing out on to the gorgeous La Jolla Cove. This historic building maintains a casual, cottage feel reminiscent of dining at a friend's beach house. Go for the Coast Toast, Brockton Villa's proprietary french toast recipe (french bread soaked in whipping cream), or pulled pork chilaquiles. The Crab Ipanema (crab benedict) is also famous. Indulge in a fresh orange juice mimosa or two. Kids have their own reasonably priced breakfast menu featuring pint-sized portions of popular dishes. Service is friendly, too. Then, walk off your breakfast at La Jolla Cove. ((858) 454-7393)
7 Hash House A Go Go
Modern diner Hash House A Go Go specializes in BIG "Twisted Farm Food" so bring your appetite. For breakfast or brunch (served a la carte), indulge in a plate of hash with meatloaf, salmon, or corned beef. Try flapjacks such as the traditional buttermilk variety, or something different like blackberry-granola or butterscotch-almond. Nursing a hangover? Order the "O'Hare of the Dog," a 24-oz Budweiser in a brown bag and a side of bacon. Lunch and dinner choices are just as mammoth including a one-pound burger stuffed with mashed potatoes and bacon, or go for the stellar sage fried chicken, a show-stopping dish. (619-298-4646)
6 Kono's Cafe
This Hawaiian-themed, no-frills eatery is revered for its hearty portions, low prices and amiable atmosphere. Late-risers appreciate that breakfast is served from open to close, and burgers get raves as well. If you're lucky, you'll snag a table outside, where you can enjoy a gorgeous view of the beach. Don't let long lines deter you as they move quickly. Some claim that Kono's Cafe has the best breakfast burritos and breakfast sandwiches that they've ever had and at usually under $5, they are worth a try. If you're avoiding eggs, egg-beaters are on offer as an alternative. Kids are welcome. (858-483-1669)
Celebrity Chef Brian Malarkey of TLC's Mega Bites and Bravo's Top Chef, opened Searsucker in the heart of San Diego's trendy Gaslamp Quarter. His New American cuisine puts new twists on classic favorites. Specialties include Cheeks Goat Cheese Dumplings and Ribeye Tomahawk with cognac and horseradish as well as locally sourced seafood specialties like Baja scallops served with figs and Alaskan halibut. The menu changes daily to keep offerings fresh and fun. Guests pair these unpretentious dishes with local craft beer, handcrafted cocktails and a selection of one-of-a-kind wines from all over the world. If the food isn't enough to send your senses into overdrive, the decor just might. Searsucker has a mix of distressed furniture, big comfy sofas, and modern pieces. (6192337327)
4 The Cottage
Grab some complimentary coffee and coffee cake and leg out the weekend wait, because the food will be worth it. Recipient of accolades locally and nation-wide, breakfast, is what The Cottage is known for and is very popular with locals. The light, airy interior and outside patio both provide family-friendly, pleasant dining space. Stay for the oatmeal pancakes, grilled vegetable omelet and Baja chicken hash. Take home some baked goods and granola with you, which are for sale inside. Kids receive a menu to color and Wikki Stix, usually. The Cottage is open for dinner seasonally and has a cookbook available, too. ((858) 454-8409)
3 The Mission
This is one place where waiting for a table proves worthwhile - The Mission is the local favorite for hearty, unusual breakfasts and lunches. Fill up on Chino-Latino and American dishes like the Zen Breakfast (scrambled egg whites, braised tofu, brown rice, and lightly grilled veggies), the Desayuno Burrito (tortilla filled with potatoes, eggs, cheese, beans, and chipotle cream), strawberry-granola pancakes, and roast beef hash and eggs. Great coffee; wonderful quesadillas, wraps and tacos for lunch. Prices are reasonable and portions are huge with some saying a stack of pancakes can feed multiple people. The Mission is also very kid-friendly. (619-220-8992)
2 Crown Room at Hotel del Coronado
Sunday brunch in the Crown Room at the Hotel del Coronado has been a long-time local favorite and award-winning year after year. Patrons dine under Victorian-era, dark vaulted ceilings and stunning crown chandeliers. Seven dining stations feature favorites that might include farm-to-table gourmet salads, braised short ribs, Alaskan king crab, charcuterie, prime rib, vintage candy and more. The menu changes based on what ingredients are in season. Also included are mimosas, Bloody Mary's or freshly squeezed screwdrivers. The Crown Room can accommodate large groups, however, be sure to make a reservation in advance, regardless of how many are in your party. (619-522-8490)
1 Claire's on Cedros
Claire's on Cedros, located in Solana Beach, is an award-winning breakfast and lunch spot. The in-house bakery produces breakfast delights such as scones, cookies, muffins and more. The rest of the breakfast and lunch menu is made up of bistro classics using the finest, locally-sourced ingredients available. The goal of Claire's is to make each diner feel like they're at home. Claire's is the first LEED Platinum certified restaurant in San Diego for use of eco-friendly building materials and continues to implement sustainable practices. It's in a great location at the end of Cedros near the Amtrak station and shops. (858-259-8597)
About Katie Dillon
Katie Dillon originally moved to the seaside community of La Jolla to attend UC San Diego. When the opportunity presented itself, she and her husband set off for a 7 year stint overseas as expats in London and Hong Kong. After traveling the world, they returned to the La Jolla sunshine, with a young daughter in tow. Katie now writes a lifestyle site called La Jolla Mom and is the author of a book called, “Flying With Kids.” Her work can be seen on NBC San Diego, Red Tricycle, Yahoo! Shine and Have Family Will Travel, a Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts blog.
Read more about Katie Dillon here.