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Only at Brunch: San Diego's Extravagant Buffets, Innovative a la Carte Menus



Brunch in San Diego isn’t just for holidays and special occasions. This popular meal can be enjoyed on any weekend, and even some weekdays, in hotels and trendy restaurants across the county. It’s family-friendly, ranges from casual to upscale, and might just cure your hangover blues. Wasabi Bloody Mary? Bring it on, but save room--San Diego chefs have turned brunch into quite a culinary event that isn't just about eggs and bacon.

Find San Diego brunches in all-you-can-eat buffet style, such as the seven stations at the Crown Room where you may also partake in bottomless mimosas. Or, perhaps you'd just like to try an Ultimate Sticky Bun at Trust Restaurant where the brunch menu is a la carte.  

The venues on this list are where San Diegans head to when the idea of brunch is on the table. We’ve done our best to list when brunch is offered but call ahead as things can and do change. It would definitely behoove you to make a reservation in advance, too.

Allow enough time for a post-brunch nap. These innovative brunches are so good that you’ll surely want to indulge.


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Hash House A Go Go


Modern diner Hash House A Go Go specializes in BIG "Twisted Farm Food" so bring your appetite. For 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. Hit the shops in Hillcrest after brunch.

Recommended for Brunch because: Bring your appetite for gigantic servings (maybe the largest in town) of "Twisted Farm Food".

Katie's expert tip: Plan to make this your only meal of the day or consider sharing. The portions are seriously enormous and you'll find yourself staring at other people's food, marveling at what you didn't order.

Read more about Hash House A Go Go →


Whisknladle


With a farm-to-table approach, Whisknladle succeeds in making simple food taste extraordinary. The menu changes with the season and is void of fuss. Everything is made from scratch, including the tonics and purees for the artisanal cocktails. Brunch is served on both Saturday and Sunday. Favorite dishes include banana butterscotch bread, spicy buttermilk fried chicken and hangar steak and eggs though guests can also order off of the popular lunch menu. Happy hour is 7 days per week from 3:00-6:00pm with discounts on tapas, sangria, wine and cocktails. They also have a private dining room that seats up to 16 people.

Recommended for Brunch because: The indoor/outdoor vibe of the restaurant makes it an ideal spot for a cucumber mimosa (yum) on a sunny day in La Jolla.

Katie's expert tip: Try the banana bread french toast with peanut butter caramel, banana, candied bacon, peanuts and vanilla ice cream.

Read more about Whisknladle →




Owned and operated by Chef Matt Gordon and his wife, Urban Solace in North Park offers brunch-goers two options. "Blunch" on Saturdays includes breakfast-type items such as Kitchen Sink Biscuits and Gravy, Fried Green Tomato Benny (house biscuit, poached fresh eggs, smoked ancho chili Hollandaise), salads and sandwiches. Bluegrass brunch is only on Sundays, where diners can enjoy live bluegrass music over a larger menu including braised Colorado lamb shoulder hash, butter-pecan french toast and more. Specialty cocktails including mojitos, bellinis and more will certainly put you in a cheery mood. Urban Solace is just that--a neighborhood eatery that prides itself on good, creative food and excellent service.

Recommended for Brunch because: Gigantic cinnamon bun... need I say any more. Comfort food is a specialty.

Katie's expert tip: Cheddar-chive biscuits. Need I say more? You can order a delicious salad or healthier option, if you absolutely have to.

Read more about Urban Solace →


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THE MED evokes the feel of charming villa overlooking the Mediterranean Sea but in the Village of La Jolla. Its claim to fame is threefold: ocean views, impeccable service and a superb Coastal Mediterranean menu that emphasizes the best of California's coast. This is especially evident during morning meals that include everything from lobster Benedict to perfectly-presented acai bowls. Pair your choice with an Agua Fresca mimosa featuring watermelon and lime or a gourmet bloody Mary. Choose to sit indoors or on the lovely patio as both have ocean views. The restaurant is open for breakfast daily and open for brunch on Saturday and Sundays.

Recommended for Brunch because: THE MED is an excellent choice in La Jolla with ocean views and a superb menu that infuses the best of California and Mediterranean.

Katie's expert tip: Go with the house specialties. From Baja shrimp chilaquiles to carne asada Benedicts, you can't go wrong

Read more about The MED →




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. Sunday brunch is an excellent time to try this popular venue. The creative and witty New American menu features local favorites such as the Buttermilk Fried Chicken sandwich with mustard slaw and pickled jalapenos, and Sunday Bloody Sunday with golden egg, spicy shrimp and white cheddar grits. Alongside Bloody Mary's, Manmosas (bourbon, blackberry, maple syrup, champagne) and bellinis will surely right the ship after a long night out. Or go with mimosas your way which give you a bottle of sparkling wine, fruit and fresh juice of your choice.

Recommended for Brunch because: Popular with locals with an upscale-casual vibe, this celebrity chef eatery delivers hearty or healthy brunch on weekends.

Katie's expert tip: The Dr. Seuss-inspired Green Eggs and Ham is a must-order along with the Beasty Bloody Mary. It is actually possible to eat a healthy brunch here too without feeling too deprived, though you may gaze longingly at your neighboring table's order.

Read more about Searsucker →


5
North Park


Located about 1.5 miles away from Qualcomm Stadium, Cafe 21 is a great option for any reason. This extremely popular restaurant is Turkish and if you don't order the baklava... well, let's just say you should. The restaurant is so popular that they added a second location in the Gaslamp Quarter. The dishes are great value for money with brunch (try the bananas foster stuffed french toast and the prosciutto omelette) as a popular time to go. At dinner, try the flat iron steak flat bread and the kabobs. Tea lovers will appreciate the extensive menu, but those craving a tipple will find plenty of craft cocktails, craft beer, wine and sangria. This cozy restaurant doesn't have a parking lot so park on the street.

Recommended for Brunch because: In addition to a bartender's choice flight of six mimosas, the brunch menu ranges from skillet omelettes to crepes to salads.

Katie's expert tip: Try the tiramisu pancakes with Mascarpone whip and maple espresso syrup on top. Yum.

Read more about Cafe 21 →




Snooze, an A.M. Eatery is located in Hillcrest and sort of how you'd imagine breakfast with the Jetsons to be. Decor is retro and 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 all-day 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. Park at the street meters.

Recommended for Brunch because: Snooze offers good drinks and good food that can he healthy (or not) for a la carte brunch in a retro environment.

Katie's expert tip: Snooze now has multiple locations across San Diego. They can seriously spice up a Bloody Mary, too.

Read more about Snooze, an A.M. Eatery →


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. The extensive brunch menu is available online. Dress smartly for this elegant affair and be sure to make reservations in advance. Live music on the piano entertains guests while dining in the beautiful restaurant.

Recommended for Brunch because: Brunch here is a formal affair (well, for San Diego) so dress smartly to enjoy decadent buffet choices.

Katie's expert tip: Be sure to order the prime rib, dress smartly and make sure you're not driving as mimosas and sparkling wine are included with the price of brunch.

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Trust Restaurant is a community restaurant in Hillcrest with a menu of seasonal, shareable plates that is especially popular at brunch time. Look out for favorites such as Rolled Tacos con Huevos (two eggs, black beans, chorizo, potatoes, salsa ranchero, oaxaca, guacamole, radish) or the Trust Way burger (house cured-braised bacon and sunny side egg). Pair your decadent meal with sips from the globally-influenced beverage program which showcases local craft beer and celebrates artisan producers of wine throughout the world. Guests can also opt to dine on the 1,300-square-foot outdoor patio designed to complement the urban landscape of Hillcrest.

Recommended for Brunch because: They've done an excellent job of focusing on the entire dining experience from quality of the food and service to outstanding decor.

Katie's expert tip: Try the Ultimate Sticky Bun. The flavors change and they only produce a limited amount every weekend.

Read more about Trust Restaurant →




Legendary 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, a donut bar, vintage candy and more. The menu changes based on what ingredients are in season. Also included are made-to-order mimosas, a Bloody Mary bar and 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.

Recommended for Brunch because: This is considered the nicest brunch in San Diego for a reason.

Katie's expert tip: Kids ages 5 and under eat brunch here for free. Don't forget to dress smartly and walk off brunch by exploring this historic hotel whose red roof has become symbolic of San Diego.

Read more about Crown Room at Hotel del Coronado →


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Meet 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...  More About Katie

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