Hip, healthy, haute: Los Angeles and its brunch scene are all these things and more. "Gluten-free," "vegan," "vegetarian" and "organic" are frequently found on menus, and trendiness reigns – the best places for brunch offer amenities including communal tables, pet-friendly niceties and personal French presses. In a city where creativity is everything, there’s also plenty of stylish décor and consistently inventive cuisine showcasing ingredients as varied as Oreos, gruyere cheese and wild nettles. So grab your sunglasses and get ready for a super-cool brunch out in Los Angeles.
Impassioned locals and Rachael Ray alike have sung the praises of this Hollywood hot spot where pancakes, waffles and French toast are elevated to a fine art. There are literally pages of sugar-laden options, including Oreo-stuffed flapjacks, Frosted Flake-filled hotcakes and Chips Ahoy-topped French toast. Other ingredients making an appearance include caramel, cinnamon apples, coconut, butterscotch chips and (yes) Kahlua and Bailey’s. As an appropriate L.A. touch, the café promotes DIY by bringing personal French presses to guest tables and selling pancake mixes to take home – Oreos, sadly, not included.
With its wood-beamed ceilings, stone walls and vintage lamps, this stylish restaurant is a perfect fit for its uber-hip Venice home. The menu is equally trendy, featuring a healthy mix of the high-end (crème fraiche, octopus, gruyere cheese) and down-home (grits, bacon, meatballs). The restaurant is known for its gourmet pizzas and serves up a nice selection at brunch as well: one particularly inventive option comes with wild nettles, garlic confit and chili. To eat like a local, grab a sunny spot on the patio or sidle up alongside strangers at a long communal table.
The aesthetic alone makes this decadent pastry shop, located in revitalized downtown L.A., worth a visit. Neatly arranged rows of colorful macaroons and berry-topped baked goods line shining glass cases, and boxes for packaging come in pinks, golds and blues. Take home a sweet treat to top off your brunch-time visit or enjoy their European-styled dishes including smoked salmon, an omelet stuffed with Italian sausage and soppressata salami, and prosciutto-topped breakfast flatbread. This is the kind of posh place you’ll feel like dressing up for.
A wellness-focused menu featuring vegan, egg white and multigrain options has plenty to offer hungry patrons. But the real selling point is a selection of no fewer than 10 organic house-blend roasts – from light to dark, smoky to sweet—as well as fine black, green, white, herbal, fruit and oolong teas. Ingredients are combined for innovative drinks with a kick, including the "monkey granita" with tea and espresso in a banana milkshake. As an added touch, many beverages are topped with artful decorations. The restaurant’s caffeinated-meets-healthy approach has proved irresistible to Los Angelenos and currently outposts can be found in Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Santa Monica and elsewhere.
On swanky Melrose Avenue, this consistently packed brunch spot is filled with natural light, exposed brick and local art. Cozy and inviting, it features a menu high on health, with dishes including spicy Tex-Mex tofu hash, house-made vegan organic granola and gluten-free chilaquiles. The restaurant’s signature dish is less healthy but worth the splurge: French toast baked with corn flakes, topped with fresh fruit and served with vanilla bean sauce. Want to bring your pooch? Dog bowls are provided for thirsty pups.