Lydia and I are often asked for suggestions about where to eat when visiting Los Angeles. It’s a hard question to answer. I’ll pick a place and cross the city in my mind from my home downtown all the way to the ocean, not wanting to leave a single crumb unnamed.
We’re sharing our favorites here, beginning with this field guide to LA breakfasts.
The list is surely incomplete, so help a fellow reader (and us!) out and share your secret breakfast nook.
Intelligentsia Café— When all you need is good coffee and a place to sun. We prefer the Silverlake location.
Flore Vegan—A rainbow of smoothies and fresh juices plus vegan breakfast burritos and my favorite—the blueberry buckwheat bliss. Flore inspired Lydia’s divine organic green smoothie.
Bottega Louie—Gorgeous. A renovated Art Deco bank turned fine Italianate eatery with cathedral ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, marble floors and counters. The service is grand and the food walks the line between elegant and crave-worthy, e.g. meatball pizza and portobello “fries” with garlic aioli. I’m partial to the green juice and pain au chocolat, though not necessarily on the same trip. The pastry counter and mini market is full of little treasures like European sea salts, baguette sandwiches and nutella.
Maison Midi—A French-inspired sidewalk cafe/bistro that poaches perfect eggs, whips a mean Hollandaise and doubles as a home store specializing in bright Mediterranean linens, ceramics and Laguiole knives? Someone read my wish list.
Little Next Door—My pitstop after fetching a hungry pal at the airport. A Parisian-style outdoor cafe with champagne cocktails, patisserie and “deli ” salads, e.g. green lentils with butternut squash and Moroccan olives, and roasted quinoa with scallions, black currants and pine nuts. Location convenient to all Third Street shopping. Bonus: food is all organic and vegan options are plentiful.
Joan’s on Third—Just a few blocks down from Little Next Door, this gourmet marketplace sells pungent craggy cheeses, morning muffins heavy with honey, coconut and carrot and turkey meatloaf sandwiches, among many others. Nab the goods to spark dinner party conversation, be it a new cheese, Italian dried pasta or homemade marshmallows.
Huckleberry—They had me at the name.
Who doesn’t want to eat at a place called Huckleberry? Especially early in the morning, before the crowds hit and Wilshire Blvd is still sleepy by LA standards. I’ve made the poached egg over farmers’ market vegetables with pesto and toasted breadcrumbs with some success, but it tastes better at Huckleberry.
Maybe because it’s the starter course to a miniature fresh fruit crostata.
Baked goods don’t come any better.
BLD—Amazing eggs and hash, ricotta pancakes and fluffy french toast. Sunny and bright with windows on two sides overlooking Beverly Blvd. Also does a delicious veggie burger and wine and cheese tastings at dinnertime.
The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market—The quintessential California breakfast spot, especially in the summer when berries and stone fruit abound and vendors bring hand pies and sell iced coffees. Once you’ve made your haul, you can always have breakfast #2 at Le Pain Quotidien on Santa Monica at Third. Like the market, Le Pain is veg and vegan friendly.
Tell us, what have we forgotten?