San Diegans love their morning meals and the city hosts a wide variety of palate-pleasing places to kick off your day. Whether you want a healthy start, quick breakfast burrito or decadent boozy brunch, there’s no shortage of great eats. Our favorite eateries offer everything from fluffy pancakes, and salted caramel waffles to avocado toast and carne asada burritos! And, of course, Mimosa-infused brunch. So fuel up at these top spots.
Feature photo: Courtesy of Oceana Coastal Kitchen
Claire's on Cedros
Locals gravitate to this North County cottage where the patio is filled with pooches and families who’ve pedaled over for fresh pastries and pancakes. Claire’s favors healthy, ingredient-forward dishes featuring local free-range eggs, 100% pure maple syrup and divine Bread & Cie baked goods to accompany your favorite lattes and cold pressed juices. Beyond classics like Eggs Benedict and avo toast, you’ll find crispy parmesan risotto cakes with baby arugula and Béarnaise, seared salmon over house-made buttermilk biscuits, salted caramel waffles and acai beach bowls. For those looking for gourmet grab-n-go, Claire’s Too serves fresh coffee and pastries next door. Monday through Thursday 7am to 2:30pm. Friday through Sunday 7am to 3pm. clairesoncedros.com
Harry’s Coffee Shop
This old-school breakfast joint has roots back to 1960 and remains the oldest family-owned restaurant in La Jolla. When Harry Rudolph moved across the country from Brooklyn to California, he pined for a classic New York diner experience, so he opened his namesake eatery, which his grandchildren now helm. Old faves like corn beef and hash, smoked salmon bagels and homestyle country ham steak and eggs mingle on the menu with California classics like chilaquiles, carne asada burritos and egg white scrambles. Sweet tooths will love the pineapple- coconut-Oreo French toast and Harry’s famous milkshakes with heaps of whip on top. Daily 6am to 3pm with breakfast all day. harryscoffeeshop.com
Little Italy’s best boozy breakfast spot is a millennial playground begging to be on your Insta story. Eye candy galore includes a 30-foot electric-pink neon flower with a wandering human eye, a pretty-in-pink Moet & Chandon Champagne vending machine, crushed velvet banquettes, pink-veined onyx table slabs, and more. This second story eatery feels like a full-blown party even on a Tuesday morning with music blasting and servers slinging creative eats like Japanese souffle pancakes with coconut and apricot syrup, pork belly fried rice with runny-yolk eggs, and fried chicken and waffles. Guests imbibe everything from barrel-aged cold brews, maple cinnamon hot chocolate and London Fog lattes to spiked Orange Julius and epic Bloody Marys with celery foam. This scintillating scene is worth the wait but opt for a weekday to avoid long lines. Monday through Friday 8am to 3pm; Saturday and Sunday 8am to 4pm. morningglorybreakfast.com
Oceana Coastal Kitchen
Seafood fans flock to Oceana Coastal Kitchen’s Sunday Champagne Brunch at the Catamaran Resort overlooking sparkling Mission Bay. The feast includes a phenomenal cold bar with peel-and-eat shrimp, sushi, Pacific crab, and smoked salmon, along with artisan cheese, charcuterie, smoked trout, a medley of salads, fresh pastries, and mini desserts. But brunch doesn’t end at the buffet as it also includes an entrée — think mushroom quiche, rosemary prime rib or brioche French toast — and, of course, bottomless mimosas! Sunday Brunch runs from 10am to 2pm. catamaranresort.com
Set inside The Seabird Resort, Piper focuses on ingredient-driven dishes from the best regional small farms. A beautiful farm fresh omelet is loaded with summer corn succotash, pimento cheese, macho blossoms and grilled cipollini onions. Their avocado toast sports a new twist with beets, sprouts and pickled cucumbers. Piper’s superfood bowl packs a healthy punch with acai, sunflower butter, bee pollen, hemp and chia seeds. Another top menu contender arrives as chilaquiles — organic blue corn tortillas jazzed up with heirloom yellow tomato salsa, calypso beans, queso fresco, and two organic sunny eggs. After brekkie, stroll over to the pier to watch the surfers charging waves. Breakfast daily 7am to 11 am. theseabirdresort.com
Named for the local break, Pipes naturally attracts the Patagonia-and-Uggs sporting surf crowd for post sesh grind like breakfast burritos and seaside scramblers with Pipes’ famed potatoes. The affordable under-ten-bucks menu is a crowd pleaser, as is the chalkboard coffee board offering playful sippers like gingerbread lates and Almond Joy mochas. In addition to the burly breakfast burritos, stuffed with eggs, avocado, sausage and cheese, you can order up pancakes, French toast, egg sandwiches, and morning tacos. Daily 7am to 2pm.
Hillcrest’s neighborhood gem showcases the talents of chef Brad Wise, a local favorite. Brunch is a gourmet feast with bold, smoky, wood-fired flavors. Standouts include smoked salmon toast with herb goat cheese, arugula, egg, and fried capers, chilaquiles rojos and albacore tartare with black sesame, trout roe and taro root chips. For a sweet fix, don’t miss the ultimate sticky bun with ice cream on top but go early if you crave one as they sell out. Their passion fruit mimosas are the perfect Sunday sipper. Brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 2pm. trustrestaurantsd.com
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