Can’t decide between french toast or french fries? Orange juice or mimosas? Well, we’ve got a brunch fix for that! Whether you want to eat your oatmeal by the ocean or brave brunch in your car (really!), there are a slew of spots you and kids will love when it comes to breakfast/lunch combos. Read on to discover the best brunch spots for LA families.
Santa Monica: Huckleberry Cafe
Besides the smorgasbord of freshly-baked cakes, muffins and pastries on display inside the bakery, this popular Santa Monica breakfast spot also has a variety of lunch and breakfast items that can be enjoyed in the indoor restaurant or on the outside patio.
Brunch Menu Standouts: After noshing on whatever yummy bakery item they had to have from the bakery, there's a dedicated kids’ menu with pancakes (add blueberries or chocolate chips), bacon & eggs, organic chicken fingers, grilled cheese and an organic roasted turkey half sandwich. Gluten free and vegan items are also available.
Good to Know: Huckleberry accepts walk-ins for seating indoors and on the back patio.
Hours: Open daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for walk-in seating. Takeout and boxed lunches are also available.
1014 Wilshire Blvd.
Century City: The Sugar Factory
Ready to break your "No candy for breakfast rule?" This cavernous restaurant on the second floor of Century City's Westfield Mall will be your kids' new favorite place—and it's easy to see why. From candy-covered milkshakes to towering stacks of rainbow pancakes, Sugar Factory's over-the-top dishes will wow you even before you take a bite (it's reportedly the most Instagrammed restaurant in America).
Brunch Menu Standouts: For starters, the cake bowl-sized drinks (served non-alcoholic or otherwise) bubble and steam like witches' brews (and come with floating gummy candies kids will want to fish out with their fingers). Hungry kiddos will love the sliders, which come five to a plate; as well as the huge stack of rainbow pancakes that are served with DIY toppings like chocolate chips and gummy bears (we only needed one order of these for our family of five!). But the real stars of this place are the specialty milkshakes, which come with a layer of sweets actually stuck onto the glass thanks to a layer of chocolate that acts like glue—plus various other treats served atop and alongside (not to mention the creamy shake itself).
Good to Know: If it's a special occasion and you've got enough bellies to fill, the $99 Kong Kong Sundae comes with 24 scoops of ice cream (!!) topped with a whole can of whipped cream, walnuts, cakes, sprinkles, M&M's, 4 waffle cones, 3 unicorn lollipops, pretzels, donuts and more. It's a feast so decadent that if you order it, the dining staff will play a special song and do a flash mob-style dance all around your table. So yeah: Come hungry. And take pictures. Seating is available inside and on the patio.
Hours: Open Mon.-Fri. at 11:30 a.m.; Sat.-Sun. at 10 a.m.
10250 Santa Monica Blvd. #2020
Century City Mall
Topanga Canyon: Inn of the Seventh Ray
Nestled into the side of Topanga Canyon, this farm-to-table restaurant is all about the idyllic outside ambiance. With tree canopies overhead and a stream running alongside the patio, kids will love the treehouse feel of this space while they explore the creek bed in between bites. Because this charming eatery is known as one of the most romantic spots in LA, brunch (or lunch) is the best time o take the kiddos, as evenings tend to be filled with celebrating couples.
Brunch Menu Standouts: The $39 brunch buffet (children pay $3 per every year old) will satisfy everyone with its selection of bagels, waffles, fresh fruit, eggs, salad, desserts and more. A la carte items include breakfast burritos, omelettes, grass-fed burgers and panini sandwiches.
Good to Know: To maintain proper social distancing, reservations are required so the staff knows exactly how many people to expect at any given time.
Hours: Open daily 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
128 Old Topanga Canyon Rd.
Redondo Beach: The Original Pancake House
If you're a flapjack fan, this South Bay staple is the place to go. The beachy breakfast spot has every kind of pancake you can imagine—from buckwheat and buttermilk to Hawaiian and Swedish—plus egg dishes and an assortment of lunch and dinner crepes.
Brunch Menu Standouts: The house specialty is the Apple Pancake, a single large, oven-baked pancake smothered with sautéed apples and cinnamon sugar. The Dutch Baby—an oversized, thin pancake that's oven-baked and served with whipped butter, lemon and powdered sugar—is also a local favorite. Aside from that, the smorgasbord of various kinds of pancakes and crepes will make choosing just one thing next to impossible.
Good to Know: Get there at 7:30 a.m. when the restaurant opens to avoid the lines—or bring some crayons for the kids and prepare to wait 30 to 40 minutes for a table. COVID protocols: Customers are advised to leave their phone numbers at the front and wait in their cars until their names are called. Maximum seating per table is 6. QR codes are available to scan for the menu. Dining is available inside and outside.
Hours: Mon., Wed. & Thurs., 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Closed Tues.
1756 S Pacific Coast Hwy.
Pasadena: The Tea Rose Garden
Forgo the usual American brunch and opt for tea time instead! For more than 20 years, the Tea Rose Garden in Old Town Pasadena has been serving up a traditional tea time menu in a setting worthy of little princes and princesses. The room is perfectly dainty, with painted china plates laid out across the tables beneath crystal chandeliers—plus an idyllic outdoor patio for those who want to have their tea and scones outdoors.
Brunch Menu Standouts: Each tea time entree comes includes a whole three-tiered platter of yummies including tiny sandwiches (no crust, of course), finger cakes, macaroons, scones, fruits and salads—all perfect for picking and choosing. Kids will love the "Children's Afternoon Tea" entree, which comes with a tray of kid faves like peanut butter and jelly or strawberry & Nutella sandwiches plus a chocolate chip scone, fresh fruit and a cream puff. And no worries if your kids aren't fans of earl gray: kids can opt for lemonade or decaf fruit tea instead.
Good to Know: Indoor and outdoor seating is available. Walk-ins are accepted on weekdays, but reservations are highly recommended on weekends. Masks must be worn when not eating.
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.. Weekend reservations can be made by calling (626) 578-1144.
70 North Raymond Ave.
Santa Monica: Back on the Beach Cafe
Picture this: you're relaxing with your toes in the sand sipping a chilled glass of wine while your little ones run up and down the beach all set against the backdrop of the shimmering Pacific. Sounds like a place of fantasy right? Well, you're in luck because this restaurant actually exists and is currently open for dine-in service! With a reasonably priced food selection and a kids' menu that has all the classics (and even non-classics like veggie dogs!), Back On The Beach checks off pretty much all the boxes for fun family-friendly safe dining!
Brunch Menu Standouts: Everyone will love the Banana Nutella French Toast, but if you're looking for less-sweet items the breakfast burrito , huevos rancheros and the California omelette all get rave reviews. Lunch faves include the Impossible burger and the blackened chicken sandwich. The kids menu includes pancakes (banana, blueberry, chocolate chip or plain) chicken fingers, burgers and hot dogs (veggie dogs are also available).
Good to Know: Reservations are not required but recommended to avoid long wait times. Face masks are mandatory for seating and while you're circulating around the restaurant. Tables have been spaced farther apart and there is a 6 person maximum at each table.
Hours: Open daily at 8 a.m.
445 Pacific Coast Hwy.
Playa Del Rey: Playa Provisions
Wedged near a busy corner where cars whiz to and from the South Bay, Playa Provisions is one of those hidden gems that draws a crowd of regulars—whether it's for its small batch ice cream bar (located inside the restaurant) or the diverse menu spearheaded by LA-based duo, Top Chef alum Brooke Williamson & husband Nick Roberts. This is the sort of "foodie-lite" place where you can dine on decadent lobster rolls or maple bacon cinnamon buns while your kids nosh happily on melt-in-your-mouth biscuits or grilled cheese sandwiches. Of course the popsicles and whirly rainbow lollipops near the front door drew all our kids' attention, too.
Brunch Menu Standouts: Regulars rave about the lobster roll, which comes with pickled mustard seed and crushed chips; the fish tacos can be served with grilled or battered fish and come in a two-taco portion that'll fill you up just enough; and the pretzel croissant sandwich is a nice spin on the traditional egg sandwich. As for the kids, the kids meal includes burgers, grilled cheese, and pasta with sauce or butter. And don't even think about leaving without getting dessert at the front counter—whether you want a freshly-made popsicle, a humongous chocolate chunk cookie, or a Playa Provisions' small batch ice cream, everything looks delicious.
Good to Know: Reservations are recommended on the weekends, when this place can get busy. Even so, the space is roomy enough that littles move around without running into the wait staff (or another table). And bring your beach bags—the beach is just next door and a perfect spot for letting littles run off all that ice cream energy (you can keep your car at the Playa Provisions lot all day for a $20 fee). COVID protocols include Plexiglass partitions between each table and socially-distanced tables. Both indoor and outdoor dining is available.
Hours: Open daily at 7:30 a.m.; Dockside Brunch: Sat. & Sun. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
119 Culver Blvd.
Playa Del Rey
Sherman Oaks: The Car Hop at Mel's Drive-In
Want to get your meal delivered right to your car? We're not talking handed to you through a drive-through window, but by a car hop who will attach a tray to your car windowsill and serve your meals right there like it's 1955. The carhop service is one thing that was reintroduced at Mel's Diner because of the pandemic—but it's still going strong at the Sherman Oaks location. Sure, it might be risky to let your kids eat pancakes and eggs in the back seat of the car, but what's a few more crumbs? If you're anything like us, your kids eat in the car anyway; might as well make a meal out of it!
Brunch Menu Standouts: This is typical American diner food in all its glory, so expect all the usual yummy comfort food like grilled cheese sandwiches and thick chocolate shakes. Breakfast standbys include the Nutella French Toast, a variety of omelettes, chicken & waffles, and a plethora of pancakes (breakfast is served all day). Lunch and dinner faves include the Grilled Cheese Combination Sandwich that comes with a trio of Jack, Swiss and cheddar on sourdough; the "piled high" turkey sandwich; and the Chinese chicken salad. The burgers are also reliably good and can be served with vegetarian, beef or turkey patties.
Good to Know: If you want a traditional sit-down brunch instead of a drive-in experience, the Hollywood, West Hollywood and Santa Monica locations all have on-site dining.
Hours: Open daily at 6 a.m.
14846 Ventura Blvd.
West LA: Alta Adams
Upscale soul food is where its at in this West Adams spot that was named one of the "Top Fried Chicken Spots" by KCRW and a favorite black-owned business you should know (and support). Dine inside (limited capacity seating) or surrounded by greenery on the cozy back patio and enjoy Chef Keith Corbin's unique spin on traditional southern comfort food.
Brunch Menu Standouts: Weekend brunch specials include cornmeal pancakes with maple-salted caramel brown butter sauce. Also don't miss the black eyed pea fritters with bright herb sauce or the skillet fried chicken that has made this place famous. Other faves include the barbecued brisket, California gumbo with fresh market veggies, and the cornbread loaf, which is served with honey butter. For dessert, the pineapple upside-down cake gets rave reviews.
Good to Know: Dining is available inside and outdoors on the patio. An outdoor parklet will open later in May to allow for more outdoor seating.
Hours: Thurs.- Sun. 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
5359 West Adams Blvd.
For an epic meal that celebrates the best of SoCal produce, grains, fish and game, head to Manuela's in DTLA. The garden atmosphere makes you feel like you are on a vacation and the cocktails live up to the hype. Not to mention a rotating art gallery graces the walls so you'll get in a little bit of culture while you sip your cappuccino. Not bad for a brunch spot!
Brunch Menu Standouts: The kids will be over the moon with the beignets with apple butter jam or the french toast while your adult palette will adore the popover benedict, black bean chilaquiles or bacon and avocado on toast. Make sure to order biscuits for the table. You will not be disappointed.
Good to Know: Make a reservation in advance to avoid a long wait and hangry meltdowns from both kids and adults but if you get caught waiting, go see out the on-site garden and chicken coop.
Hours: Sat. & Sun. 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
907 E. 3rd St.
Rancho Palos Verdes: mar'sel at Terranea
Sometimes, you just want to get away. And at Terranea, a sprawling seaside resort nestled into the Palos Verdes Peninsula, a simple lunchtime visit can put you in that vacation mindset...if only for a few hours. The upscale Mar'sel restaurant, perched near the cliffside with a spectacular ocean view, is the only restaurant at the resort with an official brunch menu (at least, for now). Dine outside on the patio or in the elegant dining room, which is open with distanced seating.
Brunch Menu Standouts: The fixed price, three-course Sun. brunch menu lets diners choose from a selection of items for each course. The first course offers pastries, steel cut oatmeal, shrimp cocktail and avocado on toast; the second course includes heartier fare like omelettes, smoked wagyu brisket, buttermilk fried chicken and waffles, and grilled skirt steak and shrimp; and, for dessert, there's a choice of vegan Meyer lemon cheesecake, gelato trio, sea salt pot de creme, or a bowl of berries. For the littles, a more streamlined kids menu lets kids choose from scrambled eggs, waffles, skirt steak fried chicken and seared fish; plus a choice between vanilla gelato and a bowl of berries for dessert.
Good to Know: It's not cheap: The brunch is $75 a person for adults and $26 for kids. That said, it's a gourmet meal that comes with a view—plus, you can spend the whole day at Terranea exploring the manicured grounds—there's a great open field where kids will love running around on the grass—as well as the seaside hiking trails (all open to the public)—so we think it's worth the splurge.
Insider Tip: If you want to avoid the $20 valet charge, you can park for free at the Trail Parking lot on Palos Verdes Boulevard north of the resort (it's about a quarter-mile hike to the restaurant from there) or on the long driveway (Terranea Way) into the resort.
Hours: Sun. 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.
100 Terranea Way
Rancho Palos Verdes
feature image via iStock
—Jenifer Scott & Melissa Heckscher