When Angelenos rise on the weekends, the first question on everyone’s minds isn’t “Should we do brunch?” It’s “Where are we doing brunch?” This most important meal of the day can take place over french toast or grain bowls, by the sea or in the valley, crammed into patios beside celebrities or on swiveling counter seats at a diner. Wherever it is it will probably involve a wait. Make that wait worth it by picking a spot from among our favorites.
If they could figure out a way to get it in the mail, the ricotta toast at Sqirl would be one of the city’s greatest exports. That toast appears as a slab of lightly burnt brioche, thicker than Paradise Lost, heaped with enough ricotta to give a cardiologist nightmares and a layer of Sqirl’s own seasonal jams. The mind behind that sweet monster is Jessica Koslow, who has had an indelible impact on the L.A. scene but also America’s brunch scene at large. If you don’t have a sweet tooth, Sqirl is still worth a visit for the sorrel pesto rice bowl, for the other veggie-laden specials scrawled on the wall and for the quintessential Silver Lake experience. You will wait in a long line. It will be worth it.
720 N Virgil Ave #4, Los Angeles, CA 90029
We would happily eat the #19 sandwich at any time of day, but the Westlake institution only opens its doors for breakfast and lunch. The epic pastrami sandwich isn’t the only worthy order at the deli, but it is the reason Langer’s ranks among the city’s finest midday meals, especially if you consume it at the counter. The sandwich boasts hot pastrami, coleslaw, russian dressing and swiss cheese on rye bread that’s downright elegant. If you don’t believe us, just ask Nora Ephron, who once wrote an ode to the sandwich in The New Yorker: “It’s soft but crispy, tender but chewy, peppery but sour, smoky but tangy. It’s a symphony orchestra, different instruments brought together to play one perfect chord.” Just note that Langer’s is closed on Sundays and mobbed on Saturdays, so consider a weekday brunch.
704 S Alvarado St, Los Angeles, CA 90057
It’s difficult not to feel awed as you sit in the vaulted République space, once the home of formative L.A. restaurant Campanile. Fresh breads emerge from the bakery. Fresh produce overflows from the open kitchen, and all manner of chefy preparations, dried fruits, special sauces and syrups are on display. The husband and wife team Walter and Margarita Manzke have devised the perfect daytime eatery in their French bistro, cooking up one of the city’s best omelettes (with chanterelle mushrooms or lobster), brioche french toast, shakshuka, kimchi fried rice (which ought to be a brunch staple everywhere) and a killer croque madame.
624 South La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036
To eat at Gjusta, the bakery arm of Venice brunch juggernaut Gjelina, is to consume Los Angeles in its purest form. Everything on the mix-and-match menu looks amazing. There are a selection of “lettuces” alongside plates of duck confit toast, smoked brisket banh mi and housemade potato chips. Ordering takes forever with crowds filling in, even on weekdays. When everyone in your group finally collects their prizes and crams on to picnic benches out back a wave of joy will crash over you that will last well into the evening -- by which time it will be appropriate to return to Gjusta for dinner.
320 Sunset Ave, Venice, CA 90291
Along with République, Ludo Lefebvre’s Petit Trois has established L.A. as a destination for French dining. At both the original tiny eatery on Highland Avenue and its more ornate sibling in the valley, exacting renditions of French classics like a salad niçoise sit alongside epic brunch hits like the Big Mec, a play on the classic Big Mac with two thick patties heaped with cheese and a solid glug of foie gras-infused red wine bordelaise.
718 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038
No list of great brunch in L.A. is complete without a representative from San Gabriel Valley’s dim sum contingent. While there are a lot of arguments over what makes the perfect dim sum experience, Sea Harbour is an unimpeachable stalwart in the scene, even if there are no pushcarts in sight. Fight the debilitating lines to score a seat at a banquet of Cantonese hits from a laundry list menu. Stellar hits include the bbq pork buns glistening under a sheen of sugar, silky egg tarts made with egg whites only, clean and shrimpy har gow, and ethereal purple taro cake.
3939 Rosemead Blvd., Rosemead, CA 91770
Joan’s on Third
Sure, parking around West 3rd St on a weekend is utter hell (what with literally every side street reserved for residents) and the competition for seating can require MMA experience, but it’s all worth it for three things: the Chinese chicken salad, the short rib sandwich, and the crown cake. The first will prove the old fashioned salad still has legs. The second will put a smile on your face so big you drool gooey jack cheese and red onions. The third will make you believe in god -- and that god lives on West 3rd of all places.
8350 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048