Best Breakfasts and Brunches in Santa Monica, California

Avocado toast is a brunch staple
Avocado toast is a brunch staple | © Nelli Syrotynska / Shutterstock
Photo of Mayura Jain
24 June 2019

A strong foodie culture and some of the best breakfast and brunch spots in LA make it nearly impossible to give an exhaustive list of the most unmissable breakfasts in Santa Monica. Nevertheless, Culture Trip has traversed this charming coastal city to find the most delicious and innovative dishes on offer. Including indulgent savory waffles and local farm-to-table delicacies, there’s a morning treat in Santa Monica to satisfy even the most discerning breakfast-food connoisseur.

The OP Café, Santa Monica

Cafe, Restaurant, Fusion, $$$
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This cozy breakfast favorite on Ocean Park Boulevard had a facelift in recent years, and now flaunts a sunny yellow paint job and a shortened name (it was originally Ocean Park Café). Inside, the walls and menus are plastered with nostalgic photos of old Santa Monica. Try the Mexican-inspired dishes like machaca con huevos, a heaping plate of pulled pork topped with fried eggs and avocado slices. For something sweet, pancakes stuffed with fruit and sprinkled with powdered sugar are sure to hit the spot.

Farmshop

Cafe, Deli, Restaurant, Bakery, Market, American, $$$
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Famous Brentwood Country Market in Los Angeles - LOS ANGELES - CALIFORNIA
Farmshop in Santa Monica offers flavorful farm-to-table dishes | © Erik Lattwein / Alamy Stock Photo
Set within the Brentwood Country Mart, Santa Monica’s Farmshop is one of the restaurant’s two locations (the other being all the way up in Marin County). Farmshop’s farm-to-table breakfast celebrates the best of California cuisine with fresh ingredients and creative presentation, which explains why many local people claim it’s one of the best brunches in Santa Monica. Brioche french toast and deviled eggs are great introductions to the Farmshop dining experience. Get there early, though – this place gets packed.

Bagel Nosh Deli, Santa Monica

Cafe, Deli, Restaurant, American
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While bagels are the cornerstone of this Santa Monica deli’s menu, Bagel Nosh also serves sit-in breakfast items at reasonable prices. Bagels come in all flavors, with more varieties of cream cheese and toppings than you’d ever think to order. And like a good deli should, Bagel Nosh has lox. On hungrier days, be sure to order one of the stacked bagel sandwiches.

Cora’s Coffee Shoppe

Cafe, American, Italian, $$$
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Quaint Cora’s Coffee Shoppe is far more than its name implies. Tucked between Main Street hotels, Cora’s seats its guests under the shade of a romantic vine awning and treats them to generous portions of gooey poached eggs, fresh salads, and creamy burrata over bruschetta. When paired with delicious coffee, the orange and blueberry pancakes are a favorite.

Huckleberry Bakery and Cafe, Santa Monica

Cafe, Restaurant, Pastry Shop, Bakery, Market, Tea , American, $$$
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As far as baked goods go, it’s hard to choose between Huckleberry and sister restaurant Milo & Olive, both founded by chef power couple Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan. Huckleberry opened in 2009 to much fanfare, and as far as breakfast goes, it packs a heartier punch. Nathan’s signature brisket hash is a must-try, along with any of the shop’s decadent pastries.

Bru’s Wiffle, Santa Monica

Restaurant, American, $$$
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Bru’s Wiffle on Wilshire Boulevard wins the award for having both the strangest name and most apt celebration of the almighty waffle. Waffles range anywhere from sickly sweet (smothered in cinnamon sugar and ice cream) to savory waffle tacos piled high with chicken, cheese and pico de gallo.

FIG, Santa Monica

Bistro, Restaurant, Mediterranean, $$$
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Tucked inside the Fairmont Miramar hotel, this warmly lit bistro is all about seasonal, organic and locally sourced ingredients. Expect upscale breakfast and brunch standards cooked to perfection or slight twists on the classics, like lemon-ricotta pancakes and brioche french toast. FIG is also popular for its Kegs and Eggs deal, which pairs endless draft beer with a brunch item of your choice.

Rae’s Restaurant, Santa Monica

Diner, Restaurant, American
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Vintage neon sign for Rae's Restaurant in Santa Monica, CA. Image shot 1989. Exact date unknown.
Rae's Restaurant in Santa Monica is a must-visit 1950s-style restaurant | © Robert Landau / Alamy Stock Photo
Local mainstay Rae’s is a 1950s-style haunt immortalized in films like Not Another Teen Movie and Lords of Dogtown. The menu is mainly diner standards – think butter-laden pancakes, hash browns and scrambled eggs – with a hearty helping of brunch and lunch offerings.
These recommendations were updated on June 24, 2019 to keep your travel plans fresh.