Brunch is more than just a combination of breakfast and lunch — it’s the best of both worlds. While it’s often rumored in culinary circles that chefs are not fans of Sunday brunches, having likely just wrapped up a massive Saturday evening service, this special late-morning meal that merges the realms of sweet and savory is a clear favorite of patrons. And in a bustling community like ours, it’s practically a culture unto itself.
Brunch has evolved into a special occasion, where family and friends come together to talk, laugh and share an indulgent meal, sometimes with the bonus of bottomless mimosas or craft Bloody Marys. With vibes that range from elegant to playful while offering near-limitless gastronomic options, it’s the go-to way to celebrate holidays, baby showers or just an ordinary lazy weekend. Whether you’re looking for comfort, luxury or a little of each, our area has a bevy of restaurants to help you find your brunch bliss.
Toluca Lake’s Aeirloom Bakery is housed in a cottage-like setting with communal seating where breakfast is served all day, every day. The substantial menu includes traditional items like omelets and eggs Benedict, or you can try something more unique, like the muffin scramble (with organic scrambled eggs, Fiscalini cheddar, fried capicola and English muffin) or the blackberry crunch French toast.
Speaking of unique, Hungry Crowd features “Seoul food” for brunch. The kimchi biscuit is made with bacon, cheddar, scallions and lemon butter, while the sunny-side-up egg comes with a galbi patty, white cheddar, galbi gravy and chives on a bed of rice.
Located beside Universal Studios on Cahuenga, Ca’ Del Sole has long been a favorite of studio execs for power lunches, but its Sunday brunch is quite a delight, too, putting an upscale Italian spin on favorites like omelets (including one with lobster and Brie). Nearby Sweetsalt has a terrific daily morning menu and opens at 8 a.m. in case you need to get your brunch fix on the early side, with creative options such as a truffled egg sandwich or Spanish sardine toast.
Tujunga Village may only be a block long, but it boasts a number of choices, like Caioti Pizza Café — don’t be fooled by the name; it also makes one of the best breakfast burritos around. Across the street, stalwart Vitello’s happily serves up its customary California Italian classics at brunchtime, along with a special menu of breakfast favorites like avocado toast, short rib hash, and steak and eggs.
Aroma Coffee & Tea is as notorious for its long line as it is for its beautiful garden patio and incredible pastries, thanks to its 20-plus-year reputation for consistently wowing customers with food and service. General manager Moira Shevlin reveals the secret to Aroma’s success: “We have been a part of a community that fosters so much creativity and a drama-free atmosphere. We are analog at heart; although technology is important, we find that having a human connection is far more important than connecting to Wi-Fi. We pride ourselves on that, and our employees keep the heartbeat thriving.”
In Studio City, Top Chef fans will want to check out Black Market Liquor Bar, where fan-favorite contestant Antonia Lofaso is executive chef. The menu is styled for sharing, with choices like Röckenwagner banana nut pound cake or smoked ocean trout on ciabatta with pickled baby veggies and quail egg. Not to mention there are five Bloody Mary choices: the traditional (vodka), the Maria (tequila), the Lawrence (corn whiskey), the Michelada (beer) and, of course, a “Bloody Hell” (London gin).
With its sunny patio, Black Market isn’t the only restaurant in the neighborhood to take advantage of our beautiful weather. Other places to enjoy an outdoor morning meal include The Bellwether, Barrel and Ashes, Firefly and Vivian’s Millennium Cafe. (Fun fact: The latter is co-owned by Angelo Pagan, husband of Leah Remini, so you may see the couple there.)
In North Hollywood, SteamPunk Coffeebar and Kitchen is as quirky as it is delicious, and fans of steampunk culture will be glad to know it also sells art pieces and knickknacks. Don’t let the tiny parking lot or long wait deter you; there’s street parking in the area and board games are available to occupy your time. In addition to familiar favorites like scrambles, burritos and waffles, there are Röckenwagner soft pretzels with a variety of toppings, from eggs and cheese to peanut butter and bananas.
The NoHo Arts District has been producing new restaurants on the regular these days, with even more on the horizon. There are several brunch options just along the two blocks between Lankershim and Vineland on Magnolia, like EAT and El Tejano. Popular due to both its luxe comfort-food menu and dog-friendly patio, The Fat Dog is a great option, especially in nice weather. Not far from that strip is The Federal Bar, where mimosas are bottomless and the Federal Bloody Mary has a splash of IPA and a bacon garnish. “Entrees vary from traditional eggs Benedict or a waffle with whipped cream and strawberry compote to breakfast tacos and burritos,” says manager Steve Simon. “We also bake all our breads and cinnamon rolls in-house, so they are fresh every weekend morning.”
To the east, in Burbank, Tequilas Cantina & Grill starts service on Saturdays and Sundays at 9 a.m, but the special menu sticks around all the way until 2 p.m., so fear not, late risers! The savory Mexi-brunch includes an amazing pozole verde — a green tomatillo broth with cilantro, garlic, hominy and chicken. It is lovingly garnished with cabbage, onions, crushed red pepper and radishes, and comes with a tostada for your dipping enjoyment. Go for the red pozole if spicy is your vibe, and there are, of course, a number of huevos (egg) dishes.
Bea Bea’s is an iconic Burbank all-day breakfast spot, where it seems like you can get almost anything on or in a pancake, waffle or French toast, from fruit and nuts to Thai tea or Oreo cookies, as long as you come with a big appetite and the patience to wait for a table. Olive & Thyme leans more toward the healthy side of things, with a menu made daily from scratch from locally sourced items, though there’s a coveted pastry case as well.
Granville now has three locations in our general area (Studio City, Burbank and Glendale), and if you find yourself in one of these modern-casual settings, you absolutely must try the awesome Dutch pancake.
Brunch has seen a grand evolution since the word was first conceived in the 1890s by British writer George Berringer. Once a mere convenience — a way to serve up leftovers from the night before — it’s now a major event on the social calendar, encompassing lavish buffets, scrambles and mashes, vegan smoothies and everything in between. No doubt the meal will continue to grow, change and find new fans. Here’s to many fabulous brunches in the new year!