“All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.” -John Gunther

Written By: Courtney Hall & Locale Magazine Editors

Preach it, Gunther. Science proves it: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But who needs science for an excuse? Breakfast is the frontrunner, the make or break of your afternoon energy, the pregame team huddle that will determine your game day. And Orange County is serving up some of the best breakfasts around—maybe even the best in the nation. Here are our picks for the best breakfast in Orange County.

Watertable

Whether you have a sweet tooth, or you’re more partial to savory dishes, Watertable has you covered! With items that we thought we could only dream of, like Nutella Waffles with whipped cream and toasted hazelnuts, or Steel Cut Oatmeal Brûlée with orange blossom honey cream and organic fruit chutney, Watertable truly serves a top notch breakfast. For a more savory route, try the Crab Hash Benedict with hearty jumbo lump crab, sweet peppers, potatoes, caramelized onion, poached eggs, snipped chives, dilled hollandaise—can we go there now? 21500 Pacific Coast Highway

Huntington Beach, CA 92648
714.845.4776 | www.hyatt.com

 breakfast in Orange County

Splashes

Splashes is a restaurant inside the Surf & Sand Resort in Laguna Beach offering tasty dishes courtesy of Chef Ron Fougeray. Splashes has both breakfast and brunch options. The list of gourmet breakfast options offer a variety of sweet and savory dishes. If you want something sweet, try the Red Velvet Pancakes with whipped mascarpone, cocoa powder, white chocolate, raspberries and maple syrup! If you are going for a more calorie-friendly option, try The O.C. Breakfast: egg whites, farro, spinach, tomato-cucumber salsa and turkey sausage. Gluten free? Don’t worry, this lovely restaurant has you covered with their ‘Breadless’ Benedict!

1555 S Coast Hwy
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
949.376.2779 | www.surfandsandresort.com/splashes

breakfast in Orange County

Pandor Boulangerie & Cafe

Pandor offers guests an escape to France with their French inspired cuisine. Any dish you choose will leave you satisfied and coming back for more. If you have a hard time deciding between the many options, order the Parisian Omelet with Jambon ham, swiss cheese, onions and mushrooms. If your sweet tooth is craving something else, try the PB&J French Toast served with fresh fruit and whipped cream.

1126 A Irvine Ave
Newport Beach, CA 92660
949.209.5099 | www.pandorbakery.com

breakfast in Orange County

Bluegold

Come to Bluegold for new breakfast flavors and an incredible view of the ocean. Get out of your breakfast rut, and try the Shakshouka with soft eggs, stewed tomatoes and peppers, kale, lebne, flat bread and dukkah. For a twist on a traditional breakfast favorite, try out the Granola French Toast with whipped ricotta, goji berries, honey and almonds. Pair your meal with the light and refreshing BAE Bee, made with gin, honey, lemon and blackberries.

21016 Pacific Coast Hwy d200
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
714.374.0038 | www.dinebluegold.com

breakfast in Orange County

Tanner’s


Feel the cool ocean breeze as you sit atop the patio of Tanner’s located in the Paséa Hotel & Spa. With the Pacific Ocean as your view and delicious dishes as your meal, start your Sunday Funday off right at this lively spot. Health fiends rejoice as there are several options for healthy lifestyles. The Green Thumb Bowl comes with a mix of fat-free yogurt, spinach, avocado, and almond butter and topped with kiwis, house made granola and local honey.

21080 Pacific Coast Hwy
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
714.698.6130 | www.tannershb.com

breakfast in Orange County

Avila’s El Ranchito

Sometime’s you just need a breakfast filled with hearty, warm Mexican food. Give the Quesadilla Egg-celente a try; a flour tortilla stuffed with scrambled eggs, cheese, avocado, Ortega chiles and tomatoes and topped with guacamole and sour cream. Looking for something a little different? You can never go wrong with Chilaquiles. Avila’s makes theirs with corn tortilla strips mixed with scrambled eggs and topped with ooey-gooey cheese and your choice of salsa verde or salsa roja. Stop by one of Avila’s several locations for a breakfast you’re sure to come back for.

204 Avenida Del Mar
San Clemente, CA 92672
949.498.5000 | www.avilaselranchito.com

Blackmarket Bakery

This cute little bakery also doubles as a small market. While you’re waiting for your food to arrive piping hot, feel free to browse around and check out their cooking supplies and piles of bread loaves. Blackmarket Bakery is delicious and, best of all, it’s crazy affordable. Scones, croissants, muffins, sticky buns, and Eggywiches, their version of a breakfast sandwich, are favorites among shop regulars.

2937 Bristol St
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
714.662.3095 | www.blackmarketbakery.com

breakfast in Orange County

Rick’s Atomic Cafe

Rick’s is a little cafe in Costa Mesa with some atomic breakfast options. We recommend ordering the frittatas ahead of time. This dish features two eggs with cream and cheese topped with your choice of three toppings: spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapenos, bacon, ham or turkey. Those looking for a lighter breakfast option will be happy to find vegan and vegetarian-friendly options, homemade granola with yogurt and fruit.

3100 Airway Ave.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
714.825.0570 | www.ricksatomiccafe.com

breakfast in Orange County

The Loft

Hungry breakfast lovers looking for an upscale option by the water will love the The Loft at Montage. From the Berry-Yogurt Parfait to Bananas Foster Waffles or Huevos Rancheros, their menu covers it all. Don’t forget about the cold pressed juices and the delicious side dishes to add to your perfectly crafted breakfast plate.

Montage Laguna Beach
30801 South Coast
949.715.6080 | www.montagehotels.com

Euro Caffe

Euro Caffe is a cute little restaurant that takes you out of Orange County and into a European dining experience. From the decor to the food, you really feel Euro Caffe truly captures the essence of a quaint European restaurant. Their flavorful espresso drinks with decorative latte art pair well with their to-die-for crepes.

3950 S Bristol St
Santa Ana, CA 92704
714.662.2222 | www.myeurocaffe.com

breakfast in Orange County

Nick’s Laguna Beach

With inventive dishes like the decadent Short Ribs Benedict and Fried Chicken & Waffle, Nick’s pulls of a perfect balance of refined and casual. Bold flavors can be found in dishes like the Oatmeal Brûlée. Elevating traditional meals even goes as far as the bar menu. The culinary team at Nick’s has no problem putting an olive with fried blue cheese in a Bloody Mary. This is a breakfast spot you don’t want to miss.

440 S Coast Hwy
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
949.376.8595 | www.nicksrestaurants.com/nicks-laguna-beach

Rose Bakery Cafe

While Rose Bakery Cafe makes one of the best breakfast burritos in Corona Del Mar, they also serve some of the tastiest bagels, croissants, omelets, Eggs Benedict, pancakes and donuts around! And the best part? Everything on the menu is around $10! Have a breakfast burrito craving for dinner? Rose Bakery Cafe serves up breakfast options all day.

3536 E Coast Hwy
Corona Del Mar, CA 92625
949.675.3151 | www.rosebakerycafe.net

breakfast in Orange County

Duke’s Huntington Beach

Surf’s up at Duke’s in Huntington Beach! Take in beautiful views of Huntington Beach Pier while enjoying Duke’s Sunday brunch buffet. Once a flat rate is paid for adults and children in your party, enjoy options like coconut French toast and Hawaiian-style poke. There is even an omelette station and desserts for the picking!

Native Knowledge: Try Duke’s Barefoot Bar for a mini vacation. We recommend Duke’s Mai Tai for a taste of the tropics.

317 Pacific Coast Hwy
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
714.374.6446 | www.dukeshuntington.com

breakfast in Orange County

Old Vine Cafe

old vine cafe

 

The atmosphere is an organic, and unpolished yet intentional and the menu reflects the same vibe. The Open Faced, from the “comfort” section of the menu is a great way to start your day. With a behemoth helping of oversized, homemade buttery biscuits, spicy sausage, and fluffy scrambled eggs, smothered in hearty chipotle gravy and topped with queso fresco, this is comfort comes in a mound with a side of potatoes. You will literally melt in the consolation of Old Vine’s hearty, homemade cuisine. Even better, breakfast is served until 3 p.m.!

2937 Bristol St. Suite A-102
Costa Mesa
714-545-1411 | www.OldVineCafe.com

 

Haute Cakes Caffe

photo from aswewander.com

 

The menu at Haute Cakes features fresh, healthy and elegant turns on classic favorites. The golden child of the menu, is obviously the haute cake itself. The Orange Ricotta Cakes, a stack of rich pancakes infused with ricotta cheese, fresh squeezed orange juice, and orange zest, topped with maple syrup and warm mixed berries offers diners delicious new flavors. Not only is it sweet, but citrusy as well with an unexpected touch of smoothness from the ricotta cheese. A morning at Haute Cakes is a morning well spent.

1807 Westcliff Dr.
Newport Beach
949-642-4114
 

Bruxie

bruxie

Bruxie draws in the masses with a favorite but sometimes misunderstood breakfast item: the waffle. And boy do they sell ‘em. They sell ‘em for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. And they guarantee authenticity. It might seem strange to some that a waffle could command a whole menu, but it makes perfect sense. For a savory palate, opt for the Buffalo Bleu, a delicious  sandwich with buffalo sauce, vegetable slaw, bleu cheese crumbles, chives and ranch dressing. Want something more sweet? Try the Creme Brulee waffle!

292 N. Glassell St.
Orange
888-927-8943 | www.Bruxie.com

Filling Station

filling station cafe

The Filling Station Cafe excels in the basics—no frills, no reinterpretation—just the classics the way you want them. A local favorite at the cafe is the Pancake Breakfast, served with two eggs any style and two pieces of bacon or sausage links. Another crowd pleaser is the Eggs Benedict: two poached eggs and thick cut ham atop an English muffin, then drizzled with Hollandaise sauce. The sentimental feel of yesteryear makes everything taste better. Songs like “La Vie en Rose” come on the radio as you bite into a buttery fluffy pancake. From beneath an old, knotted tree at the Filling Station patio, life feels quite rosy indeed.

201 N. Glassell St.
Old Town Orange
714-289-9714 | www.FillingStationCafe.com
 

Break of Dawn

break-of-dawn-restaurant

Each dish on Break of Dawn’s menu is a fantastic and absurd rendition of a traditional breakfast. In fact, it wouldn’t do any good to even try and explain the extraordinary, aberrant, yet luscious tasting dishes they serve up. This is one breakfast joint that is best promoted by saying ‘you simply must try it for yourself.’ The tastes and flavors are so uniquely paired and concocted to be simply indescribable. Plus, the menu is constantly evolving. So strap on your sense of adventure and head over to the hidden backside of Laguna Hills Mall.

24291 Avenida De La Carlota #P-4
Laguna Hills
949-587-9418 | www.BreakOfDawnRestaurant.com

 

Eat Chow

BChow0075

It’s not everyday you can enjoy a beer over breakfast and do it with dignity. Eat Chow, a small, mod, yet retro-inspired restaurant in Costa Mesa, offers a small selection of beers specifically brewed for morning enjoyment. Pair one with a dish like The Breakfast BLTA, a great specimen of Eat Chow’s snazzed-up homey fare: fried eggs, applewood smoked bacon, tomato, baby greens, avocado, and a tasty chipotle aioli, all on a toasted brioche bun. It’s not hard to understand why a normal Saturday morning at Eat Chow translates to a crowd of people storming the small venue for grub. Each dish is fresh and delicious, the menu reasonably priced, and the vibe mellow. It’s a no brainer, and has rightfully earned a loyal local fan-base.

1802 Newport Blvd.
Costa Mesa
949-650-2469 | www.EatChowNow.com

 

Plums Café + Catering

plums

At Plums, every morning feels like Sunday brunch. A sense of modest elegance and easy leisure pervades the spacious and airy cafe, with grand windows watching over a large patio area. The Alderwood Smoked Salmon Hash is a pretty picture with red potatoes, bell peppers, fresh herbs, an onion and pepper hash, and two poached eggs, all draped in a subtle and creamy dill Hollandaise sauce. Plums Cafe also specializes in the morning libation. Brunch drinks are above and beyond the standard Mimosa. Try the Pain Reliever made with pineapple, orange juice, rum, coconut, nutmeg and mint.

369 E. 17th St.
Costa Mesa
949-722-7586 | www.PlumsCafe.com

 

The Sugar Shack

sugar-shack-cafe-

A local go-to spot for a great breakfast, Sugar Shack will never disappoint. The Keppler’s, is a favorite among guests: a fresh but hearty helping of three eggs scrambled, placed on an English muffin and topped with avocado, tomato, bacon, and hollandaise sauce. The nostalgia is as ingrained in the place as the people anchored in the chairs and the old photos nailed on the walls. Sugar Shack is the perfect place for a simple and hearty California style breakfast, a short walk to the pier, a free helping of fresh ocean breeze and a cozy sense of deeply rooted community; a rarity in the evolving and transient landscape of Southern California.

213  Main St.
Huntington Beach
714-536-0355 | www.HBSugarShack.com

 

Bread Crumb Ohana Cafe

A great spot for unique hawaiian breakfast dishes, this family owned restaurant is a perfect way to spend your Saturday morning, or any morning for that matter. First timer? Try out the Mainlander, two huge slices of Hawaiian bread French toast or two pancakes with two eggs and your choice of mixed fruit, two pieces of bacon or two sausage links. You can also opt for Portuguese sausage or, for the more daring, Spam.

19079 Beach Blvd
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
714.960.5051
10 of the best restaurants to eat breakfast at in Orange County