18 Orange County Restaurants Serving up Delicious Breakfasts
Written By: Raphael Madrid, Anna Keeve and Minerva Thai
What is it about breakfast on the weekends that makes it more alluring than lunch or dinner? Now there is certainly no right answer to this subjective question, but breakfast (for most people, on most days) is usually spent alone, and the opportunity to start your day, sharing a meal with the ones you most care for, makes for a great beginning to what’s ahead. Here are 18 of the best breakfast spots in Orange County:
Haute Cakes Caffe is just a wonderful getaway. Nestled within a quiet retail plaza in Newport, this quaint cafe has a beautifully lush, green patio. It kind of feels like home, which coincidentally is exactly the kind of food they serve. Only open for breakfast and lunch, their menu offers the classics, made special. If you didn’t try a short stack of their signature Orange Ricotta Haute Cakes, did you even go?
Haute Cakes Caffe
1807 Westcliff Dr
Newport Beach, CA 92660
2 | SOCIAL Costa Mesa breakfast in Orange County
Grab your best buds and let your taste buds get social at one of the best weekend brunch joints in the Mesa. How can you not obsess about this place? It’s got everything you could ask for, from the warm, ambient lighting to the rugged and modern interior with just a pinch of classic—and that’s just the decor. Their weekend brunch menu heavily favors the savory side of the spectrum, with a grandstand of Wagyu Steak and Eggs, or their take on the classic Breakfast Burrito featuring bacon, avocado, cilantro creme fraiche and house green sauce.
Native Knowledge: Pick one, anyone! Their craft coffee, from ThunderKing Brewing Co, is not only unique, but it’s to die for!
SOCIAL Costa Mesa
512 West 19th St
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
3 | Snooze, an A.M. Eatery breakfast in Orange County
Boy, is this place poppin’! But that’s with good reason! Snooze is the kind of breakfast joint you take out-of-towners, first dates, boozy brunchers and morning-after party-goers. This modern, ‘70s inspired ambiance sets the mood for a truly groovy breakfast experience. There’s nothing bad you can say about this place…maybe except the long line that’s usually out the door. The menu is quite extensive, so your time waiting on the next open table can be spent productively.
Snooze, an A.M. Eatery
3032 El Camino Real
Tustin, CA 92782
If you don’t already know, Bosscat is the boozy bruncher’s paradise. Every weekend, you can expect a full house of lively people getting their brunch on, vibing hard with the resident DJ that’s usually mixing it up; so definitely bring your best friends. Since “calories don’t count on weekends,” their bottomless mimosas are a crowd favorite—which come with an entrée included. Here’s a tip: always get the Donut Burger…it’s the best of both worlds.
Bosscat Kitchen & Libations
4647 MacArthur Blvd
Newport Beach, CA 92660
5 | Ramos House
On one of the oldest streets in California you’ll find the restaurant (and home) of Chef John Q. Humphreys. Servin’ it up with some old school Southern flair, Chef Q’s menu offers fresh and unique items like Scotch Quail Eggs, Sorta Steak & Eggs and even a squaw bread recipe dating back to the 1800s!
Native Knowledge: Chef Q has been known to invite dining guests up to his patio for a cocktail after their meal.
31752 Los Rios St
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
6 | Anepalco
By a wide margin this is the most authentic Mexican breakfast you can find in OC! Using traditional Mexican ingredients with a French twist, Chef Daniel Godinez creates “Cocina de Barrio” not unlike the foods enjoyed in Mexico. However, for a Mexican take on a French classic, try the exquisite Guava French Toast!
Native Knowledge: Daily agua-fresca specials are offered to keep your palate excited!
415 S Main St
Orange, CA 92868
7 | Eat Chow
It’s clear by the long lines this place is worthy of being in the top breakfast spots. Start your breakfast with an eye-opening Intelligentsia coffee or a four-flavor mimosa flight, and then chow down on the chilaquiles, featuring plenty of bold, smoky, crunchy goodness!
Native Knowledge: Co-owner Amy Frawley isn’t shy about boasting that Eat Chow features “The Best Michelada in OC,” she said, “My kitchen is proud to serve something like that and you can really taste it.”
211 62nd St
Newport Beach, CA 92663
8 | Balboa Lily’s breakfast in Orange County
Balboa Lily’s is an über popular cafe on the peninsula with a large open-air patio by the beach. While they are known for their eclectic array of lattes (with honey lavender being the most popular), their menu is quite mouthwatering. The house favorite Nick’s House Sandwich, featuring slow roasted pulled pork, is a masterpiece, while the Morning Fries are a guiding light toward a good day. But honestly, what’s not to like about a breakfast place that just screams “Have a great day!”?
Native Knowledge: They’re always busy on the weekends, but they do open as early as 7:30 a.m., when it will be easier to grab a seat before the sea of people come around 9:30 a.m.
711 E Balboa Blvd
Newport Beach, CA 92661
9 | Gratitude Kitchen & Bar breakfast in Orange County
If food got dressed in a bohemian outfit and told you to drink more water, its name would be Gratitude. This 100 percent vegan restaurant is doing its part to promote plant-based alternatives, both beautiful and delicious. Their Newport Beach location is grand and spacious, boasting the ability to host large parties and lots of bar space. Their “Meatless Mondays” offering gives you 50 percent off select menu items at the top of the week, but the fun doesn’t stop there! An inventive cocktail menu completely on brand with Gratitude’s healthier lifestyle adds to the experience. I mean, where else can you find a mezcal cocktail with beets as a main ingredient?
Native Knowledge: Take advantage of their rewards program, offering discounts, dibs on trying new menu items first and birthday love.
Gratitude Kitchen & Bar
1617 Westcliff Dr, Ste 112
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Look no further for your next breakfast spot! XA Sweet and Savory Café serves up delicious health-forward food that caters to every dietary preference: paleo, keto, vegan and gluten-free.
“Here, we focus on ‘clean eating,’ which means all menu items are free from refined food and preservatives,” says Jenny Xa, manager at XA Sweet and Savory Café. “Plus, everything is homemade from scratch.” Xa takes pride in the clean menu, and their entire team rallies around their shared passion for healthy, tasty food. Opening just over two years, XA has a dedicated following and has grown primarily by word of mouth. Some popular items include the Create Your Own Breakfast and the made-to-perfection Brioche French Toast. You’ll also find a great selection of drinks including coffees, teas and smoothies.
Native Knowledge: Rejoice in the fact that breakfast is served all day! Also, make sure to grab one of their many cookies to-go, including their cholesterol-free vegan cookies baked fresh daily.
XA Sweet and Savory Café
18685 Main St, Ste 103
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
11 | Coyote Grill
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Coyote Grill is a family-owned-and-operated neighborhood classic in South Laguna with picturesque views of the coast. Just a short hop from Table Rock Beach, this beachside hangout is your go-to for the best Mexi-brunch this side of the border. Their famous Calamari Tacos alone are worth the trip, but you have to stay for the sunsets. “We have a lot of locals and regulars that call Coyote Grill their ‘Cheers,’” says General Manager Desiree Gomez.
Native Knowledge: Like the coffee? Thank Gomez’s family! “My father grows the coffee that we brew and serve fresh every morning,” she says.
31621 Coast Hwy
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
12 | Cafe Cultura breakfast in Orange County
Formerly known as Cafe Calacas, this little cafe located in the heart of downtown Santa Ana still serves the same high-quality food and drink you know and love. Food and culture have no boundaries here, which is what Cafe Cultura is all about—and that’s apparent by their menu, which serves breakfast classics and hand-helds with a Latin twist. Just looking to get that sweet fix? The Horchata or the Abuelita Mexi Frapps are just the cool boosts you need to get through a hot summer day.
324 W 4th St, Ste B
Santa Ana, CA 92701
13 | Early Bird
Early Bird is truly one of a kind. While it may not look like much from the outside, the inside is something else. “Early Bird is the new standard,” says owner Tank Menzies. Boasting one of the most hearty menus around, Early Bird has meals for the hungriest man (or woman) around. The omelets and bennies will tickle your fancy and leave you absolutely filled, but give us any of those specialty waffles every day of the week.
1000B E Bastanchury Rd
Fullerton, CA 92835
14 | Rooster Cafe
This small, down-to-earth diner is exactly what the doctor ordered! With an easy menu that serves quality breakfast, lunch or dinner items served all day, you won’t have a hard time choosing. So even if you’re not feeling a scramble in the morning, you won’t have to scramble around too hard for something you’ll enjoy—like the Texas Toast (Elvis-Style) or Mesa. You choose, pretty mama.
750 Saint Clair St
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
This divey little beach shack positioned in the center of Seal Beach Pier is just a wonderful place to do just that—hangout! Come in for a quick bite or drink before or after a successful beach day, this joint is not going anywhere. There are a lot of options on the menu…but they make a mean omelette!
The Hangout Restaurant & Beach Bar
901 Ocean Ave
Seal Beach, CA 90740
The Chapman kids know…but you might not! Breakfast at this Old Town Orange gastropub is only served on Sundays, but features unique options you’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere else. Don’t be chicken and duck out on the Duck Confit Chilaquiles and Chicken Liver Toast— it’s fantastic!
Haven craft kitchen + bar
190 S Glassell St
Orange, CA 92866
17 | OUTPOST KITCHEN
This local favorite is a hidden gem through and through! Owners Jay and Elizabeth Lewis are out to bring fantastic food with an Aussie flair that they describe as “bitchin!” While the Aussie Style Scramble is a steady favorite, be sure to try their in-house smoked salmon! If you’re feeling adventurous, try The Mongrel; a chef’s special that changes daily!
Native Knowledge: This chill-vibe spot is always spinning the sweetest vinyl records!
1792 Monrovia Ave
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
18 | Eggslice breakfast in Orange County
Eggslice might be the one true hidden gem on this listicle because it’s only open in the mornings Wednesday through Saturday from 7-11 a.m. and Sundays from 8-11 a.m. You have to be an early riser to experience this whimsical take on the classic breakfast sandwich. Located within the Shuck Oyster Bar space at the SOCO plaza in Costa Mesa, Eggslice wants you to experience what makes them worth the loss of sleep. Want to know the secret? It’s their signature Chili Jam, of course! It’s the perfect subtle twist enough to get you yolked for another trip tomorrow.
Native Knowledge: They’ve got jars of their signature Chilli Jam available, so grab one and experiment with it at home with other breakfast items.
3313 Hyland Ave
Costa Mesa, CA 92626