“All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.” -John Gunther
Written By: K.W. Richardson
Orange County offers pristine beaches, ideal weather and, let’s be honest, incredible food—especially breakfast. Not only is it the most important meal of the day, but it’s also Orange County’s favorite! With that said, we have created the list of lists for the eaters of eggs, the wolfer of waffles, the punisher of pancakes! And because only the best will do for our readers, we proudly present the best breakfasts in OC.
Not only is Gratitude 100 percent organic, but they are also 100 percent different from the typical restaurants in Orange County. They are plant-based without sacrificing flavor or flair. They have a beautiful dining room, expansive patio and full bar. Start your next morning with a bowl of overnight turmeric chia overnight oats, a cast-iron quiche or a “Celebrating” Gratitude Benedict that might make you decide to become vegan in one bite. If you aren’t feeling adventurous you can still get staples like buckwheat pancakes, avocado toast or an acai bowl to start your morning the right way.
Native Knowledge: The Westcliff parking lot is often very busy, but they offer valet near the entrance to the parking lot. Save yourself the stress and use it!
1617 Westcliff Dr
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Executive chef, José Rubio, proudly exclaims, “Old school cooking is my jam!” At SOCIAL, the only thing “old school” about the menu is respect for quality ingredients. Be sure to check out the local favorite, chicken and waffles. Also, don’t forget to try out the ThunderKing cold brew, matcha, kombucha on tap or the bountiful breakfast cocktails!
Native Knowledge: Try the Fluffernutter Donut while you’re there! Calories don’t count in the morning right?
512 W 19th St
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Serving up all kinds of sweet and savory waffles, Brussels Bistro has everything from the Mikado Waffle with ice cream and hot chocolate to the Smoked Salmon Waffle with smoked salmon and baby spinach salad. The light and crispy Belgian waffles will make you want to try everything on the menu.
Native Knowledge: At Brussels Bistro you’ll find a European staff and Belgian home cooking in an authentic Belgian atmosphere.
222 Forest Avenue
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Executive chef Manfred Lassahn brings West Coast comfort food to this sumptuous and luxurious breakfast experience. Every dish on the menu is seasonal, because as Chef Lassahn says, “Mother nature tells you when food is ready.”
Native Knowledge: The most popular breakfast here is the SoCa, a hybrid between an eggs benedict, and chicken and waffles. Why is it so popular? Besides the flavor, chef Lassahn says, “It’s great for getting rid of hangovers!”
21500 Pacific Coast Hwy
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
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
Start your day on a high note! General manager Christine Petty is all about good vibes, great food, and “…funky fresh rad jams because we love to get down!” This sustainable restaurant focuses on going green and doing right by the community. Try out the Pancake Flights and all the different benny’s. What’s Christine’s favorite thing on the menu? “The full bar!”
Native Knowledge: Food modifications and custom creations are encouraged!
3032 El Camino Real
Tustin, CA 92782
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
Family favorites and deep south traditions meet SoCal classics at this café nestled in The Camp. Owner and chef, Mark McDonald, offers comfort food with expert preparation. Satisfy your inner child with a Pizza Omelet, or go gourmet with Rabbit Mole! House-made sangria or a Thin Mint Iced Mocha are sure to get your day back on track from the night before!
Native Knowledge: You can travel to Italy with Mark! Check their website for bookings.
2937 Bristol St, Ste A102
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
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
Soak up some sun while your Orange Ricotta Haute Cakes soak up the warm berry compote! This mostly-outdoor eatery offers plenty of light breakfast fare just in case you’re not in the mood to put cheese and gravy on everything. It’s a great spot for kids, and pets, and is a great way to start your morning.
Native Knowledge: This is one of the few spots you can find Stumptown Coffee Roasters.
1807 Westcliff Dr
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Whether you’re “carbing up” for a day at Disneyland, or you just really love breakfast, this spot is going to be your new jam! With enormous portions of scratch-made food and the best prices in the area, this classic diner is made even better by the modern ambiance.
Native Knowledge: You can customize your own “Chicken and ____” breakfast with waffles, pancakes or French toast!
2415 W Lincoln Ave
Anaheim, CA 92801
This spot is great for a light breakfast before your weekend adventure! The bright and open café delivers a sense of calm with its uncluttered design and ample natural light. The avocado toasts have hearty portions of California’s favorite fruit, and the acai bowl is a nutritional powerhouse filled with healthy carbs and protein to fuel your day!
Native Knowledge: Got a hankering for Nutella? You can add it to almost anything on their menu!
979 Avenida Pico
San Clemente, CA 92673
Located in the former Laguna Culinary Arts, Chef Patrick DiGiacomo has converted this school into a glorious open-concept kitchen that has won the hearts of Laguna Beach’s most discerning diners. Don’t let the gourmet menu or ultra-chic surroundings fool you, this restaurant offers great prices and even better reviews!
Native Knowledge: Chef DiGiacomo proudly exclaims his café has “the best coffee in Laguna Beach!”
845 Laguna Canyon Rd
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
These sandwiches are not for the faint of heart! If you like food that presents a challenge, then café is for you. In keeping with their sandwich theme, they offer full breakfasts of eggs, bacon, sausage or ham and cheese all in between two fluffy pancakes or their signature Bubble Waffles! For the purists out there, they also offer two decadent benedict dishes and jam-packed burritos.
Native Knowledge: You can get Flamin’ Hot Cheetos on your sandwich!
2031 E First St
Santa Ana, CA 92705
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
10 of the best restaurants to eat breakfast at in Orange County