Credit: Ron De Angelis

The Only Orange County Breakfast and Brunch Guide You’ll Need

Brunch: It’s What Sundays Are For

The sunny Southern California sky is the perfect backdrop for everyone’s favorite weekend warrior activity: brunching! Whether enjoying bottomless mimosas, savory Benedicts or piles of pancakes, there are plenty of breakfast and brunch restaurants in Orange County to gather with friends for day-drinking and whiling away the afternoon. Here is a comprehensive guide to our favorite places to grab breakfast and brunch in Orange County.

YouTube video



Credit: Mayfield

Situated right in cowboy country, this industrial chic SJC squatter is here to stay and has been branded one of South County’s best brunch joints. It turns out this town is big enough for the both of us even after a hearty meal from this Mediterranean-inspired eatery. Mayfield is doing brunch Wednesday-Sunday starting at 10 a.m. with fan favorites like their maple labneh-laced granola bowl, a spicy Shakshuka and finger-lickin’ French toast souped up with sesame. And don’t forget to affogato. In the words of Shania Twain: let’s go, girls!

Location: San Juan Capistrano


Outpost Kitchen

This Aussie eatery has been converted into a SoCal staple, serving up breakfast every day with a special brunch menu on the weekends. With an emphasis on organic, fresh ingredients, Outpost Kitchen is doing everything from skillets to scrambles and burritos to bowls. Their pancakes are picture-perfect and one of the most featured eats on their Instagram. Located right across the street from South Coast Plaza, this is the ideal spot to fuel up before a shopping expedition.

Location: Costa Mesa


Zinc Cafe + Market

Credit: @curiousgabe

Zinc has long been a local loitering ground since it first opened its doors in 2007. They did fancy lattes before fancy lattes were even a thing and were maybe even the originator of the avocado toast (don’t @ us). Zinc specializes in simple yet satisfying dishes like their housemade granola, seasonal quiches and a breakfast burrito that rivals some of the best in town. This place is as aesthetically pleasing as it is appetizing and makes for a great home base to catch up with a friend.

Locations: Laguna Beach, Orange, Corona del Mar


Coffee Dose

Coffee Dose
Credit: Jordan Shiley

If you haven’t heard of Coffee Dose, well, get out from under that rock and get with the program. This ultra Instagrammable eatery is serving up savory and sweet eats with a side of sass. Sure, their breakfast burrito might be an actual cure for a hangover, but have you tried their bone broth waffle? It’s funky, it’s fresh and it’s unforgettable. There is not a single bad option on the menu—plus, they are slinging adult sips all day if you need something a little stronger than coffee. 

Locations: Costa Mesa, Irvine, Laguna Hills


Toast Kitchen & Bakery

You might come for the French Toast, but you’ll stay for the fried chicken and waffles. Contemporary yet cozy, this Orange County brunch spot knows how to play the greatest hits and spice them up with a bit of their own flavor flair. Examples? They add dill chimichurri to avocado toast, ube to French toast and chicharones to breakfast burritos. Plus, they put popsicles in their cocktails for a fun and refreshing experience that’ll bring out your inner child. 

Locations: Costa Mesa, Tustin



Mama mia—here we go again! Enter: Ahba. No not Abba, Ahba, the beloved Laguna Beach restaurant that serves up brunch on the weekends from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Their labneh toast with soft scrambled eggs is pure heaven, or you can go to hell with a serving of their spicy shakshouka. Bottomless mimosas are only $25 a pop, and, don’t worry, you can still get the burger if you’re not a brunch guy or girl. Parking can be a little bit of a pain, so plan accordingly. 

Location: Laguna Beach



Haute Cakes

Credit: Jeri Koegel

This place is an Orange County institution. Consistently delicious, this daytime destination is always buzzing with familiar faces looking to get their brunch fix. Owners Paul and Tania Taddeo have been proudly slinging their famous flapjacks in Newport Beach since 1990. Beyond their namesake haute cakes, which can be beefed up with buckwheat or made original with orange ricotta, this ever-busy eatery is also serving up soups, salads and sandwiches for people who prefer the -unch portion of ‘brunch’. We recommend the chicken and date salad and any item that starts with “Paul.”

Location: Newport Beach


Ramos House Cafe

If you haven’t visited Los Rios Street in San Juan Capistrano, go…now! It is like stepping back in time to dirt roads, creaky wood floors and good old-fashioned fun. Ramos House Cafe is one of the staples in this sacred little neighborhood serving up breakfast items during the week but full-blown brunch only on the weekends. Always start with the cinnamon apple beignets, continue with the crab hash with smoked bacon scrambled eggs and end with a slice of their huckleberry coffee cake (to go, if you’re too full). Bring the family and swing by Zoomars and The Ecology Center after to make it a full field trip. 

Location: San Juan Capistrano



Credit: Benchmark

Benchmark took over a container yard outside eatery and transformed it into the cutest neighborhood restaurant.  The entire restaurant is built around a towering tree that provides shade on warm days for seating which is almost entirely exposed to the elements.  Benchmark does brunch on the weekends from 11:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. Sure, there’s the classics, but then there’s also things like artichoke fondue served alongside a Bavarian pretzel. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, opt for the dulce de leche French toast. But whatever you do, get the butter cake for the table. Benchmark makes for a great spot to get brunch with a group, as they offer some communal tables, and is one of relatively few restaurants in Santa Ana that boast their own parking lot.

Location: Santa Ana


The Goldfinch

Another spot with a coveted weekend-only brunch, The Goldfinch is the first spot with Southern staple shrimp and grits—our mouth is watering just thinking about it. For a syrup and turf option, get the fried jidori chicken served with a stack of buttermilk pancakes. We call that the best of both worlds. The restaurant itself has an upscale indoor space and a more relaxed patio area, so both are available depending on your mood.

Location: Irvine



Credit: Sapphire Laguna Beach

You know what we love? A place that does daily brunch. It’s such a good meal, so it shouldn’t just be reserved for the weekends. Sapphire in Laguna Beach understands this. Go big or go pork belly Benedict and get an order of the Nutella waffles for the table. For the -unch people, the crispy chicken sandwich is the move. And no brunch in Orange County is complete without an adult beverage. We suggest opting for the Patio Pounder—a dangerous combination of vodka, Meyer lemon, sweet basil and tangerine ice cubes topped with champagne

Location: Laguna Beach


Anastasia Cafe

We love to support local businesses with longevity, and Anastasia Cafe is one of those that has seemingly been around for forever (or at least 20 years or so). That’s no fluke; it’s the food. They have eggs every which way and all the international versions of our breakfast favorites, such as Belgian waffles and Swedish pancakes. Located in the heart of Laguna Beach, this stop is a few blocks from the sand, so don’t be afraid to get your breaky to go and enjoy it on the beach. 

Location: Laguna Beach



Ini Ristorante

Buon giorno! On Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., delight yourself with some Italian-inspired brunch eats at Ini Ristorante in Fountain Valley. Ever had breakfast risotto? Now’s your chance! With slow-poached eggs, bacon, charred greens and crispy shallots sitting atop a bed of creamy risotto, this dish is a real winner. Don’t forget to pair it with one of their housemade cocktails like an espresso martini or Kyoto old-fashioned. 

Location: Fountain Valley



This place is giving secret garden vibes, and we are here for it. Jardin is one of those spots where you’ll feel overwhelmed by the menu because you want everything. Analysis paralysis will kick in, and you might need one of the margarita flights to keep yourself from spiraling. Do you go sweet and opt for the Guayaba French Toast? Or do you go savory and spring for the Jamoncito (their take on a croque madame)? We recommend getting both and saying one is for the table. 

Location: Orange


Poppy & Seed

Credit: Brianna Danner

Located in the Anaheim Packing District, this newcomer to the culinary scene is kicking hash and taking names. Chef Michael Reed is giving classic American dishes a glow up and we’re here for it. Here’s your order: brown butter waffle with a side of extra crispy bacon. Throw a piece of fried chicken on there if you are feeling flirty. Be sure to explore the rest of the Packing District too, featuring a treasure trove of culinary and handcrafted wonders. 

Location: Anaheim


Las Brisas

Las Brisas is basically a Laguna Beach landmark. You’ve probably had a margarita or a few here, but have you had their brunch yet? While they do offer breakfast during the week, their brunch menu is reserved for the week’s flirty cousin: the weekend. Available 8 a.m.-3 p.m., this four-course prix fixe for $49 starts with an assortment of fresh fruit and pastries and ends with a whole lotta flan. In between, you can get a Benedict done your way, chilaquiles or an omelet al pastor. The views are worth the price of admission.

Location: Laguna Beach


RAYA at The Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel

If you want a brunch served with a side of 180-degree ocean views, look no further than RAYA. This Dana Point restaurant located inside The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel has a brunch menu that includes a mix of sweet and savory items to cater to different tastes. Indulge in dishes like pancakes, French toast, waffles, breakfast burritos and savory crepes filled with ingredients like smoked salmon and spinach and goat cheese.

Location: Dana Point



Did someone say bellini flight? Count us in. Habana, which has locations at the Irvine Spectrum and  The Lab in Costa Mesa, has an iconic Cuban brunch menu that features drool-worthy dishes like cafe con leche French toast, plantain pancakes and a breakfast burger. Whatever you order, though, get it with a side of bacon popovers. 

Locations: Irvine, Costa Mesa


Santa Ana Brunch Club

With a name like Santa Ana Brunch Club, you know they’re doing our favorite meal justice. Think milk bread donut bites, sourdough pancakes and a legendary breakfast burrito. They also feature a funky dish called Max’s Special, which is a milk bread French toast sandwich with bacon, egg, cheese, maple syrup, whipped cream and jujube apple jam. It’s sweet, salty, savory and a first-class ticket to a food coma. Don’t sleep on their house shrub sodas, which are a refreshing twist on a non-alcoholic treat.

Location: Santa Ana


Farmhouse Roger’s Gardens

This is a Sunday brunch and only a Sunday brunch. So it’s basically church. Break bread with Rye Goods bread and butter, which is as close to heaven as you can get. Have a little of the sacrament with Farmhouse’s signature bloody mary. Go sweet with the apple and fig French toast or savory with the green chile pork and eggs. Corona del Mar’s Farmhouse boasts the most idyllic setting to sip, savor and stay a while.

Location: Corona del Mar


NEP Cafe

First of all, this place has that good-good Vietnamese coffee. Their caffeinated creations are worth the trek alone. This Orange County cafe has Asian-inspired breakfast favorites like crab toast, dumplings and The Dao—an insanely delicious dish comprised of potato espuma, a sous vide egg, truffle oil and toast for dipping. The salted egg yolk bread pudding is ideal for those of us who can’t decide which direction we want to go with brunch.

Locations: Fountain Valley, Irvine



This place has rebranded brunch in the cutest way. It’s all pinks and palm trees at this San Juan Capistrano cafe. Order at the counter and take a seat in their Instagram-worthy interior. The menu skews Hawaiian, so if you close your eyes when taking a bite of the loco moco or kekoa bowl, you might just feel like you’re on an island in the Pacific. Get the pink latte; you deserve it. 

Location: San Juan Capistrano


Burnt Crumbs

Credit: Burnt Crumbs

People might come for the breakfast burrito, but they’ll stay for the fluffy souffle pancakes. These things are as light and airy as a gosh dang cloud and come in original, blueberry or strawberry flavored. They are jiggly and will make you jolly. This Irvine restaurant is strip mall center chic and always has a line out the door, so plan accordingly. 

Location: Irvine



Located in South Coast Plaza on Level 2 in the Saks Fifth Avenue wing, Populaire is a modern bistro doing unfussy French food the right way. First thing’s first: get an order of Marge’s buttermilk biscuits for the table so you can decide on your entree over flaky strawberry-scented pastries. The brunch menu is small but mighty, and half of it is breakfast cocktails, which we respect. The interior design is as happy as it gets with French blues and bistro chairs.  

Location: Costa Mesa


Tableau Kitchen + Bar

Tableau Kitchen + Bar is elevating the beloved meal without losing its signature universal appeal. Forget regular French toast; try their Jasmine milk tea French toast. Boring breakfast burrito? Think again! This one has pork sausage, crispy tots and a red chili sauce. Another South Coast Plaza pitstop, Tableau is a great place to grab a bite before or after a big day of shopping.

Location: Costa Mesa


Reunion Kitchen

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: breakfast cocktails are superior. Reunion Kitchen has a milk punch that is basically one part naughty to two parts nostalgia and tastes like alcohol-infused Froot Loops. If you want to send it, go for the short rib Benedict; if you want to act like an adult, opt for the oatmeal brulee. Reunion is also very kid friendly, so it’s a great spot for families!

Locations: Laguna Beach, Anaheim Hills


Tavern House

Credit: Katie Oswald/Apt 5 Creative

Consistently one of the best brunches in OC, Tavern House is living up to the hype with dishes like their prime rib hash and housemade buttermilk biscuits with honey butter. You can’t beat the views overlooking Newport Harbor, and there is always a game on the TVs that your sporty friend will want to watch. We also appreciate that they serve just about everything with a side of tater tots.

Location: Newport Beach


Lost Pier Cafe


Located on the beach—literally on the beach—Lost Pier Cafe feels more like a fun field trip than a restaurant. The menu is perfectly straight-forward with five items: breakfast burrito, avocado toast, breakfast bagel, granola and yogurt, and beignets in a paper bag a la New Orleans. Frankly, we appreciate the dialed down options because those five are really all you need—no ordering anxiety here. Overlooking Aliso Beach, you’ll be happy as a clam (and covered in powdered sugar if you binge the beignets). 

Location: Laguna Beach


8th Haus Cafe

Open Tuesday-Sunday from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m., 8th Haus Cafe does brunch and only brunch. They’ve chosen their lane and are staying in it. This place is giving quaint coffee shop cafe vibes, and we love it. All of their dishes have a fun twist, such as their purple waffles doused with ube syrup and their matcha pancakes topped with creme brulee. Plus they have a bunch of fun latte flavors like cookie butter and horchata. 

Location: Anaheim


Park Bench Cafe

Open since 1988, Park Bench Cafe might be one of the most unique breakfast restaurants in Orange County on this list because it is nestled in Huntington Beach Central Park. They also have a (wait for it) dog menu fit for your furry friends. But for their human patrons, they can choose from omelets any which way, Benedicts, burritos and anything cooked on a griddle. It’s one of those diner-style menus that we all love—and your pups will love it too!

Location: Huntington Beach


Cafe Mimosa

All yolks aside, this San Clemente breakfast staple is serving up some serious eats on Del Mar, which is the main street in this surfer town. Need something hearty? Get the steak and eggs. Want to keep it light? The egg white frittata is calling your name. And of course, per the namesake, you are basically required to order a mimosa.

Location: San Clemente 


Aria Kitchen

Ever heard of a breakfast platter? Well, Aria Kitchen is serving one up, and it’s a sweet and savory smorgasbord of dips, sausage, eggs, breads and finger foods. If you’re not that adventurous and want to stick with the classics, their chilaquiles are killer, and the lemon ricotta pancakes are absolute perfection. We love a cozy booth for breakfast, and they deliver. 

Location: Irvine


Everyday Eatery

This Orange County brunch spot may be called Everyday, but it’s anything but ordinary. The lemon ricotta hotcakes are Insta-famous and the Spanish Latte has been touted as “the best latte in OC.” This is a casual, order-at-the-counter type place with a revolving menu reflecting seasonal ingredients. The vibe is right with their aesthetically pleasing decor and colorful abstract wall mural that makes the ideal backdrop for an Instagram pic.

Location: Irvine


Maison really put Dana Point on the map for brunch spots. Chef Danielle’s goal is to make high-quality, organic ingredients accessible to all, and she is doing it on toasts, in bowls and over lettuce. Choose from nine different toasts to start your day, and be sure to bring a pal so you have an excuse to order the Dutch Baby to share. There’s also granolas, egg dishes, oatmeals and so much more, but you’ll just have to visit to see for yourself!

Location: Dana Point


The Cellar

The Cellar in San Clemente is serving up a stellar brunch, which all starts with some espresso from Handlebar Coffee Roasters. Once the caffeine kicks in, explore the All-American breakfast menu that includes a souped up egg and bacon sandy, chia seed parfaits, and biscuits and gravy (but only on the weekends). This charming wine bar and restaurant is an institution that has been around since 2008, so clearly they are doing something right!

Location: San Clemente

+ posts

Taylor is a graduate from the University of Southern California with a degree in journalism. She is our Los Angeles and Orange County editor. You can find her dining at a new restaurant, in the ocean or planning her next adventure. Say hello!

Writer | Website | + posts

Born and raised near the Pacific Coast, Jordan Nishkian is a California girl through and through. She graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a BA in Creative Writing and a BA in Anthropology, and her favorite place to be is curled up in a comfy chair with a book in her hand and a pen in her hair.

+ posts
Lover of the beach, food and fitness, Emily enjoys exploring all sunny Southern California has to offer! She has a passion for sharing about her favorite local gems and began writing for Locale in 2022. On the weekends, find her creating recipes for her food blog or out in Laguna!
+ posts




Related Content

Skip to content