Credit: Katie Oswald/Apt 5 Creative
Credit: Katie Oswald/Apt 5 Creative

The Only Orange County Brunch Guide You’ll Need

Brunch: It’s What Sundays Are For

Sunny Southern California skies are 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 places in Orange County to gather with friends for day-drinking and whiling away the afternoon. Here are a few of our favorite places to get our brunch on. ORANGE COUNTY BRUNCH GUIDE

Tavern House Kitchen + Bar

Credit: Katie Oswald/Apt 5 Creative

Get ready for some amazing eats and a jaw-dropping view of the water—Tavern House’s Bayside Brunch is a local staple for a good reason. Menu classics, such as chicken and malted waffles and over-the-top bloody marys, are joined by upscale favorites like the prime rib Benedict and a platter of chilled oysters on half shells. “Our goal is for Tavern House to become Newport Beach’s go-to gathering place for drinking, dining, socializing and life celebrations,” says Chef David Wilhelm. We’ll raise a Tavern Mary to that!

Location: Newport Beach 

ORANGE COUNTY BRUNCH GUIDE

Avila’s El Ranchito

Credit: Ed Visions

We’ve had a long-standing love affair with Avila’s El Ranchito for years, and now they’re making this love even sweeter by adding an incredible brunch menu. Start your day off right with a boozy Mexican coffee or a sky-scraping El Jefe Bloody Maria, then dig into the warm, hardy flavors of huevos rancheros, scrambled egg quesadillas and—if you’re there before 3 p.m. on Saturday or Sunday—Mama Avila’s famous Menudo recipe. Keep in mind that not every location offers a brunch menu, so double-check with your favorite spot before driving over!

Locations: Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Foothill Ranch, Huntington Beach, Huntington Park, Lake Forest, Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, Newport Beach, Orange, Santa Ana, San Clemente, Seal Beach

 

Descanso

Credit: Marivic Divina

With its cozy ambiance and upbeat vibes, there’s no better place than Descanso to grab a strong drink and a flavorful meal to kick-start your weekend. Available both Saturday and Sunday, brunch patrons can choose from two menus: the regular brunch menu featuring the carnitas hash and pozole rojo and the plancha menu with your choice of two courses served la plancha style. Want to wash it all down with something boozy? We recommend bottomless Descanso mimosas. Plan your brunch accordingly—live music starts at noon!

Location: Costa Mesa 

Nếp Cafe

Talk about a hidden gem! Located inside Dave’s Hot Chicken in Fountain Valley, Nếp Cafe offers patrons a truly delightful brunch experience. The menu is inspired by the delicate, aromatic flavors of Vietnamese cuisine, which are celebrated in spotlight-seeking dishes like banh mi pâté, bone marrow pasta and duck confit porridge. Finish up the meal with sweet mango sticky rice, marbled coffee or an egg coffee.

Location: Fountain Valley

ORANGE COUNTY BRUNCH GUIDE

Fable & Spirit

Sitting pretty on the Michelin Guide with a Bib Gourmand title, Fable & Spirit offers a stunning, elegant brunch option with an impressive wine list and even more impressive dishes. Choose from fresh baked goods like apple cinnamon beignets and Guinness brown bread, small plates like house-smoked salmon and sourdough pancakes, entree items like corned beef hash and a pork belly BLT and many more. Have a sweet tooth? Don’t sleep on the Callebaut chocolate budino!

Location: Newport Beach

 

Mayfield

Credit: Mayfield Restaurant & Market

Rich in flavor with a Mediterranean influence, Mayfield offers a brunch menu that’s available Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. And that’s great news because this shakshuka was made to be enjoyed more often than just on the weekends! The food plates are truly amazing, and the stellar menu is punctuated with equally stunning drinks like the Empress’ Potion, the Italian Job or a coffee- and alcohol-free golden latte. 

Local Insight: Curious about natural wines? Join Mayfield’s Natural Wine Club to receive two, three or four specially selected bottles per month. 

Location: San Juan Capistrano

ORANGE COUNTY BRUNCH GUIDE

Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens

Credit: Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens

We’re all for getting in touch with nature, especially when it involves food and libations! Located inside the famous Roger’s Gardens, Farmhouse serves up a beautiful al fresco brunch each Sunday, complete with seasonal frittatas and French toasts to go with lots of bubbles. Once you’ve finished up, take a walk through the grounds and maybe pick up a new plant while you’re at it!

Location: Newport Beach 

 

Billy’s at the Beach

With its island-inspired breakfast dishes and selection of tropical drinks, local favorite Billy’s at the Beach is the perfect way to start your Sunday. The menu offers delicious brunch classics like steak and eggs, but Billy’s also features Hawaiian-inspired staples like sweet, fluffy banana nut pancakes, the Billy’s Loco Moco and malasada donuts and coffee. While it’s practically impossible to feel the Sunday Scaries when you’re on island time, we don’t blame you for sipping on a Billy’s World Famous Mai Tai, Billy’s Boat drink or a refreshing Naked Coconut. 

Location: Newport Beach 

ORANGE COUNTY BRUNCH GUIDE

Tanner’s

For those looking for a prime perch for brunch, look no further than Tanner’s in Huntington Beach. Located at Paséa Hotel and Spa, this unique treehouse bar overlooks the property and the beach. Serving seasonal fare and cocktails, the lounge areas and vibe are as impeccable as the oceanside wood-fired fare. While the menu is chock-full of stellar items, some of our faves include the short rib breakfast sandwich, Annette’s vanilla buttermilk pancakes and Spot’s Scramble (for our four-legged friends).

Location: Huntington Beach

 

Balboa Bay Resort

Credit: Balboa Bay Resort

Ay, bay-bay! Every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., you and yours can head over to Balboa Bay Resort to indulge in waterfront views and a positively decadent seafood brunch buffet. Sip on bottomless mimosas as you build a plate at the seafood display, boasting fresh-shucked oysters, sashimi, sushi rolls, ceviche, poached prawns and snow crab claws. And don’t forget to visit the Chef-Action Station for some delicious prime rib or steelhead trout.

Location: Newport Beach

ORANGE COUNTY BRUNCH GUIDE

Pacific Hideaway

Credit: Gia Garnanese

Nestled inside Huntington Beach’s Shorebreak Hotel, Pacific Hideaway is a scratch kitchen boasting exquisite cocktails and a brunch menu that draws inspiration from a number of different cuisines. The drink menu offers a vast selection of cocktails, including the tropical Smorgasbord or the spirit-forward Rise and Shine. No matter what your brunching style is, with a menu including everything from smoked salmon and avocado toast to buttermilk pancakes and bread pudding French toast, you’re sure to find a dish you fancy. 

Location: Huntington Beach  

 

Craft House

Credit: Sharon Williams

With its sustainability-forward cooking and exemplary whiskey selection, it’s easy to see why Craft House has become a neighborhood favorite. Relax on the outdoor patio with a craft cocktail in hand—Kate’s Old Fashioned is a fine choice—then dig into some delicious brunch dishes like the Cajun croque madame, biscuits and gravy or the classic fried chicken and waffles. Oh, and do yourself a favor and order a baked brie while you’re at it—we promise, you’ll love it.

Location: Dana Point

ORANGE COUNTY BRUNCH GUIDE

Haute Cakes Caffe

With wholesome, classic brunch-friendly dishes done well, it’s easy to see why Haute Cakes Caffe is such a hit with OC locals. Try the orange ricotta haute cakes topped with a warm berry compote. “They have been a favorite here for 20-plus years, and people just keep coming back for more!” shares co-owner Paul Taddeo. Top it off with a hot, fresh coffee and you have the recipe for a perfect morning.

Location: Newport Beach 

 

Arc Butcher + Baker

Featuring a brunch menu that’s full of creative cocktails and simply delicious classics, Arc Butcher + Baker is bringing in guests for what can only be described as “SoCal soul food.” For brunch, we recommend the blueberry pancakes, the baked eggs or the “Don.” Curious about caffeinated drink options? We’re currently loving the black salted mocha!

Local Insight: Arc Butcher + Baker offers take-and-bake options like chicken pot pie that you can enjoy at home!

Location: Newport Beach 

 

Haven Craft Kitchen + Bar

Credit: Haven

If you’re seeking a truly decadent brunch, then look no further than Haven Craft Kitchen + Bar. From berry waffles and housemade donuts to chorizo hash and duck confit chilaquiles, it’s clear why this hotspot has made a name for itself in Old Towne Orange! Our recommendation? Enjoy your favorite dish with a craft cocktail, then walk the Circle to peruse the shops—that’s a beautiful day just waiting to happen.

Location: Orange 

ORANGE COUNTY BRUNCH GUIDE

Outpost Kitchen

Credit: Outpost Kitchen

Born from owner Jay Lewis’ dream of opening an Aussie-style eatery in SoCal, Outpost Kitchen opened its doors in 2015 and has since become a hotspot among Costa Mesa locals. The menu features delicious bites, such as the Brekkie Toasted Sandwich and the Outpost Tacos, fresh juices, smoothies and—of course—specialty cocktails (our favorite is the Butterfly Effect). Outpost Kitchen has two different Costa Mesa locations: one on Monrovia Ave and one at South Coast Plaza!

Location: Costa Mesa

 

Mozambique

Sultry jazz floats on the ocean air from the second-floor Shebeen Lounge every Sunday at this Laguna Beach locale. Open every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mozambique’s indoor and outdoor spaces welcome hungry guests. The popular Breakfast Tower is piled high with crabmeat, egg-battered tomato, spinach and melted Swiss topped with cilantro lime aioli. Whether enjoying the compositions of Coltrane or the panoramic rooftop ocean views, Mozambique is primed for a memorable brunch.  

Location: Laguna Beach

ORANGE COUNTY BRUNCH GUIDE

Ramos House Cafe

After enjoying your time at the famous Mission San Juan Capistrano, take a 2-minute walk down Camino Capistrano to the fabulous Ramos House for a mouthwateringly indulgent two-course brunch. This rustic cafe transports you to simpler, quieter times (paying homage to its historic 1881 construction), but the menu is modern in all the best ways. Sink your teeth into plates like huevos rancheros, crab hash or truffle mac ’n’ cheese. These portions are Southern-style, so come hungry!

Location: San Juan Capistrano

 

RAYA

Floor-to-ceiling windows greet guests at The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel’s RAYA, where Chef Richard Sandoval takes brunchers on a culinary journey through Latin America on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. An a la carte champagne brunch, the three courses include choices of ceviche, omelets, chalupas and churros, just to name a few. Try the kimchi bloody mary, made with Grey Goose vodka, kimchi, pickled garlic root and bacon.

Local Insight: Make a reservation in advance for a window seat by the sea!

Location: Dana Point 

ORANGE COUNTY BRUNCH GUIDE

Breakfast Republic

A San Diego staple since 2015, Breakfast Republic now has 11 locations, two of which are in Orange County! No matter which one you visit, you’ll find the same amazing selection of American breakfast classics. There’s something on this menu for everyone: purists will crave the shrimp and grits breakfast, and sweet tooths will love the cinnamon roll pancakes. Breakfast Republic even offers a vegan section with items like a veggie and pesto frittata.

Locations: Costa Mesa, Irvine

 

Rancho Capistrano Winery

Before you begin sippin’ wine on your weekend off, you’re first going to want to start the day with a decadent brunch. Rancho Capistrano Winery in San Juan Capistrano offers both breakfast and lunch classics on Saturday and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The mimosa flights are a must, and the French toast bites, Italian Benedict and BBQ chicken flatbread are all great options to share with your table! Hang out all day on the serene, shaded patio complete as you transition from rosé to red wine. The winery is even pup-friendly, so you don’t have to leave your furry friend at home!

Locations: San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente

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ORANGE COUNTY BRUNCH GUIDE

AhbA

Looking for a new spot to enjoy weekend brunch with the gals or a midday date? Head over to AhbA in Laguna Beach, the sweetest beachside cottage you’ve ever seen! Cozy, rustic and totally romantic, AhbA is serving up truly tasty eats thanks to LA-transplant Chef Nick Bennett. AhbA is also pouring amazing craft cocktails out of the patio bar called Helen’s. We recommend the shakshuka with poached egg and labneh—YUM!

Location: Laguna Beach

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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.

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