The Absolute Best Brunches in San Diego

Satisfy your cravings for benedicts, waffles, and mimosas at the best brunch spots in San Diego.

Serēa Coastal Cuisine
Photo courtesy of Serēa Coastal Cuisine
Photo courtesy of Serēa Coastal Cuisine

What is it about brunch that puts a smile on everyone’s face? Is it the indulgence of sweet pastries, cinnamon buns, stacks of buttery and syrupy pancakes, or rich and saucy benedicts? Maybe it’s just being able to order hard liquor at 10 am without getting the side-eye. Whatever shape your brunch dreams take, San Diego can make those wishes a reality. Now that the weather is warming up, we’ve got more options than ever for chilling on a rooftop deck, sipping bubbly by the beach, or lounging in cozy banquettes over bloody Marys. We’ve done the legwork and gathered 15 of our favorite brunch spots. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy your mimosa.

Toasted

Oceanside
$$$$

Sami Ladeki, of Sammy's Woodfired Pizza fame, recently opened Toasted Gastrobrunch in the space previously occupied by Carte Blanche Bistro & Bar, just off Pier View Way. The expansive menu covers all things eggy with scrambles, hashes, benedicts, and omelets, plus Eggs in Purgatory, a yummy take on shakshuka in a mini sourdough bread bowl. A plethora of pancakes, toasts (French and American-style), Tex-Mex, and lunch-type dishes round out the menu. There are plenty of traditional bellinis and bloodies, but if you want something new and different, try a Lavender Lemonade, hibiscus, or prickly pear mimosa. Brunch is available from 8 am to 3 pm, after which a full dinner menu is available.
How to book: Join the waitlist via Yelp. Walk-ins are accepted if seating is available.

Serẽa Coastal Cuisine
Photo courtesy of Serẽa Coastal Cuisine

Serẽa Coastal Cuisine

Coronado Island
$$$$

Whether you’re seated on the outdoor patio or inside Serẽa's airy, sophisticated dining room, everyone gets a great view of the water thanks to cleverly raised floors and multi-level terraces. And after a long hiatus, Chef JoJo Ruiz, a James Beard Smart Catch Leader recipient, is bringing weekend seaside brunch back to Serẽa on Saturday, March 25. Cult favorites like Shakshuka, Steak and Eggs, and the Cinnamon and Sugar Cruffin are still on the menu. There’s also a slew of new creations, such as Spinach and Cheese Spanakotiropita, Crab Cakes and Caviar Benedict, Croque Madame, Shrimp and Smoked Polenta, and seasonal fruit salad. A trio of special brunch cocktails features light, fruity flavors like guava, stone fruit, strawberries, and citrus.
How to book: Reservations are recommended and can be made online. Walk-ins are accepted if seating is available.

Mister A's
Photo courtesy of Mister A's

Mister A's

Bankers Hill
$$$$

Mr. A’s has, hands down, the most spectacular view of any rooftop venue, along with a beautiful renovation that includes an additional 18-seat sunken bar and 72-seat indoor-outdoor lounge. Executive chef Stephane Voitzwinkler artfully blends American, French, and Alsatian influences into his brunch menu (think Cast Iron French Alps Reblochon Tartiflette, Savory Dutch Baby, and Fines Herbes Omelettes), along with executive pastry chef Amy Simpson’s monthly menu of crave-worthy handmade pastries, bread, and donuts. Mr. A’s recently introduced Saturday Jazz Brunch from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm, with a NOLA-inspired menu showcasing special dishes like Frog Legs à L'Alsacienne, Crispy Shrimp Po Boy, hushpuppies, Moules Frites, and of course, the quintessential beignets, plus a slate of classic New Orleans cocktails from Bar Manager Alvin Pugeda and his team. The regular brunch menu is also available.
How to book: Make reservations online well in advance, although walk-ins are accepted if seating is available. Note that there is a dress code.

Farmer’s Table

Various locations
$$$$

Bloody Mary aficionados love Farmer’s Table for its delightfully over-the-top, meal-in-itself cocktail creations, especially the massive Barn Yard, a 10-pound concoction meant for four or more people that combines all of the specialty bloodies into one pitcher. It’s topped with nearly every garnish imaginable, including a whole-roasted chicken. Traditional fare, including omelets, frittatas, pancakes, waffles, benedicts, sandwiches, salads, and flatbreads, rounds out the menu.
How to book: Make reservations online at your favorite location. Walk-ins are accepted if seating is available.

There are plenty of delectable options at Provisional Kitchen, Cafe & Mercantile, including Everything Fry Bread & Lox, build-your-own omelets, wood-fired pizzas made using the Poolish technique, and a full complement of pancakes and waffles. On Saturday and Sunday until 1 pm, chef Brandon Sloan also creates a five-course brunch tasting menu. You can get bottomless bubbles for a reasonable $25, plus there’s a solid Bloody Mary and craft cocktail menu. Be on the lookout for the viral sensation Ostrich Egg Platter, available on select weekends and in limited quantities.
How to book: Reservations are recommended and can be made online. Walk-ins are accepted if seating is available.

The Corner Drafthouse

Bankers Hill
$$$$

Stop by The Corner Drafthouse every weekend from 10 am to 3 pm for a relaxing brunch. This casual gastropub offers comfort-style brunch items like Crispy Buttermilk Chicken and a Bacon Herb Waffle, served with a rum maple syrup, plus a smothered breakfast burrito stuffed with scrambled eggs, Drafthouse potatoes, applewood-smoked bacon, sausage chorizo, and queso fresco, topped with salsa verde. Choose a beer from one of the 70 taps or a refreshing craft cocktail to wash it all down.
How to book: Reservations are recommended and can be made online. Walk-ins are accepted if seating is available.

Parkhouse Eatery

University Heights
$$$$

Parkhouse Eatery’s menu features all your favorites—churro, lemon ricotta, and blue corn pancakes, luscious pistachio cream cheese-stuffed challah French toast, red or green chilaquiles, pan-fried linguini and eggs, scrambles, sandwiches, and a grilled breakfast pizza big enough to share. Check Facebook or Instagram pages for specials and dishes that don’t appear on the regular menu.
How to book: Reserve an indoor or patio table by calling 619.295.7275. Walk-ins are accepted if seating is available. Order online for pickup.

Breakfast Republic

Various locations
$$$$

Everyone loves Breakfast Republic. The only problem is deciding what to order. The benedicts come in versions that are both traditional and decidedly not—Cluck Madame is a mashup of a croque madame and a benny, while Jurassic Pork subs smoky, thick-cut bacon for the Canadian variety. There are sweet and savory pancakes and waffles, omelets and scrambles, and a big list of large plates. Try a bottle of their signature prosecco, specialty Bloody Marys or cocktails, and maybe an immune-boosting adaptogenic antioxidant shot (it couldn’t hurt).
How to book: Seating is on a first-come basis. Order online for pickup or delivery.

Café Madeline

North Park and South Park
$$$$

Café Madeline Frenchifies your brunch with various crêpes—savory chicken, ham, and Swiss with béchamel, smoked salmon and creme fraiche and sweet pear, Nutella, or berry. Quiches, an impressive array of panini and baguette sandwiches, and composed salads round out the bill of fare. At the North Park location, you can also get omelets, benedicts, and frittatas and Steak au Poivre served with frites.
How to book: Indoor and patio seating are on a first-come basis. Order online for pickup or delivery.

Madison

University Heights
$$$$

Cozy banquette seating against sleek, polished wood plank walls and a high arched ceiling provide the backdrop for an eye-popping array of mimosas, like the cobalt Blue Dream and silky, ebony Black Magic, available by the glass or pitcher. Hearty, savory dishes include White Bean Shakshuka and a Carnitas Waffle Stack with manchego, potatoes, pinto beans, and a poached egg, or indulge your sweet tooth with Churro Waffle Sticks with maple cream cheese sauce or strawberry banana Nutella French Toast. Brunch is served on weekends from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm.
How to book: Reservations are recommended and can be made online. Walk-ins are accepted if seating is available

Parakeet Cafe

Various locations
$$$$

This fast-growing local mini-chain serves an extensive, fresh, and healthy Early Bird All Day menu daily. Choose from bennies, Belgian waffles, scrambles, various toasts, chilaquiles, pastries, and bowls. Don’t forget the dozens of specialty coffees, elixirs, and teas. There are also just as many choices on the non-brunchy side of the menu. Think shareable mini-skillets of roasted potatoes or Brussels sprouts, soups, gorgeous salads, Buddha bowls, and sandwiches.
How to book: Indoor and patio seating is on a first-come basis. Order online for pickup or delivery.

Snooze, an A.M. Eatery

Various locations
$$$$

Snooze does brunch just how you like it—big plates of savory benedicts, hashes, breakfast pot pie, and classic egg dishes. A half-dozen varieties of pancakes are tempting, but why choose one when you can get a flight of three? Boozy beverages include five different bloodies, an array of mimosas, and café cocktails.
How to book: Join the waitlist or order online for pickup from your favorite location. Walk-ins are accepted if seating is available.

Farmer & The Seahorse
Photo courtesy of Farmer & The Seahorse

Farmer & The Seahorse

Sorrento Valley
$$$$

The cocktail menu includes the usual mims and Marys, sangrias, sangritas, and micheladas, plus high-test libations, including Coffee Spike with Buffalo Trace bourbon cream, Licor 43, and Frangelico. Favorite menu items include a quartet of toasts—smashed avocado, truffled mushroom, wild blueberry, and stracciatella or beet-cured salmon—plus a savory waffle and fried chicken combo, Bananas Foster French toast, hefty grass-fed burgers, and shrimp and lobster rolls. Their spacious, shaded, and string-lit patio offers a stunning view of the restaurant’s gardens, encouraging guests to kick back and stay for a while. Brunch is available on weekends from 10 am to 2 pm.
How to book: Reservations are recommended and can be made online. Walk-ins are accepted if seating is available.

TRUST
Photo courtesy of TRUST

TRUST

Hillcrest
$$$$

It’s worth the effort to get to TRUST early enough to nab one of their Ultimate Sticky Buns, an enormous, fluffy roll drenched in caramelly, sticky syrup and topped with a scoop of ice cream. Balance all that sweetness with savory Chilaquiles Rojo, Smoked Pork Shoulder Hash, or flavorful baked eggs with Moroccan sauce, peppers, tomatoes, tzatziki, kale, chickpeas, and feta cheese. Brunch is available on weekends from 9 am to 2 pm.
How to book: Reservations are recommended and can be made via Tock. Walk-ins are accepted if seating is available. Order online via Toast for pickup or delivery.

Brockton Villa
Photo courtesy of Brockton Villa

Brockton Villa

La Jolla
$$$$

With its sweeping vistas of La Jolla Cove from either inside or on the deck, Brockton Villa is perfect for when you have visitors who want to brunch with an ocean view and flights of bubbly mimosas to sip. Do not pass up the award-winning Coast Toast, a fluffy, souffle-like French toast with lovely orange zest notes. Other offerings include warmly spiced cinnamon roll pancakes, carnitas chilaquiles, and a Buenos Dias Breakfast Burrito, a yummy concoction with carne asada, cheddar steamed- scrambled eggs, brown rice, smashed avocado, black beans, and cilantro pepita pesto, all wrapped in a warm flour tortilla.
How to book: Reservations are recommended and can be made online. Walk-ins are accepted if seating is available. Order online for pickup.

Mary Beth Abate is a San Diego-based freelance writer.