Weekends are a great time for trying new things. Like learning to surf. Or making dumplings. Or finding someone you like, taking a dance lesson together, and going to Griffith Park at sunset to recreate that scene from La La Land. Those all sound fun, but if you’re looking for something a little easier, you could go eat brunch somewhere from our Brunch Hit List. All of the places on this guide recently opened or just started serving brunch, so if you like doing new things but don’t have time for anything too complicated, this is where to start.
Majordomo doesn’t identify their weekend midday meal as brunch, but when you serve Bloody Marys and open before noon on a Saturday, we’re going to call it brunch. And those Bloody Marys are unlike any we’ve had before - they’re made with rendered beef fat-infused vodka, for a creamy, fantastic flavor. The food is also great. The lobster salad is a huge portion of lobster and, strangely, tomatoes (turns out it’s an incredible combination), and the grilled dduk galbi is a sort of funky Mediterranean-Korean mashup, with the beef served on a skewer over rice, but with unmistakably Korean spices. If you’ve been wanting to go to Majordomo, but are scared off by the prospect of spending $200 on a piece of meat, this is a fantastic alternative.
Our favorite little pasta shop by the beach, El Segundo’s Jame Enoteca has a great Sunday brunch that’s highly worth your time. In addition to all of the handmade pastas from their dinner menu, they’ve also got some great breakfast-y foods you should definitely make room for. Be sure to get the lemon ricotta pancakes (with homemade compote) for the table, and if you’re really hungry, you can’t go wrong with the buttermilk fried chicken, which is served on a fantastic pancetta, cheese, and maple biscuit. And you really shouldn’t leave without getting at least a pasta or two - we like the scarpinocc and the cappellini, but follow your heart.
West Adams’ Alta takes Southern cooking very seriously, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that their weekend brunch is not only excellent, but filled with great versions of classics like shrimp and grits and cornmeal pancakes. And while you might wonder if it’s overkill to order both the biscuits and jam and the biscuits and gravy (the answer is yes, probably), that shouldn’t stop you from doing it. The jams change seasonally, but are always excellent, and the green garlic gravy (made with house sausage) is perfect, and surprisingly light. They’ve also got a whole list of cocktails ideal for drinking before noon, like the Lunchbox, with butter-washed bourbon and peanuts, and the Fallen Fruit with gin, pear, and honey.
Yours Truly can be a bit of a scene at brunch, since it’s an eminently on-trend spot on Abbot Kinney. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth spending your Saturday morning here. Because, like at dinner, the food is inventive, interesting, and not at all what you expected when you saw it on the menu. Start with the Dutch Baby, which comes with peas, morels, and parmesan, and be sure to get the rye waffle with with house-made ricotta. And save room for dessert - the macaroon is made with coconut and pineapple, and comes with a huge scoop of sorbet, along with lime and basil.
The only spot on this list that doesn’t serve some sort of alcohol, Maury’s gets a pass - because they’ve got the best bagels in the city. Well, that, and the fact that Psychic Wines is right next door, which means you can grab a bottle to go with your bagel, then head to Silver Lake Reservoir. If it’s your first time, get the Nova on sesame - it’s basically a perfect bagel sandwich, with capers and red onions. We also love the labneh, with heirloom tomatoes and zaatar, and the simple avocado sandwich. If you’re really looking to go big, we highly recommend the Mori - it might be $22, but it comes with thinly-sliced cucumbers, wasabi tobiko, and a thick stack of lox.
Alimento has been around for a while, but their brunch is new - and it’s just as great as dinner. It’s also surprisingly calm at brunch, so you can have a bit of quiet while you wait for your hair of the dog, which should be the refreshing and strong Rose & Shine Spritz (rosé, lemonade, and prosecco). The ricotta donut holes are how every brunch here should start, since they come with mascarpone and blueberry, and the first time we had them they immediately entered our pantheon of LA donuts. The tonnato toast is another favorite - it’s basically a tuna and anchovy salad with hard-boiled eggs on top, and it’s an ideal way to start the day. If you want something heavier, the potato frico waffle is your move. This Belgian-style waffle is made of potatoes, and comes smothered in tender pulled short rib and pickled onions.
The best little French cafe in a neighborhood full of little French cafes, Loupiotte is a great place to spend a morning in Los Feliz. It’s ideal whether you’re sitting out on the sidewalk reading The New Yorker and drinking both an espresso and a glass of wine like you’re Maggie Gyllenhaal, or catching up with a group of friends (also with an espresso and a glass of wine). Get the creamy polenta with what’s essentially a Scotch egg on top or the soft-scrambled eggs with lox, and order a couple of the pastries, too. That should be enough to justify a third glass of rosé.
Sunday brunch at Ceviche Project isn’t going to look all that different from dinner - the menu is basically identical. But you will find a whole bunch of great, inventive brunch-only specials that the chef makes with what was leftover from the night before, like octopus and shrimp ceviche, and complimentary shrimp caldo that we (literally) drink shots of. There’s an impressive list of natural wines, but what you should really be drinking is the michelada - it’s one of the best in LA, thanks to their house-made version of Clamato. And compared to an average night here, when you’ll find crowds of people waiting for a table on the Hyperion sidewalk, brunch is extremely low-key.
Every Canyon PTA Mom’s favorite Mexican spot is Tallula’s - and they’ve got the right idea. This place serves Tex-Mex that isn’t necessarily reinventing the wheel, but they do have great versions of all the brunch classics, like blue corn pancakes, which come in a skillet with berries and macadamia nuts, and excellent potato taquitos. But what you’re really here for is the wet breakfast burrito - it’s doused in salsa verde, melted jack cheese, and sour cream, and stuffed with eggs and pork. That should be strong enough to stand up to a couple spicy mezcal margaritas.
If you really want to go big for brunch, Guerrilla Tacos is the place to do it. You wouldn’t know it based on the laid-back dinner, but at brunch, they’ve got some serious entrees, like steak and eggs with chile de arbol and tortillas, and the Puerto Nuevo Scramble, a mix of lobster, trout roe, and fantastic house rice with chives. They also have some smaller, more affordable plates, like chorizo and potato tacos, and the sweet potato and egg quesadilla. But no matter what you get, don’t skip the cocktails - the Cochiloco is our favorite. It’s their version of a Mai Tai, and comes in a giant glass pig.
Roberta’s in Culver City is an ideal change-of-pace spot for a big group brunch. They’ve got a large patio, which means you can invite all your friends and their significant others, and a menu that’s guaranteed to please everyone. The lamb hash is one of our favorite entrees, with a great, spicy salsa verde, and you also can’t go wrong with the crispy sweet potatoes, doused in stracciatella and Calabrian chiles. But the pizzas are the best reason to come. If you’ve never gotten the Bee Sting (pepperoni with chili honey), you should order that, but don’t be afraid to branch out to the Millenium Falco (guanciale and breadcrumbs) either.