10 Best Restaurants for Brunch in Los Angeles
See also: 10 Best Breakfast Spots in Los Angeles
Brunch is one thing that's done well in Los Angeles, a town that's very well-versed in mashups -- Carmeggedons I and II, for starters -- that grab more attention than should be necessary. And while it may not be the favorite meal service of chefs, this internal struggle is not transparent when you're enjoying Casey Lane's version of biscuits and gravy or a curiously well-coordinated composite of contrasts in the pastrami and eggs with slices of tart Windrose apples at Farmshop.
When tracing the lineage of L.A.'s approach, it's less in the New York City tradition of eggs Benedict and bagels with lox, and more circa 1930s Hollywood when stars made late morning meals a part of their travel itineraries. It may explain why in L.A. brunch became a meal that rolls with the punches of late nights and later mornings, defined more by its social nature than the exact content of your plate.
This may also be the reason why chefs and cooks in town have adopted various interpretations to brunch: Breakfast entrees with lunch-type accoutrements; breakfast as lunch; lunch as breakfast. Given the temporary permissibility of daytime drinking, it's what is in your glass -- beer, wine, mimosa, bellini -- that seems to tie the whole operation together. Or mugs for that matter, with many restaurants refilling your order of coffee often and without prompt as you catch up with friends over eggs and toast.
Christine Chiao Stuffed French toast
Named after an acronym for the three main meals of the day, Neal Fraser's BLD inhabits the spirit of a neighborhood eatery being different things to different diets. The menus may rotate every so often, but there always remain at least several entrees amenable to vegetarians (slightly less for vegans). Not necessarily limited to the weekend, breakfast can be ordered anytime morning through afternoon tea hours. Of all the dietary lifestyles covered, those with a sweet tooth are the most rewarded. This can mean crêpes and housemade pastries on the regular or specials like the recent banana and peanut butter stuffed French toast topped with powder sugar and whipped cream, served with a tin house-shaped container of maple syrup. 7450 Beverly Blvd., Fairfax District; (323) 687-8002.
9. Bar Ama:
Christine Chiao Migas at Bar Ama
There are plenty of restaurants offering breakfast during the week, but only a handful provide the elusive option of the mid-week brunch -- here it's breakfast as lunch -- like Josef Centeno's newish Bar Ama. Available from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., the handful of morning entrees come in only savory form, but mimosas and Bloody Marys rarely pair well with sweet breakfast foods. You'd be too distracted by Centeno's take on migas anyway, a testament to the chef's skill in elevating comfort flavors through classic culinary training and no small amount of creativity. The full bar, replete with spiked agua frescas, made-to-order cocktails and a lengthier list of mezcals, won't hurt either. 118 W. 4th St., dwntwn; (213) 687-8002.
8. KTCHN DTLA:
Christine Chiao Fried chicken with cornbread French toast
In its current iteration, Felix Barron's semi-permanent pop-up brunch KTCHN DTLA takes over The Gorbals on Saturdays. The setup is comfortably current, with elements one might find in the average pop-up: Unfussy service, tech-savvy and food decidedly personal to the chef. The one-page food menu is refreshed at will; jalapeno corn fritters, carnitas hash and eggs, and sun-dried tomato scramble turned up on a recent visit. Barron's approach is at its best in the introduction of cornbread as a rejoinder to the soggy, dry, or worse bland French toast that lurk around town. He and his crew make a version immersed in custard, which was light in texture and taste. It made all the difference for the blueberry compote and whipped cream served as condiments, enhancing rather than overwhelming the whole affair. 501 S. Spring St., dwntwn; (213) 488-3408.
501 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA