9 Spots for the Best Breakfast in San Diego
San Diego may not seem like a city full of early birds, but the breakfast and brunch scene here is a vibrant one. There’s a little bit of everything here when you’re hunting down the best breakfast in San Diego.
From the avocado toast you may expect to classic platters of eggs and bacon to inventive pancake flights, exploring breakfast places in San Diego is an adventure for anyone looking to kick off their day in a delicious way.
Kono’s Cafe is a rite of passage for any San Diegan. The small cafe operates primarily as a walk-up shop, as what you’re likely ordering here is easily enjoyed on the Crystal Pier and nearby Pacific Beach boardwalk. It’s the breakfast burrito you’re here for alongside those ocean views, and there are five different kinds to choose from.
If you’re looking for a little spice first thing in the morning, the #5 comes with jalapeño peppers, chorizo and salsa. The more classic #3 comes with bacon, eggs, potato and cheese. The cafe serves a full lunch menu if you’re arriving later that includes burgers and generous sandwiches, but the breakfast burritos are where it’s at. Expect to wait in line no matter when you arrive, although the line moves fairly quickly.
Wayfarer Bread & Pastry
Classic pastries are the draw at Wayfarer Bread & Pastry, and they’re substantial enough that locals say this cafe serves up some of the best breakfast in La Jolla and Bird Rock. There are a few savory options, like a ham and cheese croissant in the morning, light sandwiches at lunch and pizza nights throughout the week. The sweet treats are what San Diegans flock to, though.
Expect cinnamon buns, galettes featuring seasonal fruits and macaroons if you’re feeling extra indulgent. This is also a great place to go for freshly-made breads. The loaves are warm, coming right out of the oven throughout the day. Their baguettes are particularly crisp and satisfying.
Hash House A Go Go
Hash House A Go Go is a national chain with locations primarily in Nevada, but it’s also a beloved breakfast place in San Diego when what you’re looking for is a large plate of indulgent food. They describe their pancakes as being the size of a tractor’s steering wheel, for example.
There’s often a long wait at the Hillcrest favorite, which only makes you hungrier for what’s waiting for you on their menu. If you’re not in the mood for those giant pancakes, their hash platters are a local favorite. The fresh mushroom is hearty enough that meat-eaters won’t miss out on anything.
If you want a taste of what the restaurant has been lauded for in the press, try their fried chicken and waffles. The dish, sage fried chicken in various quantities served up with a bacon waffle and hot maple reduction, has been highlighted in The New York Times. It’s just a delicious piece of what makes the eatery some of the best breakfast San Diego has to offer.
Atypical Waffle Company
You may walk right by Atypical Waffle Company in North Park as the entrance is somewhat nondescript, hidden behind a local laundromat. Once you’re inside, the space opens up into a welcoming cafe serving up some of San Diego’s best waffles.
Choose from sweet or savory varieties, or one of each. The waffles here are small enough that you can order two and not feel too heavy afterward. Their jam and brie option is a restaurant favorite. It sounds simple, but that’s what makes it delicious, and it’s served up with a local jam.
If you’re seeking something more substantial, they usually have a play on an avocado toast on the menu. It’s just served up on a waffle, of course, likely with their candied bacon.
The relatively new Morning Glory has impressed foodies enough that it’s even received recognition from the Michelin Guide. The food at the Little Italy breakfast spot is inventive and unlike anything you’ll see at San Diego diners. That means Japanese soufflé pancakes, soft scrambled eggs with caviar—this one’s served at market price, by the way, so be prepared—and breakfast carbonara.
The eatery, lauded by many to be the best brunch San Diego has to offer, is also a see-and-be-seen kind of place. That means lines are long, especially on the weekends. Expect to wait upwards of two hours or more if you’re headed to Morning Glory at peak brunch times on a Sunday. Come first thing on a weekday for your best shot at a table and their very creative breakfast cuisine.
The Mission has three locations throughout San Diego serving up whimsical fare beloved by locals. Their pancakes are a popular option, all served up with a berry puree on top. Try the banana blueberry or their strawberry banana to see what all the fuss is about.
The eatery also has a number of menu items that play with Latin flavors. That definitely means a breakfast burrito, but also all of the other classics: chilaquiles, breakfast quesadillas and vegetarian breakfast tamales. If you didn’t think you needed tamales for breakfast, think again. They come with eggs over medium and the restaurant’s house tomatillo sauce.
Twiggs Bakery & Coffeehouse
Come for the biscuits at Twiggs, and stay for more biscuits. The coffee shop and bakery has a delicious menu of breakfast, brunch and lunch items throughout the afternoon, but you’re going to want to taste their buttermilk biscuits at some point. They’re warm, flakey and best served with some of their house jam.
If you’re planning a special occasion, Twiggs is also known for their custom cakes. They’ll create the birthday or wedding cake that you’ve been envisioning, and it will be delicious, too. While you’re there, take a few of their pastries to go. Everything you see in their case will be freshly baked from that morning.
Photo Credit: Twiggs Bakery & Coffeehouse / Facebook
Snooze, an A.M. Eatery
Snooze is a national chain with three locations in San Diego. Whether you’re in Hillcrest, Del Mar or La Jolla, each Snooze location will be packed on weekend mornings, so if you’re able, try to visit on a weekday for more manageable wait times. Once you’re inside, introduce yourself to what they call their “breakfast riffs.”
They have unique twists on all the favorites, with playful versions of eggs Benedict, French toast platters and scrambles. If you’re unsure what to order, though, locals know their flights are where it’s at.
Try their Signature Flight, a plate of three of their most popular pancakes in a smaller size. The pineapple upside cake is always included in those three, as it’s one of their most popular pancake options overall. You can also customize your own pancake flight if a flavor you’re interested in isn’t being offered on their signature platter.
Little Lion Cafe
The Little Lion Cafe is a favorite for Ocean Beach locals and anyone looking for a bite after a morning stroll along the Sunset Cliffs. Your breakfast here won’t be as heavy, and the ingredients are fresh and light. Try the salmon toast or their granola parfait for a taste of some of their more popular dishes.
If you want something to treat yourself with, their Belgian waffle rivals any offered by the big-named San Diego breakfast spots, and they always have a few sweet treats on hand. The cafe is a favorite for vegetarians and vegans, as well. Try their vegan brunch tacos if you’re interested in testing the waters.
Whether you believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day or not, there is a wide variety of San Diego breakfast restaurants to fuel you whenever you’re ready to start your day. Keep in mind that menus vary from the week to the weekend when San Diego locals seek their favorite brunch spots. That can also mean long waits at peak hours on Saturdays and Sundays.
Written by Agnes Groonwald for Knockaround.