If you’re on the hunt for some of the best breakfast/brunch spots in San Diego, you’ve come to the right place. These top 15 spots serve up some of the most amazing dishes, from the best ever simple pancakes, to a pork cutlet with duck heart gravy topped with an egg, to a decadent sticky bun topped with ice cream.
Who has the best breakfast in San Diego? I wonder how many of us have asked this question when trying to determine where to eat. Well, I spent many terribly grueling weekends going from restaurant to restaurant on the hunt for the best breakfast.
Let me tell you what I found…San Diego has some AWESOME breakfast spots. It was incredibly difficult to narrow it down to fifteen – and fifteen is a lot of restaurants! I’m not going to say I ate at every great spot that exists, but I sure did cover a lot.
With no further ado, here are the results, (ranked in descending order). BUT FIRST – Can you tell me where the above photo was taken without peeking below?
15. Brian’s 24
Brian’s is open 24 hours a day, hence the name. They serve what I believe to be the best pancakes in San Diego. Nothing outrageous, they are just simple pancakes…soft, fluffy, chewy, and served with plenty of maple syrup and salted butter. They also serve wonderful potato pancakes (latkes). I recommend getting a half order of latkes to eat with your pancakes. And then welcome the carb coma.
14. The Great Maple
The maple bacon donuts are the star here. Go with a group of people so you can get an order for the table. Or eat them yourself, its ok, I won’t tell. The breakfast menu is extensive including options such as house smoked pork belly and eggs, shrimp and polenta, scrambles, a chocolate bacon pancake (among other types of pancakes), house smoked salmon, and chilaquiles. I mean come on, who can resist a chocolate bacon pancake? There’s something for everyone here, unless you hate food. In that case, this probably isn’t the blog for you…
UPDATE 4/22/18: The Great Maple opened a new location at the UTC mall. Now you can do a little shopping after your brunch!
The green eggs and ham at Searsucker are to die for. The pork belly is perfectly cooked, both crispy and melt in your mouth (can that be an adjective?), which is oftentimes difficult to find. They also serve shrimp and grits with a spicy kick, chilaquiles, crab cake bennie, steak and eggs and corned beef hash. Start your breakfast off with some banana bread – they make a pretty mean one.
Snooze has multiple locations across San Diego. If you like eggs benedict, you’ve got to try this place out. They have a pretty extensive selection of benedicts, such as chilaquiles, traditional, chili verde, veggie, carnitas and prosciutto benedicts. But the best part? You can mix and match your bennie selection. Well, and they taste good. I guess that’s important too. And don’t forget the hash browns, they have some of the best IMO.
After eating here, you will want nothing more than to take a nice long siesta. Just a warning. The menu is small, but that’s OK; you just need to order the pork belly benedict. And the Kim Chee Bulgogi Hash. Well, the chiliquiles too, or the country fried steak. It’s all excellent. Except the pancakes; I’ve never had the pancakes. They’re probably great though.
10. Urban Solace
Urban Solace has a great “Bluegrass Brunch” every Sunday where they serve five different kinds of benedicts (the pork belly benedict is AMAZING), shrimp and grits, beef cheek hash and mussels, among other dishes. While many of the dishes are delicious, the benedicts and beef cheeks are the best.
9. Richard Walker’s Pancake House
Dutch Baby, baby! I get the same thing every time I go to Richard Walker’s. The Dutch Baby. It’s an oven baked pancake, served with powdered sugar, butter and lemons. Mix the powdered sugar with the juice from the lemons, and dip your pancake right on in. While the restaurant does provide utensils, I choose to eat this with my hands.
If you’re super hungry, order the German pancake – same pancake, bigger size.
The boyfriend gets the spinach crepes with hollandaise sauce, which are ALMOST as good as the pancake. He uses utensils for his meal (however this is not the norm). If you like sweet, and I mean sweet, order the apple pancake.
The eggs benedict here is also good, as are many of the other dishes on this extremely overwhelming menu.
8. Café 222
Cafe 222 does not serve regular bacon; turkey bacon only. Don’t let this turn you off though, I promise you don’t need the bacon. Just this once. Featured in Gourmet Magazine for their famous waffles, it’s only fair to give them a shot. I must agree, the blueberry cornbread waffles are absolutely amazing.
The Croaker (croque Madame) and chicken fried steak and eggs are also excellent.
If you are a super sweet breakfast lover, you’ll love the peanut butter and banana pancakes served here. They were featured on Bobby Flays “Best thing I Ever Ate.” I can’t say they were the best thing I ever ate, but they were pretty damn good. See? You don’t need bacon to have a good time.
UPDATE 4/22/18: Sadly, this place is no longer in business.
UPDATE 4/22/18: Another restaurant that didn’t quite make it. I sure do miss their house made bacon.
5. Cocina 35
Best chilaquiles in San Diego, hands down. Their selection is quite extensive, including sauces such as mole, creamy chipotle, habanero-cilantro and tomatillo-serrano. The Chilaquiles are served plain, with eggs, and/or with different meats to include carnitas, chicken, chorizo and cochinita pibil. Some are spicy, some are not, but all are amazing. It’s a breakfast you won’t soon forget.
4. Super Cocina
This hole in the wall Mexican spot serves some of the best Mexican food in San Diego. Open at 8:00 AM, they have favorites such as menudo, pozole, chilaquiles, and eggs. I typically get the 2 item combo…yes it is served buffet style, but don’t let that turn you off.
Everything is incredibly fresh, and each dish has an amazing depth of flavors. One of the best moles I have ever tasted, and the chili colorado with pork and potatoes…YUM. Not your traditional American breakfast, but oh so wonderful and satisfying.
3. Breakfast Republic
UPDATE 4/22/18: This restaurant has opened locations all over the county. I have only tried the North Park location.
Almost there. This was hard – I went back and forth for weeks before deciding that Breakfast Republic had to take a backseat to my first 2 choices. So many choices here, but the breakfast jambalaya has to be the best.
Shrimp, linguisa sausage, rice, green onion, red pepper, and 3 eggs (order over easy or sunny side up) are served over rice.
The breakfast bacon mac and cheese was also excellent (however, not up to the standard set at Bull and Grain above!) as was the Vietnamese chicken wing breakfast bowl and the shrimp and grits.
I have not tried any of the sweet options, but from what I understand, they are quite good as well. The menu is huge, and everything we’ve tried on it has been delicious – check it out, it’s totally worth the visit.
One word: Ultimate Sticky Bun. They only have a limited supply every day so you better get there early because you NEED to have this.
The fried pork cutlet with duck heart gravy was absolutely amazing, as were the chilaquiles. I would venture to say the second best chilaquiles I’ve eaten (second to Cocina 35 only).
Also serving wonderful pancakes and waffles, as well as your traditional steak n eggs, this place is really top notch. If you’re looking for something on the sweeter side, try the lemon meringue French toast.
So we’ve made it to numero uno, the best breakfast in San Diego. The number one best place to get breakfast in San Diego, hands down. I’ve had everything on the menu here. The best chicken and waffles of my life. The chicken has just a touch of spice, the skin is crispy and the meat juicy and flavorful.
If that’s not to your liking, the prawn and grits or cowboy breakfast are both amazing options.
And if you’re looking for something even more immobilizing, get the Cure; a house made biscuit, gravy, tater tots, scrambled eggs and fried chicken. Try and go for a jog after that. Order the Elvis if you like sweet and sinful.
Every dish they serve is excellent, I always leave feeling happy, satisfied and ready for a nap. So here it is, the best spot for breakfast in San Diego. If you haven’t been, you are definitely missing out. So, did you guess right?
There have been some other great spots for breakfast that have opened since I originally wrote this post. Check them out:
Pardon My French – so many amazing options
Le Parfait Paris – has the most amazing almond croissants
Minou – serves up delicious crepes and a great coffee bar
Los Pollos Rotisserie and Cuban Bakery – Super awesome pastries, some of the best in San Diego IMO
Eli’s Peruvian – Get the fried pork sandwich for brunch.
There are so many other awesome (non-breakfast) places to eat in San Diego. Check out some of these other great places:
Where to get the Best Tacos in Downtown San Diego
Best Cajun Restaurant in Downtown San Diego
Best Cambodian Restaurants in San Diego
Phuong Trang – Our Favorite Vietnamese Restaurant
Shank and Bone – A Modern Vietnamese Eatery
Civico 1845 in Little Italy
Matua’s Sushi Bar and Islander Grill
Where to find Soup Dumplings in San Diego
Best Ramen in San Diego
Who do you think has the best breakfast in San Diego? What makes it your favorite? What is your favorite breakfast food? I would love to hear your comments!