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Narrowing down the best brunch in San Diego isn’t that easy. If you attended college in San Diego, then you know the sanctity of Sunday brunch. What broke college student hasn’t splurged on a bottomless mimosa and avocado toast late morning feast? The sneaky combination of breakfast and lunch sprinkled with fruity alcohol create a fun excuse for day drinking. It’s not only acceptable, it’s expected (though not required).
Because of brunch’s popularity with SoCal dwellers, the restaurants dedicated to brunch in San Diego abound. From hip vegan eateries and Mexican cafes with outdoor patios to sleek carbs and meat restaurants and acai bowl shops, San Diego has everything a foodie could crave. Sunday morning epitomizes the tiresome, “Where should we eat?” debate. The wealth of options tends to blur together and make a decision difficult among a gaggle of ravenous twenty-somethings (or thirty-somethings) recovering from a hangover. Instead of braving the battle of brunches, look over this list of best San Diego brunch spots.
Disclaimer: unfortunately, one of the only acceptable SoCal acai cafes (Lazy Hummingbird in Ocean Beach, San Diego) closed, so acai won’t make the cut. Look elsewhere if you’re an avid Brazilian berry eater, but be forewarned that SoCal acai tends to be a sugary dessert rather than a healthy breakfast. Venture further north to Portland, Oregon for fresh antioxidant bowls. Can’t make it up north? Fear not. SoCal shines in everything but the acai department. Eggs? Pastries? Coffee? Breakfast meats? Potatoes? You got it. Just be prepared for an outrageous wait time.
Fig Tree Cafe (Pacific Beach)
Though Fig Tree Cafe has multiple locations, always opt for the Pacific Beach spot when possible. Put your name down on the inevitably long waitlist and stroll around the neighborhood or down to the beach. Once they have a table available, dash back to snag it before someone else does. Your server will guide through a forestlike restaurant to your seats.
The dining area in Pacific Beach outshines the other locations, with a spacious outdoor patio draped with hanging vines and other plants. It always passes the vibe check. You might feel like a woodland nymph eating breakfast – that is unless you’re recovering from a wild night.
Don’t just pick Fig Tree Cafe for the Instagram clout. They serve delicious and innovative dishes like their breakfast sushi rolled with rice, eggs and scallions wrapped in brown sugar and paprika bacon slices and accompanied by plum sauce and fresh fruit. They also have a bunch of comfortable brunch classics, some with creative twists. Come dine in style and explore the large drink menu.
Outdoor dining might be limited at this Chula Vista brunch spot, but you can order take out and pack a blanket for a picnic in one of the nearby parks. Mexipino combines Mexican and Filipino cuisine (hence the name) to serve scrambles, hash plates and traditional meals like huevos rancheros and a Filipino breakfast with garlic rice, meat, eggs, and finadene tomato. They also have a selection of sugary options for your sweet tooth. Try the giant pancakes infused with strawberries and topped with butter and powdered sugar.
“Le Brunch” is served! Francophiles and brunch connoisseurs alike flock to Little Frenchie Friday through Sunday for bruleed French toast served with fresh berries. Pair anything sweet with the raspberry Bellini cocktail. Pair anything at all with the mimosa. It is brunch, after all.
In the mood for something a bit savory? The lunch selections include a crisp niçoise salad and a croque madame served on brioche. Drive across the Coronado bridge and disappear among the tourists and beach bums for a taste of Europe’s finest cuisine.
It’s not every day you start your Sunday with a North African meal. If you love sleeping in but you still want to partake in brunch, this Moroccan and Baja-inspired brunch begins at noon. Head over to El Cajon Boulevard in North Park to get a taste of the shakshouka.
Founder Alia Jaziri began Medina as a food truck in the Bay Area, and now serves her food throughout the San Diego community with pop-ups and residencies at farmers markets. Though craft beer may not be a traditional brunch drink, you’ll either want to make an exception or make sure to come back during happy hour to sip some local brews.
No matter where you live in SoCal, there’s a decent chance a Breakfast Republic isn’t too far. They have locations in Liberty Station, North Park, Encinitas, Mission Valley, East Village, Ocean Beach, Carmel Valley, Pacific Beach, Costa Mesa and Irvine.
Their chicken logo might clue you into Breakfast Republic’s brunch specialty. You guessed it. Eggs. Classic American breakfast requires some form of egg, but Breakfast Republic has more to their menu than scrambles. Try the shrimp n’ grits or the jambalaya for a Southeastern meal. They also have an impressive selection of pancakes and French toast.
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