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Where to Get Brunch in North County

Our annual guide to morningfood, featuring the best places to get brunch in each part of the county
Courtesy of Farmer and the Seahorse

By Troy Johnson, Amelia Rodriguez, Jackie Bryant, W. Scott Koenig, Michelle Stansbury, Mario A. Cortez, Mateo Hoke


Courtesy of Farmer and the Seahorse

Farmer and the Seahorse

Must Order: Lobster-Shrimp Roll

A La Jolla office park? For brunch? Trust us. Farmer and the Seahorse is a gem. The indoors offers high-back plush booths, an Airstream, and paintings. The outdoor space has tons of lawn for cornhole, a few arcade basketball hoops (and, honestly, room for kids to do kid things), and patio seating. Chef Sam Deckman is a talent (his dad is Drew, of Deckman’s en El Mogor fame). That lemon-tarragon lobster-shrimp roll will alter you right.


Le Parfait Paris

Must Order: Pain Au Chocolat

We’re not sure the key to understanding millennials, but opening your heart to choreographed dancing and ordering Le Parfait’s avocado toast flight (yes, flight) is a good start. Simply one of the best bakeries in the city—French to the bone, including at its Del Mar location—now marrying the egg arts with its award-winning dough (a croque madame, short rib hash, eggs benedicts, crepes, etc.).



Must Order: Reuben Benedict

The Seabird Resort took the catbird seat, overlooking the surf and the pier and Oceanside’s thrilling renaissance. With Cape Cod-ish exterior and elegant pastel beach minimalism inside (there’s a tree in here), Piper’s the bright, airy all-day concept. Two things that make its brunch stand out: a toast bar (choice of bread, heirloom toms, basil, sprouts, hot sauce, whipped ricotta, and so on) and a fried chicken and waffle bar.

Ranch 45, brunch

Photo Credit: James Tran

Ranch 45

Must Order: Steak and Eggs

A husband-and-wife joint. Both chefs, lifer food people. The spot in Del Mar for sustainable meat (upstairs is the local HQ for iconic Brandt Beef). When he was at Marriott in Downtown, Aron Schwartz was renowned for buying the most local farm food in the city. That ethos is here, where he’s dry-aging and marinating some of the best protein on the planet. It also has a killer acai bowl for un-nivores.

Veranda Fireside Lounge & Restaurant

Veranda Fireside Lounge & Restaurant

Must Order: Breakfast Burger

For decades this has been the epicenter of quality, serious food in inland North County San Diego. The one you drive to. Veranda at the Rancho Bernardo Inn is perched atop the sloping golf course, overlooking oodles of immaculate lawn. It has light and plant-based fare, but brunch is for sins, so get the burger (fried egg, bacon, Black Forest ham, and cheddar cheese hollandaise) and the cast-iron cinnamon roll with toasted pecan mascarpone cream. Ask for the bacon on the side.


Gravity Heights

Must Order: House-Made Cinnamon Roll

Baked goods…at a brewery? You bet. Beyond this Sorrento Valley locale’s glass-and-concrete walls lie an airy beer garden and a lean but multifarious menu of morning eats. After you’ve devoured every last drop of the cinnamon roll’s mascarpone goat cheese frosting, try tomatillo salsa–capped chilaquiles.

The Grill at Torrey Pines

The Grill at Torrey Pines

Must Order: Charcoal Bread Avocado Toast

Remember when you bought your sprawling hunters lodge on that world-class golf course overlooking the sea cliffs of Torrey Pines, that edge of the local earth, and occasionally Rory McIlroy would stop by and tee off while you ate a juicy reuben or a throwback burger called The Drugstore on your outdoor alcove made of rustic stones? Hasn’t happened yet? Best outsource it here, then.

Toasted Gastrobrunch + Dinner

Toasted Gastrobrunch + Dinner


Toasted Gastrobrunch + Dinner

Must Order: Eggs in Purgatory

After the success of Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza, Sami Ladeki could’ve ridden his charred-crust largesse into a chronic golf habit. But that’s not what Sami does. This Oceanside space (formerly Carte Blanche) fuses some of Sammy’s hits with brunch arts (Eggs in Purgatory is basically a shakshuka in a bread bowl) and flamboyant boat drinks (rum meets watermelon, gin meets lavender cordials). Arguably the best thing Sami and his chef Alfie Szeprethy have done.

Ponto Lago

Ponto Lago (Park Hyatt)

Must Order: Dulce de Leche Pancakes

We’ve been taught to not expect much out of “assortments of baked goods,” but Ponto Lago renews our faith. Get the cinnamon rolls or the Mexican concha. A classic property nuzzled around natural preserve in Carlsbad, the Park Hyatt has gotten a massive redo, and Lago is the woodfired, local-farm Baja kitchen. Have a San Diego breakfast drink and put a little mezcal in your cold press.



Must Order: Jidori Chicken Chilaquiles

Upstairs, Addison just became the first three-star Michelin restaurant in SoCal. Amaya is the all-day spot at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar where some of the best up-and-coming chefs in the city have trained. The patio overlooks an obsessively manicured, chlorophylically endowed lawn and dusty western canyons. Watch live music (jazzy, brunchy) with a three-course meal of coconut-chia seed pudding, chilaquiles with Jidori chicken and lime crema, and citrus granita.

Gold Finch Modern Delicatessen

Gold Finch Modern Delicatessen


Gold Finch Modern Delicatessen

Must Order: Loaded Latkes

The lack of good Jewish-style delis in San Diego has been a municipal travesty for years. Tracy Borkum—Cucina Urbana, Cucina Enoteca, et al.—is finally doing something about it in La Jolla. Three words: loaded giant latkes. The base model is fried egg, mushroom, broccoli rabe, caramelized onions, and horseradish aioli. Then, add lox, prosciutto cotto, pastrami, or corned beef. Swift and radical expansion of this concept, please.


Cutwater Spirits

Must Order: B.A.R.B Burger

For a while, the greatest thing about the Cutwater tasting room in Miramar was that you could sample its new cocktail experiments and vote on which gets canned and sent across the world. But the food here has taken a big leap. Its brunch menu is un-small, with everything from a bourbon-fig pomegranate salad to an Italian torpedo (a spicy version, excellent)—even a Scotch egg. The B.A.R.B. Burger has cheddar cheese, candied barrel-aged rum bacon, hash brown patty, aioli, and egg.

Vue Omni La Costa


Must Order: La Costa Morning Table

You know those infuriating movie scenes where an ungrateful teen nabs a single piece of toast from a full breakfast spread and darts out the door? When in Carlsbad, request Vue’s Morning Table (coffee, juice, pastries, fruit, avo toast, and one entree, like an omelet or a salmon benedict) at the Omni La Costa Resort to give that glorious array the attention it deserves.

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