Brunch is back in Orange County. The region’s famous coastal breezes pair perfectly with a bubbly weekend mimosa, giving OC diners a taste of the sweet SoCal life. Luckily, the area’s many talented chefs know that diners expect much more than a simple plate of scrambled eggs, so new menus are popping up weekly with souffle pancakes with berry compote, everything bagel-seasoned breakfast pizzas, and modern takes on the classic morning chilaquiles plate. Here now are 21 great places to check out brunch in Orange County, sorted geographically.Read More
The 21 Best Brunch Options in Orange County
From dim sum to French pastries, where to enjoy a leisurely weekend meal in the OC
Poppy & Seed
Owners Michael and Kwini Reed created a cozy modern greenhouse vibe at the Packing District in Anaheim, complete with on-site garden and patio dining. The brunch menu stems from their DTLA location, Poppy + Rose, where comfort food dishes include flaky biscuits along with fried chicken and waffles, a salmon eggs Benedict, or a braised short rib hash with a side of buttery biscuits.
Also featured in:
Haven Craft Kitchen + Bar
On the weekends, chef Craig Brady’s brunch menu includes inspired chicken and waffles in the form of Mary’s free-range chicken breast with crisp gruyere and thyme-tinged waffles, skillet cornbread with hot honey butter, and duck confit chilaquiles with chipotle crema, pickled red onions, and GoneStraw Farms eggs from Riverside. Whiskey and craft beer are also available, for those who need such things.
Anepalco Mexican Restaurant
Topped with a delicate omelet and garnished with cotija cheese, avocado, pico de gallo, and crema, chef Daniel Godinez’s version of chilaquiles is photogenic and memorably delicious at both locations. Pro tip: Add carnitas.
Blinking Owl Distillery
This award-winning distillery’s tasting room serves cream cheese blini with strawberry compote alongside a breakfast pizza topped with mushrooms and sunny side up eggs. There’s even an everything bagel pizza option with smoked salmon and charred crust, plus plenty of boozy brunch cocktails.
The Crema Cafe
Tarit Tanjasiri opened the pet-friendly Crema Cafe in Seal Beach in 2005. Just walking distance to the sand, the European-inspired bakery serves classics and newer options side by side, like a quiche lorraine or a breakfast crepe (Crema’s version of a breakfast burrito stuffed with scrambled eggs, potato, chorizo, cheese, and avocado). Don’t overlook the simple stuff, either, like the strawberry Nutella crepe and avocado toast.
The Dao is probably one of the most-ordered dishes at Nep Cafe. The sous vide egg with creamy potato espuma, flavored with truffle oil, arrives in a glass jar, with toast points for dipping. Another TikTok-friendly dish is the bone marrow pasta with orecchiette, and don’t forget the extensive Vietnamese coffee menu.
J. Zhou Oriental Cuisine
At J.Zhou, tucked in the District at Tustin Legacy, diners wait on the weekends for enoki mushroom dumplings and traditional bites like sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves, crispy fish cake rolls, salted egg yolk buns, har gow, and chicken feet with aged vinegar, all spread across large banquet tables to enjoy as a group.
Terrace by Mix Mix
Chef Ross Pangilinan creates weekend brunch specials with Filipino, French, and Italian flavors. Order the duck leg confit with French toast, blackberries, and maple syrup, which evokes flavors of the French countryside. The pork cheek adobo with fried egg, garlic fried rice, chimichurri, and crispy shallots is Pangilinan’s elevated version of a Filipino breakfast staple.
This modern taqueria serves a la carte items such as huevos rancheros and carnitas hash with fingerling potatoes, salsa frita, and fried eggs — plus blue corn tortilla on the side. Diners in the know order the two-course brunch “a la plancha,” where the food is prepared on a flattop grill in front of them. After all, don’t plates like tacos and vegetable alambres with avocado toreado salsa and serrano chiles taste better alongside the sounds and smells of each dish?
This darling breakfast and lunch spot off Sand Canyon and Irvine Center Drive is always packed. If you don’t mind waiting, the lemon ricotta pancakes with honeycomb butter, berries, and sliced banana are a kid-friendly crowd-pleaser, while breakfast bowls with quinoa match the contemporary yet relaxed atmosphere.
Owner Laurent Vrignaud brought his version of Paris to Orange County in 2014, with chairs and tables sourced from a cafe near the Eiffel Tower. Orange County’s favorite classic French bistro serves traditional croque-madames; crepes filled with Nutella, strawberry, or apricot jam; a variety of delicate pastries; and, of course, fresh-squeezed orange juice.
In January 2020, chef Paul Cao launched his brunch menu at Burnt Crumbs’ Los Olivos location in Irvine. On weekends, Cao and his team make nearly 500 souffle pancakes, with lines forming early for the fluffy creation. The dish is so popular that Burnt Crumbs now offers it daily, along with specials like a hot chicken spin on karaage.
Also featured in:
OEB Breakfast Co.
This Calgary-based concept started in 2009 by chef Mauro Martina made its OC debut in April 2022. A torched pavlova French toast trifle is layered with lemon curd and in the confit de canard, shredded duck meat is tossed with crispy potato wedges on this playful menu.
Billy's at the Beach
The island-inspired weekend brunch at Billy’s at the Beach includes Hawaiian French toast, banana nut pancakes with strawberries and coconut meringue, and a loco moco with jasmine rice and brown gravy. The waterfront view of Newport paired with Billy’s “World Famous Mai Tai,” a sizable bloody mary, or the dark rum-spiked Billy’s Boat Drink (think strawberry pina colada) is a cool way to kick off the weekend.
Fable & Spirit
Chef David Shofner’s Irish pub-inspired menu at Fable & Spirit also extends to brunch, where dishes range from crispy-edged sourdough pancakes with lemon mascarpone to Icelandic cod fish and chips. Don’t miss the Guinness brown bread with clover honey or the Irish coffee cocktail with hand-whipped cream.
Arc Butcher & Baker
Noah von Blöm and Marín Howarth von Blöm expanded the patio seating at ARC Butcher and Baker to quell the queueing crowds. Located on Lido Isle and just a short jaunt to the Balboa Peninsula, the restaurant attracts locals and tourists seeking comfort food: blueberry pancakes, steak hash, and take-and-bake cinnamon rolls.
Farmhouse at Roger's Gardens
Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens serves locally sourced breakfast favorites created by executive chef Rich Mead. The seasonal frittata and French toast pair well with Farmhouse signature cocktails, while other dishes like the chicken liver pate (from Autonomy Farms) with grilled Rye Goods bread confirm Mead’s affinity for local producers.
As one of few places in Laguna where you can dine seaside, a table at Driftwood Kitchen is highly coveted. The brunch menu ranges from freshly shucked oysters with classic mignonette to organic granola to an egg-white omelet with blistered tomatoes, creamy kale, and avocado. From this perch, toast to the weekend with a mimosa or bloody mary.
For brunch, owner Russ Bendel has reformatted this historic Laguna Beach restaurant to include a taste of both old and new. Meyer lemon creme fraiche waffles with berries and warm bourbon maple syrup are extremely popular, and the smoked salmon and blue crab omelet is served with fingerling potatoes and heirloom vegetable hash.
San Juan Capistrano’s dining resurgence began a few years ago, and Mayfield was one of the key players. Mayfield’s modern Mediterranean-inspired menu includes traditional brunch dishes as well as inventive takes like brown rice bowls with poached egg, Japanese sweet potato, greens, veggies, and crispy-skinned salmon. Other dishes like the za’atar-spiced fried chicken sandwich are both classically comforting and modern.
Executive chef and owner Blake Mellgren serves gastropub fare at Craft House in Dana Point. At brunch, start with the sweet stuff; a vanilla-orange glazed cinnamon roll, chocolate-walnut banana bread, or baked brie drizzled with 20-year port reduction are easily shareable. But don’t skimp on the savory side, like guajillo-braised short rib chilaquiles with habanero crema.