San Diegans love going out for their morning meal. This is obvious by the number of breakfast joints with lines of hungry people snaking around street corners waiting patiently for their pancakes and eggs. It usually doesn’t matter, though, since patrons enjoy the morning weather while they wait.
San Diego is a city with an abundance of seriously good breakfast restaurants, so choosing only eight proved difficult. But here are eight great breakfast eateries (in no particular order) that will get you off to a delicious start.
1. Ortega’s in Hillcrest. You don’t have to cross the border to savor the authentic flavors of Mexico. From mimosas made with freshly squeezed orange juice and champagne to handmade flour tortillas, Ortega’s offers diners high quality, fresh ingredients at affordable prices. Mexican classics such as huevos rancheros and breakfast burritos are served alongside edgier fare such as bistek and eggs, a Baja- seasoned grilled steak topped with a spicy chipotle cream alongside your choice of eggs. Their French toast is exceptional. Thick slabs of grilled, golden, buttery challah bread are topped with freshly whipped cinnamon cream and pure maple syrup. Brunch: Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (619) 692-4200.
2. Cafe Chloe, downtown. This charming downtown cafe with European ambience is beloved by downtown residents for its consistently delicious, beautifully prepared dishes. Egg lovers will swoon over their savory custard du jour, crepe lorraine and poached eggs with wild mushrooms. The expanded weekend brunch menu offers stand-outs such as crisp dungeness crab cake tartine with aioli and fennel slaw and an impossibly good croque madame, a French ham and gruyere cheese sandwich served with a fried egg and bechamel sauce. Breakfast: 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday; Saturday and Sunday brunch: 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (619) 232-3242.
3. The Mission, three locations in Hillcrest, Mission Beach and downtown. There’s something about the proximity to the beach and watching scores of wet, sandy surfers walking by that makes The Mission in Mission Beach a very cool place to eat breakfast. That, and their pancakes, which are quite nearly perfect - golden, light, and fluffy. They also offer breakfast plates featuring healthier fare such as the soy chorizo and eggs with black beans and chipotle cream and their Zen breakfast, a mixture of scrambled egg whites and tofu served with nutty brown rice and grilled veggies. Open daily: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. (619) 220-8992.
4. Cody’s in La Jolla. When you want to impress out-of-town guests, treat them to breakfast at Cody’s. Sit on their outdoor patio with views of the sparkling La Jolla Cove. Then indulge in any of their thoughtfully crafted dishes including chilaquelas con huevos, a spicy mixture of scrambled eggs, tortillas, black beans and queso fresco or any of their omelets (especially the crab, spinach and chive) which are golden on the outside and soft and tender on the inside. If your breakfast doesn’t come with it, be sure to order a side of grits. Open daily: 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. (858) 459-0040.
5. Mary Jane’s Coffee Shop, downtown. You don’t have to be a celebrity to enjoy Mary Jane’s, located in the Hard Rock Hotel, although you may spot one (I saw Reggie Bush and Kim Kardashian last time I ate there). Mary Jane’s offers traditional American favorites with a twist, such as their XXXL three eggs any style served with hash browns, a buttermilk biscuit and breakfast meat. The Johnny Hash is sensational - house-made corned beef hash topped with two eggs and served with a freshly baked biscuit. From the retro-hip atmosphere to the playful menu, Mary Jane’s is one fun place to nosh. Open daily: 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. (619) 702-3000.
6. Hash House A Go Go in Hillcrest. Are the lines to get in ridiculously long? Yes. Are the portions ridiculously large? Yes. It is worth it? Oh, yes. Hash House’s signature hashes are, not surprisingly, the star attractions on the menu. Meats such as tender roasted pork tenderloin, corned beef and homemade meatloaf are cooked with crispy potatoes and eggs and served with fresh fruit and a mouth-watering house-made biscuit. Giant flapjacks and king-sized Texas French toast are also winners. Breakfast: Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Friday through Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (619) 298-4646.
7. Currant, downtown. Currant American Brasserie serves modern interpretations of simple favorites such as oatmeal banana brulée and almond French toast with lemon sugared blueberries. They also serve a singular breakfast burrito - the machaca breakfast burrito, made with succulent pulled short ribs, scrambled eggs and a red chile sauce. Breakfast: Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, 6:30 a.m. to noon. (619) 702-6309.
8. Con Pane Rustic Breads and Cafe in Point Loma. While you wait in line to order your breakfast, you can watch bakers rolling out loaves of hand crafted breads such as fragrant rosemary-olive oil and hearty multi-grain. They serve a host of amazing sandwiches as well as tempting baked goods, including espresso scones and chocolate brioche twists. If you go on the weekend, don’t miss the sinfully sweet pane cioccolata, crusty bread chock full of thick dark chocolate. Open Monday through Friday at 7 a.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 8 a.m. (619) 224-4344.
Susan Russo is anSDNN contributing writer. She also writes the blog FoodBlogga.