Story by Nancy Ransohoff/Photos by Derek Johnson and Peter Malinowski
Mom was right—breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Kicking it off at any of the following locals’ favorite spots will definitely get you out of bed.
Eggs Rose at D’Angelo Bread (25 W. Gutierrez St., 805/962-5466)—toasted kalamata olive bread topped with lemon artichoke spread and two poached eggs—gets a thumbs up from Iron Chef Cat Cora and just about anyone else who’s had it. And you can’t go wrong with any of the fresh-from-the-oven breads or pastries.
At no-frills East Beach Grill (1118 E. Cabrillo Blvd., 805/965-8805), sit on the patio just steps from the sand—perfect people watching—while digging into hearty wheat germ pancakes and sipping Peet’s coffee.
Old-school Joe’s Café (536 State St., 805/966-4638) has been a downtown destination since 1928.Eye openers from eggs benedict to chorizo and eggs are straightforward and satisfying. You can also order eggs any style with bacon and fries all day long.
Breakfast and brunch faves at Scarlett Begonia in Victoria Court (11 W. Victoria St., 805/770-2143) include soft-scrambled eggs—with fresh herbs, creamy spinach and sharp Gouda cheese—and delicate lemon ricotta pancakes. Ingredients are mostly organic and local, and to-die-for pastries and breads are made in-house—don’t miss the maple-bacon biscuits.
And ooh-la-la, we can’t pass up the mouthwatering croissants at Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro (Loreto Plaza, 3315 State St., 805/569-2400; Arlington Plaza, 1324 State St., 805/892-2800).Egg dishes (organic, cage-free) are perfectly prepared, and Renaud Gonthier’s works of art in the pastry case, from éclairs and opera cakes to tarts and macarons, taste as good as they look.
Paradise Café (702 Anacapa St., 805/962-4416) is open Sundays only for breakfast, starting at 9 a.m., but you can also get a few of their irresistible omelettes for lunch any day of the week. Huevos Valenzuela—scrambled eggs, black beans, avocado, cheese and salsa rolled in a large flour tortilla—are a big hit.
Bella Vista at Four Seasons Biltmore Resort (1260 Channel Dr., 805/565-8237) is known for its lavish Sunday brunch, but breakfast is served every day with impeccable service and a spectacular ocean view. Standouts include the luscious lemon ricotta pancakes and lobster omelette.
Cajun Kitchen Café (multiple locations; www.cajunkitchencafesb.com) has been “cookin’ with jazz” for 27 years. Opt for rib-stickin’ country breakfasts from pancakes to biscuits and gravy, or spice it up with the Bourbon Street chili omelette or blackened redfish with eggs. Nibble a housemade blueberry muffin or cornbread, too.
Santa Ynez Valley
If you’re valley-bound, there’s no better way to gear up for a day of wine tasting than to belly up to the counter, patio or indoor table at Succulent Café & Trading Company (1555 Mission Dr., Solvang, 805/691-9444). Locally sourced, inventive breakfasts, served on weekends, include baked-fresh-daily buttermilk biscuits with cinnamon and cumin-braised pork belly, bacon gravy and pineapple chutney.
Sides Hardware and Shoes—A Brothers Restaurant (2375 Alamo Pintado Ave., Los Olivos, 805/688-4820) is the latest project of chef-owners Jeff and Matt Nichols, formerly of Brothers Restaurant at Mattei’s Tavern. Located in a restored 1901 building, the brothers turn out feather-light cinnamon and golden raisin beignets, eggs benedict with applewood-smoked maple bacon and buttermilk cornmeal pancakes made from their mom’s recipe. Both Sides and Succulent Café make their own tasty bacon in-house.