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10 Break Out Breakfast Spots That Are Making Mornings Fun Again

Defying the conventions of ordinary breakfast fare.

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When you think of breakfast, your mind will probably conjure images of eggs, toast, oatmeal, and pancakes; the obvious breakfast staples. Sure, there is some comfort in the familiarity of expecting the same thing for a certain meal, but after awhile it’s going to get a little boring. If every dinner menu looked the same, going out to eat at night wouldn’t be as fun, so why do we let breakfast menus get away with it? These 10 local restaurants are taking a stand, revolting against the mundane by bringing creativity and the element of surprise back into the most important meal of the day. You’ll never look at your scrambled eggs the same way again.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. 100 Wines

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1027 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 491-0100
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Although wine is the focal point (and namesake) of this old world charm bistro, they offer an impressive breakfast menu on Sundays--a mealtime when wine is usually forgone for more appropriate morning libations (however, we won’t judge if you enjoy your morning rosé). Following a European theme, you’ll find fascinating dishes like Manchego Stuffed Dates (filled with pistachios, wrapped in bacon), a Prosciutto Tartine (mozzarella, basil and balsamic marinated heirlooms), a Croque Madame (served on country bread with gruyere, ham, dijon, parmesan reduction, and sunny side up egg), a Pork Butt Benedict, and Honey Dough Fritters. All of which pair nicely with the Sparkling Lavender Lemonade cocktail or the Beau Peach Bellini. If you’re looking to break away from the standard American breakfast cuisine, these exotic dishes will whisk you away.

2. Adams Avenue Grill

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2201 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 298-8440
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The name may be obvious but the cuisine is completely unexpected. A fusion of French, Californian and Asian influences, the result is a menu with totally innovative breakfast entrees and an impressive attention to detail. From the sweet--Lavender Infused Creme Brulee French Toast; Upside Down Pineapple Pancakes--to the savory--Quinoa, Poblano and Wild Rice Benedict; Bacon Stuffed Waffle and Cheesy Grits Stack; Crab, Shrimp and Scallops Omelette--Adams Avenue Grill creates simple luxury food that changes the way you think about breakfast. When you’re here, the sky’s the limit.

3. Cafe 21

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802 5th Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 795-0721
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The Gaslamp location of this eclectic restaurant is just as successful as the original (in North Park), serving up the same imaginative cuisine in a fun, laid back atmosphere. Each dish is made with organic farm-to-table ingredients, and their enticing craft breakfast cocktail list will melt away any guilt you might feel about morning libations. As an unwritten rule, omelettes tend to appear on most breakfast menus and Cafe 21 is no exception; however, their extensive selection of upscale combinations far surpasses anything you would find at the corner diner. From the Short Rib (fig and Chai tea marinated beef short rib, organic bell pepper, caramelized onions, gorgonzola) to the Scallop (grilled marinated scallops, heirloom tomatoes, house pesto Sauce, mozzarella) to the Feta (spoon spinach, artichokes, house pesto Sauce, feta and mozzarella), there is an omelette for any flavor preference. Or, try the Cafe 21 Cakes, the house take on a traditional benedict, with intriguing toppings like shrimp corn and chicken curry.

4. Great Maple

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1451 Washington St
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 255-2282
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The upscale retro 60s decor gives a vibe of classy comfort, and while the vintage interior might create the expectation of traditional diner fare, the menu is anything but. Rather, the swanky eatery offers an extensive brunch menu that takes a unique twist on all the standard breakfast classics. Waffles on a plate? Way too cliche. Here you’ll find LolliWaffles--yes, waffles on a stick. Their English Popovers take over where Eggs Benedict would normally be, with exciting options like beef brisket, fried goat cheese squash blossom, or an Andouille sausage and rock shrimp combo called ‘The Louisiana Purchase.’ Anyone with a sweet tooth would be remiss not to indulge in their warm maple donuts topped with chunks of bacon, even if you have to take them to go. Oh, and if you love a boozey brunch, this place has a whimsical craft cocktail list almost as long as their food menu.

5. Hash House a Go Go

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3628 5th Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 298-4646
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The concept at this award-winning eatery is ‘Twisted Farm Food’ and the menu will verify that there is no shortage of wacky breakfast combinations served here. Besides ‘yum!’, the second thing everyone says when they eat here is ‘wow!’ regarding their massive portions. Some noteworthy dishes include their Famous Meatloaf House Hash (with red peppers, spinach and mozzarella), their smoked fresh salmon scramble (with basil pesto, tomatoes and brie cheese) and their sausage gravy pot pie (with scrambled eggs and mashed potatoes). Of particular intrigue is the O'Hare of the Dog: a signature 24 oz. Budweiser in a bag and a side of bacon. Talk about the breakfast of champions. With mostly everything on the menu being heavy on meat and involving a generous helping of potatoes, you’re practically guaranteed to walk away from Hash House in a satisfied food coma.

6. Isabel's Cantina

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966 Felspar St
San Diego, CA 92109
(858) 272-8400
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Isabel Cruz is the mastermind between five fantastic restaurants around town, all of which are distinctively amazing and her namesake cantina is no exception. In fact, it just won Open Table’s 2014 Diner’s Choice Award. The huge space on Felspar has minimalist decor with some Asian influences, and it’s always packed. The breakfast menu is a creative fusion of Mexican, Asian, and American staples for a totally unexpected dining experience. The breakfast tamales are a standout item that you’ll rarely see on other menus; the Margherita Scramble combines unique flavors--basil, brown rice, marinated chicken, parmesan, grilled mushrooms, scallions, tomatoes and a pesto drizzle--that surprisingly go really well together as a breakfast dish; and the Nirvana Bowl is a total breakfast wild card, with marinated grilled tofu, brown rice, broccoli, yellow squash, green zucchini, egg whites, sauteed tomatoes, green onions and salsa.

7. Lucha Libre

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1810 W Washington St
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 296-8226
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Last year, the popular gourmet Mission Hills taco shop introduced a new breakfast menu to appease the early bird demographic of its large fan following. Inside the vibrant, wrestling-themed restaurant, you’ll find a morning menu that is all over the map--in the best way possible--ranging from morning mainstays to maniacal medleys. You can get your traditional Huevos Rancheros wrapped in burrito form, or try the “Pancake” Burrito which is similar to your standard breakfast burrito, only with a pancake in place of a tortilla. If you’re feeling really adventurous, the totally off-the-wall Breakfast TJ Dog is for you: an all beef hot dog wrapped in bacon with an over easy egg, topped with cheese and your choice of condiments. Bonus: if you show up wearing a Lucha mask (their mascot), you get a discount on your meal!

8. Parkhouse Eatery

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4574 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 295-7275
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When you sit down at this quaint, romantic neighborhood eatery you’ll find an ambiance that is both casual and cozy; then, before you get too comfortable, a waiter will bring the menu and you’ll wake right up with the realization that the food here is nothing short of wild and wicked. Parkhouse Eatery redefines the definition of what you can and can’t eat for breakfast with game changers like the Grilled Breakfast Pizza (topped with eggs, bacon, fontina/mozzarella, and optional carnitas, chicken or Portuguese sausage) and the Pan-fried Linguini and Egg (with basil, tomatoes, and feta). Who wouldn’t love pizza for breakfast? Other noteworthy dishes include the Blue Cornmeal Flapjacks, the Stir-fried Rice Bowl (with Portuguese sausage, roasted yams, scallions, soy sauce, scrambled eggs) and the Roasted Polenta Cakes (with tomato, feta, tomatillo salsa, two eggs). As for beverages, the mimosa flights are always a good option. Health-conscious individuals will appreciate the gluten-free bread option here as well.

9. R Gang Eatery

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3683 5th Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 677-2845
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Pseudo-celebrity Chef Rich Sweeney, of Top Chef fame, describes his restaurant as “food and fun, refueled,” and fun it is indeed. Maintaining a healthy balance of creativity without the pretension, the breakfast at R Gang Eatery makes some of the classics cool again with a modern rejuvenation. A perfect example would be the Cap’n Crunch Crusted Stuffed French Toast, made on cereal-crusted brioche bread and loaded up inside with sweet cream cheese and fruit compote; or the Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Waffles, topped with cheddar cheese and jalapeno-vanilla infused maple syrup; or the glorious Paco, 2 buttermilk pancakes folded around scrambled eggs with chorizo, potatoes, jalapeños, onions, and cheddar and jack cheeses. Every dish here is made with obvious passion, and you’ll want to eat, share, and discuss every bite--even if that means talking with your mouth full.

10. Urban Solace

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3823 30th St
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 295-6464
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Comfort food with inventive ingredients is what you’ll find on Urban Solace’s breakfast menu, aptly named the ‘Bluegrass Brunch’ (offered Sundays from 9:30am to 2:30pm). During this time, they serve a great selection of playful dishes while a local bluegrass band strums up tunes to liven up your Sunday dining experience. The Eggaroni, a cheesy macaroni and egg baked casserole with smoked ham and charred tomatoes, is a culinary stroke of genius as is the Monte Diego, baked egg bread, smoked Pendleton ham, grilled pears, onions and fontina cheese sandwich. Get in touch with your down home roots by trying the Bowl o’ Grits (butter and cream abound!) or step far outside the conventions of traditional breakfast with Buttermilk ‘n’ Cornmeal Fried Oysters.

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1. 100 Wines

1027 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
Although wine is the focal point (and namesake) of this old world charm bistro, they offer an impressive breakfast menu on Sundays--a mealtime when wine is usually forgone for more appropriate morning libations (however, we won’t judge if you enjoy your morning rosé). Following a European theme, you’ll find fascinating dishes like Manchego Stuffed Dates (filled with pistachios, wrapped in bacon), a Prosciutto Tartine (mozzarella, basil and balsamic marinated heirlooms), a Croque Madame (served on country bread with gruyere, ham, dijon, parmesan reduction, and sunny side up egg), a Pork Butt Benedict, and Honey Dough Fritters. All of which pair nicely with the Sparkling Lavender Lemonade cocktail or the Beau Peach Bellini. If you’re looking to break away from the standard American breakfast cuisine, these exotic dishes will whisk you away.
1027 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92103

2. Adams Avenue Grill

2201 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
The name may be obvious but the cuisine is completely unexpected. A fusion of French, Californian and Asian influences, the result is a menu with totally innovative breakfast entrees and an impressive attention to detail. From the sweet--Lavender Infused Creme Brulee French Toast; Upside Down Pineapple Pancakes--to the savory--Quinoa, Poblano and Wild Rice Benedict; Bacon Stuffed Waffle and Cheesy Grits Stack; Crab, Shrimp and Scallops Omelette--Adams Avenue Grill creates simple luxury food that changes the way you think about breakfast. When you’re here, the sky’s the limit.
2201 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116

3. Cafe 21

802 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
The Gaslamp location of this eclectic restaurant is just as successful as the original (in North Park), serving up the same imaginative cuisine in a fun, laid back atmosphere. Each dish is made with organic farm-to-table ingredients, and their enticing craft breakfast cocktail list will melt away any guilt you might feel about morning libations. As an unwritten rule, omelettes tend to appear on most breakfast menus and Cafe 21 is no exception; however, their extensive selection of upscale combinations far surpasses anything you would find at the corner diner. From the Short Rib (fig and Chai tea marinated beef short rib, organic bell pepper, caramelized onions, gorgonzola) to the Scallop (grilled marinated scallops, heirloom tomatoes, house pesto Sauce, mozzarella) to the Feta (spoon spinach, artichokes, house pesto Sauce, feta and mozzarella), there is an omelette for any flavor preference. Or, try the Cafe 21 Cakes, the house take on a traditional benedict, with intriguing toppings like shrimp corn and chicken curry.
802 5th Ave
San Diego, CA 92101

4. Great Maple

1451 Washington St, San Diego, CA 92103
The upscale retro 60s decor gives a vibe of classy comfort, and while the vintage interior might create the expectation of traditional diner fare, the menu is anything but. Rather, the swanky eatery offers an extensive brunch menu that takes a unique twist on all the standard breakfast classics. Waffles on a plate? Way too cliche. Here you’ll find LolliWaffles--yes, waffles on a stick. Their English Popovers take over where Eggs Benedict would normally be, with exciting options like beef brisket, fried goat cheese squash blossom, or an Andouille sausage and rock shrimp combo called ‘The Louisiana Purchase.’ Anyone with a sweet tooth would be remiss not to indulge in their warm maple donuts topped with chunks of bacon, even if you have to take them to go. Oh, and if you love a boozey brunch, this place has a whimsical craft cocktail list almost as long as their food menu.
1451 Washington St
San Diego, CA 92103

5. Hash House a Go Go

3628 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
The concept at this award-winning eatery is ‘Twisted Farm Food’ and the menu will verify that there is no shortage of wacky breakfast combinations served here. Besides ‘yum!’, the second thing everyone says when they eat here is ‘wow!’ regarding their massive portions. Some noteworthy dishes include their Famous Meatloaf House Hash (with red peppers, spinach and mozzarella), their smoked fresh salmon scramble (with basil pesto, tomatoes and brie cheese) and their sausage gravy pot pie (with scrambled eggs and mashed potatoes). Of particular intrigue is the O'Hare of the Dog: a signature 24 oz. Budweiser in a bag and a side of bacon. Talk about the breakfast of champions. With mostly everything on the menu being heavy on meat and involving a generous helping of potatoes, you’re practically guaranteed to walk away from Hash House in a satisfied food coma.
3628 5th Ave
San Diego, CA 92103

6. Isabel's Cantina

966 Felspar St, San Diego, CA 92109
Isabel Cruz is the mastermind between five fantastic restaurants around town, all of which are distinctively amazing and her namesake cantina is no exception. In fact, it just won Open Table’s 2014 Diner’s Choice Award. The huge space on Felspar has minimalist decor with some Asian influences, and it’s always packed. The breakfast menu is a creative fusion of Mexican, Asian, and American staples for a totally unexpected dining experience. The breakfast tamales are a standout item that you’ll rarely see on other menus; the Margherita Scramble combines unique flavors--basil, brown rice, marinated chicken, parmesan, grilled mushrooms, scallions, tomatoes and a pesto drizzle--that surprisingly go really well together as a breakfast dish; and the Nirvana Bowl is a total breakfast wild card, with marinated grilled tofu, brown rice, broccoli, yellow squash, green zucchini, egg whites, sauteed tomatoes, green onions and salsa.
966 Felspar St
San Diego, CA 92109

7. Lucha Libre

1810 W Washington St, San Diego, CA 92103
Last year, the popular gourmet Mission Hills taco shop introduced a new breakfast menu to appease the early bird demographic of its large fan following. Inside the vibrant, wrestling-themed restaurant, you’ll find a morning menu that is all over the map--in the best way possible--ranging from morning mainstays to maniacal medleys. You can get your traditional Huevos Rancheros wrapped in burrito form, or try the “Pancake” Burrito which is similar to your standard breakfast burrito, only with a pancake in place of a tortilla. If you’re feeling really adventurous, the totally off-the-wall Breakfast TJ Dog is for you: an all beef hot dog wrapped in bacon with an over easy egg, topped with cheese and your choice of condiments. Bonus: if you show up wearing a Lucha mask (their mascot), you get a discount on your meal!
1810 W Washington St
San Diego, CA 92103

8. Parkhouse Eatery

4574 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92116
When you sit down at this quaint, romantic neighborhood eatery you’ll find an ambiance that is both casual and cozy; then, before you get too comfortable, a waiter will bring the menu and you’ll wake right up with the realization that the food here is nothing short of wild and wicked. Parkhouse Eatery redefines the definition of what you can and can’t eat for breakfast with game changers like the Grilled Breakfast Pizza (topped with eggs, bacon, fontina/mozzarella, and optional carnitas, chicken or Portuguese sausage) and the Pan-fried Linguini and Egg (with basil, tomatoes, and feta). Who wouldn’t love pizza for breakfast? Other noteworthy dishes include the Blue Cornmeal Flapjacks, the Stir-fried Rice Bowl (with Portuguese sausage, roasted yams, scallions, soy sauce, scrambled eggs) and the Roasted Polenta Cakes (with tomato, feta, tomatillo salsa, two eggs). As for beverages, the mimosa flights are always a good option. Health-conscious individuals will appreciate the gluten-free bread option here as well.
4574 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92116

9. R Gang Eatery

3683 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
Pseudo-celebrity Chef Rich Sweeney, of Top Chef fame, describes his restaurant as “food and fun, refueled,” and fun it is indeed. Maintaining a healthy balance of creativity without the pretension, the breakfast at R Gang Eatery makes some of the classics cool again with a modern rejuvenation. A perfect example would be the Cap’n Crunch Crusted Stuffed French Toast, made on cereal-crusted brioche bread and loaded up inside with sweet cream cheese and fruit compote; or the Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Waffles, topped with cheddar cheese and jalapeno-vanilla infused maple syrup; or the glorious Paco, 2 buttermilk pancakes folded around scrambled eggs with chorizo, potatoes, jalapeños, onions, and cheddar and jack cheeses. Every dish here is made with obvious passion, and you’ll want to eat, share, and discuss every bite--even if that means talking with your mouth full.
3683 5th Ave
San Diego, CA 92103

10. Urban Solace

3823 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104
Comfort food with inventive ingredients is what you’ll find on Urban Solace’s breakfast menu, aptly named the ‘Bluegrass Brunch’ (offered Sundays from 9:30am to 2:30pm). During this time, they serve a great selection of playful dishes while a local bluegrass band strums up tunes to liven up your Sunday dining experience. The Eggaroni, a cheesy macaroni and egg baked casserole with smoked ham and charred tomatoes, is a culinary stroke of genius as is the Monte Diego, baked egg bread, smoked Pendleton ham, grilled pears, onions and fontina cheese sandwich. Get in touch with your down home roots by trying the Bowl o’ Grits (butter and cream abound!) or step far outside the conventions of traditional breakfast with Buttermilk ‘n’ Cornmeal Fried Oysters.
3823 30th St
San Diego, CA 92104

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