Hello readers! Another day, another ‘best of’ list! This is going to be another divisive one, I can feel it. People are very passionate about their brunch in San Diego! Something about eating dessert for breakfast and getting wasted before noon….and getting all dressed up and looking cute while doing it! I’ve tried many a brunch in San Diego, and the list below reflects brunch spots I believe are not only delicious but unique in what they offer to San Diego.
1. Cocina de Barrio
You want stunning dishes? Cocina de Barrio has stunning dishes. You want bold flavors? Cocina de Barrio has bold flavors. You want a gorgeous instagrammable patio with drinks to match? YEP, THEY GOT EM. Cocina de Barrio delivers a brunch lover’s dream with a Mexican twist! Because it’s San Diego of course, we got ALL the good Mexican shit. I’ve been back quite a few time already, if only for their luscious churro French toast, which comes with actual churros and vanilla ice cream!
Cocina de Barrio’s patio transports you into a different world with its fake cherry blossom tree and succulents lining the center of the patio (great for pictures!).
You HAVE to start off with their #1 hit brunch drink: their popsicle margarita! Tequila blanco, agave, fresh lime juice and your choice of homemade popsicle flavor, which rotates daily! This drink is so much fun to take pictures with, and if you wait long enough it’ll melt into the drink, giving you a dessert margarita! You can’t go wrong with their other brunch cocktails either- they’ve got sangria, mimosas, cold brew cocktails, and of course mezcal (a smokier, earthier version of tequila).
Honestly the first thing I was drawn to about Cocina de Barrio is their crazy selection of sweet dishes. For pancakes they have masapan, arroz cone leche, pineapple upside down and cheesecake. For French toast, they have churros, coconut and crème brulee! For savory I get the sopes benny with fried corn cakes, beans, lamb birria, poached eggs, chipotle hollandaise, home potatoes. My second go-to is the chilaquiles verdes with crisp corn tortilla strips, refried beans, salsa verde, ten hour braised beef (Birria), queso fresco, pickled red onion, sour cream! Honestly though you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. All delicious and beautiful!
2. Huntress Steak House
Huntress was on my list for top fancy places in San Diego, and they’re going to get a spot on this list as well- their food is just TOO GOOD. The vibe is much more casual during the day, and perfect for an elegant brunch! Huntress is the place to go if you want really well done classics, such as French toast, pancakes, bennies, avocado toast, omelets, hashes! Since Huntress is a steakhouse, they of course have some steak themed dishes- steak and eggs, steak frites, and my favorite, steak and benedict! You’re not a true steak fan unless you like eating it for breakfast right?
While I would once again recommend everything on the menu, the true standouts for me were the bagels and lox and lemon ricotta pancakes. The bagel and lox was DIVINE, with the salmon cushioned on herb cream cheese,and heirloom tomato pickled onion. Best lox I’ve ever had. No I’m not exaggerating! See the pics below, they are simply *chef’s kiss*.
For the pancakes, I almost ate all of them while my boyfriend wasn’t looking. They were spectacular!
3. Carte Blanche
Ah, the gem of Oceanside. Carte Blanche describes itself as a French Mexican Bistro and Bar, with their brunch dishes representing those and other nationalities (breakfast poutine anyone?). You’ll find items like beignets, ceviche, a tartine, a hash, and a croquet madame.
I adore CB’s hash, as it has one of my favorite proteins, octopus! They do an amazing job of making it the star of the dish without muddling the other flavors- something very hard to do with octopus, as it has such a delicate flavor.
I would also personally recommend all the items I mentioned above. The croque madam is especially stellar! Oh, and ABSOLUTELY grab a margarita! They have a few that have foam on top, which is a GAME CHANGER. Adds the perfect salty/sweet component!
4. Flap Your Jacks