Dining before Dinner: Our Favorites for Breakfast, Lunch & Brunch

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The dining scene in La Jolla gets a lot of attention for its wealth of five star restaurants with multi course dinner menus and evening entrees highlighting cuisines from around the world. However, we don’t want you to forget about all the places to dine before dinner. So whether you’re staying at a La Jolla hotel or you reside within the San Diego borders and want to try something new, there is surely a La Jolla restaurant to satisfy your morning and afternoon cravings. To help you successfully navigate your many options, La Jolla Blue Book has created a dining guide that is filled with our favorites for breakfast, brunch and lunch!


  • Everyday ClassicsSometimes you just don’t have a lot of time to spend to savor your morning meal. MCASD Café located in the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego is a European-inspired bistro that will get you in, out and on your way in no time! From eggs and oatmeal to pancakes and muffins, you’ll find everything you need to start your day off on the right foot. For a more traditional, family-style diner feel, head to Harry’s Coffee Shop. While they invite you to wet your appetite with their hot and cold beverage options, their expansive menu features everything you could image with classic egg dishes, oversized omelettes, pancakes and waffles, juice and fruit and more. With affordable prices and breakfast served all day until 3pm, you can’t go wrong.
  • On the Go Meals – For those early risers with little time on their hands, we recommend the Brick & Bell Bakery which opens at 4am on the weekdays, 6am on Saturdays and 7am on Sundays. Pick up one of their baked to order scones and don’t forget to get a fresh baked cookie for later. Girard Gourmet is another favorite among locals with a menu of freshly baked or prepared daily items including sweet and savory croissants, muffins, rugulach and more. Order at the counter and you’ll be out the door with your breakfast treat in no time.


  • Sweet Tooth Cravings – Sweet and savory is a controversial topic of debate that has stumped avid brunch enthusiasts for years. However, if you think a thick slice of bacon might only be made better coated in maple syrup, you’re in luck because The Cottage in La Jolla agrees! In addition to traditional eggs and benedicts and a handful of lunch options including salads, sandwiches and pastas, they have an assortment of sweets sure to please. Order their popular lemon ricotta pancakes and stuffed French toast complete with strawberry compote and marscapone cheese, and wash it down with a glass of fresh squeezed OJ.
  • Sunday Spectaculars – Whether you’re an early riser, are looking for some grease to soak up the previous evening’s fun, or are looking for a family friendly place to eat after Sunday service at one of the churches in La Jolla, you’ll be able to snag brunch in the area until about 2pm. Brockton Villa has a wide array of breakfast items including their famous Coast Toast, House-Made Beer Brined Corned Beef Hash, classic omelettes, benedicts and more, making it a great spot for a Sunday indulgence. Another local restaurant, Nine Ten claims it is La Jolla’s best choice for breakfast and Sunday brunch with fresh homemade pastries and breakfast breads and salmon smoked right in their own kitchen.


  • On the Lighter Side – For the days when you’re just in the mood for something refreshing and light, there’s no better place to be than La Jolla. In the recent years, local chefs shifted their focus to locally and sustainably grown products, creating fresh and healthy options for their patrons. El Pescador Fish Market for example, nods respectfully to the rhythms of the past, focusing on exceptional customer service and emphasizing the importance of freshly caught product. Order a light seafood salad or a fresh char-grilled snapper, swordfish, ahi tuna, salmon or halibut (just to name a few) and you’re sure to leave happy! You could also head over to the goldfish point café, situated on top of La Jolla’s cove. Choose from their salads, paninis and sandwiches and they have kids’ menu for the little ones.
  • Sandwiches and SubsSandwiches are a classic lunch option, pleasing the palate of individuals of all ages. For fresh baked bread, head to Panera, a restaurant chain with classic sandwich combos and a “build your own” option to ensure you enjoy the perfect bite. For a unique take on classic favorites, head to Rimel’s Rotisserie and check out their section devoted to “incredible sandwiches” with offerings from their classic chicken breast to mahi mahi and calamari steak sandwiches.
  • Lounging by the Water – There aren’t enough excuses to spend your lunch hour with a great meal overlooking the water. Weather is a given, with noon being the perfect time for sunny skies and cool ocean breezes, however restaurants like The Shores entice hungry diners further with first class lunch fare. Pick from their many salads including a Watercress Vine Ripened Tomato, Black Kale, Waldorf and Cobb or opt for a Panko Crisp Ono, Slow Roasted Turkey and Avacado or Pastrami and Gruyere sandwich.

Visit our online directory for a complete list of La Jolla restaurants. If you’re planning a trip to La Jolla in the near future, we invite you to browse the rest of our website for ideas for places to stay, things to do and local events!

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