If you’re going to be visiting North County Coastal San Diego in the near future, allow me to be the first to welcome you to the neighborhood. I know when I’m hanging out in a new place I like nothing more than sleeping in and then meandering over to some restaurant where I can be served a delicious brunch that I will linger over for far too long.
Since you’re new to the area, you may not know which brunch places are good and which ones are just tourist traps. They both exist here and it can be hard to tell the difference. Even as a local I only learned through word of mouth and good old trial and error. I don’t want you to have to suffer through a sub-par brunch experience, especially if you only have a short time to spend with us.
I’ve also added a symbol on many of these restaurants. Wherever you see this symbol, they have GF options for you. All of these restaurants do have some GF options, but I’ve only put the symbol by the places that cater specifically to a GF diet in some way.
That being said, here is my list of the best brunches in North County Coastal San Diego:
Swami’s Cafe: With 9 locations throughout San Diego County (including Oceanside, Carlsbad, and Encinitas), this spot is seriously delicious. It’s a low key favorite of locals with things like eggs benedict, acai bowls, omelettes, pancakes and waffles, french toast, smoothies, and more, Swami’s Cafe is an awesome place to fill your belly in the morning. They also have a fresh juice bar, and at some locations you can even get bloody marys and mimosas to really start your day off right. For you GF diners, they do have GF bread on offer as a substitution (ummm…eggs benedict? yes please!) and they occasionally offer GF pancakes as well.
Beach Break Cafe: This place is a classic diner, but it’s actually surprisingly good! Go for favorites like omelettes or scrambles (I like the On Fire! scramble with Louisiana hot links, jalapeños, corn tortilla strips, salsa and cheeses scrambled into eggs), and their huevos rancheros are really good as well. Definitely get either the hash browns or potatoes with your order…both are awesome! Also try the French toast or the coffee cakes. Yum! Located in Oceanside. For you GF readers, they don’t have specific GF options here, but since it’s a diner there is a lot of stuff that’s safe to eat. Just ask your server, but most non-bread or pancake breakfast items are ok.
St. Tropez Bistro: This charming little spot in Encinitas is an awesome place to sit in the sun with a cappuccino and eat omelettes and crepes…or perhaps a goat cheese quiche! If you’re feeling naughty, you can’t go wrong with the banana Nutella crepes. Yes, I said that…. BANANA. NUTELLA. CREPES. Plus, the courtyard outside is a really lovely place to eat. Sit at one of their tables in the sun, shaded by an umbrella, and listen to the bubbling of the fountain as you watch locals go about their business. This place is not to be missed. (Not all that GF friendly though. They do have omelettes but make sure you don’t get any bread on the side- it always comes with bread unless you request it not to).
Naked Cafe: If you’re looking for a healthier option, this is a good bet for you. They have a lot of organic and GF options on the menu, and their ‘Look Good Naked’ section of the menu lists all the main nutritional information of those items (calories, fat, carbs, protein). Plus, they have a pleasant outdoor seating area where there are plenty of interesting people and their dogs to watch while you dine.
Beach Plum Kitchen: This Carlsbad gem serves up an impressive array of brunch favorites such as omelettes, eggs benedict, breakfast burritos, yogurt and granola, bagels with lox, and more. They do have a special gluten free menu available upon request as well.
Canyons Carlsbad: This restaurant is located at The Crossings Golf Course in Carlsbad, but what you should be interested in is their Sunday Brunch! Every Sunday they have a champagne brunch buffet which starts at 1oam and goes until 2pm (perfect for those who like to sleep in!). They have both breakfast and lunch options, breads and cheeses, salads, and desserts. There is also a build your own omelette station and a chef’s carving station. Includes limitless champagne and mimosas as well as non-alcoholic drinks. Ok for GF diners as long as you pick your items wisely. Probably not a great idea if you have extreme cross-contamination issues though since it’s a buffet.
Cafe Topes: This new Carlsbad Village restaurant has quickly become a local favorite! They have a great menu where vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options are marked. Great options such as country fried steak, an array of benedicts, create your own omelette, breakfast sandwiches, breakfast burritos, and pancakes.
Ignite Bistro: This Carlsbad restaurant has a great brunch where you can get things like fruit and yogurt parfait, scrambles, pancakes, pork belly benedict, short rib hash, and more. They also have an array of mimosas and bloody marys for you morning alkies. Lunch options are also available at brunch such as oysters, burgers, sandwiches, salads and pizzas. I should note that their pizzas are also available on a GF crust upon request.
Well, that’s my list! If you’re local or if you’ve been here and tried a fabulous brunch that is not on this list, please do tell! I’m sure my readers would love to hear your tips, and I’m sure I’ll be speeding over there next weekend to taste the brunchy goodness for myself.