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Brunch a Bunch Across OC!

OC's best brunches: The ethnic, the gorgeous views and the bottomless booze!

TAPS
The Sunday Jazz Brunch at TAPS is the saving grace for a city otherwise reduced to eating at Denny's, Carrows or IHOP. Reservations are a must, and the $36 price tag is not for the faint of heart, but the buffet is admittedly impressive. While nearly everyone makes a beeline for the huge platter of boiled, chilled shrimp, the smart money is on the house-smoked salmon and oysters on the half-shell. The buffet features a full carving station, the required omelet station, even a station where bananas Foster is made to order. Most Sunday brunches come with champagne, but TAPS is as much brewery as fish house, and one of its excellent beers is likely to pair better with your food choices. 101 E. Imperial Hwy., Brea, (714) 257-0101; www.tapsfishhouse.com.

Lucca Cafe
The Italian-Mediterranean menu takes a back seat to American favorites such as steel-cut oatmeal, French toast and buttermilk pancakes during Lucca Cafe's weekend brunch service. The thing to get is the eggs Lucca: country ham and grilled asparagus served over two crisp baguettes and topped with two perfectly poached eggs and a Bearnaise sauce whisked with coarse-grain mustard, tarragon and cognac. There's no bar, so Bloody Marys are off the table, but mimosas are made with fresh-squeezed orange juice, and the café has a good wine selection with many grape varietals. 6507 Quail Hill Pkwy., Irvine, (949) 725-1773; www.luccacafe.net.

Nick's Laguna Beach
Nick's isn't a greasy-spoon sort of dive, but rather a posh, downtown Laguna Beach bar-and-restaurant where you'd expect to see Hollywood celebrities on a staycation. The high-end touches show up not only in the food, but also at the bar, where all the juices, save for the cranberry, are fresh-squeezed. The aroma of essential oils from a just-squeezed orange brightens the house mimosa, which you can mix to your taste with a split of Freixenet cava. The house Bloody Mary has a kick of Serrano heat from a salsa-like tomato mix and comes with a breaded olive deep-fried to order. The menu is small and focused, with omelets and eggs anchoring the selection, and chilaquiles, brûléed oatmeal and Belgian waffles thrown in for a little carb variety. Keeping the menu small allows the kitchen to pay attention to such details as crisping up hash-brown potatoes with a thick, dark crust that every restaurant ought to imitate. And those potatoes look and taste hand-shredded, with perfect texture and the skins left on for flavor. 440 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 376-8595; www.thenickco.com.

Ramos House Cafe
Meranda Carter
Ramos House Cafe
River's End Cafe
Meranda Carter
River's End Cafe

Location Info

Map

The Ritz-Carlton

1 Ritz-Carlton Way
Dana Point, CA 92629

Category: Hotels and Resorts

Region: Dana Point

River's End Cafe

15 First St.
Seal Beach, CA 90740

Category: Restaurant > Caribbean

Region: Seal Beach

Bruxie

292 N. Glassell St.
Orange, CA 92866

Category: Restaurant > Belgian

Region: Orange

The Restaurant At the Tustin Ranch Golf Club

12442 Tustin Ranch Road
Tustin, CA 92782

Category: Restaurant > New American

Region: Tustin

Storytellers Cafe

1600 S. Disneyland Drive Anaheim, CA
Anaheim, CA 92802

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Anaheim

Rick's Atomic Cafe

3100 Airway Ave.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Restaurant > Cafe

Region: Costa Mesa

Irvine Certified Farmers' Market

Campus Drive and Bridge Road
Irvine, CA 92612

Category: Retail

Region: Irvine

Sugar Shack Cafe

213 1/2 Main St.
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Huntington Beach

Taqueria Zamora

3121 S. Main St.
Santa Ana, CA 92707

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Santa Ana

Amorelia Mexican Cafe

2200 Harbor Blvd., C110
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Costa Mesa

El Cabrito

1604 W. First St.
Santa Ana, CA 92703

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Santa Ana

Crystal Jade

6511 Quail Hill Parkway
Irvine, CA 92614

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Irvine

King Lobster Palace

2045 N. Tustin St.
Orange, CA 92865

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Orange

Champion Food Co.

17090 Magnolia St.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Category: Restaurant > Cafe

Region: Fountain Valley

Tacos El Chavito

301 E. Florida Ave.
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Huntington Beach

Tacos El Chavito

Morgan St.
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Huntington Beach

Kareem's Restaurant

1208 S. Brookhurst St.
Anaheim, CA 92804

Category: Restaurant > Middle Eastern

Region: Anaheim

Pinoy Fiesta

160 W. Lincoln Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92805

Category: Restaurant > Filipino

Region: Anaheim

Irvine China Garden

14825 Jeffrey Road
Irvine, CA 92618

Category: Restaurant > Chinese

Region: Irvine

Pho 86 Restaurant

14576 Brookhurst St.
Westminster, CA 92683

Category: Restaurant > Asian

Region: Westminster

Jang Mo Gip

9816 Garden Grove Blvd.
Garden Grove, CA 92844

Category: Restaurant > Vietnamese

Region: Garden Grove

Loreley Restaurant

1340 S. Sanderson Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92806

Category: Restaurant > German

Region: Anaheim

Plum's Café and Catering

369 E. 17th St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Category: Restaurant > Breakfast

Region: Costa Mesa

Break of Dawn Restaurant

24351 Avenida De La Carlota, Ste. N-6
Laguna Hills, CA 92653

Category: Restaurant > Breakfast

Region: Laguna Hills

Ramos House Cafe

31752 Los Rios St.
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: San Juan Capistrano

Taco Rosa

2632 San Miguel Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Newport Beach

Taco Rosa

13792 Jamboree Road
Irvine, CA 92602

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Irvine

Taps Fish House & Brewery

101 E. Imperial Highway
Brea, CA 92821

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Brea

Lucca Cafe

6507 Quail Hill Parkway
Irvine, CA 92603

Category: Restaurant > Cafe

Region: Irvine

Nick's Laguna Beach

440 S. Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Laguna Beach

Old Vine Cafe

2937 Bristol St., Ste. A-102
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Restaurant > Eclectic

Region: Costa Mesa

Avanti Cafe

259 E. 17th St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Category: Restaurant > Fusion

Region: Costa Mesa

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Old Vine Café
There's technically no brunch at this Costa Mesa gem, but it doesn't matter: Its omelets and sweet dishes are impeccable, and the lunch sandwiches are hearty enough to soak up all the booze of the previous night. But what's most impressive is Old Vine's side business of selling wine: champagne, sure, but also Prosecco, cava, and all the other bubblies that make killer mimosas with Old Vine's organic orange juice. Just ask—better yet, buy a bottle to take home. 2937 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, (714) 545-1411; www.oldvinecafe.com.

Avanti Café
Weekends turn the always-experimenting Avanti Café into organic-brunch central, with vegan biscuits and gravy that taste straight out of a Route 66 diner, sweet French toast and all the other signature brunch dishes. But its shining star is a fantastic margarita, perhaps the best in OC: It's a bit more tart than what you're used to, and that's because honest-to-goodness lime, lemon, orange and grapefruit juices are tempered by a citrus-scented organic cane syrup. And, oh, yeah, the alcohol: fermented vodka and tequila, just to tickle your brain that much more. One margarita, two margarita, three margarita, floor! 259 E. 17th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 548-2224; www.avantinatural.com.

 

This article appeared in print as "Bunch of Brunch! OC's Best Brunches: The Ethnic, the Gorgeous Views and the Bottomless Booze!"

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7 comments
Ben Baysic
Ben Baysic

Eric Rosenthal, Heather Filsinger-Cunliffe!!! What's for brunch???

OCLocal
OCLocal

A taco truck is not a brunch spot.

JP
JP

Jang Mo Gip is Korean....not Vietnamese.

VickieChang
VickieChang

Read the blurb again, it doesn't say it's Vietnamese.

 
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