As anyone who has eaten breakfast with me can attest, I have somewhat of an obsession with good breakfast potatoes. (I know that terms like home fries, hash browns, and so forth all connote specific types, but it seems to me they're used incorrectly more often than not, so I just go with my catch-all phrase to avoid confusion.)
As such, I'm constantly in search of L.A. restaurants with reliably good breakfast potatoes. My current favorite is Overland Cafe in Palms: good-size chunks, right amount of seasoning, cooked all the way through but firm enough to be easily speared with a fork.
I love Doughboy's numerous potato options, but the taters themselves are insufficiently crispy and not seasoned (presumably since the mounds of toppings are supposed to fill that void).
Cheesecake Factory's "pile of tiny cube-lets" approach is a huge, huge turn-off. As is any place that serves au gratin potatoes for breakfast -- to me, those are only appropriate for dinner.
What are other people's top picks for potatoes in the A.M.?
Julienne in San Marino.
The kitchen cooks them slightly charred on the outside, without making the skins tough, and the high heat seems to sear in the flavor of the potato, keeping them soft and fluffy (not dry), so that each bite is like releasing a gush of starchy-goodness.
2649 Mission St, San Marino, CA 91108
I love the "Vegi (sic) Potatoes" at More Than Waffles (17200 Ventura Blvd., Encino). Home fries with the crisped skins on, mushrooms, grilled onions and bell peppers are generously smothered in cheddar cheese. It's well worth the current $7.25 price, and I'd also say it's the single best potato dish I've had in my 31 years here in L.A.
Great recs here for the humble potato.
Original Pantry - great in a old school, buttery, greasy way
Original Pancake House - potato pancakes are amazingly thin and crispy
Got to mention Dinah's potato pancakes - thicker but good.
Aversion therapy at IHOP - awful, industrial press style potato pancakes
Place links with maps below.
Pann's Restaurant & Coffee Shop
6710 La Tijera Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045
8136 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048
400 N Pacific Coast Hwy, Redondo Beach, CA 90277
Original Pancake House
1756 S Pacific Coast Hwy, Redondo Beach, CA 90277
3601 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034
6521 S Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045
S & W Country Diner
9748 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232
Rose Cafe & Market
220 Rose Ave, Venice, CA 90291
Original Pantry Cafe
877 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90017
I used to love the potatos at BLD...the ones with chorizo, lomo, and some other meaty bits sprinkled throughout...unfortunately, last week, they were horrible...I wanted to cry.
I had loved them since they opened, the time before last, they were just ok, this time they were unforgiveable...now what can I do.
Hoepfully someone will inspire me to love something new.
I do enjoy the potatos at Larkins that they serve for sunday brunch...spicey and good.
The legendary Pantry downtown has great potatoes that come with all their breakfast orders and are served with certain other items throughout the day. They are chopped in small cubes and served in a heap browned crispy on one side with the remaineder cooked soft and moist. If you've never been (impossible?), then as a potato enthusiast you must try them.
The potatoes are one of the few remaining reasons to go the Pantry, even for breakfast (served all day). I find them good but ordinary unless you order them "well done" or "brown" in which case you'll get an extra ration of the crispy crust. When "well done," the potatoes are a joy with a crunch rarely found.
I know the OP specifically stated that they didn't want au gratin and I know that Rose Cafe calls them au gratin, but they're not really au gratin. At least not as I know au gratin potatoes. I don't know what it is they do to them to make them so good, all I know is that I dream of those potatoes.
CiCi's Cafe in Tarzana does an au gratin potato for breakfast...I'm not a fan. No matter how well done you order them, they're never very crispy.
In my opinion potatoes are the foundation of a good breakfast much like the bread makes, or brakes, a sandwich. On your side of town I like Original Pancake House, Eat at Joe's and Pann's. I recently added S & W Country Diner to my "To Try" list because I hear good things about the Chicken Fried Steak and their Home made Hash.
Original Pancake House ( 49'er Flapjacks, Buttermilk pancakes, Crepes, Dutch Baby, Potato pancakes, Bluebarry, sometimes a long line but go-for-it)
1756 South Pacific Coast Hwy.
Redondo Beach, California 90277
Breakfast, lunch or dinner
Eat At Joe's (Any omelet, I always seem to get the John Wayne Special)
400 N. Pacific Coast Highway (5 min. drive from Del Amo Mall)
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
Pann’s (Fried Chicken wings and waffles, pea soup, Chicken Fried steak, Hash and eggs, Burgers and shakes all in a Googie Dream)
6710 La Tijera Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Cross Street: La Cienega Boulevard
S & W Country Diner (Cash only – Request home-made hash crispy, meatloaf w/ eggs. Sides include hash brown potatoes, pancakes or waffle. Also, Pancakes can be customized with crumbled Oreos
)9748 Washington Blvd (Cross St. – Hughes Avenue)
Culver City, CA 90232-2722
Mon-Fri 7am-3pm, Sat-Sun 8am-3pm
S & W does hash-browns right! I order them crispy, and they come with a great crust and softer but cooked within. My favorite side at S & W, and I try to go with friends who will order and share the huge pancake side as well. S & W does a great homemade hash (they have a canned option for a buck less but why?) and they cook things correctly to order. I've tried the meatloaf hoping it would be great but it was pretty bready and loose -- no competitor to the hash or sausage or bacon. Now if only they would make a proper baked biscuit rather than a soft cakey square cut from a loaf... S & W is absolutely my favorite big-appetite breakfast place -- John O'Groats with their dry biscuits, overcooked eggs, and higher prices doesn't even compare in my experience.