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Best Breakfast in Orange County.

Saw the topic in regards to LA and been having a hankering for great breakfasts lately.

I'm a huge fan of Break of Dawn in Laguna Hills - http://breakofdawnrestaurant.com/

as well as diners like Harbor House in Dana Point
and definitely Bon Jour Cafe in Dana Point - www.bonjourcafe.com

Plums and Omelette Parlor in Costa Mesa are also great for me.

Let's hear it. Since I am completely selfish, those in So. OC would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. The several Original Pancake Houses in OC -- including the new one "(Opening late May)" in the city of Orange. Best pancakes and egg dishes (including souffle-style omelets) in the area; lousy coffee in the OC locations, for some mysterious reason. Also, Johnny Rebs', just up Chapman from the new OPH, if you yearn for a Southern-style porky breakfast with grits and biscuits.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Mel Gee

      I would second Orginal Pancake House. I've only been to the one in Mission Viejo, but it was as good as always (I used to go to the OP in Oak Park, IL all the time). I especially like their omelettes (enough to feed 3 though) and their apple pancakes.

      1. re: Mel Gee

        Just ate there yesterday and this post is right on. Great food (I had a huge and delicious vegetable omelette) and bad coffee (advertised as coming from a company called Diedrich). I've eaten at Original Pancake Houses all over the country over the years and the coffee is usually consistently good. I always assumed they had a proprietary blend that all outlets used. The food will keep me coming back if I'm in the area but that's a pretty serious flaw for a breakfast place.

        1. re: cwujd1

          Diedrich Coffee is no longer affiliated with Martin Diedrich (who roasts his own beans at Kean Coffee in Tustin and Newport Beach with, heh, a Diedrich roaster).

          That said, even the best coffee can be ruined by bad treatment -- and that's my diagnosis at OPH.

      2. I like Madison Square in Laguna Beach (across the street from the museum). It is casual counter order and then take it to the cozy and arborous backyard. I like the smoked salmon benedict. They have a good German apple pancake, too, though I prefer savory breakfasts.
        http://www.madisonsquare.com/menu.shtml

        I've also enjoyed breakfast at Mimi's Cafe in Costa Mesa and Tustin. Both have good service. It is a chain, but their food has been consistently well prepared at those two locations. http://www.mimiscafe.com

        Another choice if you want Mexican is Taco Mesa http://www.tacomesa.net

        A good brunch at their upscale (and expensive) sister, Taco Rosa in Newport Beach and Tustin http://www.tacorosa.com/
        While I think some quality is lacking at those two lately because of their attempt to branch out in many areas, their menu is still awesome and the chances are good it will be prepared right. Just be careful with their fish and their rice as both of those have been consistently awful in the past 7 months (the shellfish is okay).

        Another good Mexican breakfast at Coyote Grill in South Laguna. http://www.coyotegrill-lagunabeach.co...

        1. I would definitely say that the Beachcomber in Crystal Cove is the absolute winner for breakfast in OC. The food is very good (especially the french toast), and may not be the very best in OC, but the setting right on the beach is incomparable...and although they have outdoor heaters for chilly mornings, they also supply blankets to keep you warm. A great spot.

          6 Replies
          1. re: josephnl

            If you go to Original Pancake House, I'd get either their apple pancake or their dutch baby pancake. But, the portions are so large that you should bring a few friends with you.

            1. re: hobbess

              That's certainly true of the apple pancake, but it makes a great warmed-over dessert at dinner the next couple of nights. At times, I'll order one in addition to my meal at OPH just to take home for dessert.

              I've never had a bad or uninteresting pancake there -- my favorites are: Swedish, 49'ers, French crepes, and Georgia pecan.

              Now why can't the OC outlets serve decent coffee, when the rest of the nationwide chain serves a fine-to-excellent brew?

              1. re: Mel Gee

                Which one is it that you eat with fresh lemon and powdered sugar? Dutch Baby? I thought this was a really weird combination, until I tasted it - YUMMERS!

                1. re: Mel Gee

                  I reheated the apple pancake for a sweet lunch treat recently. I really like those 49's too, and the Sourdough flapjacks. Anyone tried the Danish Kijafa Cherry Crepes? I thought those sounded good too but didn't try them.

                  1. re: Mel Gee

                    To be honest, I've never understood the portion sizes of OPH which was too much for me to eat and kind of felt like a waste to me. Maybe, the apple pancakes might have reheated okay, but what about their other pancakes? Most food suffers when you're going to reheat it like that.

                    Why not just put out smaller portion at a less expensive price point so it would have been competitive with IHOP's prices? If they had done that, perhaps OPH would have been the dominant national chain for pancakes instead of IHOP.

                    1. re: hobbess

                      Perhaps it has to do with the fact that bigger prices mean bigger tips (as a percentage) for the wait staff and that's better for them than raising wages. Why not bring a friend and split the pancakes and order a side of sausage, etc. if you need to? When we go as a group, several of us split plates and it's no problem.

              2. I am one of the few non-vouchers of OPH (russ, you gotta take me there before you leave us!). Had my birthday at Break of Dawn. Loved it! Plums is one of the best as well (for *their* Dutch Baby).

                1. Has anyone mentioned the Ramos House in Capistrano? This rather upscale restaurant serves an amazing breakfast/brunch. Check out: http://www.ramoshouse.com/

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: josephnl

                    I adore the Ramos House. It's just a little bit expensive, though. There just aren't enough places for a reasonable priced great breakfast in Orange County.

                    1. re: josephnl

                      And, they have the killer bloody mary to go with the great food...

                      1. re: josephnl

                        We made the trek out to SJC to have b'fast @ Ramos House. Both Mr OCAnn & I didn't see what the hype was about. Cute outhouse though....

                      2. I really liked Side Street Cafe in Costa Mesa when I lived in Orange County. Hearty, delicious breakfats and lunches at a really great prices

                        1. I'll help out with a South OC joint. Paul's Pantry on Crown Valley east of I-5 in Mission Viejo. Their pancakes are the best I've had around here, better than OPH and IHOP.
                          They also make a great plate of hash and eggs. Received a nice write-up in the OC Register a while back. Open from 7AM-2PM. Reasonable prices, attentive staff, old-time diner atmosphere with booths or individual stools at the counter.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Unnamed Source

                            Paul's used to be on my short list, but dropped off after one to many mediocre meals and once too often lousy service. <grin> I can be a slow learner. The straw that broke the camel's back was the 2 times in a row that the pancakes were raw, runny batter in the middle. How can you mess up pancakes that badly? If you go, stick to the bacon and eggs.