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Who's still doing great weekend brunch these days?

I'm looking for really good food, top-notch, great vibe. Price isn't an issue. But also, what about some of the classics? Is Hotel Bel-Air still any good? Does Spago do brunch? Who are the go-tos?

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  1. I've heard and never been, but the Hilton Universal City weekend brunch is supposed to offer some pretty top notch stuff and selections. There was an ad in todays LA Times Calendar section with prices.

    5 Replies
    1. re: monku

      Monku, as much as we like the AYCE buffet up at the Universal Hilton I don't get the impression that the OP is looking for that huge, family driven type of venue.

      One of the first things that comes to mind is the Sunday brunch at Saddle Peak Lodge up in the Malibu Canyon area. Great, away from the city vibe and the food is quite good. If you are looking for a nice hotel brunch then Bel Air would be one place to go, although I don't think the food is as good as it used to be. But you can't beat the setting, that's for sure. Perhaps eating out by the pool at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills would be a plan? Or even the Getty Museum up on the hill in Brentwood for both the setting/view (and the food is on a par with the Bel Air hotel) and the strollability for afterwards.

      Finally, what about a "blow it out" dim sum extravaganza at one of the top places in Monterey Park/Alhambra? That could be both over the top delicious and fairly budget smart.

      1. re: Servorg

        I didn't think $42/person was a cattle call kind of brunch place.

        1. re: monku

          Amazingly enough it tends to be a cattle drive, and probably because so many of the families are staying right there for Universal City and City Walk that they end up downstairs for the brunch - price be damned.

          1. re: Servorg

            if price be damned then maybe it's still quite the cattle call.

            anyhow, i haven't been, but is it pretty darn good?

            1. re: kevin

              I gotta say, it's good but not great. And for AYCE buffets I have given up and gone over to the places like Four Season's Hotel on Doheny in B Hills. Much more expensive ($68 vs. $42/$38) but worth it to me. YMMV

    2. I haven't actually been for brunch, but Comme Ca is supposed to do a decent one. If you happen to be in the valley, Cici's in Tarzana is fantastic.

      9 Replies
      1. re: junipersong

        Comme Ca is one of my favorite brunch places in the city and it's very reasonably priced, although maybe not as fancy as the OP is seeking? Many people on the board love Jar for brunch, although my experience there was disappointing...

        1. re: mollyomormon

          Thanks for the thumbs up! We've been wanting to go to Comme Ca but kept hearing mixed things... Brunch sounds perfect (And ITA with RE: Jar. I rather have Breakfast at Pepys.. LOL!)

          --Dommy!

          1. re: Dommy

            Me too re: Pepy's. I don't know if I was just there on an off day, but it would be really hard for me to go back to Jar when there are so many other great brunch places. The much touted sticky bread was dry and sad and not really sticky at all. And I had most of the pot roast hash leftover and I ended up giving the leftovers away...

            At Comme Ca: I love sharing the pain perdu and the croque madame with a friend. The edges of the croque always appear a little burnt but the taste and texture is pretty much perfect. Oh, and a bloody mary (but I don't share that ;))!

            1. re: mollyomormon

              I heard the burger, old fashioned style with basically just a slice of cheese and no newfangled sauces or condiments, is really exceptional?

              1. re: kevin

                in my experience, it was not exceptional or even very good. the meat was underseasoned and the mayo on the burger (and i say this as someone who loves mayo so much i'll eat it out of the jar with a spoon) completely overwhelmed. i was seriously bummed because i had heard the same thing you had.

                1. re: mollyomormon

                  wow, i wish you hadn't said that. that's really gross. mayo out of a jar, what is this fear factor.

                  1. re: kevin

                    If you factor in the price, the burger at Comme Ca was about the worst I've had. perfectly cooked bland meat smothered in mayo to the point of running down one side.

          2. re: mollyomormon

            Totally agree about Jar, totally overrated. The pecan roll was sickly sweet.

            Comme Ca is nice.

            Campanille used to be great -- but has totally gone off the boil. It was never the same after Nancy sold the bakery. Really average.

            BLD is also pretty good. Great thin Pancakes.

            Of course the best brunch in town is Square One -- out of this world french toast, fruit bowl and egg dishes.

            1. re: friedegg67

              the smoked salmon benedict at Square One is ridiculously delicious.

        2. joe's has also had a great brunch. also, we went to campanile a few months back and it was really nice.

          1 Reply
          1. re: woofer

            In my experience Joe's was better than average in all respects: It is on Abbott Kinney, and has a fun Venice vibe, but the "patio" seating had a fabric cover overhead and tables were pretty close together. It was a multi-course menu, but the fruit plate was miniscule, only a few bites. I liked my small but fluffy little pancakes, bigger than silver dollars, with eggs cooked to order and some good bacon, with a bread dish that had at least two different kinds of lightly toasted half-slices -- I think the cost with a starter was $13, very reasonable. I'm glad I left my guests off in front before negotiating the shared "valet" lot. Our waiter gave us a big friendly greeting, but when my guests and I didn't order drinks, the busboy ended up giving us most of our service. So, as I am trying to explain, good, nice, fun and satisfactory, but just about everything could have been better with a little more care and effort. But they are raking in the customers, so it is clearly good enough and still one of the best in the area.

          2. I still love the Hotel Bel-Air and have never been let down for brunch or dinner. One of these days, you should try the St. Regis in Monarch Beach. I'm not one for the "steam-table" brunches, but they do an amazing job and pour Gloria Ferrer (used to be Chandon), plus the view and ambience are wonderful. I think it's $75 with all the sparkling you want.

            1. Fraiche, Akasha and Rush Street - all in Culver City have brunch menus. Although I haven't been yet to any at brunch, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the restaurants at other meals, and the brunch menus look good. Please report back, if you go.

              -----
              Fraiche
              9411 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

              Akasha
              9543 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

              Rush Street
              9546 Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232

                1. re: eggmonster

                  I'll second Jar. The sticky bun they bring is fantastic.

                  http://www.savour-fare.com

                  1. re: Amuse Bouches

                    agree about the sticky bun, if you want more i think they charge $6

                2. Thousand Cranes at the Kyoto Grand Hotel in Little Tokyo (formerly the New Otani).

                  Saddle Peak Lodge (Sunday only)

                  1. Cafe del Rey was solid.

                    One Pico (at Shutters) was average as was Jar.

                    Went to Bel-Air a few years ago to celebrate Mother's Day with my in-laws. Food was pretty good, but I fell out of my chair when the check arrived.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: vinosnob

                      But luckily, you fell onto the check, whose well padded figure broke your fall. ;-D>

                      1. re: vinosnob

                        i agree about cafe del rey. they serve a darn good 3 course brunch which includes a very decent house sparkling wine. the room is pretty and they have live music playing.

                        for the entree course one of my favorite selections is their grilled asparagus salad with fried egg, reggiano, wild mushrooms dressed with black truffle vinegrette.

                        here is a link to their brunch menu.
                        http://www.cafedelreymarina.com/menu_...

                      2. I also just saw that Ortolan is now offering a $45 brunch which might be worth checking out.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: mollyomormon

                          I was there for dinner the other night (terrific, by the way!) and they were very excited both about the brunch and about their new evening bar menu (for those who want a lighter, and less expensive, meal). It is a three course brunch and the items seem to be, with a few additions, items derived from their dinner menu. See link below for the proposed brunch menu:

                          http://www.ortolanrestaurant.com/show...

                          1. re: New Trial

                            wow, yum! although if many of the items are from the dinner menu, it almost seems worth it to just go for the 8 course menu at dinner which is now only $80 (which sounds like an incredible deal).

                            1. re: mollyomormon

                              It is, indeed. The bacon wrapped scallop with paella/chorizo/clams is terrific--though, given the choice, I prefer the lobster under a dome of spaghetti with sea urchin sauce from the menu plaisir (or $15 supplement on the brunch)!

                        2. You might check out the Peninsula Hotel in B.H. Some years back, the L.A. Times reviewed it very favorably and noted that the high quality free flowing champagne almost justified the price by itself.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: Bob Brooks

                            I've been to that one, another of my "Irene" mistakes. Food was OK, but we were sharing a banquette with 3 hookers (seriously), whose dates must have given them a lot of breakfast money. When we asked to be moved, the manager said "What can I do? It's not like their aureolas are showing". Obviously, we never went back.

                            1. re: BubblyOne

                              Are 'hooker's" not allowed fine dining? I, personally, like the manager's response.
                              The Peninsula's brunch, lunch and dinner are wonderful...
                              "Hookers and all".

                              1. re: latindancer

                                Ending up with a story like that to tell forever justifies even a substantial bill like the Peninsula's was sure to be.

                                1. re: nosh

                                  No, not really when you are treating an elegant "lady of a certain age" to a nice day out. Way better was dinner at the original Spago on Sunset, when Liza was in her cups and fell at the top of the stairs coming down from the ladies room and one of her shoes flew into dining room. She came down, picked up the shoe and broke into song. Now THAT was a meal worth every cent!

                                  1. re: BubblyOne

                                    Wow, but what do you mean by in her cups?

                                    i presume this is liza minelli you're talking about.

                                    but back to the peninsula, hookers with good taste are not necessarily a dime a dozen!

                                    1. re: kevin

                                      Drunk and/or stoned, God love her. Our waiter told us she was trying to use the unisex bathroom and the guy in there hadn't locked the door and startled her, causing her fall.
                                      As for the hookers, it wasn't Pretty Woman. They were gross- eating their desserts with their hands and licking the back of their nails. Yuk.

                                  2. re: nosh

                                    Ha. It's definately the city for great storytelling.
                                    Can't you just visualize the entire episode?
                                    Hookers, disgusted and horrified guest and entertained wait person?
                                    What I find amusing is the fact that designer clad, immaculately groomed women are not always what people think they are and the opposite is true.

                                  3. re: latindancer

                                    Hookers, trannys and hustlers make for a fun brunch.

                              2. The dining room at The Getty Center is very nice.

                                1. if price is not that big of a concern, the brunch at the four seasons is good -- a vast array of food.

                                  1. My favorites for brunch are Joe's in venice and Anisette in santa monica. Both are very good, casual atmosphere, reasonable price.

                                    1. Hotel Bel-Air is consistent and always wonderful as are Peninsula and Four Seasons on Doheny.
                                      If price is not an issue then these are the places to go.
                                      Park at Montage in BH is an option but I don't recommend the food...it's overhyped and unimpressive.

                                      1. If you're ever in the OC, I highly recommend Taps in Brea for their Sunday Champagne Brunch or the Ritz-Carlton in Laguna. Depends on how upscale you want to go.

                                        10 Replies
                                        1. re: attran99

                                          The Ritz Carlton in Laguna is, possibly, the finest brunch on the planet.
                                          I completely agree.

                                          1. re: attran99

                                            The last time we were at the RC in Laguna Beach they had stopped doing their AYCE Sunday buffet brunch (about a year ago).

                                            1. re: attran99

                                              I agree with the Taps recommendation. Some friends and I went 3 weeks ago and really enjoyed it. Seafood was fresh; great service; nice patio; live music and only $35 including champagne.

                                              1. re: ElissaInPlaya

                                                Not to mention the AYCE oysters on the half shell....

                                                1. re: OCAnn

                                                  OMG you are kidding. I could eat $35 of oysters before anyone saw me even doing it. That would pay for gas money?!

                                                  1. re: aliris

                                                    No, that plus gas money would pay for gas money. ;-)

                                                    Servorg, what's this about no Sunday brunch at the Dana Point Ritz? That and a Friday seafood buffet are described on their Web site:

                                                    http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Propert...

                                                    1. re: sbritchky

                                                      We were surprised to find out that they had stopped it when we went (at least the AYCE buffet). If they reinstated it that would be good news for the bigger is better if the better is the best brunch fans.

                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                        The brunch is big, yes, but the collective experience....the view, the ocean and the loyal locals who've been coming to this brunch since the Ritz opened makes it very special.

                                                      2. re: sbritchky

                                                        We just came back from being away in Laguna for 2 days.
                                                        I'm not sure what the mix up is but the Champagne Brunch at the Ritz Carlton on Sundays has always been there.
                                                        It's the best there is.

                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                          The most important part of all....
                                                          For us it's tradition.

                                              2. Go to Calabasas to the Sagebrush Cantina. Great food, great atmosphere.

                                                1. I've many good brunches at Jar. Love the corn pancakes.

                                                  Oddly enough, since it really has a reputation as a lunch place, I recently had a wonderful breakfast at Clementine. Very softly scrambled eggs with feta and great tomatoes, a terrific warm breakfast, and honest to god good fruit (cut up gala apple and pixie tangerine segments) instead of the dread fruit salad served at some places. Maybe not so odd but it was a surprised to me. Saturday only and no idea what the crowds are like then. I was there on a Tuesday.

                                                  Ammo also has a pretty good brunch.

                                                  Dim sum yum.

                                                  1. Gal pals and I went to the inaugural brunch at Gordon Ramsay and I must say, it was spectacular. Three courses with one glass of champagne (Moet) for $40 or $60 for free flowing. I had the corned beef hash that was very untraditional and tasty, the linguine carbonara and mixed fruit tart. All were super yummy. I'm a big fan of their trout, which one of my companions got (I took more than a few bites) and the other got the burger (yum).

                                                    GR is my favorite place now that Bastide is gone and I want everyone to try it out, so I know it won't go anywhere.

                                                    BTW, had lunch there Thursday and saw Zachary Quinto (Sylar) of Heroes.

                                                    1. I haven't done Inn of the Seventh Ray brunch in years but if memory serves I enjoyed it. I had a great steak sandwich and soup "made with vibes." Taste wise the chef must of been happy that day! They also have a set priced brunch buffet that I've never done. I think it runs around $30.

                                                      If anyone's been lately I'd be curious for an update. Meanwhile I'm doing Saddle Peak brunch tomorrow and saving Seventh Ray for warmer days.

                                                      1. In north OC, we enjoy the House of Tandoor's AYCE weekend brunches (offered Sat & Sun) for $10. They usually offer your choice of hot naan, garlic naan and/or potato pakora (made fresh, not microwave ovened); six different curries; tandoor chicken; a small salad with various chutney and a couple dessert dishes. We've gone twice/month the last couple months and they rotate their dishes. While it's not The India Restaurant, it certainly hits the spot for the Fullerton/Brea area. The restaurant certainly seems empty on Sundays, but can pack it in on Saturdays.

                                                        Also in the area, I agree with the others who like Taps; it's an awesome AYCE Sunday brunch if you love seafood (the meal certainly pays for itself with your first dozen oysters on the 1/2 shell).

                                                        And across the street from Taps is Sweet Divas, a teahouse. Though not AYCE, it's a nice throwback to a ladies lunch type of thing.

                                                        -----
                                                        Taps Fish House & Brewery
                                                        101 E. Imperial Hwy., Brea, CA 92821

                                                        Sweet Divas
                                                        518 E Imperial Hwy, Brea, CA 92821

                                                        House of Tandoor
                                                        600 S Brea Blvd, Brea, CA 92821

                                                        1. Anyone been to Ortolan's brunch yet?

                                                          Trying to plan a brunch, a lunch, and two dinners for a Sun/Mon prior to a Tuesday interview in 2 weeks and was wondering if I should do Ortolan as a brunch or instead do a dinner as both menus look excellent.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: uhockey

                                                            Today is the first day for the Ortolan brunch. The brunch does look terrific, and is probably your best option since Ortolan is closed for dinner on Sunday and Monday. Aside from that pesky detail, if I had to make the choice, I would definitely have dinner instead as the menu is more extensive and I think the place (ambience) really shines at night.