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Who's still doing great weekend brunch these days?

diningdivala Mar 5, 2009 11:45 AM

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. monku RE: diningdivala Mar 5, 2009 12:09 PM

    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
      Servorg RE: monku Mar 5, 2009 12:21 PM

      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
        monku RE: Servorg Mar 5, 2009 12:41 PM

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

        1. re: monku
          Servorg RE: monku Mar 5, 2009 12:45 PM

          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
            kevin RE: Servorg Mar 5, 2009 05:01 PM

            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
              Servorg RE: kevin Mar 5, 2009 05:06 PM

              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. j
      junipersong RE: diningdivala Mar 5, 2009 12:30 PM

      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
        mollyomormon RE: junipersong Mar 5, 2009 12:55 PM

        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
          Dommy RE: mollyomormon Mar 5, 2009 01:38 PM

          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!)


          1. re: Dommy
            mollyomormon RE: Dommy Mar 5, 2009 02:40 PM

            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
              kevin RE: mollyomormon Mar 5, 2009 05:02 PM

              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
                mollyomormon RE: kevin Mar 5, 2009 05:11 PM

                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
                  kevin RE: mollyomormon Mar 5, 2009 05:17 PM

                  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
                    rednyellow RE: kevin Mar 8, 2009 12:27 PM

                    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
            friedegg67 RE: mollyomormon Mar 7, 2009 06:31 PM

            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
              mollyomormon RE: friedegg67 Mar 9, 2009 11:41 AM

              the smoked salmon benedict at Square One is ridiculously delicious.

        2. w
          woofer RE: diningdivala Mar 5, 2009 12:38 PM

          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
            nosh RE: woofer Mar 5, 2009 02:19 PM

            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. BubblyOne RE: diningdivala Mar 5, 2009 01:06 PM

            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. e
              ElissaInPlaya RE: diningdivala Mar 5, 2009 02:09 PM

              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.

              9411 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

              9543 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

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

              1. e
                eggmonster RE: diningdivala Mar 5, 2009 02:31 PM

                joes on venice

                jar on melrose, sundays

                2 Replies
                1. re: eggmonster
                  Amuse Bouches RE: eggmonster Mar 6, 2009 02:46 PM

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


                  1. re: Amuse Bouches
                    woofer RE: Amuse Bouches Mar 6, 2009 05:13 PM

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

                2. ipsedixit RE: diningdivala Mar 5, 2009 02:34 PM

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

                  Saddle Peak Lodge (Sunday only)

                  1. v
                    vinosnob RE: diningdivala Mar 5, 2009 02:57 PM

                    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
                      Servorg RE: vinosnob Mar 5, 2009 03:12 PM

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

                      1. re: vinosnob
                        westsidegal RE: vinosnob Mar 5, 2009 06:02 PM

                        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.

                      2. mollyomormon RE: diningdivala Mar 5, 2009 03:13 PM

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

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: mollyomormon
                          New Trial RE: mollyomormon Mar 5, 2009 04:49 PM

                          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:


                          1. re: New Trial
                            mollyomormon RE: New Trial Mar 5, 2009 05:13 PM

                            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
                              New Trial RE: mollyomormon Mar 5, 2009 10:57 PM

                              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. Bob Brooks RE: diningdivala Mar 5, 2009 03:48 PM

                          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
                            BubblyOne RE: Bob Brooks Mar 5, 2009 04:22 PM

                            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
                              latindancer RE: BubblyOne Mar 5, 2009 05:11 PM

                              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
                                nosh RE: latindancer Mar 5, 2009 08:31 PM

                                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
                                  BubblyOne RE: nosh Mar 6, 2009 11:37 AM

                                  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
                                    kevin RE: BubblyOne Mar 6, 2009 02:14 PM

                                    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
                                      BubblyOne RE: kevin Mar 9, 2009 10:09 AM

                                      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
                                    latindancer RE: nosh Mar 6, 2009 06:38 PM

                                    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
                                    rednyellow RE: latindancer Mar 8, 2009 12:29 PM

                                    Hookers, trannys and hustlers make for a fun brunch.

                              2. wienermobile RE: diningdivala Mar 5, 2009 04:45 PM

                                The dining room at The Getty Center is very nice.

                                1. g
                                  ghozimoto RE: diningdivala Mar 5, 2009 05:02 PM

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

                                  1. n
                                    Nicole RE: diningdivala Mar 5, 2009 06:18 PM

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

                                    1. l
                                      latindancer RE: diningdivala Mar 5, 2009 06:43 PM

                                      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. a
                                        attran99 RE: diningdivala Mar 5, 2009 07:40 PM

                                        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
                                          latindancer RE: attran99 Mar 5, 2009 08:15 PM

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

                                          1. re: attran99
                                            Servorg RE: attran99 Mar 6, 2009 03:39 AM

                                            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
                                              ElissaInPlaya RE: attran99 Mar 6, 2009 08:47 AM

                                              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
                                                OCAnn RE: ElissaInPlaya Mar 6, 2009 02:21 PM

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

                                                1. re: OCAnn
                                                  aliris RE: OCAnn Mar 7, 2009 10:33 PM

                                                  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
                                                    sbritchky RE: aliris Mar 7, 2009 11:11 PM

                                                    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:


                                                    1. re: sbritchky
                                                      Servorg RE: sbritchky Mar 8, 2009 05:11 AM

                                                      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
                                                        latindancer RE: Servorg Mar 8, 2009 06:17 AM

                                                        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
                                                        latindancer RE: sbritchky Mar 8, 2009 06:13 AM

                                                        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
                                                          latindancer RE: latindancer Mar 8, 2009 06:28 AM

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

                                              2. e
                                                eyeluv2cook RE: diningdivala Mar 6, 2009 09:27 AM

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

                                                1. j
                                                  JudiAU RE: diningdivala Mar 6, 2009 07:22 PM

                                                  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. Ndelible RE: diningdivala Mar 7, 2009 03:38 AM

                                                    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. ReelMike84 RE: diningdivala Mar 7, 2009 07:14 PM

                                                      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. OCAnn RE: diningdivala Mar 7, 2009 09:34 PM

                                                        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. uhockey RE: diningdivala Mar 8, 2009 07:18 AM

                                                          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
                                                            New Trial RE: uhockey Mar 8, 2009 12:16 PM

                                                            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.

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