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Mar 5, 2009 11:45 AM

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!)


          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.

              9411 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

              9543 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

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