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Brunch for parents

Need suggestions to take our parents for their birthdays to a good brunch in a nice setting, somewhere in L.A. County. Been to Shutters on the Beach which has a nice feel but their food was very so-so. We took them to Le Grande Orange in Pasadena before and we liked the food and setting, but we'd like to take them somewhere new each time. We've taken them to Madeleine's in Pasadena which is wonderfully charming, but the food was hit and miss. We've had brunch at Mike & Anne's in South Pasadena which also has a lovely setting and their brunch is okay, but not really special. We love Bottega Louie but it may be a bit too loud for our elderly parents.

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  1. Would you consider going out to Terranea in Palos Verdes? I've had their weekend buffet at their main restaurant -- Catalina Kitchen, I think is what it's called -- which is average at best, but the views are absolutely stunning. Parking is free and the entire property is open for a really lovely post-meal stroll. Alternatively, you could dine at Nelson's, which is a more casual gastropub with normal seating indoors as well as breathtaking seating outdoors, looking directly over the cliffs. You literally smell the sea spray.

    P.S. The food at Nelson's is solid for a gastropub. Burgers, fries, salads, a kids' menu, and very original and tasty-looking (but expensive) martinis.

    P.P.S. At Catalina Kitchen, you aren't obliged to eat their weekend brunch buffet, as they certainly have a plethora of dishes to order; I just can't comment on that food since I've only had their buffet.

    2 Replies
    1. re: buttermarblepopcorn

      Oh, I completely forgot that we went to Terranea for brunch last year! Yes, it was so nice to sit outside, but I agree about the food being kinda average.

      We've also been to Bistro de la Gare in South Pasadena for brunch. I used to LOVE their French toast but the last time we went the portion was so much smaller and I felt like, c'mon, bread is cheap, for crying out loud! So I felt ripped off.

      We've also tried Jar for brunch and weren't impressed.

      I also forgot that we've been to The Raymond for brunch which has really good food, great service, and we love sitting outside in the back patio. Maybe we'll take them here unless someone else comes up with a great idea.

      1. re: chowchow12345678

        Ah, okay! Wow, you've really taken your parents to a lot of great places -- what a wonderful child you are! Let us know what you end up doing and how it went!

    2. Joe's in Venice. Always great food, wonderful specials, outstanding service and a great laid back atmosphere. Have been many time with my parents and they have never been disappointed.

      2 Replies
      1. re: northvalleyeater

        This is also my go-to nice brunch spot. I enjoy the atmosphere on the patio, the food is good, and the prices at brunch are reasonable given the quality. It's always a hit.

        1. re: northvalleyeater

          I LOVE Joe's - great service and great food. Never been for brunch but guess I am going to try it soon

        2. A match made in brunch Heaven: Your parents, a champagne brunch and a beautiful Sunday at the Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena.

          The Terrace at The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa, Pasadena
          1401 South Oak Knoll Ave., Pasadena, CA 91106

          3 Replies
          1. re: Servorg

            I did think of The Langham, but I thought their brunch buffet is around $55 per person or something crazy like that? That would be beyond our budget.

            1. re: chowchow12345678

              Sorry, didn't realize about the budgetary constraints. Please eliminate the Four Seasons recommendation below as well as I think their Sunday AYCE brunch is around $65 pp.

              You also would be wise to undertake some "due diligence" on what brunch at Saddle Peak Lodge might run.

              1. re: Servorg

                This is a link to Saddle Peak Lodge's Brunch Menu. You can do it under $65 easily.

          2. Take them for a ride (50 miles up the road) to Ojai and go to the Ranch House. It is truly a lovely experiene. That or stay in Ventura and go to Off Main. Lovely patio.

            Ranch House
            500 W Lomita Ave, Ojai, CA 93023

            1. The setting is lovely and I can't vouch for the food, as I haven't been in years, but my mother loves the brunch at Geoffrey's in Malibu.

              1 Reply
              1. re: whatsfordinner

                Geoffrey's is very nice.

                Further north on Zuma beach is the Sunset restaurant, and you are right on the beach, Decent food.

              2. Saddle Peak Lodge

                Saddle Peak Lodge
                419 Cold Canyon Rd., Calabasas, CA 91302

                1 Reply
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Yes, Saddle Peak would truly be a special brunch for both food and setting.

                2. If you're looking for a brunch/buffet then there is nothing like The Four Seasons on Doheny.
                  The food is spectacular and the outdoor seating is beautiful.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: latindancer

                    We have always loved the Sunday brunch at the Beverly Hills Doheny Dr. Four Season's. Unfortunately the hotel is converting their outdoor area to another restaurant. So, while the brunch is still being served, it is indoors and has lost much of its ambiance because of its relocation.

                    1. re: Servorg

                      We go just about every Sunday and we always sit outside....
                      They have a new restaurant but, as of last Sunday, the brunch can still be eaten outside.

                      1. re: latindancer

                        Sorry for the confusion. On another thread I had recommended this brunch and someone said they thought that it wasn't being served any longer because of the new restaurant going in out by the pool. We were thinking about going so I called the Four Seasons and asked them if they were still "serving" their Sunday brunch outside and the girl told me that they had "moved" it inside (meaning the food serving stations) and I thought she meant the seating had also been moved inside. So I reported back on that thread that the brunch was still in existence, but that it was inside now. Channeling "Cool Hand Luke" I guess what I had was a "failure to communicate" with the Four Seasons staffer...

                        Good to know that you can still enjoy your brunch outdoors.

                        1. re: Servorg

                          Thanks for the clarification. You had me worried there for a minute :).
                          It's reassuring, in this rapidly changing world we're living in, that some wonderful classics never change and are always there when the need arises.

                  2. my go-to sunday brunch is served at Cafe del Rey in marina del rey.
                    it is a cooked-to-order three course brunch, costing less than $40/pp including beverage.
                    lovely food (i recommend the asparagus with poached egg if they still serve it).
                    beautiful restaurant.
                    nice view of the boats in the marina.
                    i've always had good service.
                    good baked goods
                    and very good wine list.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: westsidegal

                      was going to recommend Cafe del Rey as well.. always lovely esp with ambience.

                      i second the above rec for Joe's in Venice as well.

                      as servorg does, i too lament the movement of the Four Season's brunch.

                      other places i like: Campanile (esp for parents), Whist at the Viceroy, Anisette, Jer-Ne at the Ritz Marina... i have others but fear they'll be too loud/hip.

                      1. re: Emme

                        'As servorg does, I too lament the movement of the Four Season's brunch"

                        The Brunch at the Four Seasons has not changed at all, nor has it moved.
                        It is the same as it has always been.
                        I have no idea what this rumor is all about.

                        1. re: latindancer

                          if you do end up there, the Lemon Cottage Cheese pancakes are wonderful - creamy, fluffy, and just slightly lemony.

                          1. re: Emme

                            I've never tried those and today the LA Marathon took priority so....
                            I'm going for those next Sunday.

                      2. re: westsidegal

                        Excellent idea! Great "plated" brunch so you don't have to fight the crowds at the buffet line with food that may have been sitting out too long.

                      3. The Hotel Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica is a superb choice for an indoor Sunday Brunch on the beach. Their Veranda Restaurant serves brunch from 11 – 3 pm for under $50 per including tax/tip for a 3-course meal and bottomless champagne or mimosas. Food is very good and the hotel is an architectural wonderland that harkens back to the early 20th Century in elegance and style. Lovely ocean views through panoramic floor-to-high-ceiling windows. Great place to hang out and kick-it after brunch as well.

                        Hotel Casa Del Mar
                        1910 Ocean Way
                        Santa Monica, CA 90405
                        (310) 581-5533


                        Casa Del Mar
                        1910 Ocean Way, Santa Monica, CA 90405

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: degustateur

                          Hmm, seems wrong to me that a place situated on the beach wouldn't have outdoor dining. Like being indoors having high tea at the Huntington Gardens.

                          1. re: chowchow12345678

                            I tend to share your sentiment, chowchow12345678. At least the panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows help alleviate some of the shortfall. But, alas, if you must have outside, on the beach dining, then it’s not your venue.

                            1. re: chowchow12345678

                              >>Hmm, seems wrong to me that a place situated on the beach wouldn't have outdoor dining.<<

                              It's that nice ocean breeze - read wind. As much as we enjoy having the nice ocean breeze where we live, the turbulence that it creates often times can be just enough to be a distraction while trying to eat a proper meal. Sitting out for a drink or something simple like a sandwich is a joy. Throw in place settings (especially linens) and everyone at the table looks like they're playing whack-a-mole - look out stemware. The food gets cold fast as do the eaters. Toss in the "night and morning low clouds," along the ocean belt and up go the floor-to-high-ceiling windows to keep the marine layer out as well. It would seem idyllic to have outdoor dining here, but without the enclosure, its use would be relegated to far fewer hours than one would hope for.

                                1. re: bulavinaka

                                  Wow, bulavinaka, I hadn't thought of that aspect!

                                  1. re: chowchow12345678

                                    Brunch at the beach can be nice if you have an option to move either out or in, depending on wind and temperature. You might give the Sunday brunch at Duke's in (close) Malibu a try. Pretty darn good food at an affordable price ($24 for adults and mimosa's are $3.50 each) and the drive is very doable compared to making the trek out to Geoffry's or Saddle Peak Lodge. Right on the water (and if you sit outside your feet are literally in the sand).

                                    Duke's Malibu
                                    21150 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

                            2. Depending on the date you want to celebrate, The Rio Hondo Event Center in Downey is having an Easter brunch. They do a large buffet for a great price.