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SAN DIEGO’S BEST HEALTHY BRUNCH SPOTS

13 PLACES

UPDATED JUL 14, 2020

Brunch is the best! The mimosas are flowing, patio doors are open wide, and breakfast and lunch converge to satisfy our cravings for sweet and savory eats. And if you’re looking to keep it healthy, your brunch just got that much better because we’ve rounded up a list of healthy brunch spots to check out. Come hungry and leave without the guilt!

author

ERICA FRIEDMAN

FITT SAN-DIEGO CONTRIBUTOR

Nestled on a quiet corner in Little Italy, Café Gratitude offers 100% organic, plant-based dining in a bright and inviting space. Breakfast toast, oatmeal, gluten-free pancakes, and breakfast tacos are just a few items on this health-minded menu. Thirsty? Café Gratitude has a long list of pressed juices, smoothies, spritzers, and kombucha. Fitt Tip: dine in on a Saturday to take advantage of farmers market people-watching — the Little Italy Mercato Farmers Market is a must!

It’s modern American fare, it’s comfort meets healthy, it’s Great Maple. Frequently voted as one of the best brunch spots in San Diego, Great Maple keeps its customers coming back — and for good reason. Since opening in Newport Beach, they’ve spread their flavors (think: vegan hashes, hearty salads, and quirky dishes like waffle lollipops) to Hillcrest and La Jolla. But why the name? Maple is one of the driving ingredients in every corner of the menu from maple-smoked bacon to maple bacon doughnuts to the Great Maple BLT. You get the point. It’s all so good that you’ll never get sick of it — we promise.

Come to Fig Tree for some serious omelets, gluten-free toast (if that’s your jam), breakfast "sushi", homemade granola, or even a Skinny Scramble. It doesn’t matter if you’re vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free, Fig Tree (in Pacific Beach, Hillcrest, and Liberty Station) makes it easy for you to find your next delicious bite. Plus, the Pacific Beach location features a giant garden which invites the question, does it get any better than this?

Did you know San Diego has more small farms than anywhere in the country? Yep, farm-to-table has never been fresher than it is in San Diego. And Farmer’s Bottega in Mission Hills more than embraces the love of local fare. Dig into the house-made Meatloaf Hash, served with spinach, pesto, eggs, and toast. If you’re in for a feast, try to mix and match pancakes, sample their french toast, or go light with homemade granola and fresh fruit. Put your name in and explore Mission Hills. This is country chic eats.

This place may be tiny, but their menu sure isn’t. Think of every healthy breakfast food trend you’ve heard of recently (butter coffee, breakfast toasts, kombucha, etc.) and know that you can find them here. With a casual, order-at-the-counter atmosphere, this Leucadia café delivers quick and delicious brunch options for anyone who’s on the go. Don’t worry, just because it’s casual doesn’t mean they skimp on taste. Their veggie bowl is packed with flavors like herbed cashew cheese and butternut squash, and their stuffed French toast features orange-infused almond milk ricotta and grain-free challah bread. Our advice? Come hungry.

At Madison on Park you can enjoy blue skies and sunshine while sipping your morning mimosa amongst cedar walls and open ceilings. Come by yourself to reset, or make it an outing with friends (check out the cocktail selection to break the ice). Here, expect a variety of healthy eats—avocado toast with egg, shakshuka, Paleo Bowl, and the Mediterranean Breakfast to name a few—as well as an assortment of small plates. If you’re full but looking to continue your conversation, take a stroll through the neighborhood. The Sunday Hillcrest Farmers Market is only a mile away.

Brunch at Café 21 is sure to leave you full and ready to tackle Sunday Funday. They serve their mouth-watering (and hearty) cast iron omelets hot, straight from the oven, and stuffed with fresh, locally grown organic veggies and proteins like shrimp, filet, turkey — take your pick. Seasonal menus ensure you’re getting the freshest organic produce from Tom King Farms, their local farm partner. So, go on, take in the sights and sounds from the patios at their Downtown and University Heights locations. Fitt Tip: The Farmers Board, with seasonal greens, local cheeses, and meats is quite the spread.

Should you accept it, your mission this Sunday (or any day of the week) is to find your zen — Zen Breakfast, that is. Here’s a hint. It’s one of The Mission’s favorite dishes. Feast on scrambled egg whites, tofu, brown rice, grilled veggies, and a healthy protein that’s sure to fill any grumbling belly. Their menu has everything from granola pancakes to sandwiches (served on their freshly baked bread) to their Latin-style breakfast favorites (chilaquiles anyone?). While you wait for a plate, peruse artwork from local artists decorating the walls of all three locations at Mission Beach, North Park, and SoMa East Village.

Instead of hitting the snooze button, head over to Snooze A.M. Eatery for a morning to remember. Yes, there will be a wait, but for good reason. Their three locations—Del Mar, La Jolla, and Hillcrest—have some delicious, seasonally inspired grub waiting for you. Get lost in “Pancake Utopia” (pancakes on another level) or take a trip to the lighter side with their “Classics from the Hen” menu. Eyeing a Benedict? Order half of two different items, combine them, and voilà! Benedict brunch heaven.

If you see a long line on the street on a weekend morning, chances are you’ve stumbled on a Breakfast Republic. With seven locations across San Diego, this eatery isn’t hard to come by, but its flavors are. With American, Mexican, and Portuguese fare, Breakfast Republic’s variety will satisfy any craving. They offer plenty of international dishes and some pretty unconventional pancakes and French toasts, too. Did we mention their Oreo cookie, strawberry cheesecake, and banana split flavors? If you’re not looking to squander your weekly cheat day, fear not. They recently incorporated vegan dishes into their menu, and believe us when we say you really can’t go wrong with the soy chorizo vegan bowl.

This casual and cozy Solana Beach café feels just like home. Their wholesome menu is jam-packed with locally-sourced fresh veggies, meats, and cheeses. Enjoy your eggs however you like ’em, or opt for something unique like their Quinoa Cake Benedict. Want more? How about freshly made scones, muffins, and breads that will change your morning for good. If you’re in a rush, visit Claire’s Too, their coffee shop and bakery just across the parking lot. Whether you want to spend your whole morning at the café or just pop into the bakery for a quick visit, Claire’s is the perfect place to roll out of bed, grab a bite, and then catch some waves at the beach nearby.

First, look for the big clock on Park Blvd. Next, look for the line of hungry brunchers. It can only mean one thing: brunch time at Parkhouse Eatery. Here they have a rustic, antique vibe — some serious character. Choose an egg scramble (all except one can be prepared gluten-free) or take a walk on the wild side with the breakfast pizza. Don’t forget to order their Lemon Ricotta Pancakes oozing with homemade blueberry sauce for the table. If you'd like, sit outside on the patio and cleanse your palate with a sweet mimosa flight.

Come for the atmosphere, stay for the cuisine. The only thing better than eating high-quality, seasonally-infused, gourmet brunch fare is enjoying that brunch from a rooftop. And few places combine these elements better than Rustic Root downtown on 5th Ave. They make their scramble skillets (veggie or meat-lover friendly) from scratch, as they do with all their other dishes. For a lighter option, try the egg white frittata and avocado toast trio — one type is way too boring. And, if you end up visiting during one of San Diego’s six rainy days, don’t panic! They also have dining available downstairs with live music on Sunday mornings.

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