Our off-the-beaten-path food series begins with breakfast. We’re sharing our favorite places to start the day when we want stellar food without the touristy hype. And boy oh boy do these places deliver!
For the Local Coffee Spot, Visit Alta Coffee Warehouse
Tucked away on a quiet backstreet is the locals’ favorite coffee joint. Beyond the killer coffee is a fabulous outdoor patio, a cozy interior, and really, really good food. Their bread is made in-house and their pastries must be made in heaven because they are DIVINE (we’re looking at you, cinnamon roll). Breakfast is served all day and they have tons of options for those with dietary needs. Three cheers for Alta – it’s the real deal.
For an Old-Fashioned Diner with a Waterfront View, Galley Cafe is Your Spot!
Your life may reach an all-time high when you eat at the Galley Cafe. It’s a genuine diner, complete with booths, laminated menus, and those thick diner coffee mugs that somehow make the drip coffee taste better. And best of all, it’s located right on the bay, so you’ll get a top-notch view without the touristy hubbub. And while tourists don’t know the first thing about this place, the Galley Cafe is always packed with locals chowing down on crispy hashbrowns, fluffy pancakes, and buttery eggs, so be prepared to wait your turn for a spot at the table.
For a Grab-and-Go Breakfast Sandwich, Al Cappuccino is the Place
If you’re looking for instant breakfast gratification, our favorite place to grab some grub before hitting the beach is Al Cappuccino. A hole-in-the-wall coffee shop in a local stripmall, this place serves up some of the best breakfast sandwiches. We recommend the Al Capp Special (bagel sandwich with cream cheese, loads of avocado, tomato, and lemon pepper) as well as the Peanut Butter Power Smoothie. A fun perk are the frozen coffee cubes they’ll add to your iced coffee for zero dilution! But truly, you can’t go wrong with whatever you order from this no fuss or frills favorite!
For an Unbeatable Breakfast Smoothie, Head to TruBowl
We get it, sometimes a big breakfast is not the thing you’re looking for before spending the day in a bathing suit. Luckily, we have an array of smoothie shops around town for a refreshing and satisfying start to the day. Our favorite of the bunch is TruBowl. They have everything from acai bowls to smoothies to made-to-order juices to wellness shots.
For a Crowd-Pleasing Breakfast Burrito, Carnitas La Villa is our One True Love
Another hole-in-the-wall darling, Carnitas La Villa serves – it’s true – our favorite Mexican food in SoCal! There is nothing better than crunching on their homemade chips and salsa after a day at the beach. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves…breakfast must be attended to! While Newport’s a.m. marine layer hovers overhead, grab yourself a hot breakfast burrito from the folks at Carnitas and they’ll be sure to send you into the most delightful of food comas.
For Simple Food Done Perfectly, A Market is an A++
Looking out on the zooming cars of PCH, A Market is a local gem, delivering exceptional breakfast to the stomachs of Newport Beach citizens every day of the week until 11:30am. The Granola is a must as are the Pest Egg Whites (trust us on this one). While you’re there, be sure to peruse the artisanal goods in the market. Their selection of high-end chocolates, wine, gifts, and premade deli food can’t be beat. Local tip: they have a pastry happy hour in the afternoons – 50% their entire selection! (Get the peanut butter cookie).
Honorable Mentions That Are Stupid Delicious, But Too Popular To Make Our List of Elite Local Favorites
It was near impossible to limit our list of favorites! While the above list takes the gold, here are our honorable mentions that are equally delicious, but come with crowds of people on a daily basis:
Haute Cakes – located off the peninsula, but worth the drive and worth the wait! The combination of garden courtyard and outrageously good food make this a favorite of ours (and of many other people!)
Dory Deli – Conveniently located at the base of the Newport Pier, the Dory Deli knows how to serve solid SoCal food. Because of its prime location, expect crowds and a wait, or order ahead and take your food to the sand!
Beachcomber Cafe – This wins the Best Location Award hands down! Nestled right on the sand at the beautiful Crystal Cove, the Beachcomber serves classic breakfast foods with an uninterrupted view of the Pacific!
Wilma’s Patio – The most popular breakfast spot on Balboa Island for a reason! Wilma’s Patio is adorable, delicious, and yes, very crowded!
Charlie’s Chili – This almost made our top list for the chili cheese omelet alone! Located at the Newport Pier, Charlie’s Chili gives classic diner ambiance with majorly delicious dishes.
Woody’s Diner – Great for larger groups or families, Woody’s Diner has something for everyone. Even dogs are welcome on the patio!