May 3, 2024

The Ultimate Orange County Brunch Bucket List

When the sun starts to lift its sleepy head over Orange County, one thought beams as bright as its first rays – it's brunch time! Orange County is a mecca for those who relish a good mid-morning feast. Whether you're a local looking for a new favorite spot, a foodie on the hunt for your next Instagram-worthy dish, or a young professional in search of a stylish new hangout, this list is your golden brunch ticket.

1. Pandor Artisan Boulangerie & Café

Locations: Newport Beach, Orange, Irvine, Mission Viejo, and Lakeshore

Vibe: Parisian Elegance

When a croissant is more than just a croissant and becomes an alliance of crispy layers and buttery goodness, you know you're at Pandor Artisan Boulangerie & Café. This French-inspired gem with a multitude of locations offers an authentic boulangerie experience with an array of freshly baked pastries and classic breakfast items. The quiches stand out for their creamy texture enveloped in flaky pastry, a delicate palette pleaser. And don't skip on the espresso drinks—they’re the perfect Parisian pairing to start your day.

2. Haute Cakes Caffe

Location: Newport Beach

Vibe: Beachy Bohemian

Nestled in the heart of Newport Beach, Haute Cakes Caffe combines the comfort of a coastal café with the creativity of a gourmet kitchen. Their avocado toast, adorned with smoked salmon and a perfectly poached egg, is a visual delight and a dish best enjoyed under the California sun. For a sweeter option, their blueberry lemon ricotta pancakes are both light and indulgent, offering a citrusy zing that harmonizes with the blueberry sweetness. It's the perfect spot for a leisurely brunch retreat.

3. Fable & Spirit

Location: Newport Beach

Vibe: Modern-European Charm

Inspired by classic fables and the spirit of community, Fable & Spirit's brunch experience reads like a collection of modern tales. The duck confit hash is a standout, effortlessly blending savory duck with root vegetables and a side of poached eggs. Looking for something with a punch? The chilaquiles verde pack a flavorful kick, complemented by the sharpness of the tomatillo sauce. Pair these dishes with their refreshing selection of cocktails or opt for a non-alcoholic creation that still captures the essence of their spirited menu.

4. Haven Craft Kitchen + Bar 

Location: Orange

Vibe: Hip Gastropub

Haven Craft Kitchen + Bar in the Historic Old Towne Orange exudes a vibe that’s part gastropub, part trendy eatery. Their brunch bowls are a hit, offering a variety of grains, wilted greens, and a choice of proteins that range from savory sausage to hearty bacon. The brioche French toast indulges the sweet tooth with its soft, custardy center, and the caramelized crust adds a textural twist that’s utterly delightful. The craft cocktails here are second to none, giving you the perfect excuse to start your day with a libation of the finest juncture.

5. The Ramos House Café 

Location: San Juan Capistrano

Vibe: Vintage Victorian

Set in a charming Victorian home filled with period charm, The Ramos House Café offers a brunch that’s as visually stunning as it is delectable. The 'Shrimp and Grits’ seasoned with a tasso tomato broth bring a taste of the South to the West Coast, demonstrating the kitchen's prowess with eclectic flavor profiles. The buttermilk fried chicken with a side of buttery waffles and drizzled with sweet maple syrup is a brunch classic not to be missed. The beignets, light and airy, with house-made preserves, are the perfect denouement to a lavish morning feast.

6. Snooze, an A.M. Eatery

Locations: Tustin, Orange, Huntington Beach, and Laguna Niguel

Vibe: Playful & Relaxed

For those who prefer a more laid-back, industrial-chic vibe without compromising on upscale brunch options, Snooze is the ultimate destination. The selection of pancake flights offers variety in one order, where you can try different flavors like Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes or Sweet Potato Pancakes. Their Benedicts are a textural adventure that you can customize to your heart’s content—crab, salmon, or the classic ham, the choice is yours. And if you’re feeling adventurous, try their Breakfast Pot Pie, a flaky puff pastry stuffed with eggs, your choice of hash browns, and a blanket of homemade rosemary sausage gravy.

These brunch spots are just the tip of the culinary iceberg in Orange County. They blend the finest ingredients with creative flair, offering you not just a meal but an experience to savor and share. Want to venture further out? Check out our curated brunch list for Los Angeles.

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