Located just 25 miles north of San Diego, Encinitas is an iconic beach town with a rich surf history. It’s no coincidence that breakfast is so popular in this city: locals often head out before sunrise to surf, a tradition affectionately known as “dawn patrol.”
Downtown Encinitas is a famous surf town in Southern California (Photo: Mikefairbanks via Wikipedia)
Whether you worked up an appetite catching waves or need a bite before a day of relaxing on the beach, head to one of these local favorites for breakfast.
Honey’s Bistro and Bakery
Honey’s Bistro and Bakery is located in the heart of downtown Encinitas. There is usually a line to order, as diners are eager to get their day started with waffle benedicts, acai bowls and self-serve coffee. In the mood for something more decadent? Try the lobster benedict or the stuffed French toast. Order at the counter and grab a table outside if it’s available. This spot is a great place to kick back and soak in the leisurely pace of Main Street.
632 S. Coast Highway 101
Pannikin Coffee & Tea
Pannikin has been “wakin’ up San Diego since 1968.” If you’re driving down Highway 101, you can’t miss it–it’s housed in the bright yellow historic Santa Fe Railroad Station that was built in 1888. Locals and tourists love this place for the wide range of coffees and teas, fresh baked pastries and eclectic décor. Their coffee is organically sourced and roasted in-house–the signature Pannikin blend is a popular choice–and can be purchased by the bag. Note: Wi-Fi is nowhere to be found here, so leave your laptop at home and come to Pannikin to people watch or chat with a friend over breakfast.
510 N. Coast Highway 101
Lotus Café and Juice Bar
Lotus Café and Juice Bar is a favorite restaurant among those wanting a more health-conscious meal. They serve breakfast all day and have many menu options for those with dietary restrictions. Locals love Lotus Café’s blueberry buckwheat pancakes, acai bowls and vegan breakfast burritos. The café’s outdoor seating area–the largest in town and dog friendly to boot–is an ideal place to linger over a meal on a beautiful day. Order a fresh juice or smoothie to go and take a short walk to the beach or through the nearby Self-Realization Fellowship’s Meditation Gardens.
765 S. Coast Highway 101
Craving a traditional diner breakfast? Head to the 101 Diner, a local institution that has been serving diner classics since 1983. Take a seat at the counter and chat with the friendly staff or a morning regular over a cup of coffee. This quintessential diner is known for its Hawaiian pancakes, served with coconut syrup made in-house, and the Cardiff Crack Benedict, made with marinated Seaside Market tri-tip with cilantro-jalapeño hollandaise sauce, which is homemade and keeps people coming back for more!
552 S. Coast Highway 101
Leucadia Donut Shoppe
If you’re short on time and looking for something tasty, head to Leucadia Donut Shoppe. Locals know these donuts–made fresh daily by the owners–sell out fast, so get in line early to choose from the largest variety. The most popular items are the classic glazed donut and the apple fritter, both fried to perfection. Pair a donut with a cup of Kona coffee for a sweet start to the day. This popular spot is cash only, so come prepared.
1604 N. Coast Highway 101
St. Tropez Bistro & Beyond
St. Tropez Bistro and Beyond brings a taste of France to this laid back, surfer town. The French-inspired menu features signature omelets, sweet and savory crepes, and a variety of quiches. For a twist on a breakfast staple, order the French toast, made with brioche or a croissant. The large indoor and outdoor seating areas make St. Tropez a great place to stop when traveling in a group or with a four-legged friend. After filling up on breakfast, be sure to grab a treat from the pastry case to go.
947 S. Coast Highway 101