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Best Breakfast & Brunch in Costa Mesa, California, USA

By 16 February 2020 September 16th, 2021 One Comment

The food scene in Costa Mesa is out of this world. With so many delectable options, you can be jumping from one cafe to the next restaurant around Costa Mesa everyday and still not be done with it.

Worse, your conversations will start to turn into intellectual debates about which restaurant is better than the other.

And then you’ll start imagining yourself as a food connoisseur… or is Costa Mesa really turning you into one?

At least you can console yourself with this fact – whatever you’re partaking in, you know you’re in the good hands of these award-winning chefs.


As always, I find the best way to source for the cheapest flights is by checking on Google Flights & Skyscanner.

As for accommodation, I found Booking & HotelsCombined to provide the most comprehensive, unbiased comparison of different hotel sites. 

I travel long-term and never leave home without Safetywing, an affordable nomad travel insurance that covers COVID-19 too!.

In my earlier post, I talked about how Costa Mesa’s prime location in Orange County makes it the perfect home base for a weekend or weeklong vacation. In my 4 days there, I scouted some of the most unique and fun things to do in Costa Mesa, including shopping, the beaches and the arts.

This post will focus primarily on all the food you can eat in Costa Mesa – particularly for breakfast and brunch. If you’re looking for other restaurants in Costa Mesa to dine later in the day or for a late pick-me-up, check this post out.

Where to stay in Costa Mesa, California, USA

We stayed at Avenue of the Arts Hotel, known to be one of the more Instagrammable hotels in the area. Check out this earlier post to read my whole review.

Here are other hotel options in Costa Mesa:

Hop on HotelsCombined to compare the best hotel prices!

Getting to Costa Mesa, California, USA

By Flight

The closest airport to Costa Mesa is John Wayne. It is an international airport serving the Orange County area.

By Car

From LA: 45min drive, 41 miles
From San Diego: 1h 20min drive, 87 miles


Best Breakfast in Costa Mesa, California, USA

Portola Coffee @ The OC Mix

coffee, SOCO and The OC Mix, Things To Do In Costa Mesa This Weekend


If you declare yourself a coffee aficionado, put Portola’s coffee grinds to the challenge. One of the original tenants here at The OC Mix, this award-winning coffee shop in Costa Mesa is quickly becoming any javaphile’s favourite (and obviously Cade has a soft spot for it now).

SOCO and The OC Mix, Things To Do In Costa Mesa This WeekendSituated inside The OC Mix amongst the boutique shops, Portola keeps the crowd going with its unique names for the types of coffee they serve along with typical breakfast pastries and small bites.

Take your breakfast indoors or out, on the bar top or at the benches!

Weekdays: 6am-9am
Weekends: 7/8am - 8/9pm

Silver Trumpet Restaurant

Silver Trumpet Restaurant, Breakfast-brunch-dinner-What-to-eat-in-Costa-Mesa-Orange-County-California-USAGiven that Avenue of the Arts Hotel doesn’t serve breakfast as part of their daily room rates, we had the opportunity to try out breakfast at Silver Trumpet, their in-house restaurant.

silver trumpet restaurant, Breakfast-brunch-dinner-What-to-eat-in-Costa-Mesa-Orange-County-California-USATheir breakfast items consist of standard classics, omelettes and smoothies. What can I say – their breakfast meals are all very wholesome, with a side of cut fruits and toast no less!

To cater to business travellers, they also have a “Express” breakfast menu.

Sundays - Wednesdays: 7am - 11pm
Thursdays - Saturdays: 7am - 1am

The Den @ The Lab

Formerly called Gypsy Den, this cafe’s highlight is definitely how they adorned their interior with antique golden picture frames on the walls and other bohemian embellishments. There’s so much to look at on the decorated walls! It kind of reminded me of Harry Potter.

This quaint diner was a little hard to find within The Lab and rightly so it deserves to be.

The scattered and non-matching seats, along with the decorations, made the atmosphere calm and laid-back, with room to breathe and take your time to order in a way that allowed us time to choose the meal we favoured.

Serving a classic cafe menu of mostly sandwiches and burgers, we took to a Sunrise Yoghurt bowl ($10) and Cade got a sandwich ($11). The food hit just the spot and at the right portion sizes that left us feeling satiated rather than stuffed.

True to the gypsy theme, their bottled beer selection ($6) are also pretty eclectic.

9am - 9pm

Best Brunch in Costa Mesa, California, USA

Eat Chow

Breakfast-brunch-dinner-What-to-eat-in-Costa-Mesa-Orange-County-California-USAThe name of the cafe misled me into thinking they served Chinese cuisine, but boy was I wrong!

Eat Chow‘s menu serves classic brunch options like Eggs Benedict, along with a play on eggs – they have over 10 variations of egg-based dishes. A very interesting mix of items on the menu that it’s hard to pick out.

Eat Chow, Breakfast-brunch-dinner-What-to-eat-in-Costa-Mesa-Orange-County-California-USA

Part of Eat Chow’s menu

The dishes served up was nothing like what we expected, and came as a delightful welcome. Our atypical brunch was complete. Portions are abundant, which can fill you up all the way through to dinner.

If you’re looking for the best breakfast in Costa Mesa to fuel you up, this will surely provide the energy for the rest of your day.

Note that the cafe is slightly small so it gets pretty busy at peak timings.

Eat Chow menu, restaurants in Costa Mesa, Orange County, California, USA

Eat Chow menu

7am - 9/10pm

Greenleaf @ SOCO

Apart from coming to SOCO to satisfy your shopping needs in Costa Mesa, SOCO and The OC Mix also offers quite a range of food options.


Skinny B bowl

Serving a range of sandwiches and salads, I really loved how sumptuous my Skinny B bowl ($13.95) was. Filled with all sorts of goodness – burrata, arugula, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, apples, almonds, cranberries, pomegranate and topped with lemon vinaigrette, it will surely change anybody’s minds about eating salads!

Weekdays: 10:30am - 8pm
Weekends: 9am - 8pm

Playa Mesa

Playa Mesa, restaurants in Costa Mesa, Orange County, California, USAPlaya Mesa’s menu is inspired by authentic Mexican foods and flavours found in the regions of Baja and mainland Mexico.

I know I recommended this in my list of late night dining because of the wide array of cocktails and alcohol they offer, but I thought their brunch menu deserves some credit too.

The restaurant set up is really pretty and in theme – they have a bar dominating the middle, an alfresco dining area with fairy lights hanging on top of it (I can only imagine how cosy it’ll look come night) and diner-type seating. The whole colour scheme complemented the space very well.

We were absolutely blown away by how authentic this Mexican establishment is. While I didn’t have my Mexican friend here to vouch for the originality of it, I am pretty sure this is as close as it gets.

Not that the menu being in Spanish can fool me, I had a very eye-opening experience ordering food here that it blew my mind about Mexican food.

Playa Mesa, Breakfast-brunch-dinner-What-to-eat-in-Costa-Mesa-Orange-County-California-USATo start off, they served a very special coffee concoction that I’ve never heard before. Sweetened by star anise and with churros to dip the coffee in, this was one coffee I’ve never had in my life. Who knew star anise could add such a sweet taste to black coffee?

I liked how the Oaxaca cheese in the Grilled Shrimp Tacos made the taco so chewy ($16). Their baked enchiladas ($17) come with a green tomato, sour cream sauce that deserves extra praise! Because of how carb-heavy the sides are, each of the dish is sufficient on its own.

Playa Mesa, Breakfast-brunch-dinner-What-to-eat-in-Costa-Mesa-Orange-County-California-USA

Seriously the best homemade tortillas!

Regardless of what you order, their homemade salsa and chips are the best! It comes complimentary and I seriously considered buying a packet to take them home, if only they do takeouts for this!

If you’re here later in the day, don’t leave without trying their cocktails. They have over a hundred different versions of cocktails, so much so that they have a Cocktail Bible to browse from!

We were surprised this place is not crowded all day long!

Weekdays: 11am - 11pm
Weekends: 9am - 11pm

Lunch in Costa Mesa, California, USA

LA Brisket @ The Lab

LA Brisket, Breakfast-brunch-dinner-What-to-eat-in-Costa-Mesa-Orange-County-California-USA

True to its name, this eatery is meat heaven right here. They serve a basic selection of various meat – you can choose between brisket, pulled pork, ribs or chicken. Otherwise they have brisket-filled sandwiches.

LA Brisket, Breakfast-brunch-dinner-What-to-eat-in-Costa-Mesa-Orange-County-California-USA

LA Brisket’s menu

They serve a plain roll of bread to accompany the meats which I thought was unnecessary – we had difficulty finishing the huge chunks of meats as it is!

Also because it’s such a meat-heavy meal, I recommend it for lunch rather than brunch – unless of course you’re a meat-aholic!

We ordered a side dish together with our brisket and ribs, and it turned out that the sweet potato fries were the best out of the whole meal (mostly because it was glazed with honey – yum)! We cleaned out the fries but swore never to eat meat for the next 24 hours again.

Being a small eatery, they have a limited beer selection.

LA Brisket is located in The LAB Anti-Mall, which has very limited parking. We took quite a few loops around the property to finally find a spot two streets down.

11am - 9pm

Special thanks to Travel Costa Mesa for this experience! All opinions remain my own.

26 – 30 December 2019, Thu – Sun

Isabel Leong

Isabel Leong

An explorer at heart, the world is Isabel's playground. She enjoys seizing every moment exploring every hideout and doing the unimaginable, like bungee jumping in Phuket and couchsurfing in Europe. If she had wings, she’d definitely be soaring right now. Also a fitness trainer, if she’s not at the gym, you can find her doing yoga or rock climbing! Read more about her on belaroundtheworld.com/about.