Over the past few years, Brunch has grown to be an official 4th meal and all the rage in urban meccas.
There’s something special about brunch that makes it feel a bit more of a treat than other dining-out occasions. As a chance to casually catch up with friends, wind down from the week (or wind up -- hello bottomless mimosas!), and enjoy delicious food over light hearted chatter and laughs, why wouldn’t it be? Since I have recently joined the ranks of twentysomething college grads, apparently a population who brunches like crazy, it’s become a favorite weekend meal of mine as well. I try to indulge occasionally without breaking my underdeveloped bank account, and it never disappoints.
When Dri came to visit me in my new city, it wasn’t really a question of if we’d fit in a brunch date, it was simply, where? After a quick little Yelp search (admittedly looking for whoever had the best bottomless mimosa deal in Venice), I came across 26 Beach Cafe. We knew we wanted to get our buzz on, and we knew we wanted to hit the beach afterwards, so we decided this little spot was our winner.
The Food (& Drinks)
Behold a menu of the most eye-appealing, mouth-watering, and expansive collection of French toast wonders that you’ve ever seen. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, then consider this cafe yours; this is especially the place you need to be. From options such as “S’Mores,” complete with Nutella, marshmallow fluff, whipped cream, and strawberries, to the “Reece’s Peece’s,” adorned with peanut butter, chopped Reece’s, and Callebaut chocolate sauce -- your aspirations for a sugar rush shall not go unmet. You could even consider your meal a triple threat - brunchert, if you will (Breakfast, lunch, and dessert? No? Okay, I tried).
I eyed many of the fruit-topped French toasts, with their inviting choices of kiwis, warm bananas, mangos, and other toppings that sounded superb, despite the fact that I didn’t even know what a few of them exactly were. Appetizing descriptions like silky lemon curd with raspberry coulis and croissant French toast with fresh berries with melba sauce had me wishing for a month’s worth of visits here just so I could try each of these delicacies. And this was only a third of the menu.
It’d be difficult to sum up their full list of choices in just a few words; they've truly got a varied and savory medley, sure to appease the fancies of anyone’s palette. If you’re feeling a little less “br” and a little more “unch,” you can spring for one of multiple delightful-sounding penne or linguini pasta options, or perhaps their wide array of renowned burger options.
If you really want to embrace the essence of breakfast+lunch or you can’t decide which end of the spectrum your taste buds are leaning towards, go for one of 10 choices that are known as “The Royals.” Unique combinations I personally have only seen here at 26 Beach, the Royals are Hawaiian style scrambled eggs over brown rice, each option accompanied by its own list of enchanting ingredients that make it complete. The Crab Royal, for example, serves up eggs scrambled with crab meat, bacon, avocado, onions, and cheddar cheese, over brown rice, while the Chicken Curry Royal offers the staple egg + rice duo along with chicken, onions, snap peas, and bean sprouts, topped with their coconut curry sauce.
Picking what to get was probably the toughest decision of my week. But since this was my first meal of the day, my stomach and I decided we needed a hearty breakfast, and the first option on the menu looked perfect (Ironically called the “#19”). Succulent sausage, fried eggs (which I substituted for scrambled), and American cheese stuffed between the thickest slices of French toast I’ve ever eaten, topped with powdered sugar, were served with a side of breakfast potatoes and a little jar of real maple syrup. It was all that I could dream for.
Super tasty and filling, it made for a marvelous brunch.
They don’t have unlimited mimosas, but they do offer a bottle of champagne and your choice of juice for pouring your own mimosas, at $30. Dri and I happily toasted to traveling yet again together and poured about 3-4 glasses each from our personal bottle.
On my 2nd visit to Beach 26, I brought my parents to my new favorite LA Brunch spot (well, my only brunch spot as of yet) because I knew they’d enjoy it just as much as Dri and me did. This time, my mom and I were feeling the Royals and in the mood for seafood; she went with the Crab Royal, and I the Smoked Salmon (I’m weak for salmon). It was pretty obvious that we enjoyed our choices by the manner in which we cleaned our plates with a quickness. My dad, however, ordered the #19 and could only finish about half of it in one sitting. I couldn’t blame him -- I couldn’t finish the whole plate when I had gotten it, either. Considering how enormously thick the French toast slices are, you are surely getting your money’s worth.
The cozy and heartfelt 26 Beach is designed wonderfully to capture the joyous times and carefree vibe you associate with the beach. Its sunny interior is surrounded with vintage trinkets and amorous emblems, such as one wall that’s covered in kisses opposite another wall with an adorable love note written on it. Each of the restaurant’s small sections are decorated with their own whimsical touch and a sense of Parisian style, but it’s not overdone or over-tried. It feels happy, upbeat, and airy.
To top it off, the hosts and waitstaff are knowledgeable about the menu, friendly, and ready to serve you with a smile.
26 Beach is appropriately priced in the middle range ($$). Expect to pay an average of $15-$18/person + drinks. When Dri and I opted for the champagne, our totals came to about $30 each.
The crowd - Adrienne and I went for brunch on a late Saturday afternoon. It was probably only about half full, so we were immediately seated. When I returned a couple weeks later, however, it was a Sunday, and the crowd was off the chains. We pulled up to a mass of people standing outside and a waitlist of an hour. We put our names down, ran to make an errand, and got back within 45 minutes. When we got back, they told us we’d be seated in about 10 minutes, but it was more like another half hour. Is Beach 26 worth the wait? It’s simple: YES. But make reservations if you can.
On a Saturday, we were able to find a spot on the street only steps away from the cafe’s front door. Sunday -- their crowded afternoon -- we didn’t see any street parking in sight. There’s a valet lot about 50 feet down, which provides parking for under $10.