The Best Breakfast Restaurants in Monterey, California

The 14 Best Breakfast Places in Monterey – A Local’s Guide

If I’m going out to eat, it’s probably for breakfast. Lucky for me, the Monterey area is filled with amazing options, from oceanside delights to hidden gems you need to discover. And as a Monterey local, I’m more than happy to sing their praises.

Planning a trip and wondering where to head for breakfast in Monterey? Or maybe you’re a local looking to refresh your list of where to go for a good morning meal. Whatever the case may be, I’ve compiled a list of the best breakfasts in Monterey to help you out!

14 Delicious Breakfast Places in Monterey

1. LouLou’s Griddle in the Middle

If you’re looking for one of the best breakfasts in Monterey that never disappoints, you’re looking for LouLou’s Griddle in the Middle. Located on the Municipal Wharf (not Old Fisherman’s Wharf), you’ll spot LouLou’s as the cute, little yellow building that almost always has a line of people waiting – and for a good reason.

From their pancakes the size of hubcaps to their perfect oatmeal with a carmelized crust of sugar on top to their Wharf Wrap stuffed with scrumptious roasted potatoes, my partner and I have absolutely never had anything we didn’t enjoy at LouLou’s. When people ask us what we get, we tell them, “Everything!” 

We love LouLou’s so much that we’re here every weekend. And once you try it, you’ll understand why they have so many regulars like us. But be sure to get here early, as they don’t take reservations.


2. The Butter House

Unique Breakfast Places in Monterey: The Butter House
Image courtesy of The Butter House

Located just up the coast in Seaside, The Butter House is one of the most underrated breakfast places in Monterey. Both my family and my partner’s family have a rule that they have to go to The Butter House at least once when they visit us. More often than not, we end up going multiple times instead! 

This family-owned restaurant is truly one-of-a-kind. While you can get traditional breakfast fare, like Fried Chicken & Waffles, you can also get dishes with Filipino and Pacific Islander twists.

My favorite dish is Marciana’s Fried Rice, a butter-fried rice filled with bacon, sausage, ham, soy sauce, peppers, onions, and eggs. But if you’re looking for something more on the sweet side, try the Chocolate Banana Bread French Toast.  

If you’re going on a weekend, be sure to join the waitlist online before you head over, as the line can get long.


3. First Awakenings

First Awakenings is always a good crowd-pleaser. Located just a short walk from Cannery Row, it’s a great place to go before spending the day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and it serves one of the best breakfasts in Monterey.

This cozy location is also perfect for families. When we went with friends who brought their young toddler, we were taken to a room where there were tons of other families with kids. Our little buddy made great friends with the other kids, and we appreciated that First Awakenings was so accommodating with little ones.

With such an extensive menu of breakfast classics, there’s something for everyone. But the Homemade Corned Beef Hash is what we keep coming back to.


4. Dutch Door Donuts

Located in nearby Carmel-by-the-Sea, Dutch Door Donuts boasts that they serve up the best donuts you’ll ever have. And they just may be right. If you’re visiting Monterey, you absolutely have to find some time to get over to Carmel to try Dutch Door. 

All donuts are made to order, meaning that you’ll get the hottest, freshest donut you’ve ever eaten. The Ground Chocolate, with ground chocolate powder on top that just melts into the donut, is a personal favorite, but I’ve never tried something here I didn’t like.


5. Red House Cafe

Best Breakfast Places in Monterey: Red House Cafe
Image courtesy of Red House Cafe

Quaint and cozy, located inside an adorable red Victorian home on Lighthouse Ave, the Red House Cafe in Pacific Grove is one of the best brunch spots in Monterey. We love Red House Cafe because it really toes the line between an upscale brunch destination and a homey meal like your mom used to make.

You can grab breakfast here from Tuesday through Thursday. Otherwise, you’ll be looking at the brunch menu, which is more extensive. If you love all things sweet, you’ll love Sophia’s Nutella Panini, made with brioche bread, Nutella, bananas, and marshmallow cream. 

The Crab Cake Benedict is a general crowd-pleaser, but my favorite dish is always the Smoked Salmon on a Potato Pancake. All three of these options are available for both breakfast and brunch.


6. Winston’s

Also located on Lighthouse Ave in Pacific Grove, Winston’s is relatively new to the Monterey area’s dining scene, but it’s becoming a fast favorite when it comes to doing brunch in Monterey. 

The location is fairly small and cozy, so you should expect a wait, but once you get a table, it’ll all have been worth it. The Lemon Ricotta Pancakes are a can’t-miss!


7. Red’s Donuts

Red’s Donuts is pretty famous and for a good reason. Even longtime Carmel resident Betty White was known to love this donut shop, which has locations in Seaside and Monterey. 

Donuts tend to sell out quickly here, so you’ll want to get here early to get the good stuff. But it’s worth setting your alarm for an early breakfast in Monterey. Their cake donuts are where it’s at, but the apple fritter is always a good choice in my book.


8. Monterey Donuts

Best Breakfast Places in Monterey: Monterey Donuts

For another donut shop option, we love Monterey Donuts. It’s a hole-in-the-wall spot on Fremont Street, but once you find it, you’ll come back again and again.

If you’re looking for Instagrammable donuts with tons of unique options, you’re going to the wrong place. But if you want simple donuts done right, Monterey Donuts has you covered. Their buttermilk bars are a go-to for me, but their maple bacon bar is another great choice. 


9. Acme Coffee Roasting Co.

It might be cheating to include Acme Coffee Roasting Co. on the list of the top breakfast places in Monterey, but this Seaside coffee shop has my heart. It’s the best coffee I’ve found around Monterey. You won’t find tons of flavored coffee drinks here. Instead, you’ll find drinks that let the excellent coffee do the talking.

Along with your coffee, you can also get donuts from Red’s Donuts here, as well as a daily selection of pastries from Parker-Lusseau over in Monterey.


10. Aliotti’s Victorian Corner Restaurant

Aliotti’s Victorian Corner Restaurant is another Lighthouse Ave find in Pacific Grove and another go-to spot for brunch in Monterey. Set in a beautiful Victorian, this Italian restaurant boasts breakfast favorites done perfectly, a lovely setting, and friendly staff.

I tend to alternate between their quiches and the Chorizo Scramble, but their pancakes are always a delight, as well.


11. BookWorks

Back when I lived in Boston, my absolutely favorite place was Trident Booksellers & Cafe, an amazing brunch spot that also happened to be in a bookstore. I’ve never found anything quite like it again until I found BookWorks.

Though it’s not a brunch spot, BookWorks offers delicious pastries of all different kinds, plus tons of coffee and tea options. I love grabbing a latte, usually peppermint, which I love that they have even outside the holiday season, and hunkering down at a table to enjoy doing some reading. 

BookWorks is also an independent bookstore, so you can enjoy grabbing a coffee and perusing the shelves while you wait for your order. They always have new books around, which is why I usually pop in at least once a week.


12. The Breakfast Club

Cool Breakfast Places in Monterey: The Breakfast Club
Image courtesy of The Breakfast Club

Looking for a place that feels like you’re surrounded by family? Then The Breakfast Club in Seaside is where to be. It’s the type of place that serves quintessential American breakfast fare that’ll make you feel right at home.

This is a great choice if you’re looking for family-friendly breakfast places in Monterey. There’s something for everyone, including little ones who get their own extensive menu. The Cinnamon Roll Pancakes and the Bacon Waffle with bacon cooked inside are true treats, but for a savory option, we love the Biscuits & Spicy Gravy.


13. Paris Bakery Cafe

Paris Bakery Cafe has locations in Seaside and Monterey, but we’ve found that this family-owned French bakery tends to have more options in Monterey, at least when we’ve visited. If you’re a fan of French pastries, this bakery is a great spot to enjoy breakfast in Monterey.

It’s difficult to know exactly what will be available on a given day, but there are quite a few standout pastries. I always love the chocolate almond croissant, but we’re quite big fans of the croissants in general, as well as the meringues. 


14. Wild Plum Cafe

Cool Breakfast Places in Monterey: Wild Plum Cafe

If you’re looking for something organic, Wild Plum Cafe is one of the best breakfast places in Monterey. This cafe, which aims to be sustainable in all of its practices, serves both vegan and non-vegan dishes for breakfast. 

You’ll find a variety of egg dishes, toasts, and other traditional breakfast favorites. If you’re dining with people with food sensitivities, you’ll find this cafe to be a perfect choice. In addition to vegan fare, there are also gluten-free options. 

For something more unique, try their “steamers,” which are souffle-like eggs. Their Mediterranean Steamer, with goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes, is a great break from the norm.

There you have it! The 14 best breakfast places in Monterey! What’s your favorite place for breakfast in Monterey? Let us know in the comments!


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Author

  • Jacqueline Gualtieri

    Jacqueline is a writer and editor pursuing the freelance life to explore the world. Born and raised in New Jersey, she spent her college years in Boston before settling down with her partner and puppy in Monterey, California.

    When she’s not writing, you can often find her planning her next trip. Road trips are her favorite, whether it’s driving across the country or simply exploring a new city in her own backyard. She loves uncovering the history of every new place she goes.

    Jacqueline has a restless passion for learning and makes it a goal to pick up a new skill every year. She’s picked up embroidery, crocheting, knitting, and cross-stitching, but she’s hoping to master more languages to help her in her travels. She’s also a published author, with short stories and poetry appearing in several anthologies.

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