There’s a popular saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. There’s some logic to back up the assertion, including the need for energy to perform your job and help your body recharge after going many hours without eating while you sleep. It can also be the perfect way to offset the acidity of your morning cup of coffee without upsetting your stomach.
Of course, breakfast can be the most frustrating meal of the day. Who wants to wake up early just to make something to eat? Far too many people choose to stay in bed for that extra fifteen minutes or half hour instead of getting up to make breakfast before getting ready for the day ahead. If you don’t have time to cook yourself a healthy meal, you can at least swing by one of many eateries around San Diego to pick up something to eat at your desk.
Thankfully, San Diego isn’t hurting for breakfast restaurants. You can find early meals served at all kinds of places, from Mexican restaurants to vegan hot spots. There are places that only serve brunch on the weekend and breakfast joints located right in the heart of the SDSU university district.
We’ve taken the time to track down four of the best places to stop for breakfast in Hillcrest. Whether you’re in the mood for Eggs Benedict, fancy French toast or a perfectly flipped pancake, you’ll find something you’ll enjoy at all of these four great breakfast restaurants.
Fig Tree Cafe serves up eggs galore
The Fig Tree Cafe
Location: 416 University Avenue, Suite 100
Hours: Seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Although they aren’t open early enough to serve those with a truly early first shift schedule, Fig Tree Cafe has managed to carve out a successful niche for itself as a popular breakfast location. In fact, there are three locations around San Diego. In addition to the one in Hillcrest, which we’re featuring today, there’s a Fig Tree Cafe in Liberty Station and in Pacific Beach.
Like any respectable breakfast-based restaurant, Fig Tree Cafe offers an assortment of three egg omelets. Served with house potatoes and your choice of bread. These tasty breakfast dishes have plenty of fillings, such as avocado, bacon, sour cream and Monterrey Jack cheese, or shrimp, corn, chilies and mozzarella cheese in their shrimp frittata, which is served open faced.
If you prefer your eggs less scrambled, you can enjoy them poached in five different Eggs Benedict dishes. Their traditional version features Canadian bacon. They also have a Californian, served with smoked turkey and avocado, as well as a house made lobster and blue crab cake Benedict.
You can find plenty of different options for French toast, including stuffed French toast and Brioche French Toast. They also serve up pancakes, including a kid-sized version, as well as sandwiches, soups, bowls and flatbreads on their lunch menu.
Bread & Cie, A Must-Try in San Diego
Bread & Cie
Location: 350 University Avenue
Hours: Monday-Friday: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday: 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
As one of the most popular local sources of incredible, freshly baked bread, Bread & Cie has already developed a fanatic underground following for their breads and pastries. While you can walk in off the street to buy some of their breads or perhaps some croissants, they also have danishes, muffins, cinnamon rolls, turnovers, scones, cookies, French macaroons, biscotti, éclairs, pies, cakes and cupcakes. More importantly, they have a cafe where they serve a limited lunch and breakfast menu.
Their breakfast menu features several kinds of breakfast paninis, such as the Nectarine Mascarpone French Toast panini, the Croque Americaine, which is filled with sliced egg, bacon, pepper jack cheese, tomato and watercress on Lemon Pugliese bread, as well as an artichoke frittata panini. If you’re feeling kind of adventurous, they will make you a breakfast pizza if you order after 9 a.m., which is topped with bacon, eggs, Parmesan and green onion.
If you’d prefer something from the bakery, consider one of their quiches, such as the tempting spinach and feta quiche or a classic Ham and Swiss Gruyere quiche. If you want something simple, their specialty bread sample plate has three slices of their bread served with sweet (unsalted) butter, fresh preserves and cream cheese. There’s also a smoked salmon platter, oatmeal, yogurt and granola on the menu.
Bacon Benedict and Soyrizo Omelets
Location: Hillcrest Farmer’s Market at 3960 Normal St.
Hours: Sunday only, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Despite only serving food one day a week, Benedict’s is definitely one of the most loved breakfast destinations in the Hillcrest area. One look at their menu and their online reviews will have you setting a reminder to stop by on a Sunday morning soon. They have been known to occasionally set up at other Farmers Markets, but Hillcrest is the one they usually call home.
As their name implies, this specialty breakfast food stand focuses on the perfect poached egg, paired with freshly made Hollandaise sauce. For those of you who are less brave when it comes to runny eggs, however, you’ll be thrilled to hear that they serve omelets, French toast and other breakfast staples.
Some of the more popular Benedict dishes on their menu include the Bacon Benedict, the Canadian Bacon Benedict and the Salmon Benedict, although their menu regularly changes with special dishes, like their Crab Cake Benedict. You can order an omelet, a side of potatoes or even a Benedict or omelet made with soyrizo (soy chorizo sausage) for those who don’t want any meat in their meal.
It’s important to realize that this is not a fast food restaurant, so when lines form, you may have to wait some time to enjoy your meal. However, when it’s ready, it’ll be fresh and so flavorful you won’t mind the wait at all.
Giant Plates at Hash House a Go Go
Hash House a Go Go
Location: 3628 5th Avenue
Hours: Monday: 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday: 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday: 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. , 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Saturday: 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Sunday: 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
If you’re looking for farm fresh food served in a creative and delicious menu, Hash House a Go Go is your ideal Hillcrest breakfast destination. Although this place started here in San Diego, it has spread to a number of other cities since opening including Chicago, Orlando, Las Vegas, Reno, Plano, Texas and even the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut.
The original location in Hillcrest remains popular with locals and tourists alike. Recent awards for this popular eatery include the Best Waffle in California by CFS and the Spectrum Award for Service Excellence from City Beat News.
As is evident from their name, this restaurant serves several kinds of House Hashes that will keep you coming back for more. Served with eggs, fruit and a biscuit, these dishes are as filling as they are flavorful. Options include the roasted chicken with fresh garlic, rosemary and asparagus, the Hash House Famous Meatloaf with roasted red peppers, spinach and smoked mozzarella, and even a vegetarian version with mushrooms, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomato and spinach.
For those who don’t like hashes or potato dishes, never fear. The breakfast menu also features several kinds of Eggs Benedict, sausage gravy, a sage fried chicken and waffle tower, pancakes, and, of course, those award-winning waffles.