Santa Monica’s finest.
You might by now having the impression that this blog is a lot about food and breakfast and where to get really good varieties of the above mentioned. Well, you’re right. I love breakfast, I simply do. And there’s this small café in Santa Monica that I stumbled upon (well, not really. It was next to the Ocean Park Hotel where I stayed at the time) in 2014. I liked their breakfast so much that I came back in 2015, while I was on a roadtrip.
The OP Café was founded 1996 and is family owned by Mark and Lani Verge. It is located in Ocean Park, a nice neighbourhood of Santa Monica in the Los Angeles Area. During the week you might not assume that behind of the yellow wooden front is actually a huge variety of breakfast waiting for you; that picture changes Saturdays and Sundays, when up to twenty people line up in front of it, waiting to get available seats. So believe me, it IS really good. So reserve your table ahead of time if you plan going there on the weekend. If you come early during the week, there’s no problem to get you seated.
There is a small seating area outside; I preferred eating there during my first Los Angeles stay as it was in December and the weather was really nice and warm still, unlike back home in Austria at this time. Inside there’s this traditional huge counter with seatings around it, some booths and tables. On the walls are different pictures showing Santa Monica Lifeguards from 1880 to 1980; I could spend hours looking at them. It’s all so… beachy. And American. You gotta love it. So, that’s enough about the interior. Let’s talk food (finally) and service.
Delicious. That’s the only word that comes close to how amazing the breakfast tastes there. As I ate there quite often, I can assure you that everything is prepared fresh, the quality of the ingredients seems to be quite good, as the result tastes that wonderful. The pancakes are fluffy, the bacon the way I want it and the coffee (that’s kinda magically never getting empty in your mug) is even for me (Vienna-based; you know, coffee is our blood) better than just drinkable. My favorite dish was the 2-2-2. It’s two pancakes, two pieces of bacon and two eggs any style. They also offer a daily special.
The service was more than just the usual American friendly. During my first stay I went there quite every day and after a while one of the waiters stopped at my table regularly to have a small chat. He gave me some advices on where to go, what to do, what to see, we talked a bit about his personal history and at the end of my stay I even got a breakfast on the house. That was super lovely and I liked it a lot. But the even more amazing thing was that when I came back about a year later, one of the waitresses could still remember me. And that even though they must see thousands of different people during a year. Just lovely!
The OP Café
3117 Ocean Park Blvd, Santa Monica
CA 90405, United States
Open every day from 7 am to 3 pm; make sure to reserve a table if you plan to come on a weekend. The prices are very moderate, and the earlier you’re there, the less you pay!
PS: Only the second picture was taken by me; the other ones belong to The OP Café, image source is their facebook page.