San Carlos gets a lot of attention for its seemingly ever-growing collection of upscale restaurants. Over the past decade, Laurel Street and the adjoining side-streets have been transformed from a sleepy, small town shopping district into a modern-day “restaurant row”. There’s no shortage of fine dining to suit just about anyone’s taste, and this has made downtown San Carlos a destination of choice not only for San Carlos residents, but for many people outside the community when they decide to step out for lunch or dinner.
But what about breakfast? Does anyone even “do” breakfast anymore? The answer is a resounding “yes”, and San Carlos has some really cool spots to grab a hearty breakfast to fuel your day ahead. Although I have lived on the Peninsula for most of my life, I originally hail from the mid-west where breakfast is ingrained in the fabric of life, so it’s just as much as a social event as it is a meal. So just a fair warning that I have a soft spot for down-home hearty breakfast joints.
In this post, I will highlight five places that you can go in San Carlos to get your early morning fix. It’s by no means a complete list, so if you know of a great place that I have not covered below, please feel free to brag about it in the comments. That will simply make this post an even more valuable resource when you want to dash out and grab breakfast.
So in absolutely no particular order….
1- The Depot Cafe
Located at the San Carlos train station, the Depot Cafe has been a San Carlos institution for as long as I can remember. When I used to take Caltrain every day to college (many years ago), Friday morning breakfast at the Cafe before the train arrived became a weekly tradition. It’s a cozy atmosphere, with small tables and hundreds of train photos throughout. The food is great, and the service is fast — the latter being essential if you are going to service the commuter crowd — and it seems like the owner knows everyone who walks in the door. Quintessential small-town diner feel..
There are about 50 different variations of omelettes on the menu, but if you can’t find exactly what you want you can simply design your own. The country potatoes are off the charts, too.
Here’s their review on Yelp: The Depot Cafe
2- The Omelette House.
If you’re truly a hard-core Midwesterner and miss the visceral sensation of eating in a old-school breakfast diner, then The Omelette House is for you. The minute you walk through the door, you feel like you’ve been transported in a time machine from chic San Carlos back to a typical Ohio diner in the 60’s (minus the smoke, thank goodness.) No frills here – just lots of booths and tables, and good food.
The menu at the Omellete House looks similar to the Depot Cafe in that they both have and entire page of omellete variations (you’d expect that with the name). They also carry some of the more traditional midwest breakfast items, too. It’s really fun to have a place like this in San Carlos. The Omelette House is located at 66 El Camino Real in San Carlos — click here for the map.
Here’s their review on Yelp: The Omelette House
3- My Breakfast House.
You can’t miss the bright red awning on Laurel Street that guides you into My Breakfast House. In true diner style, this place is all about checkered tablecloths and good breakfasts. No frills here either, which is a huge plus in my book. It’s not as heavily omelette oriented as the previous two diners (although the omelettes here are excellent), so you find some great variations of french toast, pancakes and other fare.
Another plus for families with children is that they have a small play room off to the side to keep the little ones occupied while you enjoy a leisurely Saturday morning breakfast. My Breakfast House is located at 1137 Laurel Street in San Carlos — click here for the map.
Here’s their review on Yelp: My Breakfast House.
4- Sky Kitchen
If you’re looking for a unique location for breakfast, check out the Sky Kitchen at the San Carlos airport. What the Depot Cafe is to trains, the Sky Kitchen is to airplanes. It’s still one of the best-kept breakfast secrets in San Carlos. You can eat a great breakfast while you’re watching the planes take off and land from our own commercial airport. The Sky Kitchen is smaller than the other 3 places, so plan your breakfast time accordingly if you don’t want to wait for a seat. The Sky Kitchen is located on Airport Way in San Carlos — click here for the map.
Here’s their review on Yelp: Sky Kitchen.
5- Broiler Express.
As far as location goes, you can’t beat Broiler Express. They are on the prime corner of Laurel Street and Arroyo Avenue, in the hot part of the San Carlos downtown shopping district. The comment that seems to resonate about the Broiler Express is that you get great food and it’s cheap. There are a number of good breakfast options for under $5, which is something you usually won’t find at the other places. Broiler Express is located at 895 Laurel Street in San Carlos – click here for the map.
Here’s their review on Yelp: Broiler Express
Honorable Mention: Stacks
No article on great breakfast spots in San Carlos would be complete without props to Stacks on El Camino. It’s obviously a favorite for many folks in San Carlos, since it’s so close. But technically they’re located in Redwood City, and I wanted this post to pay homage (or fromage?) to those places that are truly San Carlos institutions.
Got a Favorite?
Obviously, there are more than 5 places to grab a great breakfast in San Carlos. I just highlighted 5 of the more established and traditional diner-style breakfast spots. Do you have a favorite that everyone should know about? Feel free to show them some love in the comments below!
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