It is becoming increasingly difficult to pinpoint my favorite breakfast place in all of San Diego, but Fig Tree Cafe now stands dangerously close behind the current reigning champ: Breakfast Republic. (And actually, this shouldn’t be surprising, considering that both restaurant concepts are the brainchildren of the same guy.) Fig Tree has three locations throughout the county; we were recently invited to enjoy the one in Hillcrest, which is strategically located right along the main boulevard, with a small outdoor patio perfect for a Sunday morning brunch.
If you like coffee like I do, you can’t go wrong here. I asked our server, Taylor, to bring me his favorite; he brought a giant mug filled with a double shot espresso and hazelnut cream. I am quite picky about my coffee: it has to be the perfect blend of creamy and sweet, and I didn’t need to add a thing to it. We also tried the fresh-squeezed orange juice made in-house, from locally grown and picked oranges, and a flight of fruity mimosas (an off-menu special of the month.) It’s saying something when a) I hate pulp, and b) I drink a glass of thick, pulpy orange juice and love it.
I always opt for the unique items on the menu — the ones I can’t get anywhere else. Fig Tree certainly holds the top spot, there: have you ever heard of breakfast sushi? A “roll” of their house bacon (“Man Candy” style – fried with brown sugar and paprika) wrapped around rice, scrambled eggs, scallions, and topped with a plum sauce, it’s a unique and delicious concept.
Fans of bennies will love the short rib Benedict, made with braised (melt-in-your-mouth) Angus beef and a poached egg. Trevor about keeled over from the deliciousness.
If you’re more of a sweet than savory breakfast person, I strongly suggest a French toast sampler, so you can enjoy three of the menu’s finest toasts. I tried (and loved) the Valentine toast (topped with raspberries and stuffed with white chocolate), cinnamon/brown sugar and sauteed apple toast, and the toast stuffed with ricotta and (incredible) fig jam. Holy sugar rush, Batman. (Also: holy love of all things delicious, Batman.)
Fig Tree is proud to serve only the finest local produce, as well as 100% natural and organic eggs from a family-run farm in Ramona. Their menu is gigantic, with plenty of other unique dishes, specialty drinks, beer and kombucha on tap; and even with three entrees and three drink options between us, we left with mental notes of what we want to try next time. They also serve a variety of sandwiches, salads, and flatbreads for lunch…but really, if a place a) is known for excellent breakfast, and b) serves breakfast all day…you order the breakfast.
That’s a no-brainer.
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Fig Tree Cafe Hillcrest
416 University Avenue
San Diego, CA 92103
Open daily from 8am-3pm