San Diego, California – The Mission

Restaurant: The Mission
Cuisine: Breakfast/Brunch/Lunch/Fusion/American/Latin-America/Asian
Last visited: October 3, 2010
Location: San Diego, California (North Park)
Address: 2801 University Ave
Price Range: $10 or less

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 4.5 (based on what I tried)
Service: 4
Ambiance: 3.5
Overall: 5
Additional comments:

  • Locally owned/operated
  • “Top 25 Best Breakfast in US”
  • Voted “Best Restaurant in San Diego”
  • Offers eclectic breakfasts/brunch
  • Some Asian/Latin/American fusion
  • Local favourite
  • Line-ups
  • Freshly baked goods
  • Made from scratch/homemade
  • Pretty healthy, fresh ingredients
  • Affordable
  • Big portions
  • Open daily 7am-3pm

**Recommendations: Chicken Apple Sausage & Eggs, Zen breakfast with a side of homemade Thai peanut sauce

The Mission is a popular local favourite for breakfast and brunch in San Diego, California. It’s been named as one of the city’s best restaurants and USA Today and Zagat has even named it as one of the 25 best bets for breakfast in the Unites States. I’d say that’s a pretty big deal. It was Sunday morning and there was a 20 minute line up at around 9am and the place is constantly packed. They’re just as popular for lunch as well.

The restaurant is pretty big and it looks more modern on the inside than it does from the outside. It’s a very eclectic restaurant and everything is home made with fresh ingredients that you can see and taste. The menu is quite large with some traditional offerings, but the majority is fusion with innovative recipes that have Latino-Asian influences. All the breads and pastries are freshly baked but the selection is a bit limited. It’s clean, causal, affordable and the food is generally healthy although the portions are big. It’s a fancy diner without the fancy prices and that’s hard to come by. I could see it being on West 4th or the Kitsilano area if it was in Vancouver, BC.

We had our local San Diego friend take us here before heading to the Chargers game. The day continued with Extraordinary Desserts and Hash House a Go Go so it was hard to pace myself because everything at The Mission sounded delicious. I was generally quite impressed and I would definitely want to make a bigger dent in the menu the next time I’m visiting San Diego.

On the table:

Non-Fat Blackberry Banana Smoothie4/6

  • A Mission favourite $3.95USD
  • The menu said “A Mission favourite” so I had to order it. Every time I see “favourite” 9/10 times I’ll order it.
  • The smoothie is pretty big and basically a meal in itself.
  • It is what it is, but I think it’s popular because it’s almost made of all fruit blended with some ice. There’s no dairy and it’s naturally sweet.
  • The blackberries are frozen, but that banana is not so you get bits of creamy banana. Good ratio, but I tasted more blackberries.

Banana Blackberry Pancakes – 4/6

  • Three large pancakes with bananas and blackberries $6.75 Add $2 for two scrambled eggs and double smoked bacon.
  • All pancakes are decorated with fresh seasonal fruit, berry purée, and powdered sugar.
  • The pancakes are pretty big and the portion is shareable.
  • It’s really fresh and the quality is really good, however I think it looked better than it tasted.
  • The pancakes were fluffy, but not cake like. They’re a bit dry and bland so you had to eat them with syrup or the fresh berry puree they plate it with, which I really liked.
  • I wish the bananas and berries were mashed and mixed into the pancake batter as well as being placed whole on the pancakes

Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes – 3.5/6

  • Three crisp pancakes with blueberry and cornmeal$6.75USD
  • All pancakes are decorated with fresh seasonal fruit, berry purée, and powdered sugar.
  • These sounded absolutely delicious to me and I really wanted to like them more, but they were drier than the banana blackberry pancakes.
  • The cornmeal was used for texture because it adds no flavour. It was just sprinkled on top during the cooking process so it gave the pancakes a semi crunchy texture.
  • The blueberries were placed whole again and it was nice to bite into bites of juicy berries, but I still wanted more because the pancake itself had no flavour.

**Chicken Apple Sausage & Eggs – 4.5/6

  • Chicken apple sausage is lightly sautéed, served with crispy rosemary potatoes, grilled rosemary bread, and eggs as you like them $8.95USD
  • This is another local favourite and it’s huge! It was pretty much dinner. Although it’s hearty, everything was fresh and not oily so it’s pretty healthy.
  • Scrambled eggs are delicious here. They’re slippery, fluffy, soft and moist.
  • Chicken apple sausages were very good as well. It was made with real coarsely ground chicken and they were very moist and flavourful and not greasy. They had some dried herbs and a savoury earthy flavour but I couldn’t taste much sweetness or much apple at all.

  • Crispy Rosemary Potatoes are a major highlight and they give you a ton too. It’s made with creamy red skin potatoes that are roughly smashed up. They’re crispy and tender and very charred so they have an intense caramelized flavour with the perfect amount of seasoning and Rosemary. They’re cooked with tomatoes and some green onions and they’re one of the most delicious fried potatoes I’ve had for breakfast.
  • Grilled Rosemary Bread is freshly baked in house. It’s almost like a garlic focaccia bread but without the garlic. It’s crunchy and soft in the middle and delicious if you want to use it to make a sandwich with the sausages, eggs, and potatoes.

**Zen Breakfast – 6/6

  • Scrambled egg whites, braised tofu, brown rice, lightly grilled zucchini, tomatoes, onions, and squash $8.95USD
  • I loved this! It’s more for lunch, but I’d be happy to have it anytime of the day. It’s fresh and healthy and it’s one of the best vegetarian meals I’ve had.

  • The tofu is braised in soy sauce, ginger and tangy sweet juicy mushrooms. Each tofu cube is bursting with savoury, tangy, sweet sauce and it just has great intense flavour.
  • The scrambled egg whites are amazing! They must use milk to get such a nice texture because it’s so silky and soft.
  • The brown rice would be even better if it was quinoa. It was a bit clumpy, but I didn’t mind too much because mixed with the tofu it was okay. It also had a nice sweet ans savoury soy sauce n top so even if it was dry you couldn’t really tell.

Homemade Thai Peanut Sauce – 6/6

  • Their famous sauce.
  • I asked for a side or this homemade Thai peanut sauce that they serve for lunch items. i couldn’t leave without trying it and I knew it would be perfect with my Zen breakfast. I highly recommend getting it on the side because it goes great with everything on the Zen plate.
  • It’s a pretty creamy and thick sauce with made with peanut butter, soy sauce, and some chili sauce. It’s savoury, sweet and has the perfect kick.


The Mission on Urbanspoon


  • KimHo says:

    There is a possible explanation why there is a cornmeal version and that has nothing to do with texture or taste: since cornmeal is gluten free (provided it hasn’t been mixed with wheat flour, that is), it is suitable for coeliac (or celiac, your preferred spelling). As for the rest of the dishes, it is on the lines of a lot of breakfast in restaurants I have had in the US. Probably due to the fact it is in California it might have a slightly more… Healthier (?) twist? When I was in Chicago, I had a similar breakfast and, instead of egg scramble, they had also tofu scramble as an option!

    Every time I see “favourite” 9/10 times I’ll order it.

    Sorry, Mijune, but this might be an understatement! 😉

  • Mijune says:

    KimHo – lol yup your’e right… if it’s a “favourite” I have to order it… I have to know WHY? I’m too curious.

    Mmm tofu scramble…see I like vegetarian so that actually sounds good to me.

    Oh and the cornmeal pancakes aren’t made of entirely cornmeal… it was literally sprinkled into the batter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.