550 W Date St. # C
San Diego, CA 92101
Average cost: $$
Parking: we walked over; there are paid public lots and metered parking, so if you choose to drive, you likely will need more than 2 hours to account for the wait and meal
Notes: if you don't spot the line from far away, be on the lookout for Morning Glory's sunny side up egg icon and staircase leading up to its maximalist millennial paradise on the second floor. Large menu with cleverly named items (e.g. "Millennial Tears (essentially avocado toast and eggs): Not what you’re thinking, though proudly brought to you by the current cultural moment and served with no hint of irony.”)
Recommended: special occasions only because that line is intense! Visiting Morning Glory is not just visiting a restaurant to eat some food, but visiting a (tourist) attraction and experiencing more than just food.
Sometimes you see a place in photos and think it probably doesn't look the same in real life, but Morning Glory is one of those places that is incredibly photogenic but somehow looks even better in real life. I usually find "more is more" busy on the eyes, but Morning Glory's attention to detail and design was a feast and didn't feel overwhelming in person. But before we dive into its variety of seating options and sumptuous maximalist decor, let's talk about getting in first.
Morning Glory doesn't take reservations, unless you opt to pay $$$ for certain types of "Family Affair" dining options that feed 2-3, require 48 hours advance notice, and consist of decadent menu items like tableside lobster omelet service, steak and egg with truffles, and caviar. Other than that, the only way to get in is to line up the old fashioned way. For its 8 am opening, we arrived about a half hour early and saw that there were already more than a handful of parties lined up. Because we wanted to be sure, Tim stood in line while I went around the corner to make sure we had the right place.
On the second floor and corner of the building, I saw Morning Glory's sign and confirmed we were indeed in the right place:
This was Saturday morning, and there was a farmer's market next to the line, so the time passed relatively quickly with people and dog watching, as there was a very successful dog treats stand that no dog could pass up.
A little after 8 am, each party started shuffling up the stairs to the hostess stand for our first glimpses into the pink palace that is Morning Glory.
The outdoor dining option looked beautiful, but we were curious about the interior, so we asked for indoor seating.
The tiling felt very millennial maximalist - speckled pink and dark green alternating throughout:
We were lucky enough to get a front row seat of the kitchen, which looked small but was super efficient at getting orders out.
On the way in, we passed this adorable Moet & Chandon champagne vending machine, and of course, Morning Glory's bar counters.
Pimm's Cups are one of our favorite cocktails; we love it so much it was one of three signature cocktails at our wedding, so whenever I see one on the menu, I'm excited to try it. Morning Glory's version tasted more like a fizzy strawberry mint drink, but it was lovely and refreshing.
Our first dish was the delightfully jiggly Japanese Soufflé Pancake, touted as Morning Glory's "biggest culinary flex." Delicate, fluffy, and stacked while piping hot, these soufflé pancakes were dusted with powdered sugar and accompanied by a dollop of whipped cream and butter balls. The center was very hot, so be careful when enjoying that first bite.
We loved this unique dish, which comes with a little jug of syrup, but was perfectly tasty on its own. Soon our other orders arrived and we had a nice little breakfast spread going.
Another interesting menu item is the Khachapuri, which is Georgian cheese and egg bread that is reminiscent of an open-faced calzone, with yummy cheeses (mozzarella and feta), garlic, olive oil, and butter. To top it all off, a beautiful fried egg rests in the middle, and the whole thing is sprinkled with some chives and basil.
Our waitress also recommended the Crispy Scalloped Potato, which was full of creamy goodness on the inside and breaded and fried to a perfectly crisp exterior and served in a pretty blue Le Creuset.
The Crispy Chicken Katsu was another delicious recommendation and a play on an eggs benedict with Japanese influences: eggs, crunchy and breaded chicken cutlet, mornay sauce, and curry sauce. So filling and satisfying.
That egg yolk though...
We were both stuffed at this point and conscious of the long lines, so we got the check and bounced. The bar was poppin' when we left:
Sure enough, there was a line outside wrapped around the corner.
If you ever find yourself in San Diego with ample free time in the (early) morning, this is definitely a spot worth checking out! Based on what we were able to try, the food is legit and this place is not just an Instagram trap. :)