the original broken yolk cafe / pacific beach – san diego, ca

Welcome to another edition of MINION MONDAY *cue dramatic music*! Minion will now tell you about another place he visited recently, alleviating me of this very, very hard duty.

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Next to our amazing Mexican food, The Original Broken Yolk Cafe is one of San Diego’s proudest institutions. It’s been featured in countless TV shows, including one of my old favorites – Man v. Food. Even if you’re not a local, you’ve probably heard about the infamous twelve-egg omelet challenge that they offer at every location. After checking out the wall of fame (shame?), I was particularly impressed to see that it’s been around since the mid-80’s and can definitely claim the “before it was cool” title of foodie contests.


Hall of Fame at the Broken Yolk Cafe

Allison and I visited the Pacific Beach location only once before, about a year ago, so we were excited to be invited by the restaurant to stop by for a mid-morning tasting. After being greeted by James, our friendly and very knowledgeable host, we learned a little about the Broken Yolk history. It was started in 1979 and has since expanded to 13 West Coast locations, with several more in development. What’s particularly interesting is that they actively encourage their staff to come up with new and inventive dishes. Many of the most popular items on the menu were developed in-house and I think that there’s something very satisfying about a chain restaurant that trusts its staff to help push the brand forward.

Menu - The Broken Yolk Cafe / Pacific Beach - San Diego, CA

Ready to try the finest breakfast items they had to offer, Allison and I asked about their most requested options. James suggested their Golden State Benedict, which is a modern reimagining of the dish with Sriracha and tomato, and the classic Chilaquiles with half green, half red sauce. I also wanted to try something on the sweet end to balance out all of the savory, so we also ordered a plate of the Tiki Toast.

Eggs Benedict at the Broken Yolk Cafe / San Diego, CA

The Golden State Benedict arrived first. I immediately loved the visual splash of hot sauce across the well-poached eggs. After cutting through the delightfully thick-cut bacon and chowing down on the first bite, I was impressed. The English muffin was surprisingly dense and chewy, so it absorbed the rich hollandaise sauce well and you didn’t get that gross soggy bread feeling. It’s a great foundation for the copious amounts of fresh avocado that kindly offset the saltiness of the bacon and the contrasting spiciness of the Sriracha. I could’ve done without the tomato, though, as I didn’t feel like it really added anything to the dish. The hash browns on the side were fried well, but pretty standard fare.

Chilaquiles at the Broken Yolk Cafe / San Diego, CA

Next, the Chilaquiles arrived and the great debate between red and green salsa commenced. After taking our first bites of the crispy tortillas and cotija cheese, Allison and I agreed that the texture was well-done, but we each liked the opposite sauce. I favored the red, which is a bit more spicy. It’s tomato-based and is pretty similar to enchilada sauce. Allison preferred the green sauce with a more tomatillo base. It was milder and had more of a sharp taste probably due to some cilantro or lime.

The accompanying beans were cooked well, but lacked flavor. The creaminess that I’m used to wasn’t present and I felt like they needed some salt, but the sprinkle of cheese did help. The overall flavor was good, but we both agreed that the plate needed some protein and we would add some chicken or fried eggs the next time around.

Tiki Toast at the Broken Yolk Cafe / San Diego, CA

Last, but not least, the Tiki Toast was brought to our table. The Polynesian sweetness this dish promised was a welcome respite from the heavier items we had just eaten. Allison and I love both french toast and coconut, so we were eager to take our first taste.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t overly sweet. We were initially worried that the caramel drizzle would push this over the top, but the berries on the side paired well with the bread and balanced the dish. The texture of the toast was lightly crispy on the edges, while being chewy on the inside. We liked getting bits of coconut with every bite, as well, but they could’ve gone with a bit more. It was a little hard to taste over the sauce and powdered sugar, though this is a minor gripe.

I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of a stickler. When it comes to American-style breakfasts, I think that I’m secretly a 65 year-old man that craves the comfort of walking into a tiny, old east coast diner where the short-order cook knows his name. While it may not have the soul of my New York City favorites, the Broken Yolk definitely has a lot going for it – enthusiasm and the desire to innovate. It won’t blow your mind, but it will satisfy you in a way that no other chain restaurant can. We’ll certainly be back to visit the next time we head out to spend the morning on the coast.

Disclaimer: Minion’s meal was complimentary on behalf of the Broken Yolk Cafe. All of the opinion’s stated here are the writer’s own. No further compensation was received.

The Broken Yolk Cafe
Multiple Locations
1851 Garnet Ave.
San Diego, CA 92109
858-270-YOLK (9655)

10 thoughts on “the original broken yolk cafe / pacific beach – san diego, ca

  1. Wow sounds like a great place. I am not that big of a fan of diners, but this sounds like a cozy place with a familiar feel and good food. I bet they have a lot of regulars that they know by name that have been coming in for decades and never leave unhappy. Like Cheers. My kind of place! Love it when they spice up the menu from time to time but you always know that you are not likely to be disappointed, and you just can’t wait to dig in.

    1. Hi Miss Kim!

      It’s a pretty nice place. I wouldn’t say that it has the quality or charm of an old East Coast “mom and pop” diner, but it’s certainly better than any other breakfast chain that I’ve visited.

      They have a huge variety of dishes, too, so even if you’re not a fan of typical diner food, there’s a lot to choose from.

      Thanks for commenting! 🙂

  2. For some reason, 12 eggs just doesn’t seem like a huge challenge to eat in 1 sitting. Maybe that’s why there are so many names on their display of achievement. Whenever I think of a challenge, I think 72 ounce steaks, etc.
    Now you’ve got me thinking, I just might have eyes bigger than my stomach (as usual).
    The chilaquiles looks like it’s right up my culinary alley.

    1. Hi Kim!

      Unfortunately I didn’t see anyone take the challenge while I was there, so I couldn’t see how big it was in real life. I think the omelette might be possible, but the chili, homefries and biscuits sound crazy. Those toppings would put it over the top for me, I think. I’d love to see someone attempt it!

      The chilaquiles were pretty good. Just be sure to get some chicken or eggs with it. 🙂

      Thanks for commenting!

  3. i know you’ve written articles several times in the past but this ‘monday’ thing seems kinda new… or is it? o_O

    i don’t do food challenges, but now that i think about it, maybe i *kinda* do something similar at tasting events (all in the name of thorough blog coverage though). anyway, i feel like i’d probably like the tiki toast based on your descriptions. usually i’d do eggs benedict but not with Sriracha on it! i didn’t care so much for the food during my last visit to BYC but on the plus side, this chain usually has coupons to save some $ !

    1. Hi Lynn!

      Haha, yes, the Minion Monday thing is sort of new and we’re trying to make it more consistent. Stay tuned… 🙂

      I did one food challenge and it was enough for life. I succeeded at the XXX Challenge at Fatburger one time, but it was not pretty! Scratch that one off the bucket list.

      The tiki toast was pretty good. I’d give that a shot next time as I think that it’s a relatively new addition. It won’t blow your mind, I don’t think, but Broken Yolk is still way better than any other chain I’ve visited here in SD.

      Thanks for commenting! 🙂

  4. This is a good place for a nice simple breakfast. We usually are there for the 6-8 a.m. specials and those are filling enough…then we can drive to the water (and find a parking spot) for a nice walk. Nice photos; we hardly ever see people ordering off the regular menu when there so early….tempting.

    1. Hi Cathy!

      You’re totally right! It’s a great location if you get there early enough. Otherwise, you have to fight the beach traffic.

      I saw those earlybird specials and they were pretty tempting. I’ll probably try one of those next time. The basic breakfasts looked pretty good.

      Thanks for commenting! 🙂

  5. Oh man I was JUST at this location maybe 3 weeks ago! I was craving country fried steak/gravy/eggs so friend suggested meeting here. Unfortunately, the CFS wasn’t very good. It’s a fun location but I still prefer Original Pancake House for breakfast. I don’t eat Mexican breakfast all that often but when I do a breakfast burrito always seems to hit the spot.

    Funny b/c I usually omit the tomato from a benedict dish as well. Where’s your fave spot here in SD for hollandaise sauce?

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