Rose Cafe: An Old Breakfast Hang Revisited

— by Caroline on Crack


When I was a struggling 20-something who lived in meh Mar Vista, one of the things I used to do to feel like I was really treating myself was hang out at the Rose Cafe in Venice while enjoying a continental breakfast.

No, not in the fancy, pricier full-service restaurant but rather the counter serviced cafe that had seat-yourself areas inside and out on the back patio. I’d read an LA Weekly or write in my journal while sunning on the patio and savoring a buttery croissant with brie and a strong cup of coffee, all for only $5! Afterward, I’d saunter down to the beach or the farmer’s market on Main.

Ah, good times. In any case I haven’t been back in years; about a decade to be exact. Nowadays, there are so many other places I’d rather breakfast and, yes, they’re a bit pricier but at least they’re more substantial.

It wasn’t until just last week when I got an email from Dex, a small architectural design studio in Venice, that I decided to revisit my breakfast nook. Apparently the design firm is responsible for the brand-new patio that now graces the cafe’s back area. FYI, they also redid the Alibi Room and Redondo Beach’s Hudson House.

Instead of just that concrete floor and plastic patio chairs that look like they’re from someone’s backyard, there are now a series of decks that sport redwood benches and surround an old-growth Coral tree that has been a part of restaurant’s history since it opened in 1979. There is also a new firepit to keep customers warm once the cafe extends its hours to dinner time later this summer.

Unfortunately, when I went back, my bf and I decided to forgo the cafe and nifty new patio for the more extensive brunch menu and crowded patio on the restaurant side. Continental just wasn’t going to cut it this morning. But although I did enjoy my Eggs Scandia ($11.95) of poached eggs over salmon, dill hollandaise and croissant, it took forever for us to finally get our food! BTW, bf was very unimpressed by the tofu scramble, but then again it IS a tofu scramble.

Sure, the coffee and water refills came regularly but our breakfast took so long to arrive that we ended up going over the hour time limit for validated free parking in the lot out back.

Yes, we did peruse the gift shop after brunch but didn’t take THAT long. So, yeah, wasn’t crazy about the wait or the prices for what we got. (You call that a fruit salad?) I think I’ll just stick to continental breakfast on the self-service side from now on. Take my scooter here, grab a bench in the corner of the back patio and revisit that flaky croissant, brie, jam and java.

BTW, you can still get the continental breakfast with regular coffee for under $5 and with an espresso drink for under $6 if you’re feeling particularly lah-dee-dah.

Rose Cafe
220 Rose Avenue
Venice, California 90291 (map)
(310) 399-0711