L.A. breakfast joints

Five great places to start your day

CULVER CITY

Maxwell's Cafe. Don't miss the strawberry-stuffed French toast at this tiny corner establishment crammed with mismatched booths and tables. Casual Westside types flock here for breakfast without L.A. attitude. $. 13329 Washington Blvd.; 310/306-7829.

HOLLYWOOD

The Griddle Cafe. This Hollywood hangout serves tall, buttery stacks of pancakes. With 15 varieties, including pumpkin and espresso and chocolate chip, it's no wonder there's a celebrity following. Steaming hot coffee comes in a French press. $. 7916 W. Sunset Blvd.; 323/874-0377.

LOS ANGELES

Doughboys Bakery. Fresh muffins and breads are baked daily at this West Hollywood spot. Breakfast specialties such as the delicious red-beet hash are available all day. For something more simple, try the peanut butter, banana, and chocolate sandwich. $. 8136 W. Third St.; 323/651-4202.

LOS ANGELES

Roscoe's House of Chicken 'n Waffles. Locals line up to dig into the fried chicken and waffles, a cardiologist's nightmare. If you're not into morning chicken, try Natalie's Special, two flavorful waffles. $. Various locations, including 5006 W. Pico Blvd.; 323/934-4405.

WEST LOS ANGELES

John O' Groats. This family-owned restaurant, which started with two tables and a counter, has expanded twice yet is still crowded with people sipping free coffee while waiting. Try the biscuits, flavored pancakes, or veggie hash. $. 10516 W. Pico Blvd.; 310/204-0692. ― Wendy O'Dea