Breakfast of Champions

Start the day the Italian way at Cecconi's

People swarm the new Cecconi's with such fervor, you might think L.A. never experienced Italian food. The former Morton's has been transformed into a splashy new space with a value-priced menu, all without losing its Hollywood-insider magnetism. Luckily, we found the best time to avoid the crowds.

At night, bar patrons nibble on small plates like quail eggs in tonnato sauce, while jacketed servers deliver thin-crust pizzas and wood-oven specialties to crowded tables. Lunch is more of the same, but for a calm and civilized meal–at least in these early stages–try breakfast.

This is the way to spend a morning. Grab a complimentary newspaper and sit on the terrace with its pillow-strewn banquettes while the sun peeks over the roof. Perfectly poached eggs are topped with silky hollandaise ($11), and pancetta and mushroom frittatas ($8) come straight from the wood-burning oven to the table in small copper pans. Rosti, a hash brown pancake, served alone ($4) makes a nice side dish; topped with a sunny-side-up duck egg ($9), it's a full meal. Our favorite: Ricotta hot cakes with blueberries (pictured; $8) that add a nice Italian flourish. With Lamill coffee and hand-squeezed juices, this could easily become your everyday spot.

Cecconi's, 8764 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; 310-432-2000 or cecconiswesthollywood.com