Breakfast Tarzana

Cici’s Café Doesn’t Stop With Pancakes in Tarzana

Sawarai Chanchaisri is best known for creative pancakes at Cici’s Cafe in Tarzana, but her eggs Benedict can more than hold their own.

Drive by CiCi’s Cafe in Tarzana on any given Sunday, and you can’t miss the long line outside. As many people will tell you, they’re there for the stellar pancakes … but don’t sleep on their eggs Benedict. Owner Sawarai “CiCi” Chanchaisri also flips the script on this savory breakfast dish that supposedly dates to New York City’s Waldorf Hotel in 1894. As the story goes, that’s when Wall Street stockbroker Lemuel Benedict ordered buttered toast piled with bacon, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. He wouldn’t recognize many versions at CiCi’s Cafe, but—trust me—they all deliver.

Siam’s Benedict is a nod to her Thai heritage, pairing beef Penang curry with pesto, avocado and hollandaise on a baguette. Cajun shrimp Benedict and bacon con queso Benedict are also tasty versions. Breads and toppings vary, but silky house-made hollandaise is a CiCi’s constant on every plate.

I liked crab cake Benedict the best. Sweet, plump crab cakes are crafted with jumbo lump crab meat and a judicious amount of mayo, egg, lemon, lemon zest, white pepper and mustard that act as binding agents and flavor boosters. Grilled English muffins are slathered with pesto and co-star poached eggs and hearty arugula.

Benedicts come with a choice of crusty scalloped potatoes, cottage cheese, tomatoes or fruit. Potatoes are clearly the way to go unless you’re on a diet. Then again, if you’re on a diet, eggs Benedict probably isn’t a great pick.

CiCi opened this original art-lined cafe in 2006 and followed up with a Westlake Village outpost. Cici’s sister Bea runs a Burbank restaurant called BeaBea’s with a similar menu. Hollandaise apparently runs in the family.

18912 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana, 818-881-6704

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