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BEACH GOURMET: Overland Café: A Lively Place with a Massive Menu!

The Overland Café in Palms has been a popular Westside drop-in since 1974 and its mission is pretty clear with a slogan that proclaims “Food you can pronounce at prices you can afford.” A guest and I recently visited for a Sunday brunch to brush up on our enunciation, enjoy their fare, and still have some change to spare.

Firstly, this place is as popular on a weekend as a papal visit to Mexico, so unless you are prepared for a wait arrive early. We did arrive early (well, about 9:00 a.m.) and still had a few minutes to evaluate the surroundings.

The Overland Café is a split restaurant, with one half bright and casual, and the other very red, very artsy, and on this Sunday, very boisterous, with large groups of peeps pigging out on colorful meals, and many guests imbibing on the Overland’s intoxicating invitation to enjoy unlimited champagne for the princely sum of just $4.99 with any entrée (the ability to pronounce, as stated in the aforementioned slogan, seemed to have come up as a stumbling block for one happy chap sitting close to us, as he liberally enjoyed his libations, unless every other word was Bulgarian, of course!).

Now the menu here is one of the most extensive I have seen in a long time, and while often times quantity does not equate with quality, after our experience at The Overland Café, I can report that the dishes that we experienced were very, very good indeed. The Overland offers close to 150 menu choices for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, including menu specials.

Service, even though the place was heaving, was good and quick, with our smiling and happy English accented server taking our orders efficiently. Order to table time was reasonable all things considered, and we were breaking our fast just 10 minutes later, accompanied by fresh coffee ($1.95) and two small orange juices ($2.75 each).

For myself it was to be an item from their “basic breakfast” menu section. The choice of dishes featuring everything from good ole’ bacon, chicken breast, and New York Steak to ground beef and vegetarian sausage patties.

I chose the vegetarian sausage patty and eggs (served with home style potatoes, whole wheat, rye or sourdough toast, $9.50) and my guest went for a Norwegian Smoked Salmon specialty (with sliced tomato, onion and toasted bagel with cream cheese, $13.95).

Both dishes were delightfully presented and my eggs over-easy picture perfect. The home fries were well seasoned and grease free and the vegetarian sausage a familiar taste as they were of a type readily available from my local supermarket, that, for me at least added points, as this brand (Morningstar Farms) is quite simply the best that I have tasted.

My friends’ Norwegian Salmon was fresh and tasty with a nicely warmed bagel and generous portioned. It appears that the staff here really does pay attention to quality, freshness, and presentation with their dishes.

If a quiet and reflective morning repast is your preference, then perhaps The Overland Café is not the ideal choice, but if you prefer to come alive amidst bustling conversation, and energetic fellow diners, then a more perfect location would be hard to find.

3601 Overland Avenue. 310.559.9999.

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