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Food + Drink

The Most Delicious Breakfasts in the World

One of the (many!) things Jetsetters love about travel? We feel zero guilt about indulging in ridiculously good, bigger-than-normal breakfasts (it's all in the name of sampling the local bounty, right?) From hand-rolled sushi in a Tokyo skyscraper to gourmet toast at a cult Los Angeles cafe to the New Orleans soul food of your dreams, JS contributor Emily Saladino has the last word on the first meal of the day.

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Los Angeles, CA: Sqirl

Fashion may be fickle, but a well-dressed crowd of scenesters and startup scions perennially line the sidewalk outside this cult Silver Lake cafe. Toastmaster Jessica Koslow began as a jam guru, topping thick slices of brioche with homemade preserves, and now pairs all manner of seasonal Californian fare with North African, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern accents: squash hash with green harissa, green eggs and jam tartines, sorrel rice bowls with preserved Meyer lemon and, of course, burnt brioche with homemade jam and ricotta. Up next? Koslow plans to open Sqirl Away, a takeaway offshoot next door to alleviate endless queues. Good hospitality never goes out of style.

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New York, NY: Sadelle’s

The Torrisi boys (of Parm, Carbone and Torrisi fame) perform a thoroughly modern mitzvah at this SoHo spot serving updated takes on New York Jewish appetizing fare. Baked-on-site bagels are served on elegant wooden spears and accompanied by tiered trays draped with silky sable and salmon, or perfectly round ice cream scoops of egg or whitefish salad. Fried egg sandwiches are generously buttered and irreverently topped with bacon and muenster, and superstar baker Melissa Weller's oversized sticky buns are a sweet and satisfyingly sticky start to the day. (Pro tip: the bakery counter near the front entrance also sells bagels, babka and other pastries to go.)

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Tokyo, Japan: Ritz-Carlton Tokyo

Breakfasts at Asian luxury hotels are generally lavish, but starting the day at the soaring Ritz-Carlton in Roppongi (tastefully) exceeds expectation. A well-heeled crowd of impressively multilingual hotel guests perch some 50 stories above the Tokyo skyline, Instagramming the view and sampling a similarly panoramic morning spread. A DIY congee and miso bar join rolled-to-order sushi; seaweed salads topped with briny roe; an omelet station featuring ham, cheddar and lobster; and baskets filled with buttery French pastries of the croissant, canele and pain au chocolat persuasion. The piece de resistance? Fresh-pressed juices, vast tea service and jetlag-defying coffee.

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New Orleans, LA: Mother’s

From devouring beignets straight from the butter-stained bag outside of Cafe du Monde, to pairing your three-course morning prix fixe with bourbon milk punch at Brennan’s, breakfast in New Orleans is no laughing matter. It doesn’t get more serious than Mother’s, a homespun counter-serve joint dishing out red bean omelets, buttermilk biscuits and house-cured roast beef debris po'boys since 1938. Ideal for both brunch haters and late sleepers, Mother's serves breakfast all day, every day from an unassuming, fluorescent-lit Warehouse District corner lot. Be still our hungry hearts.

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Photo by Mina Lee

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Istanbul, Turkey: Van Kahvalti Evi

In certain regards, Turkish breakfasts resemble Trump rallies: generously appointed, eminently festive and no one knows exactly how long they can last. (Thankfully, the similarities end there.) Van Kahvalti Evi, a buzzy spot in Beyoglu's hip Cihangir district, specializes in all-day feasts of Kurdish fare. Stylish locals (and the occasional Yelp-ing traveler) arrive in droves to give Istanbul's morning meal an eastern accent with trays of olives; bowls of oatmeal-esque murtuga; menemen, an egg scramble with peppers and onions; traditional Van cheeses studded with brined wild herbs; and tart yogurts ribboned with amber waves of honey.

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Photo by Premshree Pillai

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San Jose, CA: Bill’s Cafe

Those hungry for classic Americana hit pay dirt at this Bay Area institution serving elevated, imminently satisfying diner eats like linguica-studded breakfast burritos, oversized cinnamon rolls and a dedicated eggs benedict menu (comprised of no fewer than 10 "Benedictions") since 1977. Locals linger over fresh-squeezed orange juice and bottomless cups of coffee at Bill's cherry wood tables and tufted leather booths, and the unassuming marble bar pours bloody marys, micheladas and homemade lemonade with equal abandon.

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Photo courtesy of Nico Alary/Holybelly

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Paris, France: Holybelly

The traditional French breakfast – coffee, croissant, cigarette – has received a big, boisterous update in recent years, as internationally trained chefs and Australian, English and American expats import their esteem for pancakes, breakfast sausages and fried eggs. Holybelly, a "Melbourne-style" cafe near Canal Saint Martin, has been dishing out the city's hottest breakfast since 2013. The narrow, tiled space does not accept reservations, but the globetrotting menu is worth the wait. Think fruit-studded black rice bowls made with coconut milk, pancakes with bacon and bourbon butter, breads from neighboring cult baker Du Pain et des Idees, and coffee from stellar local roaster Brulerie de Belleville. Bonne journée, tout le monde.

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Photo by Danya Henninger

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Philadelphia, PA: High Street on Market

Chef Eli Kulp’s award-winning New American cafe is the rare entity that is simultaneously edgy and welcoming. The windowed Old City space specializes in creative carbs such as redeye danish, a brioche-donut hybrid appropriately called a "foughnut," plus uniquely indulgent breakfast sandwiches like the Hickory Town, made with Lancaster bologna, a fried farm egg, horseradish cheddar from nearby Amish country and pickle-studded mayonnaise. Ingredients are sourced locally and served with Rival Brothers coffee, a small-batch Philly roaster. In December 2015, High Street debuted a second branch, New York City's High Street on Hudson.

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Photos by David Loftus

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London, UK: The Wolesley

If you’re going to consume three types of pork in one sitting and before noon, it might as well be in an august, Art Deco dining room with towering ceilings and extravagant marble archways. The English breakfast at Piccadilly’s perpetually packed Wolesley features bacon, sausage, black pudding, baked beans and tomatoes alongside eggs cooked to order. It is a fittingly extravagant repast, but hardly one's only option: there are also potato rostis, deviled lamb kidneys, a lavish Viennoiserie, spiked coffees and, for the (considerably) more restrained, caramelized grapefruits. Make a reservation, don your haberdashery and cancel the rest of your plans. Breakfast this grand often requires a restorative afternoon nap.

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