Pannikin Coffee & Tea has been a longtime favorite of mine. Growing up, my family and I would always go to Pannikin in La Jolla to rest after a day at the beach, sipping hot chocolate and playing chess while sharing cream pies and coffee cakes. We would also go on some Saturday mornings, ordering plates of the Super Steamers (eggs & toast) for breakfast. Pannikin became a staple for my family’s weekends, and I still go to Pannikin every time I am in San Diego, adapting my old family tradition to a new tradition of going with my friend, Katie.
There are 4 locations in San Diego: the airport (SAN), La Jolla, Del Mar, and Encinitas. When I was younger, my family and I always went to the La Jolla location, tucked into a rustic hideaway covered in green ivy and with a lush outdoor seating area in La Jolla Village. Now, I frequent the Encinitas location, which actually used to be a railroad station that was refashioned into a coffee shop, with multiple stories and a pastel yellow exterior.
Pannikin is busy at all times of the day, always packed with local students, families, athletes, and friends meeting for coffee. There is a retail shop to the right, the cafe in the middle, and seating indoors and outdoors, as well as a wrap-around porch with seating on the second floor.
The building itself, which is a converted railroad station, was built in 1888 and still holds the characteristics of its original railroad station structure, such as the walls, barn-like wooden doors, and the rustic ceiling and decorations.
The outdoor tables are topped with beautiful tiles, all unique mosaic designs.
The baked goods are endless – and are some of the best treats I’ve ever had! Their chocolate cream pie is phenomenal, and they offer a variety of fruit pies, cakes, muffins, cinnamon rolls, croissants, and basically any other pastry imaginable. All of the baked goods are large enough to serve as one meal, which pairs perfectly with their wide range of coffees and teas.
When I’m feeling something sweet, my go-to is the crumb cake, which comes in either chocolate chip or cinnamon. When I’m looking for something less sweet, I opt for the blueberry muffin or zucchini bread. And when I’m here for breakfast, I always get the Bandiera Bagel.
The Bandiera Bagel, which comes with your choice of bagel, is a bagel and shmear plate that is made up of 4 layers:
Sun Dried Tomato
More Cream Cheese
By combining those 3 ingredients and spreading them across your bagel, the flavors blend together and create a savory, Italian twist to the usual bagel with cream cheese. The Bandiera Bagel never disappoints, although the Super Steamers and Breakfast Bagel are both delicious choices if you’re looking to add some eggs into your breakfast!
Pannikin will always be my first and favorite cafe, because of their sweet pastries, wholesome meals, rich coffees & teas, and all of the memories I have at the multiple locations. It’s definitely a must for anyone in San Diego, especially since there are locations at every tip of the county, and if you’re driving down the 101, the big yellow house is hard to miss!
510 N Coast Hwy 101
Encinitas, CA 92024