The Coast News Group
Chef owner Andrew Bachelier, right, and chef de cuisine Marlaw Seraspi. Photo by David Boylan
ColumnsFood & WineLick the Plate

Breakfast elevated to a higher level at Manna

I’ve always fancied myself pretty good in the kitchen, especially when it comes to breakfast. I can whip up a decent quiche, frittata, scramble, breakfast sandwich and burrito with the best of them.

That said, eating breakfast out has always been more of a social thing for me as it’s become difficult for me to be impressed by standard offerings. That all changed in a big way recently when I discovered Manna in Leucadia.

Simply put, I’ve never experienced anything even close to their inventive and delicious menu, and I can’t stop thinking about my next visit.

Full disclosure before I begin this Manna love fest: I do live a short walk away, which makes it even more desirable but honestly, I would drive a great distance to experience the breakfast bliss at Manna.

They describe it as a “modern day atelier,” which in its most basic translation means workshop, but some other fun synonyms include cave, hotbed, nest, sanctuary, burrow and cloister.

Overnight Oats with ancient grains. Courtesy photo/Manna

Located on North Coast Highway in the former Moto Deli space, Manna is the latest project from executive chef and owner Andrew Bachelier, also a Leucadia resident. It will double as a workshop space for Andrew and his culinary team as they prepare for their much anticipated Chick & Hawk, their collaboration with local and skateboard legend Tony Hawk. Look for that happening by the end of summer.

Besides the world-class talent of Bachelier (Blanca, Addison, Cucina Enoteca, Campfire, Jeune et Jolie, to name a few), he is joined by longtime friend and chef de cuisine Marlaw Seraspi, who has an equally impressive culinary resume. I’ve interviewed both for Lick the Plate several times over the years, and besides their incredible creativity and passion, both were super fun and down to earth, which made for great conversations.

It’s a relatively small space, but they’ve made the most of it, and the kitchen runs like a finely tuned exotic sports car. The 25-seat patio is intimate and inviting, not straying far from its location in the heart of Leucadia.

Their daytime, breakfast-leaning menu is designed to be nourishing with many offerings that were new to me, including Overnight Oats with ancient grains, Beets and Berries with spirulina coconut yogurt, Blue Corn Chilaquiles in mole negro, and Cilbir, which is Turkish-style soft poached eggs, herbed yogurt and chili garlic butter toast from Prager Brothers.

I tried the Cilbir on my first visit, and it was the dish that made me realize how special this place is…it was truly breakfast bliss.

On my second visit, I went with the Grilled Asparagus & Proscuitto with a sunnyside egg, pickled ramps and a green garlic toum. I also really wanted to see what they were offering as their steak side, and well, despite the double dose of meat breakfast, it was sliced and cooked perfectly medium rare. Another breakfast delight for sure.

Some more fabulous-looking options that I will be back for include a Torrija, which I can best describe as a cross between French toast and bread pudding … and originating from Spain. Manna does it with country bread, coconut milk, sherry, citrus fennel and chantilly. I get excited just typing that one out.  Even their Breakfast Sandwich is elevated — a croissant with egg, jambon, garlic herb cheese, avocado, arugula and green garlic.

Grilled Asparagus & Prosciutto with a side of steak. Photo by David Boylan

And honestly, I’m tempted to create a breakfast feast by combining several of their sides and add-ons like Toast & Jam, Avocado, Steak, Bagel & Cream Cheese, Smoked Salmon, Grilled Shrimp and Manna Kimchi.

Of course, the beverages are not going to be run-of-the-mill either. They offer homemade sodas, probiotic coolers, an Arnold Palmer, lemonade and a wellness shot. I had the Koh Samui soda with lemongrass, coriander and lime leaf and loved it. And yes, you can get a simple glass of orange or grapefruit juice — they are organic and cold-pressed.

Coffee is sourced from Steady State, and the tea is loose leaf.

One of the most amazing things about Manna is that despite sourcing the best possible ingredients available and the talent level in the kitchen and among the servers, I did not see any dish on the menu over $20. That’s tough to find in even basic breakfast joints these days, and Manna rises so far above that level of cuisine it makes me love this place even more.

The word is already out amongst the foodie set, so if you attempt a weekend visit, go early or be prepared to wait. My suggestion is to go on a weekday when they open as the pace is more slow and easy, kind of like old Leucadia, but the food and service are equally spectacular.

Word is there are plans for a raw bar and more seafood dishes along with a selection of natural wine. That just might make for some day drinking!

Take my word on this one folks, it’s all that and then some.

Find them at 1076 N. Coast Highway 101, Leucadia or

Leave a Comment