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The crab cake Benedict at Upper Crust Café & Bakery.

Upper Crust Café & Bakery

The vibe at this downtown Venice mainstay is quiet and relaxed, with the only noise the rustle of newspaper pages, the murmur of conversation and the periodic whoosh of the espresso machine. The crab cake Benedict will kill any hunger pains you might have, with discs heavy on the crab meat and doused in a mild but tasty Cajun Hollandaise. Don’t forget to grab a pastry on your way out. 213 W. Venice Ave., Venice, (941) 244-0430

Blu Island Bistro

Blu Island’s buttermilk pancakes follow a recipe chef-owner Alan Laskowski has been using for more than 20 years, producing succulent cakes that are crispy outside and moist inside. But what really separates Blu Island is how Laskowski lets loose his creative impulses on a daily basis. On a recent morning, one of the specials was “Wealthy Whisky Bacon,” which featured two thick slices “grilled with a nice little char and a side of Chef Alan’s whisky glaze.” 625 Tamiami Trail S., Venice, (941) 485-8200

Croissant & Co

This buzzing downtown café serves a full breakfast, but the star attraction is the glittering pastry case up front. The restaurant excels at France’s top treats, stuff like tarts, eclairs, croissants and torsades. We’re partisans for the almond croissant, perhaps the greatest example of the pastry in the region, but we’ll also scarf an apple croissant in two minutes, tops. Grab a crusty baguette, too, for later. 323 W. Venice Ave., Venice, (941) 480-1700, croissantandcovenice.com

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