The adage that breakfast is the most important meal of the day might ring true in some respects, but many restaurants undermine this maxim with carb-overloaded, pre-diabetic plates that leave diners in a food coma.

Then comes Purple Onion Cafe to rescue breakfast with its light and healthy fare. Hardly a newcomer to the game, the Willow Glen coffeeshop is the local chain’s third location, with the other two being in Los Gatos. Housed in the historic Garden Theater in the heart of downtown Willow Glen, Purple Onion’s new spot has a small yet well-curated menu featuring egg-white omelets, breakfast sandwiches, burritos and even some simple granola and yogurt. They also serve up a nice selection of sandwiches, soups and salads at any time. But what’s a cafe without some eye-opening coffee? Purple Onion has this covered with a terrific little coffee bar featuring world-renowned Illy coffee.

We decided to order up a Spinach Quiche ($8.95) and Lox Plate ($8.95), and for the beverages we procured a double Vanilla Latte ($2.75 plus 75 cents a shot) and a double Mocha ($3.25 + 75 cents a shot).

The smoked salmon came out with a pre-sliced French baguette, cream cheese, red onions, capers, cucumbers and a delightful sun-dried tomato cream cheese to make custom petite sandwiches. The salmon was lightly smoked and fork tender, but the highlight was the cream cheese that had a subtle sweetness and featured delicious little chunks of tomato. The quiche was equally amazing, as the eggs were cooked so delicately they almost had a buttery, cream-like consistency.

The Vanilla Latte started off a touch too sweet but had a nice, strong finish thanks to the double-shot of espresso. Meanwhile, the double Mocha was smooth from beginning to end, as an earthy chocolate flavor married well to the coffee without being too sweet.

Even though we were trying to keep it light, I couldn’t resist getting a house-made Nutella Twist ($2.75), which is a puff pastry filled with everyone’s favorite milk chocolate and hazelnut spread. The twist was light, airy and had a nice helping of Nutella to make my taste buds sing.

A change of pace from the typical greasy spoon breakfast joint, Purple Onion provides a fresh, healthy and delicious menu that features world-class coffee and tasty pastries. They’re a very welcome addition to the San Jose breakfast scene.

Purple Onion Cafe
1167 Lincoln Ave, San Jose.