Nobody will ever call them fluffy, but multigrain pancakes--chewy, sometimes crunchy, often formidably weighty--are gaining in popularity as a healthful alternative to the ubiquitous buttermilk flapjack.
* Axe: This stylish Santa Monica coffeehouse has moved to a far roomier location on Abbott Kinney in Venice, but the kitchen still serves its famous multigrain pancake. This nine-grain cake--a single plate-sized flapjack--has a very moist, chewy, almost custardy interior consistency; it's nourishing, satisfying and surprisingly addictive. Served with maple syrup. (Nine-grain pancake, $6.) Axe, 1009 Abbott Kinney Blvd., Venice, (310) 664-9787.
* Blueberry: The cheerful little coffee shop now inhabiting the former Axe location in Santa Monica offers its own version of the multigrain pancake: a combination of seven grains, cottage cheese, yogurt and almond chips. There are three cakes to an order, which comes served with butter and maple syrup. (Multigrain pancakes, $6.95.) Blueberry, 510 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 394-7766.
* Basix: The griddle cook at this always-busy West Hollywood coffeehouse makes big, delicious multigrain pancakes studded with blueberries. Each order includes two of these formidable cakes, which are served with butter and real maple syrup. (Multigrain pancakes, $5.50.) Basix Cafe, 8333 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, (323) 848-2460.
* Uncle Bill's Pancake House: Naturally Uncle Bill's has multigrain pancakes--and virtually every other kind of pancake ever invented. His hefty griddle cakes are served with all the butter and boysenberry and/or maple-flavored syrup you can eat. Real maple syrup is $1 extra. (Multigrain pancakes, short stack of two cakes, $2.50; platter of four, $4.75.) Uncle Bill's Pancake House, 1305 Highland Ave., Manhattan Beach, (310) 545-5177.
* Marston's: Marston's is possibly the most celebrated pancake maker in the city. The kitchen sends out a stack of compellingly crunchy seven-grain pancakes topped with bananas and strawberries (and occasionally raspberries). The cakes are served with butter and real maple syrup. (Multigrain pancakes, $7.95.) Marston's, 151 E. Walnut St., Pasadena, (626) 796-2459.
* The Firehouse: Whether you're carb-loading or satisfying the appetite you've built up next door at Gold's Gym, the Firehouse's stack of multigrain hot cakes does the trick. Served three to an order, they come with syrup and butter; add bananas or blueberries for an extra 50 cents; get real maple syrup for a buck more. (Multigrain pancakes, $4.50.) The Firehouse, 213 Rose Ave., Venice, (310) 396-6810.