10 Places to Brunch Like a San Francisco Local
Brunch in San Francisco is not so much a meal as it is a sacred ritual. Every Saturday and Sunday, the city goes to worship over eggs, potatoes, breakfast meats, and other delights all done up in their Sunday best. Here are the 10 best places to brunch like a San Francisco local:
Plow (1299 18th St.)
Plow is an iconic breakfast destination (or breakfastination) in Portrero Hill that has some of the best crispy breakfast potatoes in the city. This breakfastination is so good, your mind will be blown by even the simplest thing on the menu, The Plow: Farm-fresh eggs, your choice of bacon, house made pork sausage, or chicken apple sausage, crispy breakfast potatoes, and lemon ricotta pancakes. It’s a no-brainer. Breakfast every day.
Brenda’s French Soul Food (625 Polk St.)
Brunch safely at Brenda’s by bringing along a nonjudgmental buddy who will agree to eat too much food with you. Then start with a flight of beignets (the flight comes with four beignets: plain, chocolate, crawfish, and Granny Smith) and follow it up with the shrimp and grits. Also, get a cream biscuit. You do not want to skip the cream biscuit. Breakfast every day (benedicts only on weekends).
Serpentine (2495 3rd St.)
Serpentine will change the way that you think about brunch, food, and life itself, especially if you get the Red Flannel Hash. The hash, with its brisket, roast beets, crispy potatoes, arugula, horseradish creme fraiche, poached eggs, and grilled levain, is more than just a meal; it’s inspiration in its most delightful and edible form. Brunch only on the weekends.
Pork Store Cafe (1451 Haight St. or 3122 16th St.)
Beloved by vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike, Pork Store Cafe is known for their simple, fresh cooking and a few standout classics, including Two Eggs in a Tasty Nest. Picture this: A “nest” made of crispy potatoes, bacon, peppers, and onion crowned with two eggs and all smothered in cheddar cheese and sour cream with biscuits on the side. Your doctor doesn’t need to know you ate this. Breakfast served every day.
Home Plate Restaurant (2274 Lombard St.)
Home Plate is a cute, mom-and-pop restaurant decked out in sports memorabilia with service so friendly it’ll make you blush. This place does the classics right and does it all with a loving touch, including making their very own fresh scones daily that come with every meal. The jam is homemade too. Thanks, Home Plate. Breakfast served every day.
Zazie (941 Cole St.)
Zazie’s service is warm and caring, and the food, each and every bite, is exquisite. You’ll want to bring a buddy or three here so you can split and swap sweet and savory dishes, from their famous benedicts to their even more famous lemon curd pancakes and stuffed french toast. As a bonus, they even have a super cute patio. Pray for sun. Breakfast served everyday.
Mission Beach Cafe (198 Guerrero St.)
Once inside this brunch institution, you’ll forget all about the wait you just endured. In fact, the outside world slowly dissolves as you sip Blue Bottle Coffee and bite into your MBC (Mission Beach Cafe) pancakes with candied bacon and bourbon syrup or your friend’s wild mushroom benedict with spinach, caramelized onions, truffle mornay sauce, and potatoes. Breakfast served every day.
NOPA (560 Divisadero St.)
Whatever NoPa touches turns to culinary gold, including their breakfast and brunch dishes. Start with a walnut sticky bun, then move forward into the great brunchinary expanse with custard french toast with strawberries and honey-black pepper butter, and cut the sweet with some butter braised eggs with duck and grilled asparagus. The best part is that the food is actually as good as it sounds. Brunch only on the weekends.
St. Francis Fountain (2801 24th St.)
St. Francis Fountain has a cozy, old-timey diner feel because it actually is a cozy, old-timey diner that was founded in 1918. They now serve (along with other delicious diner fare) well-done classic breakfast dishes that all come with a side of nostalgia. Their food refuses (literally) to stay within the lines, with dishes like the Nebulous Potato Thing or the Chef’s Mess, which has eggs scrambled with potatoes, bacon, mushroom, cheese, tomato, sour cream, and toast on the side. Breakfast served every day.
Stacks (501 Hayes St.)
Stacks calls itself a purveyor of comfortable food, and it is. You actually could wrap yourself up in their banana macadamia nut and coconut pancakes and take a nap, something you’ll probably have to do after eating here anyways. So yeah, get those pancakes. A popular family spot, the dining room is spacious and decked out with very fun fake flowers. It feels like you’re eating at your friend’s glamorous grandma’s house. Breakfast served every day.
P.S. Your food will taste better at all of these places if you can drag yourself out of bed and get there before nine. You’ll also feel oh-so-smug as you toss back another cup of coffee and watch the line out the door grow longer and longer.
Avital Ungar is the owner of Avital Food Tours which takes guests behind-the-scenes in the San Francisco culinary scene on walking food tours in the Mission District, the Haight Ashbury, North Beach and craft cocktails in Union Square. Get more information at www.avitaltours.com.