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September 8, 2022

The Top Brunches in San Francisco

In most cities, brunch is a traditional mix of breakfast and lunch menu items. However, brunch in San Francisco is by no means traditional. Whatever you’re craving—breakfast pizza, fried chicken and waffles, dim sum, chilaquiles, burgers, salads, or sandwiches—the city has it. Throw in bottomless mimosas or over-the-top cocktails, and brunch in San Francisco becomes something worth waiting in line for. When visiting San Francisco, you must carve out time to check out some of these brunch spots. Whether it's a trek from the Sunset to the Mission, Hayes Valley to North Beach, and beyond, it's worth it.

Abacá (2700 Jones St. in Fisherman's Wharf)

Abacá is a contemporary Filipino-Californian restaurant showcasing the beauty and vibrance of Filipino culture and cuisine. While breakfast is served from 7 to 10 a.m. every day, brunch on Saturday and Sunday is a relative newcomer. There are several classic Filipino dishes on the menu that you need to order: Tikoy Pandan Waffle, the Ube Biscuit, and Tocino Silog. Pair those dishes with a passionfruit mimosa and you're set.

Brenda's Meat and Three (919 Divisadero St. in NOPA)

What's a meat and three? It's a southern culinary tradition. Meat & three diners are popular with locals who choose one meat (or entrée) and three side dishes from a daily selection of down-home favorites. And for brunch, which is served every day until 3 p.m., you can choose from classic Southern dishes like pulled pork hash, cream biscuit and country gravy, shrimp and grits, and Low Country gumbo. The stars of the menu are the beignets which come in chocolate, Granny Smith Apple and crawfish. If you like to drink your brunch, you can't miss out on the Creole Bloody Mary. 

Devil's Teeth Baking Company (3876 Noriega St. in the Sunset)

All hail the mighty breakfast sandwich! Devil's Teeth Baking Company is a no-frills yet delicious brunch option. Save for a parklet, there are no tables or chairs at this takeout-only bakery. Don't worry: their breakfast sandwich (on a biscuit with special sauce, avocado, bacon, and cheese) or the cinnamon bun (a dense goliath with brown sugar paste) has no need for tables or chairs. 

Foreign Cinema (2534 Mission St. in the Mission District)

What feels like a romantic drive-in with patio lights, overhead heaters to protect you from the fog, and movies playing on the back wall at night, Foreign Cinema is a hard reservation to get for dinner. During the day, the patio floods with natural light, making it an equally stunning place to enjoy oysters on the half shell, their famous pop tart, french toast, or the duck leg confit. Movies might not be playing on the big screen, but brunch at Foreign Cinema is an easier table to snag.

The Front Porch (65A 29th St. in Bernal Heights)

Come straight here if you need to feed your southern fix. Just don't plan on doing a lot of activities afterward (might we suggest a nap at Dolores Park?). The Front Porch is known for fried chicken, so it's only appropriate that you get their fried chicken and waffles. Everything is hearty, so plan on a long walk back to your hotel. You could also opt to take a Lyft or an Uber; just don't fall asleep from the inevitable food coma.

Hilda and Jesse (701 Union St. in North Beach)

While Mama's on Washington Square is a stalwart, we recommend checking out the newest kid on the block, Hilda and Jesse, a brunch and dinner eatery. Come here for the Pancakes Without Boundaries, the crab and caviar omelet, and hash browns with pork sausage. For those already overwhelmed by these choices, there’s a three-course $49 brunch tasting menu with optional wine pairings. As stunning as the food sounds, the design is so eye-catching that you'll want to snap a photo for the Instagram feed before you leave.

Kitchen Story (3499 16th St. in the Castro)

Located in the heart of Castro District, Kitchen Story is a California Cuisine-ery, serving "typical suburban family breakfast." The restaurant represents a combination of cultures, with Californian and Asian influences. While the menu is expansive and delicious, the thing to do at Kitchen Story is to arrive with a big group of friends and get the bottomless mimosas.

Lokma (1801 Clement St. in the Richmond)

Head to this popular brunch spot to be transported to Istanbul for their Turkish-style takes on San Francisco brunch. Bring a friend with you to share the Turkish breakfast, a meal for two that includes sujuk (sausage), pastirma (air-dried, cured beef), four scrambled eggs, and sides that include loads of feta, hummus, olives, tomatoes, cucumber, and pita. If you're dining solo, get the Memem, a Turkish classic consisting of scrambled eggs with organic tomatoes and sweet peppers, feta cheese, fresh fruit & warm pita.

Outerlands (4001 Judah St.)

Getting to Outerlands is quite a trek, and there will be a line, but that is a sign that something good is about to come. So put down your name and head to Trouble Coffee while you wait. When it is your turn to sit down, don't waste another second: order the dutch pancake, sticky buns, and chilaquiles. The best part about brunch is it starts on Thursday. If you visit San Francisco during the week, this is the place to go.

The Palm House (2032 Union St. in Cow Hollow)

If you're looking to escape the early morning fog, you need to head straight to the Palm House for its tropical vibes and plentiful brunch librations. While you might already be on vacation, visiting the Palm House will make you feel like you're on another, with their good vibes and vibrant Cal-tropic fare. Must-haves off the brunch menu are the Island Breakfast, fried rice stuffed pineapple, and the jerk shrimp and grits.

Piccino (1001 Minnesota St. in the Dogpatch)

Piccino is a chill and spacious Italian restaurant serving excellent coffee, pastries, and very good pizzas with eggs (yes, breakfast pizza is a thing). You can walk in and easily grab a table. This is your chance to get away from all the other tourists, and Piccino is worth your time. The restaurant is housed in an iconic yellow building. You can't miss it.

Plow (1299 18th Street in Potrero Hill)

Brunch in San Francisco starts and ends with Plow in Potrero Hill Plow is a favorite of almost every resident, no matter the day. Everything is delicious, but if you need to choose, get the breakfast sandwich with a lemon ricotta pancake and potatoes. Get up early! The best time to go to Plow is before 9 a.m.

Son & Garden (700 Polk St. in Civic Center)

Aptly described as a breakfast restaurant, Son & Garden will brighten your day (and your Instagram) with its colorful, delicious, and thoughtful creations on the menu and on the walls. The ricotta pancakes, loco moco, and lobster benedict will make your eyes pop, and stomachs growl. Pair these dishes with a Cloud 9 cocktail, and you know where you'll be.

Sweet Maple (2101 Sutter St. in the Fillmore District)

The sister restaurant to Kitchen Story, Sweet Maple is the place to try Millionaire’s Bacon. Thick, free-range bacon baked for four hours with brown sugar, cayenne, red and black pepper comes out with the right amounts of soft and crispy texture. Don’t forget to order the Marnier French Toast, and when you order your bottomless mimosa, try the sweet (fresh raspberry lemonade) and bitter (freshly squeezed grapefruit juice) flavors.

Tartine Manufactory (595 Alabama St. in the Mission District)

What started as a popular bakery on Guerrero and 18th streets has expanded into a new space with a complete menu that includes coddled eggs with trout roe and horseradish, herbed omelets, and a variety of tartines. Don't worry: the bread is still the star here. If you don't want to wait in line, they also have a mini coffee shop inside with pastries and fresh bread to go.

Wise Sons (3150 24th St. in the Mission District)

Anyone craving superlative matzo ball soup, chopped liver or pastrami on rye must come to this Mission deli with everything made in-house. Dishes like pastrami cheese fries, pastrami and eggs, and their patty melt (with pastrami ground into the patty) will keep you returning. And do not miss out on the open-face lox bagel. It's quite possibly the best in the city. Most of the brunch items are available all day.

Yank Sing (49 Stevenson St. in SoMa)

Open since 1958, Yank Sing continues to evolve with the times, serving both traditional and contemporary takes on dim sum. At Yang Sing, you'll rub elbows with both locals and visitors as you enjoy the adventure of this iconic Chinese meal, selecting from over 100 rotating dishes served from traditional pushcarts in their contemporary dining room. Dishes to check out are the xiao long bao soup dumplings, egg tarts, shumai, har gow, and turnip cakes.

Zazie (941 Cole Street in Cole Valley)

Hidden in the sleepy neighborhood of Cole Valley, you'd only notice Zazie by the long line of locals waiting to grab a table for brunch. If you have a benedicts itch that needs to be scratched, Zazie is the place. They have seven different kinds of poached eggs. The crab is where it's at. Don't be dismayed about the long line. Simply put your name down and then head to Finnegan's Wake next door and have a spicy bloody mary to pass the time.

Zuni Cafe (1658 Market St. in Hayes Valley)

Zuni Cafe is one of the most savory and iconic brunch options on this list. Founded in 1979, Zuni was an instant classic; but it wasn't until 1987, when Chef Judy Rodgers helmed the kitchen, that the restaurant started being recognized nationally. This restaurant has not one, two, but three James Beard awards to its name! While you take a minute to marvel at this bustling, bi-level bistro, don't forget to order the roast chicken for two, the Caesar Salad, or the hamburger (only on the lunch menu).

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