Like coffee, bakeries have a long and colorful history in San Francisco dating back to the Gold Rush, when the original 49ers used a tangy wild bread culture to create the first loaves of San Francisco sourdough. Today, the city is knead-deep in artisan bakeries that churn out cakes, pastries, cookies and every other toothsome treat you can think of. The next time a snack attack hits, consult our bakery guide, hitting sweet spots from North Beach to the Mission.
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San Francisco bakeries
James Beard award-winner Belinda Leong has been named Outstanding Baker in the country and one taste of her B Patisserie pastries confirms why. Whether you opt for the killer chocolate banana scones, silky quiche, seasonal kouign amann or Valrhona fudge cookies, her baked goods are irresistible.
Husband-and-wife team Liz Pruiett and Chad Robertson have grown from humble Mission beginnings to inspire a baking renaissance around the globe. Their morning bun launched hundreds of imitators and their open-faced sandwiches and quiches are as good as it gets. Long live Tartine!
We have two words for you: Everything croissant. Neighbor Bakehouse’s everything croissant is covered in everything bagel spices and filed with cream cheese—it is a must-have. Also on the menu are pastries like sauerkraut smoked cheddar peppadew tarts, guava cream cheese pastelitos, the popular ginger pull-apart and twice-baked pistachio blackberry croissants.
Sunny 20th Century Cafe exudes charm, from the Eastern European baked goods to the vintage china. The menu usually features everything from pierogis, linzertorte and knishes to pogácsa (a bread filled with meats and cheese) and Russian honey cake. Lunch specials kick in at 11:30am and whatever you do, order a hot butterscotch to drink.
Ambrogio Soracco opened tiny Liguria Bakery in 1911 turning out nothing but focaccia, topped with onions, tomato, raisins, rosemary-garlic and olives from a 100-year-old oven. The legendary shop is now run by the third and fourth generations of the Soracco family. Line up for still-warm sheets of perfect foccacia wrapped in butcher paper and tied with string.
The original Mission District location of chef William Werner’s popular Craftsman & Wolves bakery serves deliciously artful pastries, cakes, breads and desserts like matcha snickerdoodles and Japanese milk bread. Don’t miss his signature Rebel Within (a soft-cooked egg housed inside a muffin with sausage, asiago cheese, green onion).
Josey Baker started baking bread in his Mission apartment in 2010, sourcing his sourdough starter from his friend’s grandmother (which he still uses) and grinding whole grain flour every day. At The Mill, seasonal breads, spreads and toasts are on offer alongside pastries like the raspberry pistachio hazelnut croissant and a weekly changing pizza.
Sticking to the French classics, like kouign amann, almond croissants and pain au chocolat, does well for tiny Arsicault Bakery. Armando Lacayo's bakery has earned national acclaim for its perfectly buttery, flaky croissants in almond or ham and cheese.
Mr. Holmes Bakehouse arrived in SF in 2014, launching a national craze with the cruffin—a croissant-muffin-hybrid. Also on the menu are a creme brulee danish, matcha croissant, banana almond chai danish and the “Just Try It” croissant filled with house pastrami, pickled onions, oranges, Manchego cheese and a dusting of pumpkin and fennel seeds.
Iconic Golden Gate Bakery has been drawing lines for decades for its pitch-perfect egg custard tarts plucked straight from the oven, as well its moon cakes—filled with pineapple, coconut, lotus seed, red-bean paste or sugared melon—every September during the Autumn Moon Festival.