In San Francisco, the city that launched the $4 toast trend, we take breakfast seriously. Some are willing to endure hour-long waits for the best brunch in SF; others know that weekday mornings—when the crowds thin and the pace slows—are the best time to indulge in the most important meal of the day. Whether you’re in the mood for a no-frills greasy-spoon, a mind-blowing pastry, or just one of the best sandwiches you’ve ever had (breakfast or not), San Francisco has a table (and a bottomless mug of San Francisco's best coffee) with your name on it. So, here's where to grab the best breakfast in SF.
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San Francisco breakfast
This Asian American bakery and cafe on Clement Street started out as a pop up from chefs who worked at top spots like Atelier Crenn, Coi and Mourad and who were inspired by travels throughout Asia and their Chinese and Filipino-American heritage. The small counter has a case full of creative pastries such as “not ube” tart and anko (sweet red bean) sticky buns. The breakfast offerings include griddled milk bread topped with a choice of instagram ready coconut pandan jam, soft egg and soya sauce, sesame and crispy shallot with butter, or fruit preserve and butter. There’s also a dreamy breakfast sandwich with ham, braised greens, fried egg and chile sauce. Wash it all down with sesame horchata or matcha cappuccino.
The Sutter Street location of this local bakery is not only a commissary kitchen, but a cafe with a mind boggling array of weekday breakfast options—pastries, egg dishes and customizable boards and bowls. The boards allow you to pick either 5 or 7 items such as seasonal fruit, smoked salmon, goat cheese, housemade granola and eggs served any which way. The bowls have 24 options to choose from such as oatmeal, quinoa, Straus yogurt, dried fruits, nuts and sweet toppings like brown sugar, honey or maple syrup.
This Scandinavian inspired cafe on Market Street offers breakfast Tuesday through Friday and brunch on the weekends. Not your average fare, there are straight out of Denmark specialties like Frøsnapper, a savory poppy and sesame seed twist and almond Kringle and seasonal treats like Swedish semlor, cardamom buns filled with almond paste and whipped cream. The main draw here for breakfast are the Copenhagen style brunch boards with 5 or 7 items all perfect for sharing such as their sprouted rye bread, a runny organic egg in creamy spinach, trout salad, pink bay shrimp, egg and dill, hot rye porridge, Icelandic skyr yogurt, beaten berries, muesli, and melon salad with tarragon and mint.
The Hi Neighbor outpost on Van Ness offers a full menu of tempting options for weekday breakfast including luscious butter fried pancakes and baked or soft scrambled eggs. But late risers are also in luck, as there are a variety of cafe selections until 4 such as a breakfast burrito with tater tots and cheddar or a mimosa-style parfait with yogurt, rhubarb, champagne and granola. On Saturdays indulge in their $20 3-course prix fixe brunch imported from the recently closed restaurant Stones Throw; it includes a sweet or savory bread basket, choice of hearty mains and a dessert for the table.
In Noe Valley this neighborhood restaurant meets modern bakery has an all day menu with breakfast-y options like Kalefornia breakfast salad with egg, kale, beet humus vegan eggplant bacon and pepitas, their version of eggs benedict with asparagus, a pancake crepe invention called “pan-crepes” and a variety of breakfast sandwiches. They also have a kids menu with a breakfast pizza, one egg breakfast and banana pan-crepe.
Breakfast is served all day at both the Fillmore and Larkin Street locations of casual bakery and cafe Jane. Along with typical breakfast pastries, avocado toast, quiche and a smoked salmon platter you’ll find more unusual things like Jane’s dragonfruit smoothie bowl, a riot of dragonfruit, pineapple, banana, ginger, coconut water, blueberries, raspberries, hemp seeds, flax seeds, cocoa nibs, goji and mulberries. For a more savory breakfast try the spicy baked eggs with spicy tomato and black bean stew, cheddar and cilantro.
Part bakery, part cafe and part restaurant, Tartine Manufactory’s breakfast from 8 until 11 offers not just the full range of baked goods including their famous morning bun and frangipane croissant, but also emmer porridge, egg sandwiches with greens, ham and even porchetta. Tartines change seasonally but are always stunners such as the winter version with apples and cranberries, fresh ricotta, seed brittle and vanilla gastrique. Another favorite is the coddled eggs topped with glistening trout roe, horseradish and toast with za’atar. The airy space is so comfortable and you may find yourself lingering until lunch rolls around.
Located just South of Market Street is San Francisco’s first casual Israeli restaurant to serve breakfast 7 days a week. While it’s not Kosher, there’s also no bacon or pork sausage on the menu; what is on offer is an abundant Israeli breakfast with two eggs any style, Israeli salad, fresh goat cheese with olives, roasted peppers, tahini, matbucha (cooked tomato and pepper salad) and a bread basket of assorted fresh breads. They also serve 2 versions of shakshuka in addition to more standard things like challah French toast and a smoked salmon plate.
This Haight spot draws hordes of bike commuters each morning—it’s conveniently located just off the Wiggle. Chef Juliet Orbach comes with a pedigree, having worked at LA hotspots Sqirl and Rustic Canyon. The breakfast menu starts with lighter fare, like an acai bowl (topped with house-made granola and bee pollen) and a coconut chia pudding finished with apricot compote and an almond, date, and sesame crumble. But it’s the heartier morning offerings that are worth the wait. The generous breakfast bowl layers two eggs, avocado, carrots, cabbage, kale, green tahini, and hot sauce over a bed of brown rice, quinoa, and lentils. And the warming shakshuka takes inspiration from Orbach’s Iranian-Persian roots: two poached eggs over a spiced tomato sauce and levain, drizzled with yogurt sauce and herbs.
In the far reaches of the Dogpatch, Noon All Day is a pleasant neighborhood café where you can down salads, bowls and coffee (you guessed it) all day long. Baked by nearby parent restaurant Piccino, the pastries are the highlight, whether you opt for the taro coconut Danish or the not-too-sweet white sesame cookie. While you’re at it, don’t miss the kimchi croissant. Heartier appetites will appreciate the “proper breakfast” of two poached eggs, butter beans, braised greens, toast, and either pork belly or avocado.
Ryan Blumenthal opened this weekday-only breakfast joint as an homage to his East Coast roots—it’s even named after his New York-bred grandma. Everyone’s here for one thing: The oozing, piping hot fried egg sandwiches, made with cage-free brown eggs cushioned on buttered poppy kaiser rolls. Build your own stack, with eggs, cheddar, pastrami, or applewood smoked bacon, or splurge on specials like the Twenty Five (egg, avocado, tomato, cream cheese, and black olive) or the Horse on the Roof (grilled steak, eggs, provolone, American cheese, and special sauce). Don’t miss the homemade hot sauce.