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Photograph: Clara Rice

18 must-eat spots for breakfast in San Francisco

We’ve got your mornings covered with the best spots for breakfast in San Francisco

Written by
Clara Hogan
,
Lauren Sheber
&
Amy Sherman
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We here in San Francisco take our breakfast seriously. Whether it's a gourmet bagel to go, a luxury toast (yes, that's a thing here) or a plate full of eggs and bacon, the best breakfast in San Francisco is one that satisfies your taste buds as much as your hunger.

While weekends are for usually reserved for splurging at one of the city’s best brunch spots, true morning meal diehards know that weekdays are the best time to go for breakfast, when crowds are usually thinner. Everyday mornings could mean a quick and hearty meal of fresh juices, baked goods and to-go dishes. But if you have a bit of time, try an Israeli-style breakfast or a vegan spot slinging indugent eggplant bacon. Some of these spots even offer breakfast at any time of the day, allowing true breakfast-fans to revel in pancakes for lunch, or an eggs bennie for dinner. 

If your only breakfast requirement is a jolt of caffeine and carbs, try one of the city’s best coffee shops or one of the best bagels in San Francisco. Otherwise, grab a seat at one of these breakfast spots and fuel up for your day.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in San Francisco

Best breakfast in San Francisco

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Inner Richmond
  • price 2 of 4

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 their travels throughout Asia as well as 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.

If you're looking for a classic San Francisco diner experience, look no further than Sears Fine Food, located in Union Square. Here, you'll find everything you're hoping for: plush maroon booths, black-and-white checkered floors, nostalgic photos, and quintessential American breakfast fare. The restaurant dates back to 1938, when Wilbur and Ben Sears opened up shop and gained a reputation for their delicious Swedish pancakes, an inherited family recipe. Sears is still best-known for those pancakes, still made from the original recipe. You can order a dish of 18 of these beauties — thin, silver dollar sized and served with butter and jam.

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  • Restaurants
  • Californian
  • Marina District

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 between five and seven 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.

A lot of San Francisco's beloved, historic spots haven't managed to survive over the years, but luckily, Pork Store Cafe is still here to fill you with chicken fried steak, omelets, and its signature dish: pork chops for breakfast. The restaurant is the oldest free-standing restaurant on Haight Street. Its story began in 1916 when a Czech couple opened the Pork Store butcher shop. It turned into a cafe in 1953 (known as the Triple Coin Cafe), then changed hands over the years. It eventually became the Pork Store Cafe in 1979. Its maintained a loyal following over the years for its big portions, friendly service, and reasonable prices. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Hayes Valley
  • price 2 of 4

This Scandinavian-inspired cafe on Market Street offers breakfast Tuesday through Friday and brunch on the weekends. Not your average fare, these 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, though, are the Copenhagen-style brunch boards with five or seven items all perfect for sharing: 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.

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Downtown
  • price 2 of 4

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.

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The city was devastated to hear the news that, during the pandemic, this beloved Korean-American diner in the Inner Sunset was closing after 30 years because owners Sarah and Hae Ryong Young were retiring. But recently, it reopened with new local owners hoping to keep the place's magic alive. Chol and Young Lee have taken over the operation, committing to leaving it largely unchanged, serving up nostalgia for people who have pulling up a seat at the counter for decades. Art's is known for its crispy hash browns, teriyaki beef omelettes, sandwiches, and bibimbap. You can't go wrong. 

  • Restaurants
  • Sandwich shops
  • Pacific Heights
  • price 2 of 4

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.

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Dottie's True Blue Cafe has gained a loyal (to put it mildly) following over the years with its elevated and classy breakfast atmosphere and generous portions of flavorful classics. Lines get long, especially on the weekends, so go early. Go-to menu items are the daily frittata, fluffy pancakes, and any of the housemade pastries (but especially the giant cinnamon roll). Inside, you'll find tables along a brick wall, featuring old black-and-white photos of Hollywood stars and a chandelier overhead. Five different homemade hot sauces adorn each table, ready for you to douse your food in.  

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Mission
  • price 2 of 4

Part bakery, part cafe and part restaurant, Tartine Manufactory’s breakfast from 8 until 11am 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 that you may find yourself lingering until lunch rolls around.

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  • Restaurants
  • Israeli
  • Yerba Buena
  • price 2 of 4

Located just South of Market Street is San Francisco’s first casual Israeli restaurant to serve breakfast seven 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 two versions of shakshuka in addition to more standard things like challah French toast and a smoked salmon plate.

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Lower Haight
  • price 1 of 4

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.

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  • Restaurants
  • Sandwich shops
  • Mission
  • price 1 of 4

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 a 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.

  • Restaurants
  • Downtown
  • price 2 of 4

Escape the Ferry Building’s tourist throngs in this refreshingly refined eatery. Lighting designer Lindsey Adelman’s branching chandeliers glow overhead and the gleaming open kitchen is pristine. The breakfast fare is as upscale as the digs. On the lighter side, the yogurt bowl offers your choice of cow, sheep, or goat milk yogurt and is topped with berries and plum sauce. Heartier dishes include the smoked wild king salmon, piled on Meyer lemon toast with a dollop of crème fraîche, and the poached eggs, which are served atop cranberry beans and tomatillos, and topped with queso fresco and purslane.

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  • Restaurants
  • Delis
  • Mission
  • price 2 of 4

For all its multicultural prowess, San Francisco had never done a Jewish deli successfully. All that changed in 2012 with the opening of Wise Sons – you could hear the echo of a million Jewish mothers shouting “mazel tov.” Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman have not only nailed it, but done so in a uniquely Northern California way with reinterpreted classics such as house-smoked pastrami on rye with handmade pickles, just-salty-enough chopped liver, and rich, veggie-filled matzo ball soup (self-deprecatingly described as “not as good as your bubbe's”). For breakfast, choose from a curated variety of bagel flavors, then snag a shmear. Or go for the gold with one of their stacked bagel sandwiches, like the bodega egg and cheese with the added option of crispy pastrami. There's also freshly baked bread to take home, and plenty of Intelligentsia coffee.

  • Restaurants
  • Californian
  • Cow Hollow
  • price 2 of 4

With its ample outdoor seating, wood-fired pizza oven, and gorgeously wild floral arrangements, this quaint Italian spot brings a little European charm to the Marina. The stars of the morning menu are the breakfast pizzas, whether laden with smoked ham, fontina, and eggs or smoked salmon and creme fraiche. All the bread is made daily in house—a clear vote for any dish served with toast—as are the pastries. Neighborhood regulars pop in on the way to work for the baked goods, whether it be the fruit focaccia and sour cream coffee cake or a still-warm ham-and-cheese croissant.

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  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Outer Sunset
  • price 1 of 4

This teeny Outer Sunset bakery has a perennial line snaking out the door for cookies, cinnamon buns, limited-edition pies and the ultimate morning-after breakfast. Though the spot serves an assortment of baked goods and sandwiches, the unequivocal highlight is the “special” breakfast sandwich: two eggs, pepper jack cheese, applewood-smoked bacon, avocado, and lemon-garlic aioli served on a homemade buttermilk biscuit. There’s minimal seating inside, so dress prepared for chilly weather.

  • Restaurants
  • Californian
  • Outer Sunset
  • price 2 of 4

Temporarily closed

Weekday breakfast is an under-the-radar highlight at this driftwood-paneled Outer Sunset spot. Starting at 9am, neighborhood regulars and Ocean Beach surfers start to congregate, greeting each other by name. Some stick to coffee and the rotating array of inventive baked goods; others dig into seasonal spicy-savory breakfast dishes like the breakfast sandwich on levain bread with sausage patty, cheddar, an egg and arugula or the huevos rancheros with eggs, beans, salsa roja. Most everything on the menu is vegetarian-friendly, but carnivores can add a fried egg or slabs of bacon to any item for two bucks.

Looking for breakfast to-go?

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