Best brunches in San Francisco
It should come as no surprise that brunch at Foreign Cinema is a culinary romp that rivals the beloved restaurant's evening meals. In the light of day, the romantic dining room and back patio is sunny and full of light. On the seasonal, globally-influenced morning menu, find sweet bites like organic guava "pop tarts," savory shareables like provencal brandade (blended salt cod, whipped potatoes, garlic, chilis and toast) and hearty meals like the champagne truffle omelet or duck leg confit. Lines can be long at brunch so make a reservation to secure your spot. Luckily, if they can't fit you in, Laszlo next door serves the same menu.
In celebration of two years concocting progressive Indian food at the SoMa restaurant-bar ROOH, Chef Sujan Sarkar recently debuted a new brunch menu. The restaurant, with its lapis blue bar, yellow banquets, red-orange curtains and patterned tile floor is a vivid counterpart to Sarkar's food, a fusion of traditional Indian cuisine and modern flavors. Look for dishes like malai chicken kofta macaroni with amul cheese and cheddar fondue, chicken liver & quail egg masala fry with pomegranate and chili, and egg puffs with onion and garlic masala. Bottomless house-made spritzers spiked with booze (or in virgin form) come in flavors like tamarind and ginger and spicy guava.
A longtime SF staple, Brenda’s French Soul Food cultivates a New Orleans aesthetic both in decor and on the plate. Brenda's is doing something far more interesting than the typical chicken and waffles. Here, there are beignets stuffed with crawfish and cheddar cheese, fried catfish benedicts, grillades and grits in spicy creole gravy and butter pecan brioche french toast. Like mouthwatering meals, interminable waits are par for the course at this Tenderloin favorite.
With the temporary closure of Hong Kong Lounge II, our dim sum go-to for weekend brunch has shifted to the downtown favorite, Yank Sing. Though this Michelin Bib Gourmand winner is pricier than some of the city's other dim sum joints, their food doesn't disappoint. Yank Sing's Shanghai dumplings are iconic, as are their har gow (shrimp dumplings), but we also love the snow pea shoots and taro root dumplings. Really, it doesn't matter what you choose from the rolling carts (especially since deciphering what each dish contains can be a challenge), odds are you'll love it all.
Weekend brunch at Outerlands has been drawing people to this driftwood-paneled Outer Sunset spot for years. Some keep it simple with a rotating array of inventive baked goods by pastry chef Brooke Mosley, and that's a delicious way to go. But for a more satisfying meal, you can't go wrong with the restaurant's famed cast-iron baked dutch baby—served sweet with apples, walnuts and yogurt or savory with Dungeness crab and sour cream. Many things on the menu are vegetarian-friendly, but carnivores can add a fried slabs of bacon or pulled pork to dishes like the tostada ranchero.
Kaya, a collaboration between Alta Group and chef/co-owner Nigel Jones of Oakland’s Kingston 11 Cuisine, has made a name for itself with smoldering hot, modern Jamaican dishes and dangerously drinkable festive island cocktails served in a bright space that pops with brightly colored accents and hard-to-find Jamaican films projected on the wall. At weekend brunch, come for the cinnamon French toast, fried plantains, salt fish fritters and jerk chicken sandwiches and stay for rum drinks like the 3 Little Birds made with tangerine-infused rum and pisco, genepy, lemon and egg whites.
Simply outfitted with gleaming reclaimed wood tables and floor-to-ceiling windows, Plow is a beautiful space to spend a morning. You’ll find standout dishes on both the sweet and savory ends of the spectrum: From the legendary lemon ricotta pancakes and rhubarb coffee to the cold-smoked salmon toast and house-made biscuits topped in honey butter, scallions and ham or sausage. (Nab a biscuit while you can—they’ve been known to run out on busy mornings.) Even lighter fare is memorable here, like the chia seed pudding served with almond milk, bananas, coconut, almonds, honey and bee pollen.
Beretta's weekend brunch is a welcome mix of Italian-influenced brunch fare (think pasta chilaquiles or prosciutto scrambles) and the restaurant's beloved Neapolitan-style pizzas, some, like the creamy spinach with mushrooms and eggs, with a brunch twist of their own. Outdoor seating is ample, as long as you get there around 11am to avoid a long wait. If you're stuck in line, order a brunch cocktail like the breakfast cobbler (sherry, raspberry & curacao) or weekend tryst (campari, grapefruit & moscato) straight from the bar to pass the time.
At this young Russian Hill gem with Old World style, the brunch menu is exactly what we've been waiting for. Abrazo's Spanish fare rises to the morning meal with aplomb in dishes like a jamon serrano benedict made with pimenton hollandaise and boquerone tostadas made with white anchovies, cured egg yolk and pequillo romesco. French toast served with quince syrup, seasonal berries, toasted almonds and whipped cream is made to satisfy those with a sweet tooth. And cava bellinis and sangria? Well, those will satisfy just about anyone.
The Presidio Social Club, once a military barrack, is at the heart of what is arguably San Francisco's most picturesque park. The unfussy restaurant is a sort of modern, upscale diner with a long bar inside and a handful of tables on an outdoor patio. On the eclectic brunch menu, choose from Asian, Mexican and American favorites like Mission-style chilaquiles, East West chicken noodle soup and challah French toast. Brunch cocktails, including mango passion coladas and aperol spritzes, nicely complement whatever you're in the mood for.