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A table set with brunch dishes and a mimosa
Photograph: Abrazo

The best brunch in San Francisco to complete your weekend

The best brunches in San Francisco are worth having to get up early and get in line.

By Shoshi Parks and Amy Sherman

October 2019: Brunch in San Francisco is heating up with new spots like Trailblazer Tavern, Palette Tea House and Abrazo taking you on a culinary journey to far away destinations like Hawaii, China and Spain. For pure luxury, skip the bottomless mimosas in favor of a Champagne flight to accompany brunch at two-star Michelin restaurant Campton Place. No one likes standing in line, and fortunately many of our favorite spots take reservations, so set the alarm clock and get your crew together and level up your weekend.

Who has a breakfast worth getting out of bed for on a weekend morning? We have a few opinons on that. On our list of the best brunches in San Francisco, find everything from American classics to Indian specialties, served up alongside newfangled and tried-and-true morning cocktails. Not in the mood for a full-blown meal? Swing by one of our favorite coffee shops instead to fuel up for a day of hiking or lazy urban wandering.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in San Francisco

Best brunch in San Francisco

Foreign Cinema
Photograph: Courtesy Foreign Cinema

1. Foreign Cinema

Restaurants Californian Mission

It should come as no surprise that brunch at Foreign Cinema is a culinary romp that rivals the beloved restaurant's evening meals. 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.

campton place
Photograph: Flickr/Yelp Inc

2. Campton Place

Restaurants Union Square

Indian brunch is the newest trend in San Francisco and no one does it quite like Campton Place. In an elegant dining room, feast on a variety of small and large plates including a Maine lobster roll with luscious coconut curry sauce or Bellwether Farms ricotta dumplings with squash, basil and red cherry makhani sauce. You can also go for classic American cuisine with a cheeseburger, crab benedict or French toast with strawberry vanilla compote. Start your meal with signature warm naan buns flavored with everything bagel spice.

Brenda's French Soul Food
Photograph: Flickr/Jonathan McIntosh

3. Brenda's French Soul Food

Restaurants Tenderloin

A longtime SF staple, Brenda’s French Soul Food cultivates a New Orleans aesthetic both in decor and on the plate. But 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 benedict, 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.

4. Palette Tea House

Restaurants Seafood Fisherman's Wharf

SF's newest dim sum spot is also one of the splashiest. Located at Ghirardelli Square, Palette Tea House focuses on fresh seafood and Instagram-worthy dumplings such as rainbow-colored soup dumplings, matcha lava bao filled with salted egg custard, black swan taro puffs and squid ink dumplings filled with pork, jicama and peanuts. The restaurant was founded by the same family that runs Koi Palace and Dragon Beaux. 

trailblazer tavern
Photograph: Nicola R Parisi

5. Trailblazer Tavern

Restaurants Hawaiian SoMa

Hawaii-inspired Trailblazer Tavern's new brunch menu has dim sum and pupus including a outstanding version of shrimp toast with black sesame. Favorite dishes include the mochi pancakes with passion fruit, orange and guava coulis, macadamia praline and coconut whipped cream as well as the housemade version of Spam tucked into musubi or a benedict. Don’t miss one of Diane Mina’s famous bloody mary’s, a carryover from the Mina Test Kitchen project.

Photograph: Courtesy Prairie


Restaurants Italian Mission

The baller brunch menu at Prairie features chef Anthony Strong’s bold and exciting cuisine, starting with great shareable toasts topped with delights such as Santa Barbara uni, grilled avocado and figs with prosciutto. Quickly becoming a signature dish are his Calabrian XO sauce fried eggs and impossibly crisp Carolina Gold rice waffles with salted maple butter. Eggs are best enjoyed in the form of a pressed omelet sandwich with cheese and sauerkraut or in an oven baked dish with smoky romano beans and goat gouda.

Photograph: Courtesy Plow

7. Plow

Restaurants Potrero Hill

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. 

Photograph: Courtesy Beretta

8. Beretta

Restaurants Mission

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.

A table set with brunch dishes and a mimosa
Photograph: Abrazo

9. Abrazo

Restaurants Spanish Russian Hill

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.

Presidio Social Club
Photograph: Flickr/rocor

10. Presidio Social Club

Restaurants Presidio

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.

Dutch pancake at Outerlands
Photograph: Eric Wolfinger

11. Outerlands

Restaurants Californian Outer Sunset

Weekend brunch at Outerlands has been drawing people to this driftwood-paneled Outer Sunset spot for years. 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.

Soup dumplings at Yank Sing
Photograph: Jun Seita

12. Yank Sing

Restaurants Chinese SoMa

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.

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