Bay Area Bites Guide: Best Places for Breakfast in San Francisco

The pulled pork eggs benedict at Brenda's French Soul Food. (Courtesy of Brenda's French Soul Food)

San Franciscans take their brunch very seriously. Or maybe they just like standing in line.

Sometimes that line is worth it and sometimes you can start your day with a delicious breakfast without the wait: eggs, toast, pancakes, pastries, and a whole lot of things you'll find only in San Francisco. Here are some of the city's favorites, both low-key locations and popular destinations. If we missed your favorite breakfast spot, share it in the comments below.

Breakfast at Mama's on Washington Square.
Breakfast at Mama's on Washington Square. (Courtesy of Mama's)

Mama's
1701 Stockton St. [map]
Ph: (415) 362-6421
Hours: Tues-Sun, 8am-3pm

Mama's is a San Francisco classic, serving breakfast for 50 years. People stand in line for the pastries, French toast, and the signature breakfast sandwich. But if you're going to wait that long, you might as well splurge on the tasty fresh spinach and Dungeness crab omelette. Breakfast is served all day. Cash only.

Plow
1299 18th St. [map]
Ph: (415) 821-7569
Hours: Mon-Fri, 7am-2pm; Sat, Sun, 8am-2pm

Sponsored

It might have started as a small neighborhood breakfast spot, but Plow is definitely not under the radar. The line is long, especially on weekends, and the spot is small. They don't take reservations and doesn't seat groups larger than six. But once you're in, the eggs are on point and the signature potatoes have something of a cult following. Order The Plow to sample it all -- two eggs, bacon or sausage, ricotta pancakes, and those Plow potatoes.

The scramble at Dottie's True Blue Cafe.
The scramble at Dottie's True Blue Cafe. (Courtesy of Dottie's)

Dottie's True Blue Cafe
28 6th St. [map]
Ph: (415) 885-2767
Hours: Mon, Thurs, Fri, 7:30am-3pm; Sat, Sun, 7:30am-4pm

Though it's moved locations, Dottie's has kept its fans for over 20 years. And in that time it's developed a reputation for big portions and home-style cooking. It's even been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. The chili cornbread with spicy jalapeno jelly is a crowd favorite. But first, you'll want some of Dottie's namesake pancakes or the whiskey fennel sausage scramble.

Brenda's French Soul Food
652 Polk St. [map]
Ph: (415) 345-8100
Hours: Mon, Tues, 8am-3pm; Wed-Sat, 8am-10pm; Sun, 8am-8pm

Maybe you could have figured this out from the name, but this place is all about the Creole classics. Shrimp and grits smothered in gravy, fried chicken, and beignets -- so many beignets, even crawfish and stuffed beignets. Or just order the beignet flight. No reservations, though you can order food delivered straight to your door through Caviar (if you want to take the breakfast in bed thing to another level). Breakfast is served until 3 p.m. each day, except on Sundays when you can order brunch all day.

Just for You Cafe
732 22nd St. [map]
Ph: (415) 647-3033
Hours: Mon-Fri, 7:30am-3pm; Sat, Sun, 8am-5pm

This Dogpatch spot is known for its wide range of dishes -- eggs with grilled catfish or a breakfast burrito or French toast -- and for its anything goes attitude. Try the Hangtown Fry, guaranteed to cure your hangover. Almost everything comes with jalapeno salsa and the mimosas are served in pint glasses, which will not cure your hangover.

A simple breakfast and coffee at Reveille Coffee Company
A simple breakfast and coffee at Reveille Coffee Company (Courtesy of Cafe Reveille)

Reveille Coffee Co.
610 Long Bridge St. [map]
Ph: (415) 580-7260
Hours: Mon-Fri, 7:30-10:30am and 11:15am-3pm; Sat, Sun, 8am-4pm

Reveille is best known for its coffee, but it's about more than that -- at least in the Mission Bay location. While the coffee company has a number of spots, it's the one on Long Bridge Street that comes with an adjoining Reveille Cafe for weekday breakfast and lunch, and weekend brunch. You'll want to try the house-made granola and the hotcakes -- a mix of oat crumble, toasted almonds, blueberry compote, and maple syrup.

The Mill
736 Divisadero St. [map]
Ph: (415) 345-1953
Hours: Mon, 7am-9pm; Tues-Sun, 7am-7pm

The Mill is the known as the place that launched the $4 toast craze, but maybe there's a reason that trend started here. The bread is good and that's pretty much all there is on the menu: different kinds of toast piled high with toppings, and freshly baked breads and granola from Josey Baker Bread (with regular pizza nights). Coffee comes from Four Barrel.

Outerlands
4001 Judah St. [map]
Ph: (415) 661-6140
Hours: Daily, 9am-3pm, 5-10pm

Around the corner from Trouble Coffee -- also a good spot to stop, Outerlands is worth the trek to the Outer Sunset. Get there early, though. On weekdays, breakfast is only offered until it sells out. Weekend brunch runs until the leisurely hour of 3 p.m., but the line is always long. The weekend menu is also longer, with the house speciality as a favorite: Eggs in Jail -- eggs inside toast, with bacon, aioli, and arugula on top. Or try the cornbread benedict and the Dutch pancakes, topped with apples, ricotta, or bacon.

The Rebel Within muffin at Craftsman and Wolves.
The Rebel Within muffin at Craftsman and Wolves. (Courtesy of Craftsman and Wolves)

Craftsman and Wolves
746 Valencia St. [map]
Ph: (415) 913-7713
Hours: Mon-Thurs, 7am-6pm; Fri, 7am-7pm; Sat, 8am-7pm; Sun, 8am-6pm

Craftsman and Wolves is a bakery, but it's so much more than a bakery. The famous The Rebel Within muffin is their specialty item: a savory asiago cheese muffin with a surprise soft-boiled egg inside. Almost everything here is more than it seems. Try the matcha snickerdoodle cookies or the salted caramel apple kouign-amman. There are also seasonal dishes, like the Thanksgiving Pop-Tart. There's another location on Pacific Avenue and a smaller set-up on Yosemite Avenue.

Rose's Cafe
2298 Union St. [map]
Ph: (415) 775-2200
Hours: Mon-Thurs, 7am-9pm; Fri, 7am-9:30pm; Sat, 8am-9:30pm; Sun, 8am-9pm

You probably didn't think breakfast needed a wood-burning stove. But you were wrong. Try the breakfast pizza or the smoked salmon pizza with scrambled eggs. There's also more traditional breakfast items (during breakfast hours on the weekday and with a separate brunch menu on weekends). Top those off with the warm rice pudding with pears.

Ella's
500 Presidio Ave. [map]
Ph: (415) 441-5669
Hours: Mon-Fri, 7am-3pm; Sat, Sun, 8:30am-3pm

The brunch menu rotates, so you never know exactly what you'll get, but you do know it'll be good. You also know there'll be a line on weekends (but maybe not a multi-hour wait). Try the brandied orange French toast and the famous chicken hash. All the baked good are made from scratch -- and have been for the last 20 years. And, no matter what, you can start the meal with a sticky bun.

Chicken and waffles at Farmer Brown.
Chicken and waffles at Farmer Brown. (Courtesy of Farmer Brown)

Farmer Brown
25 Mason St. [map]
Ph: (415) 409-3276
Hours: Sun-Wed, 10am-2:30pm, 5-9pm; Thurs-Sat, 10am-2:30pm, 5-10pm

The motto here: soul is about more than just biscuits and gravy. The hip spot does dinner and drinks in the evening, but it's all about Southern comfort breakfast food in the morning. You'll definitely want the chicken and waffles. Saturday and Sunday, try the brunch buffet in the mornings -- no reservations for weekend brunch, but eat all you want once you're there.

Boulette's Larder
The Ferry Building [map]
Ph: (415) 399-1155
Hours: Tues-Fri, 8-10:30am, 11:30am-3pm, 6-9:30pm; Sat, 8-10:30am, 11:30am-3pm, 4:30-8pm; Sun, 10am-2:30pm

OK, yes, it's in the Ferry Building and who goes to the Ferry Building for breakfast? Well, everyone. During the weekday, you can get breakfast during the early morning hours, but Sunday brunch is served all day. Relax and enjoy the seasonally-inspired poached eggs and scrambles. The menu changes regularly. There are also beignets and lots of cocktails, and a shop next door.

Heartbaker
1408 Clement St. [map]
Ph: (415) 592-6008
Hours: Tues, 7:30am-5pm; Wed-Fri, 7:30am-9pm; Sat, 9am-5pm; Sun, 9am-4pm

Sponsored

It's really all about the hand-made baked goods. (Even the eggs Benedict are served on house-made biscuits.) But there's plenty of breakfast to go with your bread pudding or salted caramel brownie. Try the Benedict sandwich or smoked salmon benedict. And sit on the outdoor patio to enjoy your breakfast in the sun.

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