The Absolute Best Brunch Spots in San Francisco Right Now
Satisfy your cravings for fried chicken, bottomless mimosas, and more at SF’s best brunches.
Whether you’re waking up, going on a hike, and then enjoying a leisurely and indulgent mid-day weekend meal or rolling out of bed at noon with the goal of getting a Bloody Mary into your body as quickly as possible, brunch is always a treat especially when that brunch is taking place in San Francisco and not limited to bacon, eggs, and mediocre mimosas.
Whatever you’re craving breakfast pizza, fried chicken and waffles, dim sum, chilaquiles, or even some lunch dishes like burgers, salads, and sandwiches (fun fact: lunch options must be available for brunch to qualify as brunch!), there’s a place on this list that will make all of your brunch dreams come true.
Son & Garden
There are brunch spots where you stumble in unshowered with sunglasses on (even when inside), and then there are brunch spots perfectly suited for a special occasion. Son & Garden is the latter, a delightful and incredibly Instagram-friendly destination from the folks behind Farmhouse Kitchen. Truly every detail in this pastel floral-filled oasis is gorgeous, including the decor, tableware, cocktails, and food. And while the cocktails and food are undoubtedly picture-perfect, they’re also delicious. Must-orders include Fried Chicken Benedict, the Deep-fried French Toast, and the Cloud 9, a whimsical cocktail topped with cotton candy.
How to enjoy: Breakfast is served daily from 9 am to 3 pm. Reserve a table here.
You know how sometimes you wake up on a Sunday, and, sure, it’s barely 9 am, but all you want is a double smashburger with garlicky cheddar? When that happens, head directly to this all-day restaurant and bakery from a former Lazy Bear sous chef, which serves bread, pastries, savory breakfast items, and heartier lunch fare starting at 9 am. Pop in starting at 8 am if you’re just craving a coffee and delicious pastries, like the Brioche Donut or the Cinnamon Berry Crunch Breakfast Cookie.
How to enjoy: Walk in for indoor seating between 8 am and 3:30 pm, Tuesday through Sunday. You can also order here for takeout, which you can take with you or enjoy at the restaurant.
Palette Tea House
One of the best things about brunching in San Francisco is that it doesn’t always mean pancakes and benedicts. In fact, it often means dim sum, a delicious marathon of dumplings, bao, and more. There are so many excellent dim sum spots in SF. Still, if you want a truly memorable meal, the place to go is Palette Tea House, a gorgeous and colorful restaurant in the heart of Ghirardelli Square. Don’t let that scare you away. The tourist destination has recently become very locals-friendly. The restaurant comes from the team behind Koi Palace and Dragon Beaux. Yes, there are some very Instagrammable dishes. The taro puffs literally look like black swans, and the dumpling sampler is a dim sum version of tasting the rainbow, but don’t be surprised if you forget to snap any pics before you start shoving heavenly bites into your mouth.
How to enjoy: Palette Tea House is open from 11:30 am to 7:30 pm, Monday through Thursday; 11:30 am to 8 pm on Friday; 11 am to 8 pm on Saturday; and 11 am to 7:30 pm on Sunday. Reservations are available on Tock.
Hilda and Jesse
Hilda and Jesse, an ambitious brunch spot that recently landed a spot on the Michelin Bib Gourmand list, pays homage to a traditional American diner but with a whimsical twist. This is evident in the decor, with retro checkerboard tile, red and chrome swivel stools, and pops of pastel everywhere, as well as on the menu. Where else are you going to get Pancakes Without Boundaries, a double stack of fluffy, souffled buttermilk pancakes with grilled cranberry maple, and an option to add Perigord black truffle? There’s also a Crab and Caviar Omelet, Hashbrowns with Pork sausage, and for those who are already overwhelmed by these choices, there’s a three-course $40 brunch tasting menu with optional wine pairings.
How to enjoy: Hilda and Jesse is open for all-day brunch Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm. Reserve a table via Resy.
You’ll likely have to wait for brunch at this cozy, rustic, and popular spot, but once you take your first bite into the restaurant’s famous Dutch Pancake (baked in a cast iron pan and topped with seasonal fruits and nuts and worth adding the optional ricotta to), any resentment will melt away. The brief menu skews toward vegetarianism, and you can’t go wrong with anything involving house-baked bread, like the Levain Toast with house-made jam and butter. The beloved neighborhood restaurant has a new owner (a longtime employee) as of last winter, but don’t worry, everything you loved before, or will love if you’ve never been, remains the same.
How to enjoy: Open for walk-ins Friday through Sunday from 9 am to 3 pm. You can also order online for takeout.
Zuni’s light, airy space is perfect for a leisurely meal with friends. You might be tempted to order the famous Roast Chicken for two, and you can because it is on the brunch menu, but the ultimate move is to get the burger (house-ground, grass-fed, and on grilled rosemary focaccia) that isn’t on the dinner menu. If you’re a breakfast-at-brunch, not a lunch-at-brunch person, there are several delicious egg dishes to choose from, including a tasty frittata. And, finally, don’t sleep on the Balsamic Bloody Mary, which substitutes a six-year-old balsamic for Worcestershire, something you’ll wish every bartender did after just one sip.
How to enjoy: Brunch is available on Sundays from 11 am to 2:30 pm. Reservations are available on OpenTable.
The Front Porch
We love hitting up this Southern spot during dinner for fried chicken, so it only makes sense that the Fried Chicken and Cornmeal Waffles are our go-to order. The Chicken Fried Steak with Sausage Gravy is a close second. Need something to help ease last night’s pain and set you up for an afternoon nap? Look no further than the Stoner Stack, a biscuit sandwich with fried chicken breast, fried egg, cheddar cheese, bacon, and house-made sausage gravy served with tater tots or grits. There are also a bunch of Porch Cocktails, including a Bloody Mary with bacon and pitchers of margs.
How to enjoy: Walk in or make a reservation here. Available from 10 am to 3 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Turns out the key to the most delicious breakfast potatoes you’ll ever possibly eat is to mash them, fry them until they’re brown and crispy, and season them with rosemary and thyme. But even if you tried to do that at home, you’d never get anywhere close to the deliciousness of Plow's potatoes. And the potatoes are just the start of what this breakfast and brunch spot do well. We recommend you order The Plow, so that you can get eggs, house-made pork sausage patties, those potatoes, and two of their famous Lemon Ricotta Pancakes. And since you got out of bed and brushed your hair (or not), you might as well throw in some Buttermilk Biscuits as well. You’ll deserve it after waiting in the popular spot’s notorious long line.
How to enjoy: Plow is open for weekend brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 8 am to 2 pm. Want to brunch during the week? Get there between 7 am and 2 pm. Walk-ins only. Takeout is available by calling 415-821-7569, but it’s a limited menu on weekends and, depending on how busy they are, might not be an option.
Zazie’s brunch is known for long waits that are actually worth it, but the addition of a spacious parklet has eased those slightly, especially on weekdays when you might not have to endure one at all. Our favorite place to sit is on the covered back garden patio, but every seat is a good one, especially once your food arrives. It’s impossible to place an order you’ll regret, but our go-tos are the Miracle Pancakes, Croque Madame, and Pierre Noir (Eggs Benedict with bacon, tomatoes provençales, and possibly the best lemon hollandaise to exist anywhere on the planet). The build-your-own Mimosas, or really any of the brunch beverages, are also a must. And don’t stress if the prices seem slightly higher than your average brunch spot. A 20 percent tip is included, which provides employees with paid family leave, fully funded health & dental insurance, paid time off, and a 401(k) with employer match.
How to enjoy: Zazie doesn’t offer reservations, but you can sign in at the kiosk out front, and you’ll get a text when your table is ready. Takeout is also available on the weekends. Brunch is available on weekdays from 8 am to 2 pm and on weekends from 9 am to 3 pm.
Brenda's Meat & Three
We appreciate Brenda’s because it’s a women-owned-and-operated restaurant, but also because the menu has comforting, Southern-inflected dishes like Stuffed Johnnycakes, Pulled Pork Hash, Cream Biscuit and Country Gravy, Shrimp and Grits, and Low Country Gumbo. And beignets. You can’t leave without getting an order. Or the Creole Bloody Mary. Whether you’re seated in the outdoor parklet, back patio, or on one of the comfy leather booths inside, Brenda’s menu is packed with flavor and memorable delights. Our final mention is the Eggs Benedict with Creole Hollandaise and fried catfish (or fried chicken, pulled pork, etc) on Brenda’s famous cream biscuit that’s only available Friday–Sunday.
How to enjoy: Walk in or make a reservation for the outdoor parklet, back patio, or indoors. You can also order for pickup online or by calling 415-926-8657.
Brunch at restaurants along Union and Chestnut Street can get pretty boisterous, but if you’re in the mood for a delicious meal without the slight chaos that brunch in this neighborhood can sometimes bring, this classic SF restaurant is the perfect spot. The menu offers your standard brunch fare but with an Italian spin. For example, the Breakfast Sandwich comes on focaccia and the Soft Scrambled Eggs are served with prosciutto. The best plan is to go with people who want to sample a few things so that you can all split the Breakfast Pizza with smoked ham, fontina, and sunny-side-up eggs. Also, we aren’t usually salad-for-breakfast kind of folks, but the chopped salad at Rose’s is on point.
How to enjoy: Breakfast and lunch are walk-in only for indoor and outdoor dining. You can get the weekday AM menu Monday through Friday from 9 am to 4:30 pm and the brunch menu only on weekends from 9 am to 4:30 pm
Foreign Cinema is the perfect brunch spot for a special occasion. Maybe that’s because it’s the kind of brunch you want to plan ahead for, which automatically ups the ante. To be clear, this means you should make reservations because you probably won’t get in if you don’t. You’ll be stoked you’re so responsible when you’re sitting in the open-air courtyard enjoying oysters, house-made “Pop-Tarts,” and one of the best Croque Madames in town. Of course, no one who eats meat brunches at Foreign Cinema without getting the Slow-Cooked Brown Sugar-Smoked Bacon, which is salty, sweet, and would almost ruin all other bacon forever if ruining bacon forever was a thing that could happen.
How to enjoy: Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm. Reservations are available on OpenTable.
Tartine Manufactory sits inside a stunning and sprawling industrial space. The all-day menu has many amazing options, and whether you go toward a healthy Market Salad, Smoked Salmon Tartine, Chocolate Croissant, or Brisket Hash, you won’t be disappointed. Hell, we won’t judge you if you order all four. It’s brunch, after all. But even though you’re living your life how you want, there are still two “musts” when in the vicinity of Tartine Manufactory: Buying a freshly baked loaf of bread to take home for later (like, in two hours) and eating one of the bakery’s famous morning buns.
How to enjoy: Breakfast is served from 9 am to 11 am, but the all-day menu also has breakfast options. Early riser? You can stop by the pastry counter at 8 am. You can also order online for pickup and delivery.
Devil's Teeth Baking Company
For those who would prefer to eat their brunch at Golden Gate Park or the beach, Devil’s Baking Company is an excellent choice. Remember, this is more of a grab-and-go than sit-and-order-mimosas-for-two-hours “brunching” situation (though there are seats, including a cute parklet). But most important, it’s home to the best breakfast sandwich in all of SF, and maybe the world, with two scrambled eggs, cheddar, applewood smoked bacon or sausage (we switch back and forth so as not to play favorites), on a house-made buttermilk biscuit. Make it “special” by swapping the cheddar for jack and adding avocado and the famous lemon-garlic aioli. There are also a bunch of bakery items you won’t want to leave behind, particularly the Donut Muffins, Cheddar Bacon Beer Muffins, and Cinnamon Rolls.
How to enjoy: Stop by any day between 7 am and 4 pm (Noriega—super close to Ocean Beach) or 7 am to 2 pm (weekdays), and 7 am to 4 pm (weekends) at the Outer Richmond spot (a few blocks from Golden Gate Park). Order online for pickup or delivery.
Daisy Barringer is an SF-based freelance writer who has eaten almost everything off of the Zazie brunch menu because she takes her research very seriously. Follow her on Instagram @daisysf to see what she’s eating these days.