The Best Places to Brunch in San Francisco Right Now
Brunch is back!
It’s been a very long year of limited brunch options, but, thanks to the orange tier and easing restrictions on dining at restaurants, San Franciscans can finally resume our favorite weekend activity: rolling out of bed to eat indulgent dishes and drink boozy beverages. Does this rolling out of bed happen at noon some days? Sure. But that’s why brunch is the best. It doesn’t judge you! 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 in order for brunch to quality as brunch!), and however you’re eating (indoors, outdoors, in a park, on your couch), there’s something here we’re sure you’ll love. Including plenty of boozy brunch beverages because what is brunch without a few regrets? Here are the best places to brunch in SF right now:
The Front Porch
Despite the word “home” being in the phrase “Southern home cooking,” it’s definitely one of those cuisines that’s best left to grandmothers who live below the Mason-Dixon line or professional chefs, like the one at The Front Porch. The Mission spot pared their offerings down for a minute, but now all of the favorites are back, including the fried chicken and cornmeal waffles and the chicken fried steak with sausage gravy. Need something to help ease last night’s pain and also 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 homemade sausage gravy (served with tater tots or grits). There are also a bunch of “porch cocktails,” including a Bloody with bacon and pitchers of margs.
How to book: Walk in or make a reservation for outdoor dining here. You can also order for pickup and delivery. Available from 10 am to 3:30 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Turns out the key to the most delicious breakfast potatoes you’ll possibly ever 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. Plow is back open with indoor and outdoor dining, which means that its notorious brunch lines are also back (worth it). 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.
How to book: 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, Take out 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.
Dragon Beaux 俏龍軒
Some people think of brunch as eggs Benedict and fancy French toast, but in SF we know that it also means feasting on delicious dim sum. Dragon Beaux, a dim sum spot from the founders of Koi Palace, puts a modern spin on classic dishes and never disappoints. And, if you’re hungry for a gorgeous food pic to post on your Instagram, the colorful dim sum from Dragon Beaux will give you what you seek (especially the five guys xiao long bao and the rainbow taro paste bao).
How to book: Make a reservation online or by calling 415-333-8899. Order online for takeout. Dragon Beaux’s brunch hours are every day from 11 am to 3 pm.
If you’re still not dining inside or outside of restaurants, you and your weekend deserve as much bacon as you can handle. And when that hankering for savory salt-cured pork really hits, Bacon Bacon is the only way to go. The entire bacon-centric menu is good, but a few of our faves include the breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, pulled pork, bacon, avocado, cheddar, and mama lil’s peppers, and The Frederick, a fried egg sandwich with maple bacon pork sausage, Cheddar, bacon, and cream cheese on an English muffin. Or, you know, just a bouquet of bacon and bacon only. It’s your arteries and you can clog ‘em if you want to.
How to book: Bacon Bacon is open during the week from 7 am to 4 pm and on the weekends from 8 am to 4 pm. Walk in and order at the counter, or order online for pickup or delivery. (There is no seating indoors or out.)
Zazie’s brunch is known for long waits that are actually worth it, and we are thrilled to tell you that those waits are back! This is a good thing, but also, don’t worry—they’re not too bad (sometimes there isn’t one at all, especially during the week) because there is ample seating on the heated patio and parklet, as well as indoors (limited, of course). Again, you simply cannot go wrong with anything on the menu, 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). Obviously, the build-your-own-mimosas (or any of the brunch beverages) are also a must.
How to book: Zazie doesn’t offer reservations, but you can sign in at the Yelp kiosk and you’ll get a text when your table is ready. Takeout is also available. Brunch is available on weekdays from 8 am to 2 pm and on weekends from 9 am to 3 pm.
Brenda's Meat & Three
Sadly, “days of the week” are slowly starting to be a thing again, but we’re holding onto the whole “What is time, really?” thing that COVID brought to our lives by brunching at Brenda’s whenever the hell we want. Well, as long as “whenever the hell we want” is between 8 am and 3 pm, which feels like enough of a compromise to us. We appreciate Brenda’s because it’s a women owned-and-operated restaurant, but also because the menu has dishes like stuffed johnnycakes, pulled pork hash, cream biscuit and country gravy, shrimp and grits, and low country gumbo. And beignets. Can’t not get the beignets. Or the Creoled Bloody Mary.
How to brunch: Walk in or make a reservation for the outdoor parklet or back patio or indoors (limited). You can also order for pickup online or by calling 415-926-8657. Prefer delivery? It’s available via Caviar and DoorDash.
Brunch at restaurants along Union and Chestnut Street can get pretty boisterous (or as boisterous as any meal gets these days), but if you’re in the mood for a delicious meal without the slight chaos that brunch can sometimes bring, this classic SF restaurant is the perfect spot. The menu offers your standard brunch fare, but with an Italian spin (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 split a few things, so that you can all split the breakfast pizza with smoked ham, fontina, and sunny side up eggs.
How to book: Breakfast and lunch are walk-in only for outdoor and limited indoor 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. Order takeout by calling 415-775-2200. Order delivery via Caviar or DoorDash.
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 (aka: make reservations because you probably won’t get in if you don’t), which automatically ups the ante. You’ll be stoked you’re so responsible when you’re sitting in the open-air courtyard enjoying oysters, housemade “Pop Tarts,” and possibly the best croque madame in town (Zazie is a very close second). 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 were a thing that could happen.
How to book: Take your chances walking in or make a reservation for indoor or outdoor seating on OpenTable. You can also order from the to-go menu (available on weekends from 11:30 am to 1 pm) by calling 415-648-7600.
You still can’t eat inside of Tartine’s stunning industrial space, but you can sit outdoors or take it with you to enjoy elsewhere. We aren’t going to tell you how to live your life. The all-day menu has a bunch of amazing options, so go with your heart. Maybe it’s a slice of vegetable quiche. Or a breakfast sandwich (add maple sausage). Or croissant french toast. But even though you’re living your life how you want, there are still two “musts” when in the vicinity of Tartine Manufactory: 1. Buying a freshly baked loaf of bread to take home for later (like, in two hours) and 2. Eating one of the bakery’s famous morning buns.
How to book: Reserve outdoor seating or order online for pickup or delivery.
Sure, pancakes and mimosas are delicious, but sometimes you need a brunch with a little more oomph and a lot more margaritas. That’s when you head to this fancier-than-a-taqueria, but still authentic Mexican restaurant on Union Street for chilaquiles, corn pancakes, tacos that are not breakfast tacos, but who cares because they are delicious, and a pitcher of margaritas for the table. If you’re ready to dip your toe into indoor dining, see if you can grab one of the tables by the big open windows in the bar. It’s a good compromise between indoors and out. If not, there’s plenty of outdoor seating (and limited indoor) as well.
How to book: Flores serves brunch from 11 am to 3 pm on the weekends. You can’t make a reservation, but you can join the waitlist before you head over. You can also order online for pickup and delivery.
If you’re looking for a brunch that feels somewhat like the brunches of yesteryear, head to Balboa for weekend brunch at one of its parklets where you’re guaranteed a (socially distanced) crowd that appreciates a mid-morning cocktail. In a surprising pivot, brunch at this classic American bar and restaurant is offering some Mexican-inspired brunch dishes, like huevos rancheros and the “Balburrito” breakfast burrito. There are also benedicts, shrimp and grits, a solid breakfast sandwich, and, yes, the famous burger on baguette. This probably doesn’t need to be said since we basically already said it, but there are also plenty of cocktails, including the famous Balboa Mary.
How to book: Walk in for outdoor or (limited) indoor dining. Call 415-921-3944 to order for pickup or order for delivery online.
Devil's Teeth Baking Company
In “normal” times, these cozy cafes wouldn’t make our “Best Brunches” list because they’re more grab-and-go than sit-and-order-mimosas-for-two-hours. But “brunching” as a verb is very nebulous right now, and so—for those who would prefer to eat their brunch at Golden Gate Park or the beach—Devil’s Baking Company is an excellent choice. That’s because it is home to the best breakfast sandwiches in all of SF, and maybe the world. Two eggs scrambled, cheddar, applewood smoked bacon or sausage (we switch back and forth so as not to play favorites), on a homemade 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 that you’re not going to want to leave behind, particularly the donut muffins, cheddar bacon beer muffins, and cinnamon rolls. We’ll worry about losing our COVID “19” another day. Or maybe we’ll stay in sweats forever. Who cares. Just enjoy the pastries. We deserve it.
How to book: 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.