Food & Drink

The 8 best donuts in San Francisco are right here

Published On 10/09/2013 Published On 10/09/2013
bobs donut shop sf

Whoever first said, "You are what you eat," was probably talking about the donut -- round, soft, doughy. Really, it's a testament to their unstoppable deliciousness that people keep buying them by the dozen, despite the disastrous impact on their collective midsections. But if you're going to fatten up on donuts, you might as well fatten up on the best, so here are the eight finest examples you can find in SF...

Robert Birnbach

Doughnut Dolly
The Must-Get Donut: Naughty Cream
Located in Temescal Alley and started by an awesome woman whose name is surprisingly not Dolly, this shop has done nothing but garner attention for its delicious hand-pump-filled donuts, and while all the rotating flavors are great, you absolutely have to try the signature Naughty Cream (Crème Fraîche Vanilla Bean Cream).

Dynamo Donuts

Dynamo Donut & Coffee
The Mission
The Must-Get Donut: Bacon Maple Apple
Available not only at their shop but also at select establishments around the city, Dynamo's donuts are delicious and also perfectly suited to SF's unique taste, thanks to... bacon (okay, maybe not THAT unique), which provides the perfect salty contrast to the sweetness of maple and apple.

Bob's Donut and Pastry Shop
Nob Hill
The Must-Get Donut: Giant Donut
Usually a spot you head to after 12a, you're gonna want to get the big glazed donut which, we kid you not, is going to be larger than your head. Unless you are Spongebob Squarepants or Hey! Arnold. And if you ARE Spongebob, what are you doing reading about donuts in SF? Are you in town? Why haven't you called?!

Donut Savant

Donut Savant
The Must-Get Donut: Chocolate Bomb
Proving that Oakland's doing some pretty amazing things with donuts, this spot comes up with wildly creative flavors daily, but the go-to move is the Chocolate Bomb, which is actually a chocolate donut filled with a Jameson ganache and coated in a Baileys and Guinness glaze, leading to the good kind of mouth-explosion.


The Mission
The Must-Get Donut: Fresh Donut Holes w/ Castillian Hot Cocoa
You don't necessarily need to be at a donut shop to get the best 'nuts, as proven by The Mission's standout tapas restaurant where, after you've had some of their Dr Pepper-glazed ribs, you absolutely have to follow with these donut holes to dip in hot cocoa over a flame, like fondue that you actually due (eh???) want to due (sorry).

Inner Richmond
The Must-Get Donut: Rum Custard rolled in Cinnamon Sugar Bomboloni
It's worth the trip out to this quaint Inner Richmond bake shop to try their bomboloni (Italian donuts) with seasonal fillings, our favorite of which is naturally the one with the booze.

Brenda's French Soul Food

Brenda's French Soul Food
The Tenderloin
The Must-Get Donut: Beignet Flight
We'll start this off by saying if you haven't eaten at Brenda's, you are only living an empty shell of an existence. Sorry. Also, when you're there you gotta try the beignets (French donuts!!), and even though it's kinda cheating to say you should get the Flight, you really should try them all (classic, apple cinnamon, double chocolate, and even the savory crawfish).


The Marina
The Must-Get Donut: Bomboloni Caldi
Not just great for an off-menu pizza, this Marina go-to also has some delectable hot Italian donuts that come with a trio of sauces: mascarpone cream, chocolate sauce, and raspberry puree.

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1. Doughnut Dolly 482 49th St, Oakland, CA 94609 (Oakland)

While you were busy wasting your college years perfecting various pong throws (behind the back!), the woman behind Doughnut Dolly was hard at work getting her master' food anthropology. Yes, go ahead, regret your major decision forever. Anyway, Hannah Hoffman is passionate about doughnuts and is making them the way they are meant to be across the Bay in Oakland.

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2. Dynamo Donut & Coffee 2760 24th Street (between York and Hampshire), San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

Bacon. Donut. Day. Dynamo Donut & Coffee has made it real, and available every day. Handmade daily by owner Sara and her staff and using organic, locally sourced ingredients, their creative take on donuts make the word "glazed" suddenly sound mundane and unworthy.

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3. Donut Savant 1934 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612 (Oakland)

DS is doling out something called a Chocolate Bomb, which's a dark chocolate cake ring that's filled with an Irish whiskey ganache, then topped with a Guinness and Bailey's glaze. Uh huh. You should go now, because these aren't the only amazing things to come out of their oven.

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4. Andalu 3198 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103 (The Mission)

Andalu is a great space to hunker down for a hearty brunch with some small plates and big libations. Their donuts are one of a kind -- so be sure to taste every last one of 'em!

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5. Brenda's French Soul Food 652 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94102 (Polk)

Two words: crawfish beignets. We could stop there convinced you’d still check out the brunch at this Tenderloin soul food eatery, but we’ll go on. Get the beignet flight, so you can also sample the classic, chocolate, and Granny Smith apple varieties. The massive menu has more than just fried treats, though. You can chow down on Creole-style favorites like gumbo, shrimp and grits, and andouille omelettes. The brunch wait can be long, but we promise it's worth it -- especially after you try a Creole Bloody.

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6. Delarosa 2175 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94123 (The Marina)

A Marina Italian joint with fancy (and delicious) pizzas, craft beer and cocktails, and a high-ceilinged, happening atmosphere.

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7. Bob's Donut & Pastry Shop 1621 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109 (Nob Hill)

This 24hr Polk Gulch donut mecca and San Francisco standby has been a staple of early mornings (and late nights) since 1960, firing up amazing apple fritters and old fashioneds before they suddenly became objects of hipster fascination. The also make quite possibly the biggest donut you've ever seen. Try the Bob's Challenge, which requires consuming it in three minutes. Or, you know, just enjoy a bunch of really tasty donuts at your own pace.

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8. Heartbaker 1408 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94118 (Inner Richmond)

From bombolonis to creme puffs to eclairs and pots de creme, Heartbaker has got the best of us, and we just keep on going back incessantly.



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