Food & Drink

The 8 best diners in San Francisco

Published On 03/12/2014 Published On 03/12/2014
St. Francis Fountain
flickr/D. Laird
It's Tops Cafe
Just For You Cafe
flickr/Kate Ter Haar
St. Francis Fountain
flickr/Peter Dutton
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1. Cove On Castro Cafe 434 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114

The Cove on Castro is a great American diner joint serving up all the classics.

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2. Golden Coffee Shop 901 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

More than just a quality coffee spot, Golden also doles out delicious diner breakfast foods like corned beef hash and good ol' fashioned pancakes.

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3. Eddie's 800 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

If Comfortfoodlandia existed, Eddie's would be its king -- an unpretentious down-South fry-cookery off of Alamo square with great biscuits and oldies music. And best of all? It's extremely affordable.

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4. The Grind Cafe 783 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

Lower Haight's standby diner, newly renovated with an outdoor patio, grab an omelette or chicken fried steak and enjoy the sun.

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5. It's Tops Coffee Shop 1801 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Run by the same family for decades, this retro 1950s diner is the kind of place you'd base an entire burger chain off of. To the tunes of its old-school jukebox, It's Tops serves classic diner faves like breakfast specials (stuffed waffles, sourdough French toast, make-your-own-omelettes) and giant burgers with hand-cut fries. You can enjoy it all in a cozy, neon-lit, and wood-paneled space that's retained the same charm since its mid-century opening.

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6. Just For You Cafe 732 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94107

This 30yr-old eggs-and-bacon-slinger in Dogpatch is usually packed, and with good reason: their menu's everything you could want from breakfast, including a helluva breakfast burrito and the Hangtown Fry: three scrambled eggs with bacon, oysters, and onions. According to them, "If this doesn’t cure your hangover, you’d better just go back to bed."

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7. St. Francis Fountain 2801 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Done up in an old-fashioned, nostalgic aesthetic that mimics diners of yore, this classic "soda fountain" serves up homey egg-centric breakfasts with spuds, biscuits, and a choice of protein. Renown, juicy burgers are also on offer, and can be enjoyed on top stools and classic diner counters that look like they haven't been changed since the '50s.

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8. Grubstake Diner 1525 Pine St, San Francisco, CA 94109

This San Francisco institution has been in the business of serving up unforgettable grub since 1937, by way of greasy goodness from a converted railroad car until 4am (daily). Burgers, Philly cheesesteaks, fries & wings are all great options, as are the omelets and pancakes. If you’re in the mood for something more substantial, order up a steak dinner or the pork chops with two eggs while you gaze at impressionist paintings or people-watch.