Food & Drink

How long you'll have to wait at each of SF's best brunches

Published On 12/12/2014 Published On 12/12/2014
Boxing Room
Amy Copperman
The Tipsy Pig
Rose’s Café
The Cavalier
The Elite Cafe
Park Tavern
The Corner Store
Flickr/Jeremy Keith
Brenda’s French Soul Food
Dottie’s True Blue Café
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1. Ella's 500 Presidio Ave, San Francisco, CA 94115 (Presidio Heights)

If you're sick of waiting for hours for your avocado toast, make your way to Laurel Heights for a brunch spot that's gloriously free from the lines San Franciscans have come to expect for the morning meal. Ella's has all your usual brunch suspects, like a daily Benedict, buttermilk pancakes, and a fried egg sandwich. Whatever you go with, start your meal off with the sticky bun appetizer (and maybe split it with a friend, cause it's definitely big enough).

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2. Boxing Room 399 Grove St, San Francisco, CA 94102 (Hayes Valley)

This Hayes Valley gem, situated in the back of a spacious former 19th-century Standard Shirts Factory, will satisfy all your Creole cravings with classics like oysters, hushpuppies, fried green tomatoes, black eyed peas, and po’boys. The theme carries over to the cocktail menu, where New Orleans favorites like the Milk Punch or Ramos Gin Fizz can help you pretend you're actually in the Big Easy and don’t have to go to work tomorrow.

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3. Maven 598 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117 (Lower Haight)

Maven is a chic bar and restaurant in Lower Haight that pairs all of its dishes with different cocktails. The highlight of the menu is the burger, which begins with beef that's ground with a few dashes of angostura bitters and is paired with the Mr. Wiggles cocktail, made with bourbon, amaro, vermouth, and bitters. The bar's morning cocktails make it a popular brunch spot, as do the duck hash and Bananas Foster French toast. The seating is all communal, and the best seats in the house are either on the second-floor loft or at the chef's counter.

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4. The Tipsy Pig 2231 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94123 (The Marina)

Brunch and the Marina go together like bacon and eggs (and bottomless mimosas), and The Tipsy Pig has all these things, plus everything else you could ever want in a gastropub. Outdoor patio? Check. 40 local and worldly brews? Check. Cocktails? You get the idea. You’re going to want to get here early on a Sunday morning to stake out a spot outside and stay here all day chowing down on huevos rancheros, old-fashioned doughnuts, and the killer burger.

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5. Rose's Café 2298 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94123 (Cow Hollow)

Rose's Cafe is a quaint, mom-and-pop café in Cow Hollow with comforting Italian flare. Its extensive brunch has made it a neighborhood staple for years, but it's also great for a family meal or a low-key date. The daily changing menu has a little bit of everything, but Rose’s breakfast pizza (which can come with egg, arugula, or prosciutto) may be its most popular item to-date. If a smoked salmon breakfast pizza doesn’t appeal, come back for a fresh seafood dinner and some hand-made pasta.

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6. The Cavalier 360 Jesse St, San Francisco, CA 94103 (Soma)

An upscale pub-style joint in Soma from the folks behind Park Tavern, Marlowe, and S&R Lounge, The Cav serves a British-themed menu with hearty standouts like venison tartare; a bacon, caramelized onion, and cheddar burger; and Shepherd's pie.

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7. Elite Cafe 2049 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115 (Pacific Heights)

Nestled into Fillmore Street in Pacific Heights, the handsome, wood-laden Elite Cafe is beloved for its New Orleans-inspired brunch and dinner menus, which feature dishes like breakfast biscuits with fried ham, chicken jambalaya with squash and turnips, crawfish etouffee, and duck gumbo. Make sure you save room for the bacchus, a giant bananas foster sundae with crème fraiche ice cream, chocolate pearls, toasted coconut, and walnuts. In addition to Creole classics, there are exceptional cocktail standbys like a Hurricane, a Sazerac, and (of course) Bloody Marys at brunch.

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8. Outerlands 4001 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122 (Outer Sunset)

Outerlands may be famous for its brunch (those Dutch pancakes are baked in a cast iron skillet and are so perfectly fluffy that you may never have another pancake again), but the food is pretty phenomenal at all meals — and the wait isn’t quite so insane later in the day. We’re obsessed with the cast-iron grilled cheese at lunch, the smoked chicken at dinner, and every single baked thing made in-house. Plus, it’s so pretty inside.

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9. Park Tavern 1652 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133 (North Beach)

If you're looking for a restaurant in North Beach packed with San Franciscans of all neighborhoods, head to Park Tavern. This upscale spot is homey and bustling, and the food is part Southern comfort, part English pub. Every table gets the famed lamb-and-beef Marlowe burger and a starter of smoky deviled eggs, but those in the know will get an extra order of eggs to put on their burger. Park Tavern is also a bonafide brunch hotspot with the best Bloody Marys and a menu filled with griddled goods (pancakes and more pancakes) and savory eggs. And that burger.

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10. Farmerbrown 25 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94102 (The Tenderloin)

This super-popular Union Square spot sets the San Francisco standard for Southern soul food with an upscale menu of BBQ baby back ribs, biscuits and gravy, and cheesy grits. Most notable is the chicken and waffles, also served at sister joint Little Skillet. Bottomless weekend brunch is Farmerbrown's most popular time, and if you don't make a reservation, your best bet is to put your name down and get a head start on the mimosas at the bar.

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11. The Corner Store 5 Masonic Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118 (The Richmond)

The Corner Store is set in a completely renovated space that was once a soda shop and then a speakeasy. Now, it's a 20-seat, outdoor-patio-featuring restaurant dominated by a mix of wood and white tile. The menu mixes things up with both small and large plates, which include lamb shoulder pasta, roasted duck breast, and brioche dinner rolls.

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12. Zazie 941 Cole St., San Francisco, CA 94117 (Cole Valley)

Since 1992, this petite French bistro has been a San Francisco brunch institution, where locals and tourists alike have gathered to enjoy awesome dishes in an intimate and quaint setting. It's a Cole Valley neighborhood gem that has countless meals worth lingering over; from its multi-level back porch/garden to its dog-friendliness to the awesome Croque Monsieur, Zazie is a spot that has added permanent character and charm to the city.

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13. 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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14. Dottie's True Blue Cafe 28 6th St, San Francisco, CA 94103 (Civic Center)

Dottie's is the diner you need in your life. The SOMA institution serves no-fuss bacon and eggs, whole wheat buttermilk pancakes, and so much more. All of the breads and pastries are baked in-house, and the cinnamon pecan roll and chili-cheddar corn bread are mind-blowingly good. Since such an authentic diner experience is hard to come by in San Francisco, the wait on weekend mornings is pretty long, so don't say we didn't warn you.

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15. Plow 1299 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94107 (Potrero Hill)

This Potrero Hill gem has been a brunch standby since 2010 and makes some of our favorite eggs Benedict in the city. Be prepared to wait, though -- this small space doesn’t take reservations and can rack up two-hour wait times on the weekends. But once you’re seated with a fresh mimosa and those light-as-air lemon ricotta pancakes, you'll quickly forget the time you spent in line.



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