Eat + Drink

Rise and Dine: Where to Brunch Like a Local in San Francisco

the Lunchpad plates up delicious brunch, and can turn any sandwich to a salad. (Photo: Courtesy of The Lunchpad)

Waking up on Sunday morning knowing that a boozy brunch lies in your future is like one last weekend reprieve before Monday’s madness kicks in. Brunch is your time to relive the weekend’s antics, dine on delicious grub and fuel up for the week ahead. When you’re in San Francisco and ready to indulge, dig into these top spots.

North Beach

At the intersection of Russian Hill and Valley Hill is the uber-charming area of North Beach, which prides itself on a rich Italian heritage. Home to quirky coffee shops, cafes, gelato parlors, jazz clubs and art galleries, the neighborhood is the perfect place for brunch. Mama’s on Washington Square dishes up an impressive menu of omelets, French toast, pancakes and sandwiches served daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. This family-owned restaurant has been filling locals’ bellies with their breakfast for more than 50 years. Plus, Mama’s on Washington Square always treats guests to a side of their homemade jam.

Brunch Favorite: Mama’s famed Monte Cristo sandwich, made with roasted turkey breast, honey baked ham and egg-battered cheddar and Gruyere cheese (and a side of homemade jam, of course) is a must-eat.

Hayes Valley

The Lunchpad'
The Lunchpad’s rustic chic interior makes for a cozy destination. (Photo: Courtesy of The Lunchpad)

Can’t wake up even in time for brunch? The Lunchpad in Hayes Valley serves brunch all day. That’s the best idea we’ve heard since sliced bread! Speaking of sliced bread, this brunch spot is known for their savory breakfast and lunch sandwiches. With combinations like eggs and chipotle remoulade and bread pudding with black forest ham, you can’t go wrong. Plus, any sandwich can be made into a salad.

Brunch Favorite: The Alaskan Thunder sandwich is crafted by putting Alaskan sockeye salmon, cucumber, tomato and herbed creamed cheese between two slices of pain de mie.

The Excelsior

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a San Francisco brunch staple. Located in The Excelsior neighborhood, this local favorite was inspired by the legendary rom-com box office hit starring Audrey Hepburn. Breakfast at Tiffany’s serves up a classy menu of breakfast specials, eggs benedicts, tater tot skillets and more. Tap into your inner Holly Golightly and surrender to your vulnerability for life’s sweet indulgences.

Brunch favorite: Satisfy your sweet tooth with their Wild Blueberry Pancakes, served in quantities of two or four. Trust us, order four.

eggs Benedict
It’s almost too easy to be tempted by fresh eggs Benedict. (Photo: Lee Brown / Alamy)

Outer Richmond

For an artisan California brunch, head to Outer Richmond. Once defined by vacant lots, this neighborhood has blossomed into a hub for dining, real estate and entertainment. You’ll find a prime brunch spot at Cassava. Opened in 2012, the restaurant features creative takes on brunch favorites with dishes like hibiscus-glazed barbecue pork ribs hash and maple ricotta waffles with eggs. You’ll get a mouthful of fresh California flavor with each bite you take.

Brunch Favorite: Spice things up with the curry meatballs. Paired with rice and a fried egg, this combination will give you the kick you need to start off the week.

Castro

Started by a couple of people who simply fell in love with breakfast, Kitchen Story in the Castro area has become a neighborhood staple. The resto is amed for their Millionaire’s Bacon® — a platter of sizzling brown sugar-coated bacon smothered in maple syrup. Prepare to wait at least an hour to get seated. Don’t worry, it’s worth it. A slew of other menu items have earned themselves millionaire-themed titles like their millionaire Mary (a twist on a bloody Mary) and the millionaire Benedict (topped, of course, with Millionaire’s Bacon®).

Brunch Favorite: Other than the obvious choice of Millionaire’s Bacon®, try the mascarpone stuffed deep fried French toast.

Bernal Heights

Cafe St. Jorge
Just try to resist Cafe St. Jorge’s avocado toast … we dare you! (Photo: Courtesy of Cafe St. Jorge)

Sitting south of the Mission District, Bernal Heights is a family-friendly area in high demand. Café St. Jorge is known for its quaint vibe and a selection of quality food inspired by flavors from Portugal and the Azores Islands. Their chili avocado toast is a crowd favorite, but they also offer options like coconut vanilla chia pudding and house made granola.

Brunch Favorite: Try the baked egg breakfast slider for your healthy dose of protein, made with baked egg, sriracha butter and melted Portuguese cheese inside a Portuguese sweet roll.

Dogpatch

The Dogpatch neighborhood has transformed a rundown waterfront into a haven for foodies, young professionals and everything in between. Serving novel American cuisine and fresh, local ingredients, Serpentine has made quite a name for itself in the San Francisco brunch department. Although their menu changes regularly, you’ll never be without a wide array of drool-worthy options. The modern, industrially decorated space is rather small, but it fills up quickly. Thankfully, Serpentine takes brunch reservations, which is fairly rare in this urban metropolis amidst a farm-to-table frenzy.

Brunch Favorite: The Maryland blue crab benedict is the way to go if you’re looking to feel satisfyingly full without the impending doom of a food coma.

Tenderloin

The Tenderloin is home to a number of hole-in-the-wall eateries. What’s hiding inside is nothing short of delicious. Take Brenda’s French Soul Food for example. They do southern food as good (if not better) than the south. We’ll save you the time it might take you to choose between their four different types of beignets and suggest that you start with a flight. Yup, just like your favorite craft beer, Brenda’s Soul Food offers the option to try one of each flavor: plain, chocolate, granny smith apple and crawfish.

Brunch Favorite: You won’t regret the shrimp and grits. Fresh shrimp served alongside creamy, cheesy grits will give you all the southern comfort you need.