Its standing as the most important meal of the day has been contested in recent years, but for our money’s worth, breakfast is the most fun time to eat. Even though eggs are the hallmark, this is truly an “anything goes” dining experience where it’s perfectly acceptable to order everything from blatant desserts to savory steaks for your main course — yes, there are breakfast courses, too.
And perhaps nowhere is the range of breakfast options better exemplified than in San Francisco. The same city that put the cruffin on the map, and came up with the coveted $5 toast, offers hungry diners a gastronomical fantasy world of Swedish pancakes, signature bee pollen tonics and fried chicken Benedicts and more. These are our San Francisco Best Breakfast winners for 2023, selected by our editors — look for our readers’ choice winner, selected by our audience. Happy dining!
SF Breakfast Map
Inside the eye-catching turquoise building with a wave above the doors at the corner of Judah Street and 48th Avenue, a block away from Ocean Beach, this vegan coffee bar and kitchen turns out a breakfast menu of plant-based comfort-food favorites. Choose from mainstays like the tofu scramble, breakfast burritos, bagels and French toast, or try the cafe’s signature hash cakes prepared with a number of different toppings, like the CheeZen — three hash cakes smothered with house-made cashew “cheese sauce” topped with fresh herbs. Drinks include single origin pour-overs, espressos, cold brew, Mexican drip coffee, hot and iced tea and tea lattes. Hours are Monday through Thursday 8am to 2pm, and Friday through Sunday 8am to 3pm. beachnsf.com
Breadbelly is a bakery cafe that accents contemporary California tastes with Asian inspiration for a refined and unique dining experience. Hours are Thursday through Monday 9am to 2pm. breadbellysf.com
Serving its signature American-Thai fusion dishes in the heart of the Marina since 2012, most people recognize this spot for the Millionaire’s bacon. Blackwood finds an edge over competitors, however, by serving multiple varieties including citron, cinnamon, rosemary takes on the thick, glazed slabs of pork. But don’t sleep on the rest of the menu. Alongside bottomless mimosas you’ll find some of the most inventive dishes here like mind-bogglingly perfect Thai Shakshuka. Brunch is served from 10am to 3pm daily. blackwoodsf.com
Brenda’s Meat and Three
Seven years after opening her first eponymous restaurant — Brenda’s French Soul Food — Louisiana-native Brenda Buenviajé launched Brenda’s Meat and Three on a quieter strip of Divisadero in fall of 2014. With its large horseshoe-shaped bar in the middle of space and a seasoned team of servers, being here feels like eating in the Southern home you never had. Get the big mimosa, come Friday through Sunday to try their benedicts, and get the beignet flight to-go. Hours are 8am to 8pm daily. brendasmeatandthree.com
A fail-safe spot in the Inner Richmond, Eats serves hefty brunch portions of items like avocado lox benedicts (on brioche) and tri-tip burritos that are ideal for sharing. If you’re feeling saucy, opt for one of their seasonal mimosa flavors, and if you’re feeling ravenous, go for the chicken and waffles. Pro tip: the line moves quickly, but you can jump in the queue via Yelp. Hours are 8am to 2pm daily. eatsrestaurantsf.com
Judahlicious started as a neighborhood juice and smoothie bar in late 2004, but now serves a full menu of vegetarian and vegan options including many raw and live foods. As one of the places in the city that serves 100% raw meals, people flock here for items like the dark side of the shroom, which features a tamari-marinated portabella topped with cashew crème, avocado cheese, sunflower seeds and sprouts. Be sure to check out their daily specials and no matter what, grab a smoothie. You’ll always remember it. Hours are 10am to 4pm daily. judalicious.com
Mymy Coffee Shop
Don’t let the near-constant line scare you. It’s a testament to how great the food here is and thanks to the staff, which is among the most efficient in the city, it always moves quickly. Known for its selection of sweet griddle options like the uber-popular challah bread french toast, Mymy also serves up diverse favorites like chilaquiles, corned beef hash, and their version of a traditional breakfast — two eggs any style and two zucchini ricotta pancakes served with your choice of meat and salad or crispy potatoes (that are always actually crispy.) Hours are 9am to 2pm daily. mymysf.com
For brunch lovers, Kitchen Story brings Californian and Asian influences to the typical suburban breakfast. Don’t miss their popular favorite “Millionaire’s Bacon and Bottomless Mimosa” combination. Hours are Monday through Friday 9am to 2pm, and Saturday through Sunday 9am to 2:30pm. kitchenstorysf.com
If you’re going to do brunch, this is definitely the place to do it. Show up hungry (you can’t make a reservation) for one of Outerlands’ delectable breakfast sandwiches; the fluffy, fruit-topped Dutch pancake; or a chia bowl topped with fruit, almonds, dates, cinnamon and honey, among other irresistible choices. Also not to be missed: the rotating selection of baked goods like sticky buns, donuts and galettes. Seating is available inside and also on the outdoor patio, and the restaurant is open for dinner as well. Dinner hours are Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday 5pm to 9pm, and Friday and Saturday 5pm to 10pm. Brunch hours are Friday through Sunday 9am to 3pm. outerlandssf.com
Established in 1938, most people know Sears Fine Food as the downtown Swedish pancake spot. The pancakes, all 18 of them, are made from a thin, egg-rich batter — the original family recipe that was created in the early ‘30s. Aside from this, Sears serves hearty dishes like New York steak and eggs, bountiful omelets and an impressive assortment of fruit side dishes including a broiled grapefruit. Hours are Thursday through Monday from 7am to 2pm. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday. searsfinefood.com
One of the best places for a morning dessert meal, this local favorite has been serving up dishes like Tahiti French Toast and an assortment of benedicts blocks away from the fray of Haight Street since 1992. During Covid the restaurant has installed a parklet in front in addition to the lovely back patio, and put up protective screens between tables. Proud champions of the Tip Free Movement, all menu prices here include a living wage, revenue share, matching 401(k) and more — so you can feel extra satisfied after eating. Brunch hours are Monday-Friday from 8am to 2pm, and from 9am to 3pm on Saturday, Sunday and holidays. zaziesf.com
More Local Favorites in San Francisco
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