The Best Brunch in San Francisco: The Definitive Guide

Published by: Bounce23 December, 2021

There's no need to go hungry in San Francisco. After all, this is one of the United States' great cities, and an undisputed haven for foodies. Centuries of immigration from around the world, combined with the incredible natural produce California has to offer, have made San Francisco one of the greatest food cities in the country, if not the world.

If you're on vacation in San Francisco, there's nothing wrong with getting up a little later in the day and enjoying yourself. And if you do, you may find yourself in need of the leisurely midmorning meal known as brunch. A weekend brunch in San Francisco is a great way to set yourself up for a day of exploring all the city has to offer, like visiting the best museums in San Francisco, and the options for brunch in San Francisco are almost inexhaustible. Whether you're looking for brunch classics like eggs Benedict and French toast, or you want to try more exotic and innovative offerings from some of the city's top eateries, you're in luck. No matter what you like to eat, chances are good you'll find it served on a brunch menu somewhere in the city.

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Brenda's French Soul Food

Brunch options in San Francisco are almost endless, but at the best brunch restaurants in the city, you can expect to have to wait for a table. That's certainly true at Brenda's French Soul Food, but that's a testament to the enduring popularity of this unique Southern spin on classic brunch foods. Given the name of this restaurant, you won't be surprised to find they serve excellent fried chicken and waffles. You may be a little more surprised by the crawfish stuffed beignets, which can be purchased as part of the famous beignets flight. They also serve a bottomless brunch that includes mimosas. Or, if you overindulge the night before, hit the Make Your Own Bloody Mary Bar for a hair of the dog that bit you.

Foreign Cinema

Don't let the name fool you; Foreign Cinema is not an art-house movie theater but is in fact one of the top 100 restaurants in San Francisco. They serve excellent brunch, and it might be a good idea to get a reservation, since places here go fast. The seasonal menu contains unexpected treasures like guava and strawberry pop tarts, smoked salmon toast, and Hawaiian tuna ceviche. Take your meal to one of the outdoor tables on the heated patio, and you'll soon see why Foreign Cinema is easily one of the most popular spots for weekend brunch in San Francisco.

Just For You Cafe

If you're looking for something a little less upscale, Just For You Cafe might be just the ticket. Located in Hayes Valley, this unpretentious restaurant serves beignets, omelets with cornbread or grits, and sandwiches and breakfast burgers made with bread baked in-house. This restaurant may not look like much from the inside, but its classic American diner atmosphere is as welcoming as they come, and exactly what you need before getting some retail therapy with our guide to everything you need to know about shopping in San Francisco.


Yank Sing

San Francisco has been a center of immigration from Asia since its very earliest days, and the city is home to the oldest Chinatown in the entire country. So you probably won't be surprised to hear that the city is home to some truly excellent Chinese restaurants. And if you haven't previously considered having Chinese food for brunch, you're missing out. Luckily, Yank Sing is here to change your perceptions of what a brunch menu can look like.

This restaurant takes the popular Chinese concept of dim sum and turns it into an excellent brunch option. Feast on har gow shrimp dumplings, taro root dumplings, and BBQ pork buns. Yank Sing has two locations, one close to the Ferry Building and the Embarcadero, and the other on Stevenson Street. Whichever you go to, you'll be assured of delicious Chinese food with fast efficient service.

Vault Garden

If you're looking for an outdoor dining option for brunch, Vault Garden has you covered. The outdoor tables here are warmed by heaters and protected by tents, so you can enjoy the fantastic outdoor patio all through the year. Plus, the food is nothing to sneeze at. Think oysters and beignets, or an impressive brunch steak in the open air. Located in the San Francisco Financial District, this upscale restaurant is a great place to go if you want to impress.

Palette Tea House

You'll find another nod to San Francisco's rich Chinese heritage at Palette Tea House. Operated by the owners of Koi Palace, another legendary outlet for Asian food in the city, Palette Tea House, centrally located in Ghirardelli Square, is undoubtedly one of the best places for weekend brunch in the city. Try dim sum classics like the xiao long bao, a dumpling that comes in five different flavors, or the always popular har gow with lobster butter. If you're having a hard time deciding, Palette Tea House also provides a prix fixe menu that lets you try a little bit of everything. Relax in the huge dining room of this establishment or take your meal outside to the outdoor seating they offer.

Outerlands

Outerlands is a popular restaurant that offers something a little different from the usual brunch classics of eggs Benedict and French toast. With a dining room paneled in driftwood and outdoor dining area that lets you enjoy the Outer Sunset beach location, this is California cool through and through. Enjoy innovative menu options like the Dutch baby pancakes with Dungeness crab, or the popular tostada ranchero. You'll also find plenty of vegetarian options here, including a chia bowl and roasted cauliflower toast. Plus, it's close to Golden Gate Park, making it the perfect place to fuel up before going for a leisurely walk in one of San Francisco's most-loved urban parks. To learn more about where you should stay when you visit San Francisco, check out our ultimate neighborhood guide.

Izzy's Steakhouse

When you're looking for brunch restaurants, a steakhouse might not be the first place that comes to mind. But it just so happens that Izzy's Steakhouse is, without a doubt, one of the best brunch spots in all of San Francisco. No surprise that meat rules the menu here. The delicious prime rib benedict is a particular if pricey favorite. They also do a corned beef hash for those who prefer old-school brunch dishes. However, Izzy's has a varied menu and also serves more vegetarian-friendly food, such as avocado toast with poached egg and their famous almond brioche French toast.

Presidio Social Club

If you're visiting San Francisco, the Presidio is worth seeing, if only for the glorious views of the Golden Gate Bridge. But while you're in the area, you won't regret checking out the menu at Presidio Social Club. This upscale diner was once a military barracks, but now serves food influenced by Asian, Mexican, and American cuisines. The challah French toast is a unique and popular dish, as are the Croque Monsieur and the pancakes. And it all tastes even better with a mimosa in hand on the beautiful patio located in this popular park.

Plow

Few places on earth have embraced the farm-to-table ethos as enthusiastically as San Francisco, and Plow is a brunch restaurant that specializes in the abundant fresh produce California is known for. Try their salmon toast with avocados, tomatoes, and a poached egg, or the homemade biscuits. They also serve smoked salmon with two eggs, rhubarb coffee, and justifiably famous lemon ricotta pancakes. Basically, Plow serves food you simply won't find anywhere else, making it well worth visiting for brunch in San Francisco whenever you get the chance.

Luna Brasserie

This casual spot specializes in American food, but this is San Francisco after all, so you'll find more than a little Asian influence at this restaurant. Either way, they serve a fantastic weekend brunch that includes eggs Benedict, oysters, fried chicken and waffles, and the Luna burger. But what really sets Luna apart is its bottomless mimosas. The two-hour maximum is more generous than you'll find that most Bay Area brunch spots, so if you're looking for an excuse to drink at 10 in the morning, you've found it.

Balboa Cafe

Located on Fillmore Street, Balboa Cafe is committed to helping Bay Area families in need through its Giving Tree program. It's also committed to serving a great brunch to tourists and locals alike. They have a great selection of shareable food such as calamari and deviled eggs, and also serve more substantial dishes like pastrami hash and fried chicken sandwiches. But what really puts this place on the map is the Bloody Marys. Balboa is known through the city for its excellent Bloody Marys, so if your brunch isn't complete without a tomato juice concoction, this is the place to come.

Sweet Maple

Those with a sweet tooth won't want to miss this popular brunch spot. Sweet Maple makes exquisite deep-fried French toast that feels more like eating a funnel cake. The thick slabs of sugar-glazed millionaire's bacon and the Bulgogi scramble are not only delicious but are some of the most Instagrammable dishes in the whole of San Francisco, which is really saying something in this tech hub. This restaurant is the perfect place to come for innovative dishes that lean toward the sweeter side of the flavor spectrum.

Don Pisto's

San Francisco's Chinese heritage is on display just about everywhere you look. But this is California, and so there's no escaping the Spanish cultural heritage of the city either. Embrace Mexican cuisine for brunch at Don Pisto's. This legendary Mexican restaurant, located in North Beach, is known for its huevos rancheros, and also has a bottomless brunch option. They serve sangria and margaritas for those looking for a boozy start to the day, and you won't need to spend long here to feel like you're starting your day with a fiesta.

Conclusion

It probably won't come as a surprise to anyone that San Francisco has some excellent brunch options. After all, the city by the Bay is undoubtedly one of the best places to eat in all of America, if not the world. And in a city where people like to play as hard as they work, weekend brunch is an event you shouldn't miss if you get the chance. The restaurants listed above are some of the best options for brunch in San Francisco, but really, we've only scratched the surface of the city's culinary scene. Drop off your unneeded bags at a Bounce luggage storage location in San Francisco and you'll be ready to explore all the tasty treats San Francisco has to offer.

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