6 Essential Breakfast Spots in San Francisco
Including a classic diner, toast mecca, Southern comfort purveyor and more
San Francisco is undoubtedly a brunch town — there are lines down the street to prove it — but morning meals can be easily found beyond the weekends, too. In fact, the city quietly dominates as a breakfast destination, from casual diner fare to one-of-a-kind dishes that can be found nowhere else. If the day is young and your appetite is high, these are some of the best places to check out for breakfast in San Francisco.
Why you’re here: You found out that “coffee shop” is a misnomer and want to experience Mymy’s decadent breakfast twists.
What you’re ordering: Whether you go for sweet or savory breakfasts, Mymy doesn’t hold anything back, serving dishes as elegant as the surrounding neighborhood. Those with a sweet tooth will want the flavorful lemon cottage cheese pancakes or the fully loaded challah bread French toast. Diners who prefer the savory side should set their sights on the 6 Hours Corned Beef Hash or literally anything from the extensive Benedict menu. And if you can’t decide between the two? A Mymy Monte Cristo is the right choice.
Why you’re here: Old-school San Francisco is alive and well at this Union Square institution.
What you’re ordering: There’s only one breakfast menu item here that’s an absolute must: the world-famous 18 Swedish pancakes. These have been on the menu since the beginning, when the restaurant was still being operated by retired circus clown Ben Sears, and the charm persists. That’s not to say the other dishes, like the Bay Shrimp Omelet or Lee’s Eggs Benedict, aren’t worthwhile — it’s just that everything is enhanced by the presence of all those little pancakes. Don’t forget to add the lingonberries.
Why you’re here: Because you want to see where the toast-centered discussion on San Francisco’s income inequality began…or you actually want to try toast that is genuinely worth $5 to $12.
What you’re ordering: Toast, obviously. Co-owner Josey Baker was born to make bread, as his name suggests, and he now serves it up at The Mill alongside Four Barrel Coffee. However, none of the toast options are “just toast,” in the same way that toasted bagels usually have something on them. From cinnamon and butter ($5.50) up to smoked trout with creme fraiche and cucumber ($12), you’ll find plenty of options at this hip spot. The bread is indeed remarkable, and whole loaves can be purchased.
Why you’re here: San Francisco has a sizable Filipino population, and you’re hankering to sample standout cuisine that’s sweeping the nation.
What you’re ordering: From 7 a.m. until 10 a.m., Abacá serves breakfast, and each dish harnesses something special about Filipino cuisine. Notable selections include Bibingka Pancakes with blueberry muscovado syrup, Ube Biscuits with longganisa sausage gravy, and their famous Filipino Breakfast with pineapple-cured pork belly, garlic rice, sunny-side eggs and cucumber atchara. Check out the pastries at their panaderia on the weekend.
Why you’re here: There’s never a wrong time to seek out a little Southern comfort, and Brenda’s has perfected the art of providing it for breakfast — until 3 p.m.
What you’re ordering: For starters, do not miss Grandma’s Molasses-Black Walnut Iced Coffee. No breakfast is complete without this delicious, caffeinated concoction. When it comes to the beignets, getting a flight is the best way to go so you can sample four options at once, though be sure to include the Granny Smith apple one — it’s like a little burst of apple pie. And the Low Country Gumbo, which has crab, shrimp and andouille sausage, would make any Southerner feel like they were back at home. The service is as hospitable as it gets in San Francisco.
Why you’re here: You’re vegan and in search of a delicious option for a plant-based breakfast — or you’re not vegan, but appreciate plant-based cooking done right.
What you’re ordering: Breakfast is served from 9 a.m. to noon on weekdays, and although the menu is not overwhelmingly large, it includes breakfast classics like chia pudding and avocado toast. Of particular note are the chilaquiles and the plant-based Vietnamese iced coffee, though the French toast is a fan favorite as well. The prices have their own appeal, as the owners believe that healthy, vegan food should not be economically inaccessible.
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