5 Superior Outdoor Brunches by the Bay. Happy Summer.

Grab a sweater, a book and your favorite plus-one

May 10, 2018 9:00 am

This is but one installment of 37 Things a Man’s Gotta Do This Summer, our annual compendium of everything worth seeing, doing, eating, drinking and generally making time for in your neck of the woods between now and September. Stay tuned all month for more.

Outdoor brunch — the millennial pink of weekend meals — can be a challenging experience in San Francisco.

You’ve got lines. A morning chill. And a tendency among savvy restaurateurs to mislabel a regular Tuesday’s lunch as “brunch” because they know what it does to us.

So here’s everything you need to actually enjoy the canonical fourth meal, including details on which patios are heated, which take reservations and which restaurants profess to serve brunch seven days a week. (If the menu suddenly gets bigger on Saturday morning, does it count?)

We’ve got the fineprint so you can keep your eyes on the target: that house-made English muffin sandwich with two fried eggs, for one pleasing example.

The Tipsy Pig

In brief: A Cow Hollow “American gastrotavern” with a huge back patio that Michael Bauer named one of the city’s top-10 best new restaurants

Breakfast-y: Dutch pancakes with apple and pomegranate, plus black pepper-candied bacon

Lunch-y: Tacos with IPA-battered mahi mahi and tomatillo salsa

Served: Friday through Sunday

Reservations: Via OpenTable

Heaters? November through May


In brief: Do you miss when breakfast was more about Cocoa Krispies than eggs Benedict? Welcome to Hayes Valley’s inaugural carnival-themed brunch.

Breakfast-y: The Donut Breakfast Sandwich somehow includes a fried egg, maple-glazed bacon, two buns made from glazed doughnuts, cheddar cheese and home fries.

Lunch-y: The blackened salmon po-boy with shoestring fries

Served: Daily

Reservations: Yes, if you want to sit inside (where it’s warm; see below)

Heaters? Nope


In brief: Rustic Castro spot with your choice of sidewalk seating or a big, tented space in the back garden

Breakfast-y: Just a straight-up brunch plate, with two farmhouse eggs, potatoes, toast and either a rosemary breakfast link or bacon

Lunch-y: Pizza with wild mushrooms and gruyere cheese

Served: Daily (with a smaller brunch menu on weekdays)

Reservations: Via OpenTable

Heaters: Yes

Universal Cafe

In brief: Local-minded pan-California with a sidewalk patio

Breakfast-y: Their popular English muffin with two fried eggs and curly kale

Lunch-y: Steak frites with salsa verde

Served: Wednesday through Sunday (with an expanded brunch menu on the weekend)

Reservations: For dinner but not brunch

Heaters: Yes


In brief: The best part about living in Cole Valley? Getting to Zazie’s back patio before the crowds.

Breakfast-y: Tahiti-themed French toast on pain de mie with caramelized bananas and walnuts

Lunch-y: Smoked wild salmon sandwich on toasted levain with cream cheese and capers

Served: Daily

Reservations? Only for dinner

Heaters? Yup


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