Thanks to demanding jobs and companies providing all the RX Bars you can steal without anyone noticing, you may not remember the last time you actually sat down and ate breakfast.
But on days when your boss is on vacation or you happen to wake up early, you might have time in the morning to eat something that doesn’t involve a wrapper. Here are all the best spots in San Francisco to eat breakfast.
Kate’s serves quirky, amazing diner food that’s hard to find in San Francisco - seriously, we have no idea why they named their dishes things like the Flanched Flarney Garney or the French Toast Orgy, but we do know it all translates to “damn good breakfast.” The Flanched Flarney Garney is a breakfast sandwich served with a side of home fries and delicious homemade sausage patties. It’s deceptively simple despite the wacky name. The Mindy’s Hash Browns - a huge serving of hash browns wrapped around scrambled eggs, bacon, and cheese - is large enough to compromise the suspension in your car. And their cornmeal buttermilk pancakes are impossibly fluffy without losing their cornmeal texture.
Daily Driver is one of our favorite places to sit and take in the morning. The space is huge and there are multiple levels and tons of seating, which makes it easy to sit back and enjoy a cup of coffee with a book - or, more accurately, thumb through your Instagram feed. Plus, their crusty wood-fired bagels are the best in the city, especially if you get them with their housemade gravlax.
Eats is always mobbed on the weekends, so we like coming to this cafe for a cup of coffee and panko-crusted chicken and waffles during the week (when the lines are shorter). If you’re in the mood for eggs, the Mexican scramble comes with black beans, pico de gallo, and tortilla chips, and will keep you full well after lunch.
Cinderella Bakery has standard breakfast items like french toast and egg plates, but what you’re really here for is the Russian classics. We like the syrniki - sweet, dense cheese pancakes with a crisp outside that taste dessert for breakfast. But if you’re more in the mood for savory, get the potato vareniki dumplings. On nice mornings, their sidewalk seating is a good place to relax - until the fog takes over the Richmond.
We don’t care how many artisanal, over-engineered donuts are available around the city - when we want fried dough, we’re going to Bob’s on Polk St. This 24-hour spot has been churning out puffy, airy classics since the 1960s. If you’re going to wait in the short line out front, double down and get an apple fritter, or a dense maple buttermilk bar that’ll give you a bigger sugar kick than a box of Lucky Charms.
When we don’t have time for a full sit-down dim sum breakfast, we go to Good Mong Kok Bakery in Chinatown. This cash-only spot is set up cafeteria-style, so walk up to the counter and point to every pork bun and shrimp ha gow that unluckily made eye contact with you. Everything here is to-go (there are no seats), but Portsmouth Square is a few blocks away, or you can eat your pastries while on the move.
Pearl feels like a mix between an old Savannah mansion and a compilation of every page in Architectural Digest that you’ve ever dog-eared, and it’s perfect for when you want to feel like you’re on a relaxing beach vacation while you eat some shakshuka. We could spend all day in here hanging out, starting with their weekday brunch in the morning and a great smoked salmon bagel.
This city has as many types of fancy pancakes as it does SAAS companies, and while we’re not sure what software Mymy uses to keep its customers happy, they do make some insanely good pancakes. We’ll wait in line here any time for the lemon ricotta version, but if you want something more than just fluffy, morning cake discs, go for the crab Benedict or the chilaquiles verde.
The inside of Just For You is covered with everything from old cola advertisements to vintage band posters to a marlin hanging behind the counter, all of which make this place feel like it was decorated via a Fuddruckers yard sale. The menu here has a lot of New Orleans-inspired things on it, like chicory coffee and beignets, as well as standard breakfast items like egg plates and omelets - we like the one with carnitas.
Technically, Zazie calls what they serve in the morning “brunch,” but anything you’re eating at 8AM can only be considered breakfast. The benedicts are solid here, but the real reason to put your name on the inevitable wait list at Zazie is for french toast and pancakes - especially the gingerbread version, which are so big and fluffy that you’ll only need one. On a nice day, request a seat on the back patio.
This SOMA cafe/workspace is easy to miss unless you’re a bloodhound with a thirst for croissants. We especially like the mocha and strawberry versions, but the regular ones hold their own too. And the egg sandwich and breakfast pizza are very good as well. It’s lucky we don’t live next door to this place, because we would be eating our weight in pastry every day.
Besides A+ coffee, they serve an excellent prosciutto egg biscuit and good avocado toast. The almond croissants are also worth trying, and it’s a nice place to hang for a while as you consume all of the above.
We love Tartine Bakery for pretty much everything, but if you’re looking for more of a sit-down breakfast spot, Manufactory has it beat. The space here is way larger, so even on a crowded morning, it’s much easier to get a table. On top of that, it feels like you’re having coffee inside of an architecture magazine with its high ceilings, open kitchen, and weird wine glass pergola next to the giant windows. The menu here is much larger too, with things like coddled eggs with za’atar and grilled bread, along with all of the pastries you could want.
Unlike it’s Manufactory little sibling, the original Tartine Bakery is low on seats, so getting there early is the best option. It’s perfect for those mornings that you just wake up without an alarm or a car being towed outside your house at 6am. The breads are all amazing, and so are the croissants, but the best thing to get here for breakfast is the morning bun.
Technically, Taqueria El Buen Sabor isn’t really a breakfast spot, but if it’s Saturday or you’ve got the day off, you should still come here for a breakfast burrito. The chorizo and egg version is enough to fill anyone up for a long while, and after you’ve spend the day walking around the city, it’s good enough to make you want to come back and eat breakfast for dinner.
Réveille Coffee Co.
Yes, Reveille is a “Coffee Co.,” but it’s also much more than that - as evidenced by the breakfast menu offerings, from the chia pudding to the avocado toast to pretty much whatever else is on the menu. The staff is incredibly nice, and overall it’s just kind of place you want to hang out in as long as you can.
The best reason to come to this eastern European spot for breakfast is the lox bagel. The dill, pickled shallots, and everything bagel are a perfect combination, but eating it here makes it even better. 20th Century has an old feel to it like it opened before the internet was even a thought, and since they don’t even have phone lines, it’s a great place to come space out before diving headfirst into your workday. If you don’t want a bagel, they make some of the fanciest pierogies on Earth and the honey cake is great too.
The granola here is excellent and even somewhat healthy. If you feel like more, the breakfast sandwich and croissants are standouts as well. Very casual, and great for grabbing a quick bite by yourself or with a few friends.
Wise Sons Bagel & Bakery
Wise Sons bakes some of the best bagels in San Francisco. Open at 7am on weekdays, this tiny cafe across from State Bird Provisions cranks out East Coast-style bagels and bialys all day long. The smoked salmon and bodega egg & cheese sandwiches are what you want.
This low-key corner cafe across from Duboce Park has tons of outdoor tables, open windows, and bar seating. The scrambles and breakfast sandwiches are straightforward and tasty, and the prices are what you actually want to pay, not what you have tricked yourself into thinking is normal to pay in San Francisco.
Devil’s Teeth makes the best breakfast sandwich in the city for under $10 (you want the Special Breakfast, with eggs, cheese, bacon, avocado, and aioli). It’s on a biscuit and it’s beautiful. On a nice morning, sitting on the benches or walking out to Ocean Beach to enjoy your sandwich while you watch the surfers is actual perfection.
We would get roped into a timeshare at Jane On Fillmore if it were an option, that’s how much we like this place. Getting here early is a good idea because otherwise finding an open table is like being stuck in the middle of a half-off Black Friday sale. You’ll need something to go with your coffee, and that’s where the avocado toast, the egg sandwich, the granola, or any of the pastries come in. Also, just because it’s morning doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get a cookie from the case.
If you’re not here around when they open (7AM on weekdays and 8AM on weekends), you’ll be waiting in line for a while. And the line is worth waiting in if you’ve got time because this is one of the best “breakfast” breakfasts in town. Go with the plow plate, which includes two eggs, their amazing lemon ricotta pancakes, breakfast potatoes, and a required nap afterward.
Le Marais Bakery
The croissants here are incredible, and the granola with yogurt is our favorite in the city. If you want something more interactive, the breakfast board option lets you pick eggs, toast, fruit, lox and other fixings to create your own spread. The Marina location is the original, but we also like Castro one a lot, as this light-filled corner spot is a bit calmer than Chestnut Street.
To say that The Mill just serves toast is like saying that Usain Bolt just jogs in straight lines - the toast here is pretty much the best you can find. The thick slabs of bread are closer to something you might expect to see at House of Prime Rib, rather than that thin, flimsy bread that went to middle school with the Eggo Waffles in your freezer. We like anything here with jam on it or the country bread with butter and cinnamon sugar. Just don’t think about that fact that you’re paying $5 for toast.
The other purveyor of fine toasts in town. Cinnamon, honey-peanut-butter - there might as well be nothing else on the menu.
Pork Store Café
This place has two locations - one in the Haight and one in the Mission. We’re partial to the original Haight version, but you can’t go wrong with either. Old-school, hearty diner food, with excellent eggs benedicts and a Bloody Mary bar. Always get a biscuit on the side.
It can be tough justifying going somewhere for one and only one thing, but even if Craftsman and Wolves only served their Rebel Within muffin, we’d still tell you to go there. It’s a savory muffin with a soft-cooked egg hidden inside for you to find like the $20 you left in your coat last year, except this is better. If eggs aren’t your thing though, go for anything else in the pastry case, especially the kouign-amann.
Pizza for breakfast usually means that you stayed out way too late last night and woke up to a surprise in the fridge this morning, but in the case of Rose’s Cafe, it’s an occasion worth getting out of bed for. The salmon version with a cracker crust, lox, scrambled eggs, and creme fraiche is enough for two to split, and if you want something else, go with the granola. There might be a wait at this Union Street spot, but it’ll give you some time to think about how the dining room looks like it’s stuck in the ’90s and maybe wonder when it’ll be time to redo your own apartment.
This is basically the “ladies who lunch” version of breakfast in the heart of Pacific Heights - everyone looks like they’re just ducking out of their $10-20 million home for a quick pastry. The kouign-amann is a signature, but the middle tends to get kind of soggy. We usually go for the almond croissant or banana bread instead.
When you want to feel relaxed and civilized, and also eat delicious food with a great view, Boulette’s is your spot. This sanctuary in the Ferry Building has truly fantastic eggs and is probably the only breakfast spot in town where you feel like you need to be wearing a suit to sit down, even if you really don’t. On weekends, reservations are necessary, so plan accordingly.
The best reason to go to The Station is when you need breakfast in a place you can call the office for a few hours. Order the croissant breakfast sandwich and add everything you can to it, connect to wifi, and hammer through emails until you’re through your third cup of coffee. By that point, the wifi system will have “reminded” you to buy something enough times to make you actually want to go find somewhere else to work.
Between the jazz music blasting when you walk in and the gigantic mural of a crawfish on the wall, Brenda’s French Soul Food really wants you to think you’re in Louisiana when you’re here. And they do a pretty good job. The beignets are solid - get the sampler so you can try them all - and the biscuits are huge, but the best thing on the menu is the grillades with grits and eggs. It’s enough to split with another person, especially if they’re willing to share a beignet with you.