Lingering over a spicy Bloody Mary in the Mission's late morning sun, devouring plates of hot cakes and eggs Benedict, and catching up with friends over an hours-long meal—these are just a few of the many reasons brunching in San Francisco is a thing. From Cow Hollow to Dogpatch, here are 15 spots that are sure to get you out of bed on a weekend morning.
Celebrating 20 years in 2019, the Mission's Foreign Cinema has become a San Francisco institution—one that's retained its appeal over two decades in everything from its industrial-chic design to its California-Mediterranean cuisine. While dinner here is a winner, brunch is the restaurant's real standout—with a options that include warm cinnamon buns with citrus-scented cream cheese icing, Sonoma pasteurized farm eggs served with fruit-topped baguette French toast, and a perennial favorite: caviar. Foreign Cinema is also known for its outdoor patio movie screenings, like recent showings of "O Brother Where Art Thou" and "Good Morning Vietnam."
Bistro Central Parc
Tucked away on a residential street corner in SF's popular NOPA neighborhood, Bistro Central Parc isn't so well known outside its local community, which makes scoring a table here on weekends relatively easy. Despite the lack of press, Central Parc's classic French Bistro brunch offerings are completely noteworthy—featuring a limited menu of egg dishes (including benedicts and a build-your-own omelette) as well as traditional French onion soup, baked brie with roasted garlic, and escargot. Wines range from red and white to sparkling, and there's even outdoor seating with wind shields, perfect for dining al fresco without worrying about the elements. Bistro Central Parc is only open for brunch on Sunday.
First opened in 1863, San Francisco's iconic Cliff House restaurant is now in its fifth incarnation. The stunning seaside perch filled with Art Deco decor also has fantastic ocean views. Stop in on Sundays for the restaurant's weekly Champagne buffet, which includes foods like poached salmon and prawns, steak with mushrooms, cheese and fruit platters, along with the eatery's beloved housemade popovers—all served in the lower-level Terrace Room with live harp music. The chocolate-dipped strawberries are a must-order.
By evening it's a buzzing cocktail bar housed in a historic North Beach structure, but on the weekends the beloved Comstock Saloon serves up a decadent brunch that's one of the hottest tickets in town. Dishes run the gamut from the poached “Egg in a Cauldron” to the 5-spice Churros with chocolate sauce, or you might go crazy with a 20 Dollar Mozzarella Stick—made with both caviar and 23 karat gold leaf. Though it's still early in the day, Comstock's range of brunch cocktails are as equally unrestrained. Try the Mr. Bacon Old Fashioned, complete with candied pork belly.
Curio is everything you'd expect a restaurant housed in a former mortuary to be: a bit odd, unconventional, and endlessly alluring. As the sister restaurant to Valencia Street's live music venue The Chapel, Curio attracts a wide range of customers with its cool decor and outdoor (and often sunny) patio, not to mention its innovative brunch offerings. Try the Go for the Holy Grail Burger—a five-ounce patty topped with raclette cheese, mushroom, fried onion, and jam—or share a shellfish tower made up of oysters, shrimp, little neck clams and tuna tartar. A glass of frosé is ultimate meal accompaniment.
A citywide favorite since first opening in 2006, Nopa led the way in transforming Divisadero Street, and the greater NoPA neighborhood, into the culinary hub it is today. Join the throngs of hungry souls in front of this two-story corner spot who come each weekend for offerings like fruit-topped French toast or sweet fennel sausage with crispy potatoes and poached eggs. A selection of creative cocktails and sparkling wines keep things buzzing in this already lively establishment.
Local residents and visitors alike make the trip out to Dogpatch, just south of Mission Bay and Oracle Ballpark, for Serpentine's locally sourced, New American brunches. The restaurant's high ceilings and an airiness makes guests want to linger over sharable portions of banana bread and jelly-filled donuts. Although Serpentine changed ownership in 2017, it remains just as inviting, and it's bar—featuring brunch cocktails like the bourbon-based PK Thunder Punch—as equally well-stocked.
This beloved French bistro has been welcoming guests more than 25 years. Brunch aficionados pack into its Cole Valley locale for popular menu items like croque monsieurs and madames; eggs scrambled with mushrooms, spinach, and fontina cheese; and Miracle Pancakes, a weekly changing flavor that's included everything from bread pudding to cinnamon bun. On sunny days the restaurant's backyard patio bursts to life with patrons, though Zazie's interior—with its brick and bright yellow walls, is just as cheerful. Zazie's is one of the city's tip-free restaurants, meaning menu prices cover a living wage for the employees.
Perched atop SF's Potrero Hill, Plow is serving up farm-to-table American comfort food and supreme city views. This small corner spot is a place where patrons can enjoy dishes like the hailed Breakfast Sandwich—two soft fried eggs topped with cheddar, and optional bacon or avocado, and served on an SF-made Acme bun with a side of mouth watering potatoes—atop oak barrel tables in an often sun-drenched setting.
With items like French toast bread pudding and two signature breakfast pizzas—one topped with smoked salmon and crème fraîche—Rose's attracts a bevy of die-hard regulars. This Cow Hollow neighborhood cafe and bistro sells artisan pastries (think almond croissants and orange currant scones) and breads fresh-baked daily, and even whips up house-made biscuits for its four-legged customers. The restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating—the latter with heat lamps—as well as an Italian-inspired menu that includes pasta dishes and stuffed focaccia for brunch.
Drawing in patrons since 2010, Marlowe has grown into a SOMA district staple. While this New American bistro may be best known for its earthy, flavorful, and piled high Marlowe Burger, it's not the only option. Marlowe's coveted brunch menu also includes candied bacon, house-made doughnuts, and delish entrees like rock shrimp and crab frittata, not to mention burrata cheese and raw oysters as starters.
A Tenderloin favorite since first opening its doors inside the historic Saratoga Hotel in November 2016, the two-story Saratoga restaurant is known as much for its Sunday brunch as for its vast collection of spirits. The menu's decadent offerings include items like thick-cut Texas French Toast served with bourbon syrup, and a fried chicken caesar salad, all served in a swanky and sophisticated setting. Brunch cocktails run the gamut from refreshing and fizzy to hot and boozy, though the frothy, bourbon-centric Cereal Milk Punch, complete with Cocoa Krispies and corn-flake washed milk is a must-try.
Only open on weekends, Hayes Valley's Straw whips up carnival-inspired comfort food with a California twist for the brunch and lunch crowd, in a small setting that's both quirky and colorful. There's a popular Tilt-o-Whirl booth for getting cozy, though the eatery also offers a range of typical indoor and outdoor seating. Straw specializes in unconventional menu items like its “famous Donut Burger:” two grass-fed all-beef patties topped with American cheese and sandwiched between two house-made glazed donut buns, and has appeared on Food Network’s "World's Weirdest Restaurants," as well at the Cooking Channel and Travel Channel. The Fried Chicken and Waffle Monte Cristo is another restaurant favorite.
Savor Open Kitchen
Since 2000 this Noe Valley landmark has been drawing in a local clientele with consistently good eats and a shady garden patio that's both pup-friendly and perfect for whiling away an afternoon. Omelette and scrambles, fruit-topped French toast, and crepes both sweet and savory are all on the menu, as well as draft beer, wine, and event a handful of cocktails made with sparkling wine or Svetlana—a grape wine hard liquor sub. Though Savor recently changed ownership, the restaurant still features many of its beloved favorites, including the spicy cornbread with jalapeño jelly.
Brenda's French Soul Food
Brunch at this beloved Creole-inspired eatery in SF's Tenderloin/Little Saigon neighborhood will easily fill you up for the rest of the day. Indulge in a plate of chocolate or crawfish beignets to share before dining on house favorites like the Hangtown Fry, a scramble of oysters, bacon, and scallions served with grits or hash, and a heavenly cream biscuit. There's also a range of daily blackboard specials. The restaurant's sister location, Brenda's Meet & Three, is located along Divisadero Street in NoPA.