My mom and I are headed to San Francisco next month for a “girls weekend” to celebrate her birthday. She is picking me up at the Sacramento airport at 8:00 am and we will be driving straight into the city. I thought we may stop in Berkeley for some coffee and a light breakfast/pastry. Definitely do not want anything mainstream, maybe even just a great bakery that serves coffee. Any suggestions for a small place?
re: Robert Lauriston
I would totally second Crixa, my neighborhood cake shop. Aside from excellent Hungarian pastries and good coffee, there's great teas and no crowd (a rariety!). Also plenty of outdoor and indoor sitting, which LaFarine (which I love for breads) can't offer.
Note that its specialties are really more cake-oriented, aside from a few items like Saffron Buns and Fatima's Thighs.
La Farine on College (just South of Alcatraz) has a selection of great pastry (croissants, frangipane [a square-shaped almond croissant], scones with excellent crumb, chocolatines, Swiss Twinkies [croissant with chopped nuts, cinammon, sugar], etc. and good-not-great coffee) that can be enjoyed at a large, round community table centered with a vase of flowers. Masse's on Shattuck (two blocks north of Cedar) also has wonderful pastries, better coffee, whimsical accoutrements and several small tables.
There are sit down cafes and stand up bars so weather rules potentially.
If you want to wait for another 15 minutes you could have a North Beach experience. I've always been happy at Cafe Greco.
Limited seating: Masse's, La Farine (College or Solano), Fanny, Bette's To-go, Cheeseboard
More seating: 817, French Hotel/Espresso Roma (same owner), Crixa, Oliveto Cafe, Cafe Trieste
If you've never been to Fanny I'd recommend the experience. It tweaks some people's price value matrices, but I've always been happy there. The beans are from Mr Espresso in Oakland. All food produced in a kitchen a few blocks away and assembled on site. The bread line at Acme is a fun view.
Oliveto Cafe knows how to handle milk (as in Italy) and the pastries are produced a few feet away upstairs.