Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Oct 16, 2006 05:29 PM

Universal Cafe in SF (Mission)?

Any recent experiences or thoughts on this place?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I love Universal Cafe. I would have weekend brunch there often and a couple months ago I finally had dinner there. The wait for a seat during weekend brunch has never been more than 15 minutes in experience. I would definitely recommend trying it out, especially for brunch.

    Menu is here:

    1. The brunch lines at Universal always scare me away to Slow Club, which is a few blocks over. To be honest, though, I SUPER hate waiting, and will rarely wait more than five minutes. Anyhow, they do have that blood orange mimosa there, which is now my favorite fruit-and-champers combination. (sorry, Maverick).

      The dinner is okay. The last time I went (a few months ago), I had... swordfish, was it? Some fish. The fish itself was fantastic, but they didn't really do all that much to it, so I don't really have strong opinions there.

      I'm really curious about their lunch, actually, which I've never had.

      Anyhow, it's worth checking out, I guess. Reasonably priced, in my opinion.

      2 Replies
      1. re: dunstable

        odd...I am not an early riser by any stretch of the imagination and can't remember ever waiting longer than 10 minutes. Perhaps just dumb luck.

        My last dinner a few months back was wonderful.

        1. re: chaddict

          Yeah I don't mean to suggest that they're unmanageable, only that I refuse to wait them. I've seen almost a dozen people standing around, waiting to be seated. For all I know, they were all seated a minute later.

      2. Universal Cafe is my favorite brunch place in the city - hands down. Their food is always fresh and inventive. And the coffee is strong -always a plus!

        If you don't want a long wait, I would suggest going there on Saturday morning/afternoon. Sundays are typically crazy. But, honestly, I think the food is worth the wait.

        Dinner is on my list to try.


        1. I love this place. I've been coming since it opened. Have had lunch and dinner. I dig the
          urban, modern atmosphere, and the seasonality and integrity of the menu. I've always had good food here, and usually good service, too. Can be a little fey-and snobby. But for such a tiny place, it packs a lot of style and class.

          1 Reply
          1. re: culinarian

            That's well said. I always found it a nice mix of small neighborhood place and the polished/sophisicated and hip. Use to go often when I hung out in Potrero and I do miss it.

          2. I just ate here for the first time last night, and enjoyed a fabulous meal. I liked the casual, comfortable feel of the place, and the service was friendly but professional. Three of us shared appetizers. We started with fries with aioli. The aioli was a little on the bland side, but the fries were perfectly crispy and amazingly light. We followed with a healthy serving (pizza-sized) of crispy flatbread with prosciutto, carmelized onions and fresh pulled mozzarella. Personally, I liked this much better than the pizza at Pizzetta 211. Two of us also ordered the roasted eggplant and tomato soup with creme fraiche. I loved the smokey flavor, and it had just the right amount of spiciness and a nice balance of tomato to eggplant. For an entree, I ordered the halibut w/cherokee purple heirloom tomato salsa and onion rings. The salsa and onion rings were heavenly. The halibut was okay, but didn't live up to the sides. Dessert was an absolutely perfect peach/blueberry cobbler with vanilla gelato. This is what I'm always dreaming of, but rarely get when I order a fruit cobbler. Sorry to ramble on, but I'm still excited about the meal. I'm definitely going back to Universal Cafe.

            1 Reply
            1. re: kresge86

              Try their brunch as well, fantastic! I love this little place.