HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >


ocean beach cafes

Wondering if there are any good brunch spots within a 5 minute drive of Ocean Beach. I'm looking for strong coffee/waffle-pancake type fare.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. For old-school diner fare, there's Louie's just up from the Cliff House, overlooking Seal Rock. There's also Park Chalet (I dont recommend the Beach Chalet).

    4 Replies
    1. re: Maya

      What is the Park Chalet? I'm only familiar with the Beach Chalet which is on the beachfront south of the Cliff House and my husband and MIL say is no good - I have not been.

      Are any diner type places besides Louie's (where there's likely to be a wait) out on one of the streets that eventually end at the beach or on one of the outermost avenues in the Sunset or the Richmond that would fit the bill? I once had an excellent huge breakfast with big home made sweet muffins in the restaurant that's attached to the more modern of the motels that's out by the beach. Sorry, I can't be more specific - but it's on the Richmond side like it would maybe be on the corner of 47th. or so.

      Forget the Cliff House unless money is just not a consideration and you don't mind highly pretentious.

      If the poster ever feels like going to the Legion of Honor museum up in the golf course off of 35th. and California (the golf course also has a restaurant come to think of it), the museum cafe' is really great.

      1. re: niki rothman

        The place with the muffins would probably be Seal Rock Inn ... was it up the hill from Louie's?

        1. re: rworange

          Yes, rw, I think you're right. And I think it, more than anything else, would fit the posters needs.

        2. re: niki rothman

          There are 2 restaurant spaces in the "Chalet" the original one..overlooking the ocean and the Park Chalet which has a glassed in conservatory space overlooking Golden Gate Park...they have a lawn with yellow Adirondack chairs...a pleasant space..with good weather they open all the glass and you can eat on the lawn or patio...

      2. Another option is the Seal Rock Inn's restaurant. Old school like Louie's but with a few more choices on the menu.

        1. I'd be in my running clothes, kind of sweaty--That probably affects where I can go eat. Would Louie's be kosher to go to given that additional fact?

          1. Oh, definitely. You'll have to run up the hill though!

            1. 5 minute drive? This is nearby for simple, friendly fare for the locals in the nabe:
              Sea Breeze Cafe
              3940 Judah Street
              (at 44th Ave & 45th Ave)
              San Francisco, CA 94122 (415) 242-6022
              (there are tables outside for your sweaty-running-clothes self, you'll be fine here)

              1. I can't recall the name right now, but there is a diner we used to go to on Sloat across from the Zoo. It has solid diner type food at good prices.

                3 Replies
                1. re: anna

                  John's Ocean Beach Cafe
                  2898 Sloat Boulevard
                  San Francisco, CA 94116 (415) 665-8292

                  1. re: Cynsa

                    I'd consider John's to be pretty average diner food. I'd choose Bashful Bull over Johns, personally. Not that BB is exceptional, but I'd give it the edge over John's.


                  2. re: anna

                    The diner across from the zoo on Sloat Boulevard used to be one of the City's more notable diners. It was called the Doggie Diner. The original fiberglass "Doggie Diner" head is mounted on a pole in the center divider. The diner itself has not been a Doggie Diner for decades. Today it is just a fast food joint. There is nothing outstanding about it, except it, however it does offer cheap eats and is right across the street from the zoo entrance. You may want to try John's Ocean Beach Cafe. It is also right across from the zoo. You can find a review from the Sunset Beacon here: http://www.sunsetbeacon.com/archives/...

                  3. There's also Bashful Bull on Taraval around 43rd? Good Pancakes and Burgers.

                    1. There's also Cliff House itself...they have a few dining establishments...if you go, ask for the restaurant that makes POPOVERS!!!

                      It is called The Bistro here's a link.....


                      6 Replies
                      1. re: ChowFun_derek

                        I thought the request was for good brunch spots ... other than the popovers ... and you need to order a mediocre breakfast to get those ... that's it. The coffee is pretty weak too. Also, in running clothes ... the Cliff House might not go for that. I'd choose Louis over Cliff House ... I was going to abbreviate the restaurant name but it is CH ... if ever there was NOT a chowhoound (CH) type of place.

                        1. re: rworange

                          It has a good view, no-reservations and good popovers...that might meet their requirements..and it is a "waffle/panckakes kind of place"...not upscale or pretentious, as is the neighboring restaurant sharing the Cliff House complex....

                          1. re: ChowFun_derek

                            I keep wanting to like the Cliff House. What have you had with your popovers. The crab benedict I had was underwhelming & expensive. The French toast and pancakes I saw on other tables loooked uninspiring, but looks can be decieving. Give me a reason to like Cliff House.

                            1. re: rworange

                              All I remember is the VIEW and the POPOVERS!!!
                              For the life of me I can't remember anything else...I just stuck with eggs of some kind..(omelet maybe) something simple they couldn't screw up....and ordered extra p'overs!! I drank in the view! (I wonder if they even have Ramoz Fizzes?)...and I guess the nostagia of the place..it has been there at least as long as I have been in S.F. (1970)..I don't think the menu has changed much..it has been years since I have been there.....so I guess I'm "fed" on another level!
                              ..and I loved the Musee Mechanique.....and hiking afterwards around Sutro Baths, Sutro Park or Lands End. The Northwest corner of SF is my favorite 'quadrant' of the city...to walk or drive....so I guess its' the totality of the experience and not just the food...but I can be sustained by Popovers...(I don't know why I like/love/crave them so much...and at times I am too embarassed to go to the Rotunda Rest. at Neiman Marcus in my jeans to partake of them there).....not too many choices around here...(When I visit Manhattan I also have at least one meal at....you guessed it "Popovers" a restaurant on Amsterdam at west 86th!

                              1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                Thanks. That might be good recs for the Cliff House since the remodel ... as simple as possible.

                                Actually , I liked the old menu more ... as outdated as it might have been.

                                I just wish they would allow you to order the popovers as a side. I would be a happy camper with a basket of those a cup of coffee and enough cocktails to make it worthwhile for them to let me sit there and enjoy said popovers.

                                For me it was a joint called Yankee Peddler in Connecticut that started my love for popovers. Great restaurant that, if it still exists, I strongly suspect would no longer fit my idea of an exquisite meal ... except for the popovers.

                                1. re: rworange

                                  My feelings exactly! Popovers a drink and the view! A perfect afternoon!

                      2. The Seal Rock up the hill from Louie's has great ocean views and one of the best egg benedict's ever served with all the breakfast trimmings. Dress is super casual. Service is super quick but they don't hurry you out of the place...you have time to read your newspaper if you want.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: charlotteowens

                          Have you been there recently, Charotte? The reason I ask is that Seal Rock was a favorite of mine for years and years ... but I haven't been there for a few years.

                          About a year back it started getting some negative posts. It would be good to hear that they are at the top of their game currently. The ambiance and service was never much, but there was good food, a nice view and easy parking.

                        2. Thanks for all the responses! I'll report back in the next couple of weeks. First on the list to try is Louie's, followed by Seal Rock if Louie's line is too long. I like the idea of going on a weekly long-run followed by restaurant-hopping. Here's to running and feasting!