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breakfast recommendations?

Hi everyone, I'm from Manhattan and had my first ever trip to Cali 2 weeks ago. I will briefly be back this weekend for work. Has anyone been to Swan Oyster for breakfast? Is it the same lunch menu? I'd consider any good dim sum places. I had a nice breakfast at Canteen and wouldn't mind returning, but is there anything else you can recommend? Thanks in advance. A lot of posts here have helped me in come up with my plans for the next few days:

Manresa for dinner

Aqua for lunch
Boulevard for dinner


Zuni Cafe for lunch
Ame for dinner

Slanted Door for lunch (open to other suggestions)
Quince for dinner (if I can secure reservations)

Yeah, I'm pretty much blowing my food budget every day :)

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  1. Tartine.

    Great list. But there are also phenomenal and unique cheap eats in SF as well.

    1 Reply
    1. re: SarahKC

      Foreign Cinema brunch
      Mama's and Rose's are close behind
      Art's Cafe is different
      I think you could find better than aqua and boulevard, but you won't find better than Manresa, Zuni, and Ame for what they do

    2. Saturday morning go the the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market to pick up breakfast items from the vendors.

      Swan's has the same menu all day.

      Mama's in North Beach is a good breakfast place.

      Friday you might want to stop by Sentinal for breakfast pasteries. Same owner as Canteen.

      1. That's a nice list. I sense refinement in the selection and I don't think you'll have a bad meal. That said, I don't think you'll find anything at Boulevard that you can't find elsewhere. Travel out to the Richmond District is a hassle but maybe look at Aziza.

        1. Brenda's French Soul Food

          Blue Bottle Coffee Co.


          Brenda's French Soul Food
          652 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94102

          Blue Bottle Cafe
          66 Mint St, San Francisco, CA 94103

          2 Replies
          1. re: Cynsa

            Thanks, everyone. I will certainly take a closer look at these places tomorrow.

            ML8000, I had that same feeling about Boulevard. I sort of pushed aside Gary Danko for that reason (unless I'm completely mistaken).

            Dinner at Manresa tonight was amazing. The tasting menu had 8 amuses and 12 courses. It lasted nearly 5 hours. I was given a tour of the kitchen and there were more workers than there were diners.

            1. re: dorian

              I would highly recommend going to Boulevard. I eat there every other week and out of the last seven years of going there I've only had what I would call 2-3 "not great" meals - one of which was the day after Christmas. Last week I had the truffled ravioli (amazing!) and their soft shell crab (to die for). I always recommend the tartar but if the tartar is still the set up with olives and greek sauces, I would suggest not ordering that. Plus, if you are going to Aqua their tartar is far better. That's my Boulevard plug for the day. Enjoy your trip.

              Oh, I second the recommendation for brunch at Foreign Cinema.

          2. Last time I ate at Boulevard it was Not Good! I wouldnt waste time or money

            1. Tartine has lines around the block, and lunch there yesterday was very dissappointing. Rick and Anne's in Oakland for breakfast is great, but also crowded on weekends. Bette's Oceanview Diner also great, (Berkeley) but lines on the weekends. Dim Sum: Ton Kiang is great, but also crowded on the weekends, but try a weekday lunch. Try the cheaper less well known options, like Roses Cafe on Union and Steiner for lunch or dinner: their pizza is the best, and it has a nice neighborhood atmosphere. You cant beat the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market for a fun food Saturday activity and a spontaneous lunch at any of the restaurants in the Ferry Plaza building if you arent full from noshing at the market.

              1. My recommendations will be centered around good food but trying to get you out of the financial district/embarcadero area b/c it's definitely the least charming of all the neighborhoods in SF.

                For breakfast/brunch:

                -Mama's on Washington Square in North Beach. Come early or come late b/c the lines are always long.

                -Rose's Cafe or Optimista on Union Street. B/c that's where I get my weekend brunch.

                -Tangerine in the Castro/Mission area. The food is very homey and I'm a big fan of the potato latkes.

                -Tartine is fine but mostly for pastries of which I highly recommend the orange morning buns.


                3 Replies
                1. re: wdot

                  Would you tell me a little more about Rose's Cafe and Optimista?

                  What do you recommend at each? What to skip?

                  1. re: rworange

                    I assume Rose's has similar food to what it serves at the Saturday Farmers' Market.

                    1. re: Xiao Yang

                      Yah never know though. The Hayes Street Grill stand is nothing like the restaurant. Haven't tried Roses at the farmers market either, so if someone has some some suggestions there it would be great.

                2. Maverick, Universal Cafe, or Foreign Cinema for brunch are good.

                  I had a truly delicious and beautifully prepared breakfast at Chow (on Church) a few weeks ago. I felt it was second only to Canteen and was kicking myself for not doing breakfast there sooner. They really have a way with eggs, and the benedict comes with a delicious green salad and nicely prepared potatoes.

                  Tartine is where you get pastries--I don't personally call that breakfast.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Atomica

                    I have enjoyed delicious ham and cheese croissants, croque monsieurs, and bread pudding at Tartine which I would not describe as pastries and closer to breakfast.

                    The ever-popular "morning bun" suggests they too conceive of themselves as a place to dine prior to lunch and long lines give evidence that the customers are willing to go along with this characterization as well.

                    1. re: SarahKC

                      As I said, I don't _personally_ call that breakfast, personally being the operative word. The morning bun is simply a sugar-cinnamon roll. Delicious? Yes.