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Mar 4, 2009 04:41 PM

Tartine Bakery - best time to visit

Hi, I'm visiting SanFran this coming weekend and have Sunday afternoon and all day Monday to stroll the question is: when is the best time of day to visit Tartine and actually get seat to eat the highly praised pastries in relative calm. I'm open to any time really, just want to have the most relaxing experience. Thanks in advance!

Got reservations to Zuni as well =)

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  1. I would try for midday Monday while everyone else is at work (avoid breakfast time when everyone is getting a morning bun). Sunday is going to be mayhem. You'll probably get a seat, but there's going to be a line and it will not be the most relaxing experience.

    While I can't remember if I've actually visited Tartine in the middle of a weekday, I can't imagine that it could possibly be as busy as a typical weekend.

    1. I would say it depends on the weather. My friend got there right when they opened and there was a line. I got there 20 minutes later and there were a lot of free seats.

      1. Hi Moymoy, I am a Tartine regular and I can tell you that Sunday mornings are the worst time --regardless of the weather. I would suggest Monday morning about 10:30 to 11:30 after the breakfast rush and before lunch hours begin. You also will not run the risk of supplies of favorites being depleted. Happy hounding -- hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Enjoy your trip to San Francisco.

        4 Replies
        1. re: zachschef

          As a regular I figure I would ask, not that nobody else can answer it.
          If going on a weekend and I just want everything to go, how is the wait/line?
          I don't need a seat, just load me up and I am out.

          1. re: dietndesire

            I've been on a weekend, and the line was're standing in the same line regardless of whether you're eating there or getting it to go, there's no table service that I know of.

            I've also been on a Monday and they didn't have the banana cream pie - the girl behind the counter told me that's only on sale "later in the week". So it's possible that other favorites may be out of action on Monday too...but hopefully not!

            1. re: dietndesire

              It doesn't usually take *that* long. Even if there's a line, you can be in and out in 20 minutes or so if you're just picking up stuff to go. I don't think it's often any longer than that....except maybe Sunday mornings.

            2. re: zachschef

              Thanks everyone, I will take zachschef's advice and go on Mon/early afternoon. Now I will keep my fingers crossed that the banana cream pie is available...

            3. While we're on the subject, can someone explain their byzantine bread policy? I never know when the hell you're supposed to show up and actually be able to buy it.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Deeg67

                The bread is ready at 5, so you can get it between 5 and 8. They have it Wed-Sun. You can call them earlier in the day and reserve bread.

                I just did this on Saturday, and it was great - the bread it hot when you get it at 5 PM, and it's definitely my favorite bread in SF

                Their website has info about the bread too.


                1. re: Deeg67

                  I've visited a few times around 4:45pm on a weekend and was able to purchase their bread, so it's worth checking if you're in the neighborhood around that time. After being shut out after driving in from East Bay and arriving at 5:50pm on a Friday (they'd already sold all their available loaves of bread by then!), I now always call first thing that morning to reserve my loaves of bread. If you leave your name and number on their answering machine, they'll call you back to confirm your order.

                  When they call you back, take that opportunity to pay for your bread via credit card and you won't have to wait in the very long line that's usually out the door. Instead, go directly to the coffee bar and let one of the workers know you're there to pick up your bread that you ordered earlier that day. They'll even let you add add'l items to your order if you want things from the bakery case. Alternatively, you can also pre-reserve the bakery case items when you order your bread.

                  The demand for their bread is incredible. In order to purchase bread on 12/23 and 12/24, I had to order my bread the Saturday before Christmas (the last day advance orders were accepted for 12/23 and 12/24). Supposedly, they didn't sell a single loaf to walk-in customers on those days because of the huge demand for their bread.

                  1. re: cvhound

                    CV, excellent post, very useful info. I knew reserving policy for bread but the bit about adding on and paying with the pre-order makes everything lovely and that I did not know.
                    Hopefully, not too many others get in on this, ha.

                    1. re: cvhound

                      Thanks - that's extremely helpful.