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Oct 26, 2009 11:55 AM

San Francisco Breakfast Challenge... from an Australian

Hey all,

I'm in San Francisco (North Beach) for a month and a bit and, like many Australians, am a bit obsessed with breakfast/brunch.

We have a huge/competitive brunch culture in Melbourne and the quality of the food is getting pretty outstanding, however, more than half the problem is knowing WHERE to go - If you were to go to 10 random places for breakfast in Melbourne it would be a below average experience, so I'm mildly distressed by the fact that San Francisco may well be full of some of the best places around (and is from what I've heard), but I don't know which ones they are.

Here's a couple of links to some blog reviews (not mine) of some of my favourite Melbourne breakfast eateries:

So, my challenge is: Can San Francisco provide me with a comparable breakfast experience?

I open the board to suggestions - Thanks!


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  1. If you're willing to cross the bay, Camino and B in Oakland.

    Has anyone been to bruch at the B in SF? If they have a Web site, I can't find it.

    B Restaurant & Bar
    499 9th St, Oakland, CA 94607

    3917 Grand Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610

    2 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      I'll second the Camino brunch. Not a big menu but the stuff they do is pretty darn good. It isn't cheap though. One thing, there are no free refills on coffee. They make each cup by hand as it is ordered (grind the beans brew the coffee, ...).

      1. re: skwid

        I don't think the price point at Camino is high at all, at least for brunch, considering the quality. Depending on what you order, you can get out for as little as $15 a person.

        The Sunny Side Cafe is another of my brunch favorites in the East Bay, but maybe isn't as easily accessible from SF via public transportation (?). They have great pancake specials and a sort of "sandwich" called the Alameda (ham, mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, over-easy eggs and other goodness, with Hollandaise, between two slices of French toast) that is a thing of beauty.

        Sunny Side Cafe
        1499 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706

    2. Canteen. I also love the brunch at Bar Tartine (caveat: they've changed chefs, I don't know if brunch has changed since the chef change).

      1. Here's a list of restaurants in SF flagged as serving brunch as a reference point so you can click on the name and get the website address and menus.

        This week this site seems to be in the midst of some sort of makeover. At one time you could get to Chowhound reports via these records, but I don't know if that will be true anymore. You might need search if you want detailed info ... and not to be too snide ... good luck with that.

        Of that list some notable places in the city

        As mentioned Canteen and possibly Bar Tartine

        Others from that list to note - Dotties, Mama's, Foreign Cinema, Brenda's, Bush-Tei, Oliva's, Absinthe, Butler & the Chef, Citizen Cake, Campton Place

        The East Bay does have some notable brunch spots. I'd add to the list Sea Salt, Bette's Oceanview Diner, T-Rex, Five, Brown Sugar Kitchen (Michelan Mention)

        If you ever get up to Wine Country places I consider worth the trip are Fremont Diner in Sonoma and Brix in Napa near Yountville.

        Anything below are noted and good but not really along the lines of what you are looking for.

        Some I like that are not as creative as your examples but are solid so if you eat out every morning you might consider them: Town's End, Judy's, Nob Hill Grille, Cafe Bean, Tangerine, Q, Brickhouse, Delancy Street, Chow/Park Chow, Bechelli's, Cafe Mason, Grubstake (heh), Pork Store, Curbside Cafe

        A few mixed comment places: Universal Cafe, Zazie, Boogaloo, Blue, Rose's,2223, Elite, Ella's, Luna Park, Katie's Kitchen

        Il Fornaio is a chain and gets no love on the board and i'd put it at the bottom of the list but it bakes its owa n pastries and has a pretty outdoor fountain area.

        Some that don't get mentioned but are on my to-try list, Epic, Luques, Cafe Andre, Namu, Outerlands, Soma Inn Cafe, Perry's Embarcadero, Abigail's, Chloe's, Baker St Bistro, Aperto, Slow Club, The little Chuhuaha, Moussey's

        This probably isn't up your alley but I'm so intrigued ... on Sunday a Mission dive bar call Doc's Clock has a Thai/Vietnamese brunch for $8. Now what is interesting is the chef has worked at some respected places such as Brenda's and Yamo. It might be a bust, but I'll mention it.

        I've been to Mission Rock in the past but they recently changed ownership and it is on my to try list.

        Capurro's is a stinking tourist trap awful Fisherman's Wharf restaurant but from time to time the bacon waffle gets mentioned so that might be the only decent thing there if that

        If you are into opulant brunch buffets there's the Top of the Mark or the Palace

        NO WAY IN HELL CATEGORY: Just don't do it. Sears, Lori's, Mel's Cliff House, Buena Vista, Ritz buffet, Squat and Gobble (doesn't the name warn you?)

        There are a few greasy spoon type of places that locals frequent but just seemed too far from what you want that I won't bother with them ... well, Grubstake is as low as I'll go.

        8 Replies
        1. re: rworange

          Sorting the list by "most discussed" puts many of the common recommendations at the top.

          1. re: rworange

            I believe Namu has discontinued brunch.

            1. re: rworange

              It's been awhile but breakfast at Campton Place still resonates with me.

              1. re: steve h.

                I wonder if Srijith Gopinathan does any Indian / Indian-influenced breakfast dishes?

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Good point.
                  Back in the day, breakfast at Campton Place was pretty special. So special that I delayed calls, meetings, etc. until I finished. The house-made hash was stellar.

                  1. re: steve h.

                    Back in Bradley Ogden's day? I see Lark Creek has brunch:


                    Any reports since the recession makeover?

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Both Ogden and Humm. Haven't been back since. Campton Place was pretty special back then.

                      The Tavern sounds good. At a minimum, I expect to be back in Northern California in August (Tomales Bay, San Francisco, Monterey Bay area).

                  2. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Re Robert Lauriston's query as to whether Srijith Gopinathan does any Indian / Indian-influenced breakfast dishes at Campton Place - just had breakfast today at Campton Place and indeed there was a "masala" omelet - onions, chilies and tomatoes (I skipped the onions). It was very nicely spiced and very good. And the tea was heavenly. Love, love, love Campton Place for breakfast. (Also love the curry dishes at the bar for dinner).

              2. Wow, that's some excellent feedback (and gives me more than enough to start with).

                Cheers to all for that -

                I may well report back to let you know how I go :)

                Thanks again!


                1. If not too late, please consider Mission Beach Cafe. Sundays seem a bit more rowdier (in a good way) than Saturdays.

                  Mission Beach Cafe
                  198 Guerrero St., San Francisco, CA 94103