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San Francisco Breakfast Challenge... from an Australian

bickie Oct 26, 2009 11:55 AM

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!


  1. k
    kshennessy Jan 28, 2010 08:24 AM

    rworange is pretty spot on with recommendations, but I will add a few more:

    - Bar Jules in Hayes Valley
    - Tipsy Pig in the Marina... they are a gastropub, but their brunch is really delicious and they have an outdoor patio.
    - Boulette's Larder in the Ferry Building, very 'san francisco' ingredient driven brunch, only on Sundays

    1. nicedragonboy Oct 28, 2009 03:22 PM

      If going to wine country, Ad Hoc serves a Sunday Brunch. A bit more pricey than the usual brunch price, but you get a taste of the Thomas Keller experience.

      Ad Hoc
      6476 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599

      1. c
        carfeng Oct 27, 2009 02:43 PM

        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

        1. b
          bickie Oct 26, 2009 03:35 PM

          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. rworange Oct 26, 2009 02:48 PM

            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
              Robert Lauriston Oct 26, 2009 02:52 PM

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

              1. re: rworange
                Melanie Wong Oct 26, 2009 08:44 PM

                I believe Namu has discontinued brunch.

                1. re: rworange
                  steve h. Oct 27, 2009 12:56 PM

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

                  1. re: steve h.
                    Robert Lauriston Oct 27, 2009 01:16 PM

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

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                      steve h. Oct 27, 2009 01:35 PM

                      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.
                        Robert Lauriston Oct 27, 2009 01:50 PM

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


                        Any reports since the recession makeover?

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                          steve h. Oct 27, 2009 02:12 PM

                          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
                        omotosando Dec 17, 2009 10:30 PM

                        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. JasmineG Oct 26, 2009 01:28 PM

                    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. Robert Lauriston Oct 26, 2009 12:17 PM

                      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
                        skwid Oct 27, 2009 07:57 AM

                        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
                          abstractpoet Oct 27, 2009 09:45 AM

                          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

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