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Casual Breakfast without long wait in SF

My family just moved to San Francisco from Santa Clara. We love going out to breakfast on the weekends, but we're having a hard time finding the right place for us here. We have two young girls, so we can't wait too long (15 minutes is okay) and we don't want anything too fancy. Just a place to pop in and have pancakes/eggs/etc. We tend to eat out between 9-10. We live fairly close to the inner sunset, so we have tried Park Chow and Crepevine. We do like both of them, but we're looking to expand and we get frustrated with the parking there. We have tried Cole Valley twice and were unable to find parking either time. We do love taking MUNI as we live close to the Forest Hill station, but getting to the N takes a while, so we usually just head downtown.

We went to Boulevard Cafe in Daly City this past weekend and were pleasantly surprised, but the pancakes were a bit of a disappointment.

Any suggestions? Thanks!

Park Chow
1238 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122

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  1. Manor Coffee Shop, West Portal. My wife's family has been going there for over 40 years. It seems to fit with your requests.

    Manor Coffee Shop
    321 W Portal Ave, San Francisco, CA 94127

    1 Reply
    1. re: wolfe

      Yes, Manor is a great time warp, along with Tyger's in Glen Park.

      For bread and pastries rather than cooked meals, Thorough Bread across from Chow is good and has nice teas and a patio in the back.

      I think Boulevard Cafe is better for dinner. Especially the early bird dinners, if your daughters eat early.

      2798 Diamond St, San Francisco, CA 94131

    2. The Pork Sore on height is always fun.

      Pork Store Cafe
      1451 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

      2 Replies
      1. re: Civil Bear

        ahem, Pork SORE sounds most unappetizing, Civil Bear! ( :

        1. re: Civil Bear

          At that hour you should be fine, but I've seen hour long lines after 10.

        2. Town's End Restaurant on the Embarcadero is wonderful (and on OpenTable), Sweet Maple in Lower Pac Heights is delicious (packed but family-friendly and I've never waited more than 20mins) and Stacks is Hayes Valley is fabulous, too.

          1 Reply
          1. re: MeredithR

            Town's End is great and you can take a Muni street Car or Train to almost the front door.

          2. I've never had to wait to be seated for breakfast at the following places. I really hope I'm not shooting myself in the foot by posting them here.

            Le Zinc doesn't offer pancakes but has french toast on the menu. I usually go for something that includes their roasted potatoes.

            Fattoush Restaurant does have pancakes on the menu which are probably very good - but I haven't tried them because I can't resist the corn flake french toast and eggs.

            Show Dogs - no pancakes but their biscuits, croissants, and weekend breakfast specials are great. Bottomless cups of Four Barrel coffee, too.

            Rosamunde Sausage Grill - no pancakes but they have french toast with a dark beer syrup. Four Barrel coffee

            Le Zinc
            4063 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94114

            Fattoush Restaurant
            1361 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94114

            Show Dogs
            1020 Market St, San Francisco, CA

            Rosamunde Sausage Grill
            2832 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

            5 Replies
            1. re: scarmoza


              Sea Breeze Cafe - They have a 50% off scout mob coupon going on - so it might be busier these days. Full breakfast menu.

              Hog and Rocks - again, no pancakes but they have french toast, biscuits, nice breakfast dishes, and bottomless cups of Four Barrel coffee.

              Schmidt's - German brunch menu (no pancakes but French toast). De La Paz coffee.

              Straw - opens at 10 and there's usually not much of a wait at that time. Parking isn't always so easy here but it's a fun place to take kids.

              Sea Breeze Cafe
              3940 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122

              203 Octavia St, San Francisco, CA 94102

              1. re: scarmoza

                Thank you! I love French Toast, so I look forward to trying out all the ones you mention. The girls prefer pancakes, but are happy with French Toast and Waffles as well. Also, thanks for pointing out the places with quality coffee. That's always a perk for me.

                1. re: christieCA

                  I just remembered that Hog and Rocks changed their brunch hours and doesn't open until 11am. Schmidt's is another that doesn't open until 11. Sorry about that.

                  Here are some more to add to your list (all have fairly easy parking):

                  Just for You (opens at 8) - usually doesn't need to start a wait list until after 10 - (and even with that, the line goes pretty quickly)

                  Plow - (opens at 8) and is a real darling for breakfast. There might be a tiny wait at 9 -10am but it's worth it. After 10am expect a much longer wait.

                  Auntie April's (opens at 9) - chicken and waffles!

                  Just For You
                  732 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94107

                  Auntie April's Chicken 'n' Waffles
                  4618 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94124

                  1299 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94107

                  1. re: scarmoza

                    I went to Just for You recently - very good, and very casual.

                    1. re: artemis

                      I really like that place but there's always a long wait because it is tiny.

            2. Here's two greasy spoons in the area:

              Howard's Cafe, up the street on 9th Ave, from Park Chow, stuck in the 70s.

              Tennessee Grill on Taraval, good American breakfast and an Irish breakfast...lots of seniors, inexpensive.

              Tennessee Grill
              1128 Taraval St, San Francisco, CA 94116

              1. Definitely, Home Plate on Lombard street in the Marina District. Small place, but never had to wait too long. Just had the most delicious almond french toast. They also serve homemade biscuits and jam.

                Home Plate
                2274 Lombard St, San Francisco, CA 94123

                1. Outerlands in the Outer Sunset. Their bread is amazing. You can take the girls to the beach afterwards. Bring a jacket!

                  Also recommending Manor Coffee Shop. A nice neighborhood diner. My dad used to take me here... fond memories.

                  Manor Coffee Shop
                  321 W Portal Ave, San Francisco, CA 94127

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Keesey

                    Was the 30 minute wait I experienced at Outerlands just a fluke?

                    1. re: scarmoza

                      No..the wait at outer lands can be pretty long. OTOH, maybe it is much shorter if you get in at 9.

                  2. Wow, thank you so much for the great response! We look forward to trying out all of these restaurants. We'll probably try the Manor Cafe on Saturday, but we have added every restaurant here to our list of restaurants to try. Thank you all so much!

                    1. It's been some time since I last went to Cafe for all Season's in West Portal but I remember it having very good breakfasts.

                      1. Thanks again to everyone for the suggestions. It'll take us some time to work through the list. This weekend, we tried the Manor Cafe on Saturday and Le Zinc on Sunday. Both days we had a late start and ate closer to 11. Both restaurants were a 5 minute drive from our house. Parking was fairly easy and we parked in meters on Saturday and 3 blocks away on Sunday.

                        We had about a 5 minute wait the Manor. It was no problem and they got us seated quickly. The girls really enjoyed the decorations and spent a good deal of time analyzing all the old fashioned knickknacks. I appreciated that all the items were decades old besides the beautiful World Champions Pennant hanging from the wall (big Giant's fans here) Service was quick and solid throughout the meal. We had vastly different opinions of the food. The girls' waffles were really good. Golden with a nice flavor. They also had a fruit bowl which had a TON of fresh fruit. A nice variety and they devoured it. My husband had eggs and ham and thought it was perfect. That was the good...I ordered French Toast and that was the bad. It was inedible. I ate one bite and then shared everyone else's food. It must have been cooked on a dirty griddle as it had flavors of fried egg, ham, bacon, etc in it. It looked dirty. This was a huge disappointment as we really enjoyed the rest of the meal.

                        We had another fairly good experience at Le Zinc. We arrived at 11 and there was no wait at all. Very cute restaurant and we felt very welcome with the kids. Once again the only problem was the French Toast! The kids ordered the French Toast and they did not like them as it was WAY too fried. They ate the insides and the fruit that came on top. However, my husband and I each ordered egg dishes and they were FANTASTIC. And the potatoes that came with were so good. We will definitely come back here as it really fit our needs.

                        Thanks again to everyone and I'll continue to check back as we work our way through your suggestions!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: christieCA

                          If you're that close to Le Zinc, be sure to try the pancakes at Ponte Cafe on 24th and Diamond.

                          I haven't been in a while, but they used to have great blueberry pancakes and muffins. Small and crowded--go before 11.

                          1. re: christieCA

                            "I ordered French Toast and that was the bad. It was inedible. I ate one bite and then shared everyone else's food. It must have been cooked on a dirty griddle as it had flavors of fried egg, ham, bacon, etc in it"

                            One Man's Junk Is Another Man's Treasure

                            Sorry about the French Toast but I'm pretty sure my son would have asked for the recipe.

                            Edit: Son Confirmed. Hahahhha yes!!

                          2. I had a great brunch a few weeks ago at La Terasse. Fairly standard dishes (croque monsieur, chorizo and eggs) with a few surprises (crab and spinach salad, an exceptional mojito). No wait, beautiful outside dining area, and everyone on our party from age 13-40 enjoyed it. A little further for you than downtown, but no parking issues.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Pei

                              Did La Terrasse have good coffee, Pei? Their menu doesn't mention much about it.

                              La Terrasse
                              Lincoln Blvd and Graham St, San Francisco, CA 94129

                              1. re: scarmoza

                                We'd already had coffee by the time we got there, so unfortunately I have no idea. Sorry!

                            2. one place that tends to go under the radar but never has a wait is Punjab, a Chinese/American restaurant in the Mission. They give you a free mimosa with your breakfast on weekend, and it's just great greasy food in large portions - they also have a wide selection of great greasy Chinese food if you're in the mood for that (excellent egg foo young)

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: vulber

                                I've been wondering about that place for years. How does a Chinese restaurant end up with that name?

                                Punjab Restaurant
                                2838 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  http://www.yelp.com/biz/punjab-restau... (linked to explanatory review....if it is to be believed).

                                  the weird name though just fits in with the general weirdness of the place, like the mismatched coffee mugs that look like they were picked up on clearance from a fisherman's wharf shop

                                    1. re: vulber

                                      My guess is that the name (and the coffee mugs) came with the restaurant. There are a lot of Chinese restaurants with mismatched English names. The owners keep whatever English name the permit's under, then give the place the Chinese name they want and hope they build a primarily Chinese customer base that won't care about the English name.

                                2. Sally's in potrero hill never has a wait and it's casual and a good place to take kids. it's counter order but the food is usually fast and good