Thanks a brunch, SF!

Waking up Saturday morning is my favorite part of my week—you have the whole weekend in front of you. I enjoy starting it off with an almond milk latte and eggs benedict at a bustling cafe. Luckily, there is no shortage of brunch options in San Francisco. There are over ten decent places walking distance from my apartment in the Marina. I’m naturally an early  riser  and I immediately start thinking about breakfast. I try to wait until at least 10 so I can consider breakfast…brunch. Needless to say, my friends and I are the first in line. I love the energy and excitement (probably caused by the caffeine) at brunch as my friends and I eagerly share our latest life updates. The atmosphere is carefree and giddy. Nothing compares. Here are some of my favorite places from the past two months:

Tipsy Pig (Marina) Popular bar by night and trendy brunch tavern by day

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Goat Cheese-Chive Scramble

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Dutch Pancake

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Regular Bloody Mary

I was pleasantly surprised by the food and atmosphere. We sat in the back patio on a nice day and it was the best brunch experience I’ve had in the city. My friend and I shared the Dutch pancakes (with candied bacon, caramelized strawberries, and ricotta cheese) and the goat cheese-chive scramble (with asparagus and prosciutto). My other friend ordered the breakfast sandwich, which wasn’t as good. Everything was very tasty though. They have excellent Bloody Marys as well. I recommend the regular, not the spicy one. Recommend: Dutch pancakes, goat cheese- chive scramble, and the regular Bloody Mary. (5 taste, 5 atmosphere, 5 service)

The Mill (Alamo Square) Eclectic and airy café known for their fresh bread and spreads

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Ham and Cheese Pastry

They also serve four barrel coffee and decadent pastries. I came with a group of friends and we ordered everything on the menu—granted they only have 4 specialty toast options a day. I ordered whole wheat poppy seed bread with house-made pear blueberry jam and butter. I would come here alone to read and sip on coffee. You order at the counter then find a table. On the weekends the line will be out the door. It is also around the corner for Alamo Square Park. Recommend: Everything—you can’t go wrong! (5 taste, 5 atmosphere, 5 service)

Jane on Fillmore (lower pac heights) Small bustling cafe with light and creative breakfast options, Stumptown coffee, and homemade baked goods

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They offer a simple and healthy menu. Some options include avocado toast (with pickled onions and jalapenos on homemade sourdough), chia seed parfait (with berries and house-made granola), and gluten-free pastries. They also have gluten-free bread available. Great lattes and cappuccinos made with Straus milk. They have soy and almond milk available as well. It gets crowded on the weekends but the line goes pretty quick. This is the kind of cafe I envision myself opening (way down the road). Recommend: Chia Seed Pudding and avocado toast (5 taste, 4 atmosphere, 5 service)

Brenda’s French Soul Food (Tenderloin) Southern comfort food with Creole and French influence

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Pulled-Pork Eggs Benedict

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Special Breakfast Sandwich of the day

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Beignet Flight

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Open-face egg sandwich and creamy grits

It is a very popular spot so go early or get Philz Coffee (around the corner) while you wait. You have to order the beignet flight (chocolate, apple, crab, and traditional). The savory crab and traditional were my favorite. Most breakfast dishes are served with creamy grits or potatoes. I ordered the creamy grits but wished I ordered the potatoes. The grits are extremely rich (loaded with butter and cream) so it is hard to eat more than half of the heaping bowl they give you. The portions are large—no one finished their meal. Overall the food was very tasty but a little too heavy for me. Recommend: pulled pork eggs Benedict or goat cheese omelet. (4 taste, 4 atmosphere, 5 service)

Sol Food (Marin) Healthy Peruvian food

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You order at the counter then find a table. We ordered the bistec platter, bistec sandwich, veggie sandwich, and fried plantain chips. I recommend ordering half regular plantains and half garlic plantains. The platter comes with a large serving of the bistec, black beans, rice, garlic, salad, and fried plantains. They also make their own limeade. It is the kind of food where you feel satisfied and full but not uncomfortable. It is very colorful and lively inside with large communal tables. Great food and company. It’s hard not to enjoy yourself here. (5 taste, 5 atmosphere, 5 service)

Causwells (Marina) Another great brunch spot in the marina

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Pork Hash

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Chilaquiles

We sat outside on a perfect sunny afternoon. I ordered the omelet of the day, which was Canadian bacon, arugula, caramelized onions, sweet potatoes, and Parmesan cheese. A perfect combination. My friends ordered the Chilaquiles (tortilla chips, salsa, black beans, scrambled eggs, and sour cream) and the Pork Hash (braised pork, potatoes, and a fried egg). They are known for their breakfast hamburger that I’ve heard is spectacular. Recommend: Pork Hash and Omelet. (5 taste, 5 service, 5 atmosphere)

Blackwood (Chestnut St, Marina) Chic traditional American breakfast with an Asian twist

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My favorite brunch place in the Marina. Most brunch dishes have an asian twist and flavor. They have excellent dinner as well. It is the same owners as Sweet Maple and Kitchen Story. There is always a wait on the weekend and they do not take reservations for brunch (like most popular brunch places). Recommend: the BQ Scramble (chicken apple sausage, sweet basil, shallots, and carrots) and the eggs Benedict with millionaire’s bacon. (5 taste, 4 atmosphere, 3 service)

Belga (Marina) Sophisticated European style café with dishes ranging from French Croque Madame to German sausages

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They also offer brunch and happy hour. They have fun drink options like Devil’s Advokaat (brandy, egg, lemon, & nutmeg) or Oude Cobbler (aged genever, vermouth, lemon, sugar, sherry, berries). They have the best cinnamon brioche beignets served with whipped crème fraiche. Recommend: Veggie frittata (squash and goat cheese) or flat bread with shaved brussels sprouts and a fried egg. (4 taste, 5 atmosphere, 4 service)

El Techo (Mission) Trendy Argentinean tapas and brunch dishes situated on a rooftop in the heart of the Mission

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I came here for a friend’s birthday. On a nice day you have a beautiful view of the city—unfortunately it was raining when we went. The food is great. I ordered the Chorizo Scramble with roasted veggies and potatoes. The potatoes were amazing but I was not a fan of the chorizo. I preferred my friend’s Techo Rancheros (tortilla, pork, fried eggs, salsa, and beans). Recommend: Techo Rancheros and the fresh squeezed OJ. (4 taste, 5 service, 5 atmosphere)

Grove (Pac Heights) Rustic café serving traditional breakfast and lunch dishes

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I ordered the avocado toast and my friend ordered the breakfast sandwich. The rosemary potatoes were disappointing but overall I would recommend this place to someone looking for a casual and reasonably priced brunch place. They have great pies too! The service is a little slow. You order at the counter then find a seat. (4 taste, 4 atmosphere, 3 service)

Perry’s (Financial District and Marina) American soups, salads, and sandwiches

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They also have decent brunch and happy hour.  There are 3 locations in the city: Cow Hollow, Embarcadero, and Potrero. The Embarcadero location near the water and is a perfect place to come on a nice day. The food is decent but you get what you expect. They do not experiment with unique flavors, spices or combinations. It’s a perfect go-to restaurant to bring your non-adventurous/picky friend who is visiting.  Recommend: California Eggs Benedict (comes with avocado, tomato, and spinach). (4 taste, 4 atmosphere, 5 service)

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Hodgepodge of SF Restaurants

A varied assortment of restaurants from fall 2015, ranging from burgers and beer to authentic Mexican burritos.

Biergarten (Hayes Valley)

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Outdoor beer garden serving authentic German beer and food at communal tables. Their sausages and pretzel sandwiches are delicious. The atmosphere is lively and social. Their beer menu changes but I usually order whatever dark beer they have on tap. Recommend: Bratwurst with potatoes. (4 taste, 5 atmosphere, 4 service)

Roam Burger (Marina and Lower Pac Heights)IMG_4007

Artisan burgers. A little pricey ($11 for just a burger, no fries). Recommend: French and Fries Burger (a burger with parmesan truffle fries, gruyere cheese, avocado, and caramelized onions). (5 taste, 4 atmosphere, 4 service)

Slider Shack (Financial District)

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Kalua Pork with a fried egg on Tater-Tots

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Food truck that serves Hawaiian burritos and sliders. They use 100% grass fed meat. They slow cook their beef for 10 hours until the meat falls apart. The servers are very enthusiastic and eager to talk about the menu. Recommend: BBQ Pulled Pork Slider. (4 taste, 4 atmosphere, 5 service)

Nick’s Crispy Tacos (Russian Hill)
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Great Taco Tuesday deals. $5 for 2 large and delicious tacos. Be sure to get them “nick’s way” which adds guacamole and a crispy taco inside your taco. This is a pretty lively and rowdy Taco Tuesday scene. Recommend: Any taco nick’s way. (5 taste, 4 atmosphere, 4 service)

Taqueria Cancun (Mission)

IMG_3508Simple burritos and tacos. Make any burrito super if you’re feeling ambitious. Pictured above. Recommend: Chicken burrito. (3 taste, 3 atmosphere, 3 service).

Mamacita (Marina)

IMG_3875A trendy and upscale Mexican restaurant. Less authentic and more expensive than Nick’s but the food is high-quality and delicious. Recommend: Veggie and Carne Asada tacos. (5 taste, 4 atmosphere, 4 service)

Gott’s (Ferry Building)

IMG_3818Upscale diner food. They also serve beer and have outdoor picnic tables where you can enjoy your meal on a nice day. Recommend: Burger and Fish Tacos. (4 taste, 4 atmosphere, 4 service)

Asian SF Restaurants

Chubby Noodle (Marina and North Beach)

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Spicy Ramen Noodles

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Kung Pow Wings

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Korean Pork Tacos

Modern Asian food with a trendy atmosphere. Small portions and high-quality. Recommend: Spicy Garlic Noodles, Tuna Poke, Korean Pork Tacos (best thing on the menu), Kung Pow Wings, and Garlic Green Beans. They also have good sake. (5 taste, 5 atmosphere, 5 service)

Saiwalks (Marina)

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Pho Comfort

Casual Vietnamese food. Best Pho in the neighborhood. Perfect for a rainy day or when you feel under the weather. Recommend: Pork Shrimp spring rolls and Pho Comfort. (4 taste, 4 atmosphere, 4 service)

Blackwood (Marina)

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Spicy Eggplant and Pad Kee Mow

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Dinner Stone Pot (my favorite)

Thai-American fusion. Great brunch and dinner. Recommend: Pad Kee Mow, Spicy Eggplant, Dinner Stone Pot, and Chilean Prom. (5 taste, 5 atmosphere, 5 service).

Pabu (Financial District)

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Happy Spoon Oysters

Upscale sushi. Our waiter was very passionate and enthusiastic about the food. Recommend: Happy Spoon Oysters, Chicken Meatballs, Squid Okonomiyaki1 (Squid Pancake with an egg on top), and Blue Ocean roll. (5 taste, 5 atmosphere, 5 service)

Tamashisoul (Marina)

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Crazy Love Roll

IMG_3490Good reasonably priced sushi. Recommend: Crazy Love Roll (salmon tempura and avocado, topped with torched spicy tuna). (4 taste, 4 atmosphere, 5 service)

Happy Shabu Shabu (Lower Pac Heights/ Japan Town)

IMG_3449 IMG_3450Japanese shabu-shabu. You cook your own meat and veggies at the table in broiling broth. I came here for the all-you-can-eat deal with a group of friends. Tip: If it’s your birthday your meal is free. Recommend: All-you-can-eat deal. It’s $40 for unlimited meat, sake, and beer. (4 taste, 5 atmosphere, 4 service)

Healthy SF Bites

The Plant (Marina and Pier 3)

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Fully Belly Salad

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Shiitake Spring Rolls

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Udon

Casual local and organic cafe serving healthy dishes and fresh juices. Recommend: Shiitake Spring Rolls, Udon Noodles, and Full Belly Salad (kale, roasted beets, pea shoots, quinoa, avocado, hummus, pickled onions, and sunflower seeds). (5 taste, 5 atmosphere, 5 service)

Blue Barn (Marina and Russian Hill) 

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Winter Salad

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Truffle Sandwich

Delicious sandwiches and salads. They also have good seasonal soups. You order at a counter so it can be quick but there is usually a line and the food that takes a while to prepare. I usually order ahead of time and pick it up.  Recommend: Winter salad and Truffle sandwich. (5 taste, 4 atmosphere, 3 service)

HayDay (Financial District)IMG_3272

Healthy Sandwiches and sides. The menu changes seasonally. It’s a block from my work so I come here frequently for lunch. They also serve breakfast— rich Straus greek yogurt (with lots of topping options) and avocado toast. Recommend: Moroccan Chickpea Salad, Smoked Rainbow Trout toast, and Roasted Sweet Potato and Romaine Salad. (4 taste, 4 atmosphere, 4 service)

SF Brunch

Here are some of my favorite SF brunch places (so far). Click here to see my full list of restaurants.

Sweet Maple (Lower Pac Heights)

Salmon Open Face (a poached egg and avocado on garlic sourdough)

Salmon Open Face (a poached egg and avocado on garlic sourdough)

Millionaire’s Melt (egg sandwich with bacon and gouda aioli)

Millionaire’s Melt (egg sandwich with bacon and gouda aioli)

South of the Border (breakfast tacos)

South of the Border (breakfast tacos)

the Millionaire’s Bacon (bacon cooked in brown sugar).

the Millionaire’s Bacon (bacon cooked in brown sugar).

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I arrived at 9:30 am on a Saturday with 3 three friends and there was already a 45 minute line. But don’t worry they serve complimentary coffee while you wait. When you sit outside they give you a blanket to stay warm. We ordered the SM Omurice (rice with scrambled eggs and ribeye), South of the Border (breakfast tacos), Millionaire’s Melt (egg sandwich with bacon and gouda aioli), the Salmon Open Face (a poached egg and avocado on garlic sourdough), and of course the Millionaire’s Bacon (bacon cooked in brown sugar). Recommend: the Millionaire’s Bacon, Salmon Open Face, and Millionaire’s Melt. (5 taste, 5 atmosphere, 3 service)

Lovejoy’s Tea Room (Noe Valley)

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A flowery and eclectic tea house with mismatched furniture and nick-nacks. A fun place to come with a group of girlfriends and gossip. It’s very kid-friendly. There were 3 little girls sitting at their own miniature table. We ordered the high tea special which comes with 2 sandwiches, scones, salad, chocolate biscuits, and unlimited tea per person. Recommend: Chestnut black tea (4 taste, 5 atmosphere, 4 service)

Don Pistos (North Beach)

Huevos Rancheros

Huevos Rancheros

Tamales

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Popular Mexican brunch place. The waiters are extremely attentive and friendly. The owner even sent out 4 free margaritas—we would have been more grateful if it wasn’t 11 am! The food is excellent. The portions are small but filling. Recommend: Huevos Rancheros and the tamales. (5 taste, 5 atmosphere, 5 service)

Home Plate (Marina)

Complimentary scones

Complimentary scones

The New Yorker (salmon and avocado scramble) with carrot potato latkes

The New Yorker (salmon and avocado scramble) with carrot potato latkes

The Eggs Benedict served with carrot potato latkes

The Eggs Benedict served with carrot potato latkes

I came here at 7:30 am (it opens at 7) and it was already busy. It is extremely crowded by 9. They serve complimentary scones. Most dishes come with their homemade carrot potato latkes. The coffee is good too. It is one of most reasonably priced brunch places you will find in the marina.  Recommend: The New Yorker (salmon and avocado scramble) and The Eggs Benedict. (4 taste, 4 atmosphere, 5 service)

East Side West (Marina)

Dirty Hippy (squash blossoms, garlic greens, hollandaise, and truffle oil).

Dirty Hippy (squash blossoms, garlic greens, hollandaise, and truffle oil).

Fresh Off the Boat (cheesy red enchiladas with poached eggs and avocado)

Fresh Off the Boat (cheesy red enchiladas with poached eggs and avocado)

A popular bar in the marina. The food is mediocre but it is a fun place to come with friends. Very lively. A lot of people come here to watch games and order beer. Recommend: Dirty Hippy (squash blossoms, garlic greens, hollandaise, and truffle oil). (3 taste, 5 atmosphere, 3 service)

Café Roses (Marina)

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A simple Italian brunch spot in the Marina. They use fresh and locally-sourced ingredients. Very popular so arrive early. The menu is small but you cannot go wrong. I like to sit outside on a nice day. Recommend: Crescenza-Stuffed Focaccia breakfast pizza with an egg. (5 taste, 5 atmosphere, 5 service)

Caffe Sapore (North Beach)

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Veggie bagel

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Loxs bagel

Neighborhood coffee shop serving hearty and satisfying bagel sandwiches. A perfect place to come on a rainy day to sip on coffee and read. Recommend: Bagel and loxs. (4 taste, 4 atmosphere, 4 service)

Pescatore (North Beach)

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Veggie Frittata

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Cute and reasonably priced Italian restaurant. I’ve only been for brunch but they also serve lunch and dinner. Not the most trendy brunch place in town but it is a perfect place to bring your relatives. It is in the Best Western Hotel. Great service. They brought my friends and I each a complimentary pancake! Recommend Veggie Frittata. (4 taste, 4 atmosphere, 5 service)