7 San Francisco Brunch Spots Without a Hellish Wait
Time is money. And money is French toast.
Bottomless mimosas, eggs Benedict and free coffee refills make our hearts sing. But weekends are too precious to waste half the day waiting for a table. So skip all the three-hour lines and instead try one of these restaurants for an open seat and an equally (if not more) delicious meal.
Instead of Mission Beach Café, Try Locanda
We’ve all been there: Rolling out of bed at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning to wait, half-zombie-like, for Mission Beach Cafe to open its doors for brunch. (Don’t even get us started about the length of the line anytime after 9 a.m.) For those of us who prefer to sleep in, there’s Locanda. Now open for weekend brunch, the Delfina Restaurant Group spot not only takes reservations but also has bottles of Lambrusco at the ready for pre-meal sipping. Order family-style so everyone can share the Nocino-walnut sticky bun; L.E.S. bagel plate with lox, smoked cod and pickled herring; Eggs in Purgatory (baked eggs with spicy tomato sauce and pecorino cheese) and a side of house-cured bacon.
Instead of Plow, try Oliveto
No reservations and a two-hour wait? No, thank you. Plow may be famous for its brunch, but a quick drive across the bridge to Oliveto in Oakland will keep you sane and satiated. The two chefs who opened Plow used to run the show here, and you can’t help but notice certain similarities. Dishes like the house-made granola and smoked salmon--plus freshly baked pastries--are just as Instagrammable and will have you wondering why everyone’s not eating here instead.
5655 College Ave., Oakland; 510-547-5356 or oliveto.com
Instead of Dottie’s True Blue Cafe, Try Huxley
Standing on seedy Sixth Street and being accosted by panhandlers while waiting for a table at Dottie’s is no way to start a weekend. Head a few blocks north to Huxley, a tiny hidden gem in the Tenderloin, where--hallelujah--you can make a reservation. The market frittata and French toast à la mode with honey butter, maple syrup and candy cap dust are calling.
846 Geary St.; 415-800-8223 or huxleysf.com
Instead of Zazie, try Sous Beurre Kitchen
The French bistro charm and gingerbread pancakes at Zazie will never cease to entice, but those pesky early risers always beat you to a table (brunch starts at 8 a.m.). For a quick and casual in-and-out, there’s Sous Beurre Kitchen’s new counter-service brunch. Just like Zazie, you’ll get French classics with a modern twist--think waffle-battered fried duck, crème brûlée French toast or the signature BrunchCrunch (egg-stuffed hash brown ball with bacon and plum mostarda).
Instead of Foreign Cinema, Try Lord George
Unless you made a brunch reservation months in advance, forget about getting in to local favorite Foreign Cinema. Instead, order up a potent Bloody Mary at Lord George--we’d say it even rivals the legendary one at FC. Then shovel down a plate of red-flannel hash to help soak up all the booze.
555 Second St.; 415-660-7633 or thelordgeorge.com
Instead of Brenda’s French Soul Food, try Boxing Room
Al lright, so you’re craving the beignet flight at Brenda’s French Soul Food but hubby is at home with the baby and you don’t want to leave him stranded for half the day. Get your Southern comfort food fix instead at Hayes Valley's Boxing Room, where the beignets with espresso cream are just as tasty. Did we mention the PB&J (pork belly, pecan butter and pepper jelly) and grillades and grits (cheddar grits with braised beef short ribs)? They’ll do just fine too.
399 Grove St.; 415-430-6590 or boxingroom.com
Instead of Mama’s, try Trou Normand
Why spend your whole weekend waiting to get to the front of the line that snakes around the block at notoriously touristy Mama’s when you can find equally delicious hotcakes elsewhere? You’ll snag a table no problem at nighttime hot spot Trou Normand--the Financial District is practically a ghost town on weekend mornings. Order yourself the semolina pancakes with huckleberries and a wild-mushroom scramble, and then grin smugly while you think about all those suckers who still haven’t had a bite to eat.
140 New Montgomery St.; 415-975-0876 or trounormandsf.com