You’ve heard the old adage: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” However, I would argue the meal to beat all meals is the very necessary weekend brunch. The questions of where and what to brunch on in San Francisco are not questions to be taken lightly. But, fear not dear reader, I have done the research for you. In fact, this happens to be my favorite research project to date, as I self-identify as a major brunch junkie. The following are my top three locals-only San Francisco favorites. These are the places you don’t find in guide books or in tourist trap areas of the city; they don’t have 3 hour long lines out the door forcing you to wait for rubbery eggs and watered down mimosas; these are the brunch spots to beat all brunch spots—the breakfasts of champions.
#1 El Techo de Lolinda
The magic glass elevator from the Roald Dahl children’s book classic Charlie and The Chocolate Factory has nothing on El Techo’s ride to the rooftop. If you take BART to the 24th and Mission stop, you are just a few blocks away from this brunch adventure. As a heads up, those few blocks might have you guessing and questioning my choice and research. The area is a little Scorsese film set feeling. It’s The Mission district after all. But, stick with me kid, and you won’t regret it.
Since you were smart and made a reservation online through Open Table, you will check in with the host at the street-level door like a VIP and be told “Down the hall and up the elevator to your left.” The hall and elevator are both very no-nonsense. But when the elevator doors open on the rooftop, you will immediately understand why this place scored a 10/10 ambiance rating: 360 degree city views, hot Latin music, and dozens of locals in on this secret are clinking glasses and celebrating being young and being alive.
Food & Drink: 9/10
Cuisine: South American
The chips and guac are pretty standard fare. But, the cornbread and Buñuelos are both starters that are a cut above the rest. Order those with either the La Paloma or the Lorito cocktail, and you will be in brunch heaven.
After those starters, I recommend ordering Carnitas to share. Or, if you are really hungry, go for the Benedictos. Generally, it’s game over for me whenever I see an eggs benedict dish on the menu. These are no exception; they take your classic eggs Benny to a whole new Latin level. Try them. You won’t be disappointed.
#2 Zero Zero
Zero Zero: 826 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Brunch Hours: Sat-Sun 11:30am-2:30pm
I’ve got 99 problems but Zero Zero ain’t one. Seriously, Zero Zero is a problem solver. Suffering from weekend ennui and a manic Monday ahead? Let Zero Zero handle that with a perfectly balanced cocktail and melt-in-your-mouth biscuits.
The ambiance is a little on the hipster meets Westworld side. It’s a fresh take on a steampunk saloon. It isn’t overly boisterous or noisy which is nice when you need a place to relax and have a good conversation.
Food & Drink: 10/10
Cuisine: Elevated Comfort Food
My cocktail recommendation is Violet Death in the Afternoon. It’s a killer combination of prosecco, absinthe and creme de violette and is garnished with a frozen orchid. For an appetizer, you must get the biscuits. Trust me, it’s a must. For your entrée, I recommend the Short Rib Pastrami Hash. Or, if you are feeling like something a little more sweet, The French Toast is also excellent.
#3 Local Kitchen and Wine Bar
Simple and minimalistic modernity is Local Kitchen and Wine Bar’s style. But, there is a warmth to it—coming from the direction of the pizza oven— and the lighting is soft and inviting. There is a communal long table in the center of the space, the pizza bar up close and personal with the chefs, and your regular run-of-the mill restaurant tables to choose from.
Food & Drink: 9/10
California Cuisine Using Fresh, Local Ingredients
The food here is simply delicious. For a light and bright bunch meal, I recommend the two eggs cooked your way, fingerling potatoes, and greens. If your appetite is more robust and you need something with a little more heft to fend off the hangry, select one of their amazing Breakfast Pizzas. It is sure to fill you up.
When it comes to drink, they have a lovely Rose Cava and fantastic mimosas. If you would prefer something a little stronger, the Brexit is excellent as is the El Jefe.
So, there you have it, three brunch spots to try when you are next in San Francisco—the beautiful city by the bay that I call home. If you are in town, and looking for a brunch buddy, drop me a line. I never turn down an invitation to brunch.
Bon appétit my fellow Bohemian Brunchers!