story

10 Best New Brunches to Try in San Francisco

Breakfast pizzas, a modern Benedict and a "mimosa experience"
May 8, 2017
·
by Trevor Felch

New and well-established San Francisco restaurants alike are offering tempting new brunch fare that looks way beyond the typical pancakes, bacon and eggs. Feast on braised beef chilaquiles, Indian duck egg bhurji or breakfast pizzas (on a spectacular patio, no less). And we have a contender for the Bay Area's best mezcal Bloody Mary. Our citywide love of brunch certainly isn't growing old judging by these 10 must-try newcomers.

ROOH
The city’s hottest trend ​— contemporary Indian cuisine — is now an attractive brunch option, thanks to this hip SoMa spot's newly expanded Sunday hours. Kulchas (tandoori flatbreads with assorted fillings) are the heart of this menu, along with egg dishes like the duck egg bhurji with onion masala and asparagus. Brunch also features Indian comfort dishes like chicken biryani or tandoori Cornish game hen with mint and cilantro chutney, plus they sneak in a few of the innovative dinner entrees, like the tuna bhel bites and pork ribs topped with sweet 'n' sour mango chutney. To drink, the house mimosa blends mango juice, orange liqueur and Prosecco. It's all in a colorful, airy space that glows in the sunlight — and feels destined to be a brunch magnet.

Must-order: Any of the kulchas; duck egg bhurji; mimosas

333 Brannan St. #150; 415-525-4174

Calavera
The Uptown Oakland restaurant rolled out its weekend Desayuno Mexicano earlier this year, which includes several of Calavera’s regional Mexican regular dishes, like the guacamole with chapulines (grasshoppers) or a zippy yellow fin tuna ceviche with pecans and crispy amaranth. Eggy brunch fare avoids cliché, like the cross-cultural Benedict: poached eggs paired with braised pork shank atop sopes, drizzled with chipotle hollandaise. There are chilaquiles, a barbacoa breakfast burrito and even tres leches French toast with apples and rum syrup. Pair with a standout mezcal Bloody Mary because Calavera is, after all, one of the Bay Area’s most dedicated agave bars. We won’t blame you for opting for pineapple bottomless mimosas, though.

Must-order: Eggs and pork sopes; mezcal Bloody Mary; guacamole with chapulines

2337 Broadway, Oakland; 510-338-3273

The Dorian 
Though years old, the Marina's swanky book-themed destination for oysters and whiskey only recently joined the brunch world. The globe-spanning menu hits huevos rancheos, shakshuka and shrimp and grits — but start with house-smoked thick-cut Billionaire’s Bacon aged in whiskey syrup. The bar's cocktails are noteworthy; try the tequila and blood orange creation, Love Note, though it's the Mimosa Experience grabbing headlines for its menu of juices and deals on successive bottles of bubbly (the fourth bottle is just $20). It's a competitive entry in Marina's mimosa battles.  

Must-order: Billionaire's Bacon; #Yolklife sando, a breakfast sandwich stunner with sunny-side egg, bacon jam, sausage, fried green tomato, aged cheddar and chorizo aïoli; any cocktail, especially the Mimosa Experience with a large group

2001 Chestnut St.; 415-814-2671

Finn Town 
Chef and radio personality Ryan Scott was always strong at the daytime cooking game at his (now-closed) Market & Rye. Luckily he transfers his brunch skills to this new Castro contemporary tavern via wild mushroom goat cheese scramble; a Benedict with fried chicken, avocado and bacon; and French toast fingers accompanied by brown butter cream cheese frosting. The best news? Scott’s signature corn flake–crusted fried chicken sandwich is on the menu. The bars and dining rooms inside have a morning-after party meets sports-bar vibe and invite indulgence and lingering well into the afternoon.

Must-order: Fried egg sandwich with rosemary bacon and pork belly gravy on an English muffin; sticky morning bun with butter caramel; brunch cocktails

2251 Market St.; 415-626-3466

Old Bus Tavern 
Bernal Heights' family-friendly, charming microbrewery revamped its brunch list (and the rest of its menu) since temporarily closing recently. Now bar-friendly foods — like a killer cheeseburger, smoked chicken wings with Alabama white BBQ sauce and soft pretzel bites — join brunch fare like breakfast tacos with al pastor aïoli. Overall, the menu is more straightforward, but the creative side of the kitchen shines with Frito pie and a quiche Lorraine–meets-Benedict cast iron bread pudding. Draft beer is the star beverage here, but cocktails are also on point.

Must-order: Frito pie; breakfast tacos; cast iron bread pudding; house beers; Beer-groni cocktail

3193 Mission St.; 415-843-1938

Contrada 
Combine one of the city’s most popular brunch streets (Union Street in Cow Hollow) with a gorgeous 40-guest backyard patio, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a hottest brunch. The same lunch menu by Jason Tuley is served Wednesday to Sunday, led by avocado toast with pickled beets and any of the pizzas. Order the appetizer portion of the smoked bucatini cacio e pepe and save room for sandwiches and weekend specials, such as the brioche French toast. With the sunlight, pizzas and pastas, a Negroni Sbagliato (swaps the gin for Prosecco) is an ideal alfresco day drink.

Must-order: Any pizza; special brunch sandwiches; low-proof cocktails like the Negroni Sbagliato

2136 Union St.; 415-926-8916
 

Media Noche
The Mission's fast-casual Cuban restaurant is particularly cheery and attractive in the daytime, thanks to its tiled floor, abundance of windows and tropical potted plants. Sandwiches include the classic Cubano and the Media Dia, a brunch variation with a soft-centered fried egg. Brunch also offers guava pastellitos (baked puff pastries) and Midnight Mimosas (which are still OK to drink at noon), sparkling wine topped with guava and Meyer lemon.  

Must-order: Media Dia sandwich; guava pastellitos; ground beef empanadas; moon bars for dessert

3465 19th St.; 415-655-3904

Flores
Avoid this Union Street Mexican restaurant's happy-hour crowds and dinner reservation challenges by dropping in for brunch instead. Weekend daytime fare ranges from duck confit enchiladas and chicken-tomatillo pozole verde to one of our favorite new renditions of chilaquiles (with braised beef) and an impressive spinach and cheese huarache layered with carnitas and sunny-side-up eggs. Palomas and margaritas flow in festive fashion, but the real party kicks off when you order the passion fruit mimosa service (for tables of six or more). The Vida Fuerza with cold-brew coffee, coconut milk and cinnamon will get you back in shape. Dessert is either churros or corn pancakes with maple crema (or, since it's the weekend, get both).

Must-order: Chilaquiles; churros; brunch cocktails

2030 Union St.; 415-796-2926

Dum
Brunch kicked off this month at Rupam Bhagat’s Indian soul food Mission restaurant, a spin-off of the much-loved truck. As with lunch and dinner, Bhagat's brunch loves its clever plays on classics. Eggs Benedict is really poached eggs and pork belly with chile-garlic hollandaise on a crispy rice-and-lentil cake. “Green Eggs” have no ham but do come with creamed spinach and crispy pork vindaloo. There is no avocado toast in sight, but opt for one of the parathas (stuffed whole wheat bread). Curry spiced michelada or hot chai, depending on your mood, are wise beverage pairings with this vibrantly flavored brunch.

Must-order: Green Eggs; Indian michelada; Scotch egg with lamb kebab; asparagus and cheese paratha

3111 24th St.; 415-874-9045

Okane
The Omakase Group’s SoMa izakaya is popular at night for its sushi rolls and skewers. Its new, inventive Japanese weekend brunch takes a totally different direction with unique prix fixe pricing: brunches set at $18, $20 or $22. Each involves four small plates, plus individual-sized bowls of miso soup, salad, pickles and rice. The $20 Miyabi option, for example, includes stewed pork belly, soy-glazed smoked salmon, a dashi egg omelet (tamago) and crispy baby anchovies. À la carte standouts include soothing abalone rice porridge and okonomiyaki, a savory pancake studded with shredded cabbage and shrimp and topped with bonito (the fish flakes that always appear to be swaying in the breeze).

Must-order: Okonomiyaki; the Megumi set meal ($22) which includes asparagus and white truffle oil tamago and stewed beef with ginger 

669 Townsend St.; 415-865-9788

pancakes
french toast
eggs benedict
brunches
bloody marys
avocado toast
egg sandwiches