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10 Best New Brunches to Try in San Francisco

From Dungeness crab omelets to next-level Bloody Marys
February 19, 2018
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by Trevor Felch

San Francisco restaurants excel at tempting brunch fare that goes way beyond the typical French toast, bacon and eggs. Feast on morning Indian street food favorites at a wine bar, nosh on elaborate tater tot Jengas with lox, or try an egg- and Gruyère-topped pastry paired with a perfect Gibraltar (on a spectacular patio, no less). And we have a new contender for the Bay Area's most over-the-top Bloody Mary. Our citywide love of brunch isn't growing old judging by these 10 must-try newcomers.

Alba Ray's
The Mission’s Big Easy favorite is just as impressive as NOLA brunch standard-bearer Brenda’s in the Tenderloin, and it's wait-free. Start on the lighter side with char-grilled buttery oysters and a nicely composed salad of arugula, strawberries and a crispy pig ear. Then it’s all about eggs, whether as a Benedict or an on-point omelet filled with chevre and crawfish. Crispy shrimp po’ boys and muffalettas are for diners who want something quintessentially NOLA, and SF’s best French 75 and hurricanes are on offer. Pro tip: Ask for the fluffy zucchini bread and outstanding beignets with salted caramel (listed as starters) for dessert.

Must-order: Beignets; red beans Loco Moceaux; boudin Benedict; French 75 or Ramos gin fizz

2293 Mission St.; 415-872-9409

Kaya
Mid-Market’s Jamaican cuisine and rum bar destination from Nigel Jones and Daniel Patterson’s Alta Group offers a weekend brunch getaway. The menu is a pleasant balance of island-inspired brunch items such as house-smoked salmon with papaya salad and sweet corn bread and dinner signatures such as salt fish fritters with chimichurri. There are plenty of rum drinks to sip, but diners can also indulge in pitchers of rum-free mimosas with a base of blood orange, mango or passion fruit juice. Take your time with those pitchers as brunch runs until 5 PM on Sunday (3 PM Saturday).

Must-order: Smoked salmon with sweet corn bread; Jamaican breakfast with salt fish, ackee and dumplings; jerk chicken wings; any cocktail or mimosa

1420 Market St.; 415-590-2585

Noon All Day
If it’s noon all day, that means it’s OK to brunch all day, right? Although there are plenty of brunch-ish items on the weekday lunch menu, it's weekends when Noon All Day shows its brunch A game. First, pick a housemade pastry — any pastry — and you’ll be thrilled, especially with the Sunny Side In, a brioche topped with Gruyère, egg and everything bagel seasoning. The rest of the menu is a mix of morning and afternoon-inspired plates, from avocado and grapefruit toast on Tartine’s sesame bread to Moroccan-spiced socca (chickpea pancakes) topped with yogurt, brassicas and pickled Brussels sprouts relish. Then linger on the spacious patio with Sightglass espresso in an affogato and an indulgent rum toffee verrine for dessert.

Must-order: All pastries; Red Eye pork belly griddled with maple, chile and espresso; Moroccan-spiced soccas; Parmesan-laced chicken soup stracciatella with avocado and arugula toast

690 Indiana St.; 415-619-3240

The Riddler
Skip the consistent evening waits and enjoy a long, lazy bubbles-filled brunch at Hayes Valley’s ode to champagne. The Riddler’s compact kitchen limits warm food to (outstanding) smoked salmon and caviar or prosciutto and cornichons tater tot waffles. Still, you won't go hungry. There's a strong roster of cheese, charcuterie and caviar selections, serve-yourself popcorn with dozens of seasoning options, and the should-be iconic chocolate pot de crème for dessert. Other than traditional bubbles, the cult favorite chambong (where you shotgun sparkling wine) and A Joan (a glass of cheap wine filled to the brim) please, as does the champagne-free coffee.

Must-order: Smoked salmon and caviar tater tot waffles; charcuterie plate; dark chocolate and Grand Marnier pot de crème

528 Laguna St.; 415-589-7002

Old Devil Moon
The newly launched Black Magic Brunch at this Bernal Heights craft beer watering hole has quietly become a sleeper hit of the SF brunch scene. Despite the spot's voodoo decor and po' boy heavy menu, it's not exclusively a New Orleans–themed brunch, although you'll find superb shrimp and cheddar grit pancakes and beignets with Nutella sauce. Look to other gut-busting favorites too, including loco moco with a housemade beef sausage patty. To drink, there are many tempting brews to choose from off the 20-tap list, but brunch cocktails such as the mai tai spritz and spiked Grandpa's Coffee almost upstage the beers.

Must-order: Shrimp and grits; fried chicken sliders; huevos rancheros with housemade salsa 

3472 Mission St.

Son’s Addition
The Mission’s charming destination from Marlowe's former chef de cuisine has been packing in the crowds since opening in late 2017. Now, excitement is building for quiche, malted waffles and cinnamon-Meyer lemon donut holes during weekend brunch. The fried chicken sandwich slathered with spicy mole aïoli and covered by cilantro-jalapeño slaw already is being praised. Tuna and uni tostadas, a favorite from dinner, reappear as the standout starter, closely followed by plates of bacon-kimchi deviled eggs and charred avocado toast that seem to find their way to every table. Kyle Greffin (formerly bar manager at low-proof cocktail star Al’s Place) worked his low ABV cocktail magic here with drinks showcasing housemade bitters, shrubs and, yes, kombuchas.

Must-order: Malted waffle with whipped Satsuma sea salt butter; fried chicken sandwich; charred avocado toast

2990 24th St.; 415-500-2817

The Saratoga
If only the hip Tenderloin restaurant and bar had a hotel, we could just stick around from late-night last call to when the doors open for Sunday-only brunch. Two slightly bizarre dishes lead the charge — bacon powder-dusted thick-cut brioche French toast and Jenga tots “The Lox,” a much-Instagrammed pile of tot sticks replacing a bagel’s usual place on the plate. If last night was a rough one, there’s always the double-patty Saratoga burger with slaw and taleggio cheese. Cereal Milk Punch is the must-try cocktail; however, if you want a real spectacle, look no further than one of three kinds of Bloody Marys with $20 worth of flashy add-ons, fittingly called the "Hail Mary."

Must-order: Billionaire’s bacon drenched in molasses, rum and maple syrup; Jenga tots; avocado and smoked trout toast; mezcal-based "verde" Bloody Mary

1000 Larkin St.; 415-932-6464

August 1 Five
Head to one of the city’s leading contemporary Indian restaurants and cocktail destinations in Civic Center for brunch and experience the same finesse and vivid flavors as found at dinner. The waffles in the fried chicken and waffles, for example, are made of dosa batter, sandwiching fried chicken coated with Indian spices and paired with a ramekin of chile jaggery butter. Diners can also look forward to a Dungeness crab omelet perfumed with curry leaf and French toast that soars with cardamom and saffron. A couple of nighttime appetizer favorites, like gol guppa fritters and crispy spinach and chickpea palak chaat join the brunch menu.

Must-order: Goat cheese naan dusted with pomegranate; scrambled eggs with tomato and cilantro “akori” on brioche; French toast; chicken and waffles

524 Van Ness Ave.; 415-771-5900

Alta MSP
Daniel Patterson’s Dogpatch restaurant is a little removed from the neighborhood’s brunch-heavy epicenter, but it’s worth it for some of SF's finest fried chicken sandwiches and burgers. Alta MSP boasts a tiny menu by brunch standards but makes each offering count. Beyond the two hearty signatures, diners will be tempted by dishes with a lighter touch like a superb little gem and chicory salad elevated by mint, fennel and Asian pears, along with a more hearty breakfast sandwich or braised pork hash. Finger food bites excel, so start with kimchi-adorned deviled eggs and finish with pillowy beignets dunked in strawberry jam. Bypass the coffee and opt for one of the inventive low-ABV cocktails or fresh juices instead.

Must-order: Deviled eggs with kimchi and furikake; fried chicken sandwich; Alta scramble with new potato, melted leek and mushrooms; beignets

1275 Minnesota St.; 415-580-7662

Indian Paradox
This cozy Divisadero spot already has a unique reputation as the city’s only Indian food–wine bar hybrid. Now, it's also a go-to for Saturday brunch and a menu of Indian street food favorites that aren’t commonly found in San Francisco. That means starting brunch with a delightfully messy chile and cheese toast (like a slightly spicy grilled cheese sandwich), and sweet corn and pan-fried celery soup garnished with housemade curry leaf croutons. More substantial fare follows with Disco fry eggs, eggs with an Indian-spiced brioche French toast and kheema pav, a hearty minced lamb dish served with puffy pavs (a bread similar to dinner rolls). Enjoy it all with some lemongrass chai, or this being a great wine bar, a glass of rosé or bubbles.

Must-order: Disco fry eggs; kheema pav; chile and cheese toast

258 Divisadero St.; 415-593-5386

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