A morning staple in Australia, avocado toast crossed the Pacific a few years ago and became a major trend in cities across the country, including San Francisco. After all, we adore great bread, and avocados top everything from salads to rice bowls here. It's no surprise then that avocado toast styles in the SF Bay Area span the spectrum, from simple slices on wheat bread to ones paired with watermelon radishes and goat cheese. Here are 14 different and delicious ones to try.
The homemade gluten-free bread is key to the five open-faced sandwiches at this health-minded, ultra-minimalist Laurel Heights cafe, including its organic avocado toast. It boasts a thin layer of a smooth avocado spread on an even thinner layer of vegan Just Mayo. The bread is soft but sturdy, so each bite is equal parts avocado, radish, crushed red pepper and bread.
3613 Sacramento St.; 415-914-0689
Cafe St. Jorge
For fans of strikingly dense toast, Bernal Heights’ charming Portuguese cafe has a prime rendition that centers on a towering hunk of wheat toast. A light pool of olive oil and lemon juice and a dusting of chile flakes enhance the generous serving of smashed avocado. For price and size, this is the value to beat in the city. One piece of advice: Get smoked salmon on the side for $3.
3438 Mission St.; 415-814-2028
At one of the city’s best young Italian restaurants, located in the far reaches of the Outer Richmond, chef Dante Cecchini offers a defining Cal-Ital weekend brunch dish: an avocado toast that is treated similarly to a pasta aglio e olio. Calabrian chiles add a kick, and the lemon and garlic keep each bite balanced. Bursts of crunch and freshness come sprinting in at the end via charred scallions and cilantro.
2339 Clement St.; 415-340-3049
Frog Hollow Farm Cafe
The eating options are endless at the Ferry Building, but do make time for this Northern California farm's kiosk and cafe. Here thin slices of avocado are spread across the green onion slab bread from fellow building kiosk, Acme. Olive oil and a hefty toss of cracked black pepper are the only embellishments. It’s a great example of a very Californian dish for the many tourists strolling by the cafe.
1 Ferry Building; 415-445-0990
An oozing soft-yolk boiled egg, avocado turned into a chunky guacamole and an ideal version of crusty sourdough baked by the cafe itself — how can this not be a spectacular breakfast or lunch in the Lower Nob Hill area? It's as blissfully enjoyable as it sounds, especially with the addition of pickled shallots and jalapenos. At $8, it’s also a steal.
La Capra Coffee
The only baguette version of avocado "toast" we found is served by this duo of cafes with a small but mighty breakfast and lunch menu. Using an (untoasted) Acme baguette with its ideal crunchy crust and soft center, it’s a clean, proper avocado on bread with a gorgeous textural contrast. The addition of togarashi chile powder adds an earthy-spicy intrigue. This is where to grab a light FiDi power breakfast with a perfect cortado.
The swanky Marina restaurant has a wide-ranging menu, from toasted ravioli to an avocado toast appetizer, using Brokaw avocado (the best of the best when it comes to sourcing). Its umami factor soars from the nuttiness of shaved pecorino cheese, and it's lightly finished with pickled onions and chile flakes. It's the smallest version on the list (consider it a flavor-packed "bruschetta"). While most of the avocado toasts on this list pair with your morning espresso drink, this one goes best with happy-hour cocktails.
3213 Scott St.; 415-400-8500
While we're not fans of the two-inch high pain de mie used as a base for this Union Square cafe's avocado toast, we can't deny its Instagram-worthy looks. Showcasing sliced avocado and Technicolor slivers of watermelon radish atop a generous smear of goat cheese makes for a funk and richness between the bread and toppings. Take a picture, then enjoy.
720 Market St.; 415-398-7700
Avocado toast’s evolution from a humble duo of crunchy bread and avocado to a full-on starring appetizer is best realized by the Divisadero corridor’s signature restaurant. It’s an indirect nod towards avocado’s role (no pun intended) in sushi. Here, it’s joined by wakame seaweed and trout roe for joyous bursts of salinity, along with crispy sunchokes. Add it to the long list of signature Nopa dishes.
560 Divisadero St.; 415-864-8643
When the menu listing for a dish starts with “Lots of Avocado,” you know you’re in for a treat. That is true with this Friday to Sunday brunch-only avocado toast on Acme whole wheat levain. About two dozen thin avocado slices get fanned across the bread. A small mixed greens and tomato salad, along with a hard-boiled egg, sit quietly to the side. The price tag will definitely raise eyebrows (this is the most expensive avocado toast we could find). However, it’s also one of the star dishes at one of San Francisco’s under-the-radar brunches.
1494 California St.; 415-202-8521
The Potrero Hill coffee shop holds only a couple of guests and has as tiny a kitchen as you'll find anywhere. Yet, Provender somehow can bake a stellar black sesame banana bread, toss together a quinoa and mizuna salad, and slather PAIN Bakery sesame levain bread (baked in San Mateo) with plenty of mashed avocado. Garlic aïoli serves as the base between levain and avocado; the addition of lemon, sea salt, cilantro and crispy garlic make this a bright, edgy avocado toast. And, yes, you want to add that sous-vide egg on the side.
1415 18th St.; 415-685-1722
Are you a fan of everything bagels? Then you're in luck, as garlic salt is the magic touch on the avocado toast at this adorable tiny new TenderNob cafe. However, the best part may be the toast itself — seeded sourdough bread from Midwife + the Baker, a local wholesale baker with a Tartine pedigree. It's quite simply the best bread in taste and texture for any avocado toast in this city. One piece of advice: Eat it with your hands because a knife will cut through the parchment paper on which it's served.
687 Geary St.; 415-440-4497
What makes any dish great? Avocado. What makes any dish even better? Bacon. That beloved duo makes for a must-order appetizer on the always interesting Polk Gulch restaurant and bar’s eclectic menu (sometimes summer sausage replaces the bacon and it’s just as special). Lime and pickled onions provide acidity, then radishes add an enjoyable, slightly bitter finishing touch. Make sure to pair it with a sparking wine.
1760 Polk St.; 415-359-1212
No place evokes the SoMa-Mission Design and tech-heavy generation more than the Stable Cafe’s beautiful outdoor patio and crammed two-tier interior (a former carriage house where Saison started years ago). This is absolute no-frills avocado toast. The thin, toasted whole wheat bread, like you would expect with a lunchbox PB&J, comes topped by a sliced half avocado. Cucumber slices and a halved hard-boiled egg add a high-tea sandwich feel to this lean, clean avocado toast.
2128 Folsom St.; 415-552-1199