8 Best Boutique Coffee Shops in San Francisco

By Zagat Staff  |  July 6, 2013

Coffee Week is almost a wrap! What better way to go out than a look at the city's top high-end coffee shops, as determined by your votes? Let us know your favorite place to get artfully decorated cappuccinos in the comments.

  • Sandbox Bakery
    Fans “flock” to this “French bakery with a Japanese twist” in Bernal Heights for “sweet and savory snacks and pastries” plus “great coffee” and “unique” “bento-style lunch items”; though it “ain’t cheap” for what you get and there’s no indoor seating, sidewalk “benches” and a “nice staff” will “do just fine” for most; P.S. closes at 3 PM.

    833 Cortland Ave; 415-642-8580

  • Dynamo Donut & Coffee
    “Insanely tasty” donuts, including the “favorite” maple bacon (a “no-brainer”) are “too good to be true” at this petite Mission bakery, a “hipster destination” for “unsurpassed” sweets offered in “innovative”, “daring combos”, plus “strong, delicious” coffee poured by the “friendliest crew”; sure, it’s “rather pricey”, but fans swear “all hesitation melts away” after one bite.

    2760 24th St; 415-920-1978

  • Blue Bottle Café
    Java junkies brave “crazy-long” queues to order “pricey” cups of “exquisite” “caffeine gold” from baristas who “make magic with coffee beans” at this cult chain; though a few “don’t understand” the “extreme hype” and huff about the “hipper-than-thou” attitude, most maintain the “soul-satisfying” sips and “wonderful” pastries are “worth every minute” of the wait; P.S. some locations also serve a small menu of “fantastic” Californian breakfast and lunch fare.

    multiple locations

  • Emporio Rulli
    It’s like “taking a short vacation in Italy” at this “bustling” cafe chain that turns out an “amazing” array of “authentic” pastries, “tasty” panini sandwiches and “strong” coffee drinks from “well-trained baristas”; the “bustling” Larkspur original is “cozy”, Union Square offers “excellent people-watching on the square” and SFO branches are an “escape from fast food.”

    333 Stockton St; 415-433-1122

  • 901 Columbus Cafe
    For “chilling out” “with a latte and fabulous pastry” or a sandwich at a “reasonable” price, this “relaxing” Telegraph Hill cafe fits the bill; an “eclectic crowd”, free WiFi and tables where you can “spread out” make it a “friendly little” place to “socialize”, especially during the “long” happy hour (5–9:45 PM daily) when cheap beer and wine fuel the “noisy but fun” vibe.

    901 Columbus Ave; 415-409-9001

  • Java Beach Cafe
    Popular options include a “delicious” “morning cup of joe by the beach” and “a beer and a sandwich at sunset” at this pair of “quirky” Outer Sunset “surfer hangouts” serving a “simple” menu of “quality” subs, salads and pastries; lines can be “long”, but servers who are “patient” with those who “dillydally” make it a “nice hangout” nonetheless.

    multiple locations

  • Craftsman & Wolves

    Pastry whiz William Werner’s über-modern contemporary patisserie in the Mission serves his signature off-the-wall confections, pastries both sweet and savory and ever-changing grab-and-go offerings along with Sightglass Coffee and tea; the cafe, filled with illuminated display cases and clean steel paneling, is so sleek it could be mistaken for a Bulgari store, albeit with significantly more affordable offerings.

    746 Valencia St; 415-913-7713

  • Machine Coffee & Deli

    Showdogs’ new sibling is this affordable Downtown shop next door, featuring Four Barrel Coffee offered in presses, espressos and as hand-cast cups of single origin beans alongside a simple lineup of breakfast fare and baked goods; in-house smoked and roasted meats (overseen by Showdogs’ resident charcutier Peter Temkin) are destined for build-your-own sandwiches gilded with housemade sauces, fixings and breads.

    1024 Market St; 415-913-7370