No matter how good of a cook you are, eating brunch at home isn't the same as eating brunch on a sun-lit restaurant patio. Luckily, there are plenty of places across San Francisco to soak up some vitamin D, drink mimosas, and do just that. From lemon ricotta pancakes on a sidewalk patio in Potrero Hill to excellent dim sum on a parklet in the Richmond, here are 30 great spots for brunch outside.
Foreign Cinema is one of the best spots in San Francisco to kick back with some wine and oysters, sit on a magical patio filled with twinkle lights, and pretend to not have a care in the world. If you've never been to this Mission institution during the day, weekend brunch is a great excuse to do so, especially for fantastic omelets, croque monsieurs, and homemade Pop Tarts (get the strawberry).
The small French bistro in Cole Valley is a brunch staple thanks to their absurdly good french toast, "miracle" pancakes, and range of benedicts and scrambles. The service is friendly to both humans and animals, and there's a nice heated back patio to enjoy your casual meal in. The only problem: Zazie doesn't take reservations. So, similar to many spots on this guide, expect to wait on the morning your brunch hankering kicks in.
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The casual Potrero Hill spot with diner-style charm is breakfast royalty, and everybody knows it. Which is why there will be a line to eat inside or snag one of the few sidewalk tables. Everyone is here for the french toast, fried egg sandwiches, and scrambles with sides of bacon and crispy potatoes. But one of the best things you can get here is the lemon ricotta pancakes. They are light and fluffy, and the lemon curd on the side takes them over the top.
Outerlands in the Sunset serves one of the best brunches in the city. So there will inevitably be a wait. But then just kill two birds with one stone and get a latte at nearby Trouble Coffee to occupy your stomach while you linger on the corner. Once you get seated on the sidewalk patio, prepare to fill up on excellent Dutch pancakes, morning buns, and tartines.
Do yourself a favor and get the brunch burger at Causwells. If that’s a little too much for 11am, the rest of the menu isn’t super long but has everything you need: cocktails, eggs, salads, and a buttermilk biscuit side that is a necessity. Causwells has become one of the more neighborhood-y places in the Marina, with a bunch of outdoor tables and a covered parklet.
The home of the brown sugar, pepper, and cayenne-dusted “millionaire’s bacon” is also serving brunch on their lively patio on weekdays (9am-2pm) and weekends (9am-2:30pm). You can order the bacon, of course, as well as french toast, omelets, and eggs benedict, and wash it all down with coffee, wine, and cocktails (bottomless mimosas are $23 a person with a 60-minute limit). Reservations are available online for weekday brunch only.
We really like this Ghirardelli Square dim sum spot from the people behind Dragon Beaux. And, like Dragon Beaux, Palette Tea House also serves the colorful xiao long bao with five different flavors, including a tasty crab roe with a turmeric wrapper. Ordering the har gow, which comes with small pipettes of lobster butter, is also never a bad idea. This place has a ton of elbow room on their large patio pavillion overlooking all the action in Ghirardelli Square.
The Front Porch
We zero in on The Front Porch for heartier brunches. This Bernal Heights spot specializes in Southern dishes, including beignets, perfectly crispy chicken and waffles, pulled pork chilaquiles, and a country breakfast with biscuits and eggs. Grab a table on the parklet or the snug patio up front.
Sweet Maple is yet another casual brunch spot in the city to fuel up on their sticky-sweet millionaire's bacon (they're owned by the same folks behind Kitchen Story). Head to the sidewalk patio for eggs scrambles, omelets, and french toasts that tastes like funnel cake (in a great way). Pair everything with freshly squeezed orange juice, mimosas, or Bloody Marys.
photo credit: Susie Lacocque
Auntie April's Chicken, Waffles, & Soul Food Restaurant
Auntie April's is a Bayview institution, and for good reason—life-changing chicken and waffles that will straighten you up on hangover gremlin kind of mornings. Whatever energy you're bringing to the day, though, you should still order them. The chicken is juicy and tender, and the crunch of the golden-brown breading is something to toast to. As for logistics, an order comes with two pieces (choose from tenders, leg, thigh, and breast) and the option of original, cinnamon, or red velvet waffles. Lots of syrup will follow, and you should take it home to gobble it up, or eat it on their parklet out front—their dining room is closed for now.
The Italian restaurant is chill and spacious and generally the best place in the Dogpatch for any meal you want to last for more than a few hours. They have excellent coffee and pastries on the sweet side, and very good pizzas and eggs. Also, the fact that you can walk up and easily grab a table in their Scandanavian-style dining room—and, more importantly, their sidewalk patio and deck on Minnesota Street—are major pluses. This place is absolutely worth your time.
Lucho’s serves classic breakfast and lunch dishes infused with flavors from the Yucatan, like slow-roasted cochinita pibil sandwiches. For brunch, expect to see things like buñuelos, french toast, omelets, egg plates, and a cochinita pibil plate served with black beans, rice, and corn tortillas. Outdoor seating is more makeshift—some tables and chairs over Ocean Avenue parking spots.
Provided that you have infinite patience and nowhere else to be, getting on the waitlist for brunch at Tartine Manufactory will be the best thing you do all weekend. The line actually moves pretty fast at this Mission spot, and in any case, it’s worth the wait, even if you're looking to sit out on their covered parklet. The pastries are fantastic, and the egg sandwiches and salads are stellar. They also have a mini coffee shop inside with pastries and fresh bread to-go.
Salads and tacos for the lunch crowd, chilaquiles and polenta-platano pancakes for the breakfast people, and chipotle Bloody Marys for all. Padrecito is one of our favorites for brunch or dinner, and the atmosphere is always high-energy, even if you're seated at a sidewalk table overlooking a bus stop—expect good people watching.
You come here for beignets and hangtown fries at this neighborhood spot serving lots of New Orleans-inspired food. They also make omelets that come with cornbread or grits, and you should take full advantage of this. The restaurant has sidewalk and parklet seating for breakfast and brunch Mondays through Fridays starting at 7:30am, and on weekends starting at 8am.
The breakfasty-lunchy NoPa spin-off of Brenda’s French Soul Food makes excellent beignets, huge biscuits, and pulled pork hash. We especially like the grits and eggs. Fridays through Sundays, Brenda’s also offers a weekend special eggs benedict with creole hollandaise.
Yank Sing is a San Francisco institution and for good reason: the really great dim sum. Their phenomenal kurobuta pork and Napa cabbage-filled dumplings are what keep us coming back. Order them, along with potstickers, BBQ pork buns, and any other items you see on the carts passing by your table while dining outdoors at the Stevenson Street location.
Plenty of sidewalk and parklet seating and delicious breakfast pizzas are the top draws of Rose’s. You’ll probably have to wait for a table (reservations are only for dinner), so head across the street to Wrecking Ball to deal with your caffeine needs. The brunch menu is served from 8:30am-4pm on weekends, but they also have a weekday morning menu which is pretty similar.
For brunch in the Marina, all roads lead to The Dorian, especially if you’re looking for a heated sidewalk patio and multiple orders of truffle fries. They're serving everything from crabcake benedicts to avocado toasts to tri-tip hash, and they also have a solid brunch cocktail menu.
Mymy calls itself a coffee shop, but they’re much more than that—they have very good takes on brunch classics. The fact that the hash browns are the size of a small frisbee is also exciting. You might have to wait for a seat on their sidewalk patio (they don’t take reservations), but the benedicts are worth it.
Word. A Cafe
Note: Word. A Cafe is temporarily closed and will reopen June 2022, according to their website.
Word. A Cafe is situated on 3rd Street in Bayview and offers a small breakfast and lunch menu that includes excellent house-made buttermilk biscuits, a smoothie of the day, avocado toast, and Dungeness crab melts. If you only order one thing, make it their Hot Latona, a breakfast sandwich made on a cheddar-jalapeño biscuit and stuffed with cheese and sausage and onion scramble.
The big draw at Bernal Star is the chill back patio, complete with umbrellas and plenty of heat lamps to keep you warm on chilly Bernal Heights mornings. Another is that this place is dog-friendly, so it's easy to fuel up on eggs benedicts and crispy fish sandwiches before jaunting over to Holly Park for dog-friendly things.
If you want to dine in one of the best garden patios in the city, head to Fable. The casual Castro restaurant for a brunch of fried egg sandwiches, buttermilk pancakes, and omelets with ham and cheese reminds us of a Mediterranean glasshouse. Potted plants, palms, and birds of paradise are everywhere, and the view is one best admired while seated within one of their white booths. Better yet, Fable’s patio has plenty of heat lamps and is weather-proof, which definitely comes in handy on colder mornings.
At Flores in Cow Hollow, you’ll be able to have your morning margarita, order some eggs to go with it, and enjoy it all on a leather equipale chair on the parklet (there are also seats on the sidewalk). The chilaquiles and vegetable scrambles are good, and there are lunch-y things like tacos and rice bowls if you’ve already hit your egg quota for the weekend.
Ordering everything from this Richmond District spot is practically a given because they serve some of the best dim sum in the city. Dragon Beaux’s large menu features everything from impressive egg yolk lava bao to jumbo scallop siu mai. And whenever we stop by (which is, basically, all the time), we always go for the sea bass dumplings, and the colorful “Five Guys” xiao long bao. Reservations are available for covered parklet seating.
If you need to be reminded that you live in a place surrounded by water, head to Mission Rock Resort, a sprawling, two-story restaurant and bar in Mission Bay. During weekend brunch (10am-3pm), they serve seafood-focused dishes like oysters from the raw bar, Dungeness crab benedicts, fish tacos, and poke, which you can get alongside a mimosa with orange, guava, pineapple, and many other juices.
One brunch spot to get on your radar: B Star Bar, the sister restaurant of Burma Superstar. They deliver a pretty good brunch with tons of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, including tocino with fried sunny side up egg bowls and rich porridges. Heated parklet seating.
Do you like Bloody Marys and throwback spots that were established before the dawn of the internet? Then the old-school corner place in Cow Hollow (est. 1913) awaits. This certainly won't be the most memorable brunch you'll ever have, but the eggs benedict and huevos rancheros served in hearty portions will keep you happy and the bloodies will keep you the happiest.
The Mission Bay restaurant overlooks the water and Oracle Park, and has plenty of patio space including a rooftop deck. They serve chicken sandwiches, salads, flatbread pizza, and cocktails daily, and breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, and bacon omelets at weekend brunch (10:30am-2pm).