Rise and Shine: 6 Weekday SF Brunch Spots

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but finding a solid breakfast spot during the week can be a challenge. Even though the masses of weekend brunch-goers are otherwise occupied, it’s hard to know which places are actually open on weekday mornings. Here are six breakfast spots that take eggs and toast to another level and will make breaking your fast beyond enjoyable:

Homemade SPAM and Hawaiian Charm in Dogpatch

Named for the Hawaiian word meaning “of the land,” ‘Aina is a little nook on 22nd Street that’s filled with aloha spirit. Wednesday through Friday brunch here is a great way to channel the islands and that laid back vibe without leaving our 49 square miles. Menu highlights include crispy sweet malasadas, whole hog spam musubi with short grain rice and egg yolk furikake, taro French toast, and kalbi loco moco (slow braised short ribs with sunny-side-up eggs). If you’re extra hungry, the kalua pork belly is the way to go.

Channeling Bourbon Street in the Form of Beignets

Brenda’s French Soul Food on Polk Street won’t win any awards for healthiest breakfast, but it consistently wins awards for its killer Southern breakfast, New Orleans style. Two words: beignet flight. Order one of all four beignet options (plain, chocolate, apple, and crawfish) so as to avoid making any rash decisions and missing out on trying everything. If beignets aren’t your thing, opt for the Hangtown Fry (oyster, bacon and scallion scramble) or cinnamon-battered brioche French toast with the optional side of butter pecan sauce.

Dumplings, Dumplings, and More Dumplings

If you find yourself around Van Ness and Filbert around 11am, join the Chinese families who flock here for dim sum. It’s not Clement Street-cheap, but the service is quick and friendly, and the menu runs the gamut of all the dim sum classics that are made to order (instead of carted around). Don’t miss the deep-fried pork chive dumplings, xiao long bao, or the vegetarian dumplings.

Sticky Buns and Hash for Days

Ella’s is an ever-popular neighborhood spot in Presidio Heights that’s known for addictive sticky buns as well as a long wait during the weekends, but it’s delightfully low-key during the week.  For the corned beef hash lovers out there, this dish is only available during the week. Either way, the buttermilk banana pancakes with Vermont maple syrup and a daily omelette make this a great spot any day of the week.

The Millionaire’s Bacon is a Good Start

Known for their Millionaire’s bacon—bacon baked in brown sugar and cayenne pepper—Sweet Maple on Sutter and Steiner is where people come for the bacon, but stay (and return) for the breadth of offerings and friendly neighborhood service. Just about anything you’d ever dream of for breakfast is on the menu. All kinds of morning pizzas, eggs benedict, and breakfast sandwiches are ripe for the taking. Healthy options such as a garden scramble and steel-cut oats help to offset the inevitable bacon order.

From Pastrami and Eggs to Bagels and Schmear

The original Wise Sons locale on 24th Street set the bar for solid pastrami and eggs, chopped liver with rye toast, and potato latkes—as well as anything else your Jewish grandmother might make. Decked with family photos on the wall, it’s quite a neighborhood spot. The Fillmore Street location is all about the bagels, schmear, and bagel sandwiches. Luckily, the smart owners made sure that at either place, there’s always chocolate babka.

Photo credit: Jaime Olmo


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