Happy Hippie at Jane

 

Avocado toast at Provender

11 coffee shops around San Francisco that have killer food too

By Trevor Felch

In the old days, strong cups of drip coffee and excellent lattes were stuck with stale muffins and cold, boring sandwiches. Luckily, times have changed and our latte art now comes with equally gorgeous chia seed pudding in the morning and avocado toast and ‘nduja sausage smørrebrød at lunch, as coffee shops are offering noteworthy food to go with the intricate cappuccinos and cortados—some of them with free wifi and others are relaxed and serene spaces. Wake up early or enjoy a power lunch at these spots around the city offering outstanding food with equally special coffee.

Pastrami sandwich at Mazarine (photo: Jenny Pfeiffer | Pfeiferfoto )

Mazarine
The techie favorite at the edge of the FiDi and Union Square, Mazarine pours the best nitro cold brew in San Francisco. They also serve a fantastic avocado and chèvre toast, straight up made for Instagram with its watermelon radish topping. Probably 50 percent of guests order that toast, which is a bit of a bummer because sandwiches like the Reuben and salads like a Mediterranean-leaning composition with roast chicken, mozzarella, chickpeas, avocado, and lemon vinaigrette could hold their own at a white tablecloth power lunch spot. Insider tip: regardless of what you order, add the beet hummus as an extra for $2.50.
Neighborhood: FiDi MAP

Reveille
There is no better example of a coffee shop with particularly great food in San Francisco than Reveille. They roast their own coffee, have reliable wifi, make their own juices and powerful turmeric shots, have ample indoor and outdoor seating, and have a strong food program. In the morning, enjoy a pitch-perfect thick Straus Creamery yogurt and berries bowl, or a hearty bowl of Moroccan shakshuka. At lunchtime, you’ll have to choose between fish tacos, definitive versions of a BLT, or a delightfully messy burger with black garlic aïoli. Cafeteria, or office? You decide.
Neighborhood: Mission Bay MAP

Irish soda bread at Andytown (photo credit: Peter Cochrane)

Andytown
Finally, Andytown’s house-made Irish soda bread with various accouterments is worth a trip on its own to the far reaches of the Outer Sunset. The fact that they offer some of the best espresso drinks in any neighborhood is simply an incredible bonus reason to spend 45 minutes on MUNI.
Neighborhood: Outer Sunset MAP

Jane
The trio of Jane cafes could simply rest on their laurels with freshly baked bread and pastries and house-roasted coffee beans. But that’s just the beginning of what you’ll find at their Tenderloin flagship, the Fillmore café, and the Geary bakery. Everybody rightfully raves about the cookies and the avocado mash toast with jalapeños on house-made sourdough, but look beyond those for everything from terrific quiche and a stellar turkey and brie panini to bountiful salads and virtuous raw sprouted black rice porridge that actually tastes outstanding. You could come here for lunch and coffee every day and never get bored of it.
Neighborhood: Tenderloin MAP

Avocado Toast at Verve (photo: J.M. Drake)

Verve
Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, Joe Montana and Jerry Rice—Verve Coffee and Manresa Bread? This pair stands tall amongst the pantheon of dynamic duos in San Francisco. The Santa Cruz–based coffee roaster made its SF debut last year in a gorgeous, airy space, partnering with fellow South Bay food artisan titan, Manresa Bread. That means any baked good, from the sticky trail mix bar to the kouign amanns, demands your attention, but the real excitement comes from the small kitchen, with creations like a fluffy-as-a-cloud biscuit topped with a poached egg, Cheddar, and prosciutto, or one of the city’s finest avocado toasts. You’ll also find SF’s best chia pudding here. Thankfully the kitchen that used to close ridiculously early is now open until 3 or 4 p.m., depending on the day. Verve nails all of the classic coffee drinks and also has some fun options—opt for a refreshing espresso tonic or a one-and-one (an espresso shot split in half with one part as plain espresso and the other dotted with milk like a macchiato).
Neighborhood: Duboce Triangle MAP

Hearth

Hearth
Now, here’s an idea we definitely hope to see more of: brunch every day. That’s what you’ll find at this coffee roaster in the heart of the Castro. With your perfectly constructed cappuccino, enjoy the likes of a bacon, fennel, and rainbow chard strata, or a chicken confit croissant sandwich, whether it’s Sunday morning or an early Wednesday afternoon. It’s not your typical indulgent hangover brunch, though there is a bottomless mimosa option. To compliment it, the pastries baked by Hearth are pretty intense, like a Cowgirl Creamery Mt Tam Brie en Croute and a perfectly flaky almond-orange blossom croissant. And if you arrive too late for brunch (2 p.m.), Hearth’s certified sommelier has chosen a downright great roster of wines being poured and beers on tap. Brunch and happy hour at the same place? We’re in.
Neighborhood: Castro MAP

Provender
Provender is half the size of a studio apartment (sit outside on the bench) but manages to bakes its own black sesame-banana bread and cranberry chocolate scones and put together the city’s best avocado and sous vide egg toast amidst stiff competition.
Neighborhood: Potrero Hill MAP

20th Century Cafe

20th Century Cafe
Could there be a more charming café in San Francisco than Michelle Polzine’s vintage Central European-inspired one on busy Gough Street? We miss the more contemporary creations the talented pastry chef made at (the much-missed) Range, but the intricate pastries of her solo debut, inspired by the grand cafes in cities like Prague, Budapest, and Vienna, are absolute studs. You won’t find a spot in San Francisco where more diners have dessert for lunch than here. And that’s with lunch items like a butter bean goulash or wild boar sausage with apple butter and sauerkraut—hardly a supporting cast. Plus, the curveball answer to the question of “Where is the best homemade bagel with smoked salmon in SF?” actually is this spot. Trust us, New Yorkers would even agree.
Neighborhood: Hayes Valley MAP

Cafe St. Jorge
Calling the Bernal Heights destination merely a “Portuguese café” is definitely selling it short. With a décor heavy on the blue and white tiles that are ubiquitous around Lisbon, and menu items that are signatures to the country’s cuisine—like egg custard tarts, sardine crostini, and grilled ham, banana (!), and cheese sandwiches with the popular Topo cheese—Cafe St. Jorge is indeed one of a select few Portugal-inspired spots in the whole Bay Area. But the menu also tempts with a great selection of salads, toasts, quinoa bowls, and house-baked banana bread to accompany the robust Stumptown coffee. Combine the powerful cold brew, the chile flake–topped avocado toast, and free wifi and you’ve got the recipe for hours of productivity.
Neighborhood: Bernal Heights MAP

Poppy bread with jam at The Mill

The Mill
We can’t talk about coffee shops with great food and not mention some of the small cafes with standout food items—even if you can’t necessarily have a full meal or sit down at them. San Francisco has reached beyond the whole “$4 Toast” debate and understands that The Mill’s toast, with various excellent jams and spreads made on Josey Baker bread, is one of the city’s premier food items. Period.
Neighborhood: NoPa MAP

Tartine Manufactory
Chances are you’ve heard of this bakery in the Mission. Yes, they bake breads and pastries that quite possibly are the best in the country. What you might not know is that Tartine is now roasting its own coffee, and serving up a menu of espresso drinks and drip options. Anything on the menu with bread, whether it’s a porchetta and fried egg sandwich for breakfast, or ‘nduja, dates, and hazelnuts smørrebrød at lunch, is worth ordering. But don’t ignore the salads, the way-better-than-it-sounds emmer porridge with ricotta and apple-persimmon butter, or any fish crudo that might be available. If you need any more reason to stop in, there are always cookies and soft serve ice cream for dessert—like, the best cookies and soft serve in town.
Neighborhood: Mission MAP

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