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The Best Dishes on Any Brunch Menu

chicken-and-waffles

It’s perhaps a stretch to say that there are any downsides to bottomless brunch (besides the ensuing hangover, I suppose), but if there’s one, it’s this: the brunch menu is long, but the stomach can only hold so much food. If they’ve got 20 different kinds of mimosas it’s no problem to try the majority, if not all of them, and yet seeing two different dishes that appeal to you presents a distinct problem.

If you’ve got your wife/girlfriend/Tinder date/that girl you brought home from the bar last night who wouldn’t take the hint to leave and invited herself (or male equivalents of all of those things), you can split a couple of dishes, but even then you’re still limited. There are some excellent solutions to this, like brunch buffets and dim sum, but those are limited in number.

While I wish that I could empower you to eat all of the brunch foods you want, instead I’ll have to go with the second best option – helping you make the right choice. With no further ado, here’s the top five items on any brunch menu:

5. Benedicts

While they only rank number five overall, benedicts are easily the classiest of all brunch foods (though on the flip side, they do allow you to make “friends with bennies” jokes in your Venmo requests to split brunch). Done right, they’ve got the right blend of flavors and textures to be rich, crisp and generally delicious.

There are, however, two downsides to benedicts. First of all, they’re often not done right – it’s key to get the benedict out right after the hollandaise sauce goes on, and yet some restaurants don’t seem to get this, leaving you with a soggy English muffin by the time the dish is served. Second, benedicts tend to be on the smaller side of brunch dishes. This might seem to make them a healthy option, until you remember that they’re drenched in hollandaise, which is up there with ranch among the least healthy sauces. If you’re doing bottomless brunch, it’s important to get enough food in you, so size most definitely matters here.

4. Breakfast Sandwiches

Always a reliable staple of the brunch menu, breakfast sandwiches cover all the major brunch food groups – bread, eggs, cheese and meat. They’re classic and timeless, and there’s no real strikes against them, unless they’re especially poorly made, but unlike with benedicts that’s much more the exception than the rule here.

The reason these aren’t higher is that they’re so common that it can feel like a bit of a waste to order one at brunch. I can get a good breakfast sandwich from Starbucks – hell, I can make a good breakfast sandwich with very little effort. A great food, but perhaps one to be saved for a time when there are no better options.

3. The Standard American Breakfast

It’s not imaginative or clever, but a big plate of waffles/pancakes/eggs/sausage/bacon/toast/hash browns/home fries will always hold a special place in my heart. Maybe it’s that my dad made us pancakes and waffles when I was a kid, but I’ve never owned a waffle maker myself. Maybe it’s just that pancakes and waffles are delicious and nigh-impossible to mess up. I don’t really know, but I’ll never hold this classic against you if you order it at brunch with me.

2. Mexican Breakfasts

I’m cheating a little here, I know. If you forced me to pick one specific item here, I’d go with chilaquiles (which you may also know as breakfast nachos). They’re nachos that you can eat at breakfast, so I think their place here is pretty self-explanatory. Still, they generally aren’t available on brunch menus except when you go to a Mexican place, so I’m also lumping in breakfast burritos here for their combination of deliciousness and general availability.

1. Chicken and Waffles

Do I even have to explain this one? It’s fried chicken served with waffles. This is a dish that would be way too much of a pain to make at home for breakfast, so it’s got that special brunch value on top of the fact that it’s just two delicious foods served together. Chicken and waffles also tend to be big and hearty, which never hurts either.

You’re naturally best off getting this at a place that does traditional Southern food, but if that’s not an option, most brunch places that do chicken and waffles do them well. If this is available, and you don’t have a very specific hankering for something else, you know what you’re eating.

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Guides

Sunday Brunch Near Me: A San Francisco Guide to Brunch

themap

I’m lazy. I admit it – in fact, I embrace it. The size and density of San Francisco has made me lazier. In LA, going a half hour to meet friends is nothing, but in this city a 15 minute Uber ride might as well be eternity. If you live in South San Francisco and ask me to come over, you might as well be telling me to get a plane ticket to Alaska. So when you wake up on Sunday (or Saturday – I don’t know why so many people think brunch is a Sunday thing, but I digress) and ask yourself “Where’s the best Sunday brunch near me?” I empathize. And so here I am, breaking down the best Sunday brunch near me (or you, I guess) in SF on a neighborhood by neighborhood basis just to make sure you know what’s not only great, but also within hung over stumbling distance.

The Mission

Starting in the south part of SF, we’ve got the Mission. You’d think there’d be a great Mexican brunch down here, but if so, I’ve yet to find it (if you know where it is, please let me know). The good news is there are still plenty of good options, the best of which is Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. Wings and totchos in a huge patio that’s got cornhole is a winning combination. If it’s not especially nice outside, there’s a shuffleboard table indoors. Either way, make this your go-to Mission brunch spot.

The Castro

It’s easy to tell you where to find the best brunch in the Castro, because if you’ve stopped by our list of the best brunches in San Francisco, you’ll know that this neighborhood is home to SF’s best brunch spot: Bisou. Friendly staff, great mimosas and good food make for the perfect brunch environment.

SOMA

You didn’t think you’d find one of the best brunches in SF in a wine bar in SOMA, but it’s a crazy world we live in. If you’re getting your bottomless on before a Giants game, hit District, where both the booze and the food flows freely. With bottomless mimosas in five flavors plus Bloodys alongside a Southern-style brunch buffet, you can’t really go wrong here. Note that while Yelp says they’re only open on Sundays, they open on Saturday mornings if there’s a Giants game in the afternoon. This kind of bottomless brunch insight is what we’re here for.

Mission Bay

There’s really only one bottomless mimosa brunch in Mission Bay, but at least it’s a good one. If you wake up there and see the sun shining, head over to Mission Rock, where you can drink bottomless mimosas and eat fresh seafood while you sit on a deck overlooking the water. There are few better ways to spend a weekend morning.

mission rock resort

Nob Hill

This one’s near and dear to my heart – I live in Nob Hill, so this is truly where I look for Sunday brunch near me. If you live in Nob Hill, your excellent though expensive best option is Top of the Mark. It’s just about an even hundred bucks a head, but for bottomless champagne and the greatest brunch buffet in San Francisco, it’s a fair price. I’m talking prime rib, fresh seafood, caviar bar, omelettes and waffles made to order along with too many other dishes to describe here.

Presidio

If you live in the Presidio, you should definitely take advantage of its beauty by having your brunch on the patio of Sessions at the Presidio. It’s got a great view and is a fantastic place to be when the sun’s out, plus they keep brunch interesting by offering something a little different – a selection of three bottomless beers (you can also do mimosas if you prefer).

Western Addition

Western Addition has one of the few brunches that I’ll save for Sunday at 1300 on Fillmore. They have bottomless bellinis both Saturday and Sunday, but on Sunday they have gospel brunch, so you can enjoy your drinks with some great, soulful singing. They also have one of the best Southern-style brunches in SF.

Financial District

Even though you don’t really think of the FiDi when you think of brunch, one of the best bottomless brunches in the city is tucked away in an alley there. I am, of course, referring to Pink Elephant. You serve yourself bottomless mimosas there, so no need to worry about refills. You’ve also got the option of almost 20 different juices from coconut and aloe vera to grapefruit and blueberry. It feels more like a club than a brunch place, so if you’re looking to party at noon, this is your spot.

Pacific Heights

The winner here is Harry’s, but you should definitely save this one for the day of a big game. It’s a sports bar with a classic feel – lots of dark wood and leather – and the food is on point (definitely try the fried deviled eggs).

North Beach

North Beach is home to one of the classic SF brunches – Don Pistos. Their agua fresca mimosas are a nice change of pace from the usual, and the other bottomless options (sangria and magaritas) go well with an excellent set of Mexican fare.

Marina

The Marina is the spiritual home to brunch in SF, and with good reasons. There are more brunches in this neighborhood than anywhere else, but if you have to choose one, choose Stock in Trade. It encapsulates the Marina experience (expect to be brunching next to lots of bros) with indoor bocce ball and cornhole, plus a section of the menu dedicated to breakfast shots (much better than they sound).

stock in trade sf

Golden Gate Park/Sunset

Technically it sits right between the two, but you’re looking for Beach Chalet. The bad news is that it’s not bottomless, but the good news is they have a very affordable sampler of their in-house brews, which are excellent. Combine that with great food and a beautiful view of the beach, and you’ve got yourself a solid brunch.

Noe Valley

If you must be in Noe Valley for brunch, you only have one option – Fresca. It’s nothing extraordinary as bottomless mimosa brunches go, but it’s not bad and the food is solid.

Hayes Valley

Like Noe Valley, there’s only one option here, but it’s Dobbs Ferry, which is terrible. Please go to a different neighborhood for brunch. Also if you know of any other bottomless brunches in Hayes Valley, let me know.

 

So next time you wake up and think “Ugh, I can’t go anywhere – where can I get Sunday brunch near me?”, just know Brunch Club has your back.

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