The Pink Elephant brunch is one of SF’s most popular, and with good reason. You’ll find it in SOMA on Minna near New Montgomery, and it’s unassuming from the outside, to say the least (read: it’s in an alley that smells like pee). Once you get inside and see their bottomless set up, though, you’ll have your phone in one hand Instagramming (shameless plug: follow Brunch Club on IG!) and a mimosa in the other.
If you’re planning to come to Pink Elephant, get there early. Reservations are only accepted for right when they open at 10:30, and after that it’s first-come, first-serve. We had a res, thankfully, since when I got there five minutes before they opened, there was already a line halfway down the block. Also a homeless man clearly knew what we were all doing there and shouted at the line. There may be no experience that better encapsulates SF than waiting in a long line in an alley for brunch while getting berated by a homeless guy.
Once you’re inside, it feels more like a loud, dark bar than a restaurant, which makes for a fun environment. Still, be prepared to shout your conversations at the table.
$22 for the most unique and diverse bottomless experience in the San Francisco brunch universe. When you order bottomless from your waitress, she gives you a wristband, and from there on out you serve yourself drinks at the bar. There are pitchers of champagne and about 20 different kinds of juices. Because you make your own mimosas, the ratio’s always perfect (reminder: almost entirely champagne with a splash of juice for color) and the variety of juices is really interesting.
A few highlights on the juice side of things: aloe vera, which I thought was used to help sun burns heal, turns out to be a great addition to your mimosa that’s not too sweet. Peach/mango/strawberry are there if you like things much more on the sweet side, and watermelon’s a good choice for something a little lighter. There’s also coconut, which is okay if you’re into that sort of thing but makes it look like you’re drinking a glass of milk.
There’s a two hour limit, which was pretty strictly enforced, but with this setup you should very well be able to get your fill.
All good, with a few standouts – start with the pork belly, which is done perfectly. After that, they advertise their pork chili as a hangover cure, and they aren’t kidding. It’s thick and hearty, plus it comes with a couple of fried eggs on the side.
I opted for the chimichanga, and I highly recommend it. If you’re not familiar, a chimichanga is basically just a fried burrito, which makes it a perfect pairing for aggressive drinking at 10:30am.
The wait staff was great, and having do-it-yourself mimosas took the pressure off of them to constantly be refilling us but was also a lot of fun.
We were told when making a reservation that the policy was strict on having everyone present right at 10:30 to get in. Because the people in Brunch Club are questionable when it comes to timeliness, we were only at about half strength at that point, but they seated us (with a warning that everybody would be held to the same two hour limit even if they showed up late, but that’s the price for tardiness). A couple of hours later the owner came by, introduced himself, and very politely asked us to vacate the table (but invited us to have another mimosa or two at the bar). Really nice guy, and totally fair about getting us out of there to turn the table over.
Pink Elephant brunch has a reputation as one of SF’s best, and it lives up to it. It’s extremely lively and a ton of fun to go with a big group. The mimosa experience is unique, the wait staff is friendly and a trip here promises to start your Saturday right.