Fisherman’s Wharf is home to some of the most delicious brunch spots in San Francisco, reflecting the historic neighborhood’s warm and welcoming community. Check out our 10 favorite brunch spots you simply must try.
Restaurant, French, $$$
Come home to Mama’s, a cozy, family brunch nook on Washington Square. Mama’s takes pride in serving its famous breakfast all day, which includes fluffy ‘M’omlettes’, mouth-watering buttermilk pancakes, and homemade jams. They also make their French toast with unique breads (including brioche, sourdough, banana, and more) and you can try three kinds of toast at once with the French Toast Sampler. Expect a wait to get in though, and make sure to bring cash.
The Eagle Café is a historic San Francisco landmark that’s been serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner since the Prohibition Era. Originally a ticket office for local ships in the 1920s, this cafe lies right on the Fisherman’s Wharf waterfront, and customers can enjoy the beautiful views of the Bay as they dine. Brunch specials include the fresh Dungeness crab Benedict, and the famous original corn beef hash platter.
Fisherman’s Wharf and San Francisco are well-known for diversity and multiculturalism, and few places better reflect this than Darren’s Café, an All-American Vietnamese diner. Most people wouldn’t imagine a place where you can get pho and pancakes for brunch at the same time, but Darren’s Cafe makes it possible. This cafe is also known for its friendly staff, warm atmosphere, quick service, and for never being too crowded (which makes it a great place to go if you’re in a hurry).
Don’t be deceived by this small and simple-looking ‘hole-in-the-wall’ restaurant, because Eight AM is one of Fisherman Wharf’s hidden gems. Eight AM is loved for its cute meal presentations and superb breakfast/brunch options: especially the chia-seed pudding, famous frittatas, and crepes named for every hour between 7AM and 2PM (which are, incidentally, the restaurant’s opening hours). The best meal for any avocado-lover (which is essentially any Californian) is the avocado toast, prepared three different ways.
If you’re searching for the authentic Fisherman’s Wharf brunch experience, look no further than the Buena Vista Café. This boardinghouse-turned-saloon-turned-cafe is directly accessible by foot, car, and even cable car. This landmark is known for its Dungeness crab omelettes, all-day breakfast menu, and most of all, their famous Irish coffee that was invented and taste-tested by the San Francisco mayor in 1952. In 2008, this cafe even went for the Guinness World Record for the largest glass of Irish Coffee!
Get swept up in nostalgia at Joanie’s Happy Days Diner, perhaps the only place in San Francisco where you’ll feel like you’re in Milwaukee in the ’50s. With many recipes coming personally from the owner Joanie Dang, this diner provides fantastic all-American comfort food. The diner is particularly known for having quick service, good value, breakfast all day, and thick milkshakes.
For the many San Franciscan health gurus who still want a classic American brunch, Beach Street Grill is an excellent spot. The family that runs this homey restaurant prides themselves on serving All-American food that’s healthy and organic. They buy all of their produce from local farmers’ markets, and their menu is also entirely gluten-free. The Beach Street Grill is just off the wharf, and this coastal nook has a sharp black and red colorscape reminiscent of the Golden Gate Bridge.
A San Francisco classic, Lori’s Diner is another marvelous place for anyone who can’t get enough of the nostalgic ’50s diner vibe. Lori’s is decked out in memorabilia: with a jukebox, shiny red booths, a classic ’50s car model, and countless framed photos that remind us of the good old days. This restaurant serves their classic breakfast all day, in addition to burgers, fries, clam chowder in bread bowls, and numerous other lunch/dinner options. There are several ‘Lori’s’ locations around San Francisco, but the location in Fisherman’s Wharf is in Ghirardelli Square, so you can easily have brunch at Lori’s and then grab a Ghirardelli hot fudge sundae for dessert.
Looking to escape to Hollywood for a few hours? Check out the Hollywood Café, a local favorite brunch spot that regularly gets customers lining out the door. The cafe is colorful and vibrant, and its menus are adorned with picture of stars from the olden days. Popular meals include the ‘Audrey Hepburn’ pancakes and the ‘Marilyn Monroe’ French toast, both of which come with overflowing bowls of fresh fruit. Another favorite is the ‘Hollywood Hash Browns’ which is topped with bacon, onion, cheese, peppers, mushrooms, and basil flakes. Just be prepared to wait a little while, and try to get a seat inside to avoid sitting among the people in line.
Don Pistos is a unique, rustic Mexican dining destination for those looking for a great weekend brunch. They are only open for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, but it’s well worth waiting for the weekend because of their exciting Mexican-American fusion. Specialities include brioche French toast, huevos rancheros, ham and poblano scramble, and Mexican sashimi. And for all lovers of endless drinks, there’s a special deal where customers can get bottomless sangria, margaritas, AND agua fresca mimosas for an hour and a half.