Breakfast Spots in North Beach
I am sitting in my North Beach apartment, listening to the grumbling of my hungry stomach battle my internal desire not to go outside in the damp cloud of gray which seems to loom out there. I’ve been up for a few hours now, though, and the grumbling is beginning to win out. All that I can think about is the food which awaits me in this neighborhood.
Here is what I’ve discovered about North Beach breakfast spots so far:
Mama’s on Washington Square – This is probably the most popular breakfast spot, having been voted best breakfast in the city on at least one occasion. It is listed in numerous tourist guides, is expectedly pricey and always has a line. But I’ve discovered that the food is actually worth paying to wait. I haven’t had anything there that I didn’t like. They turn over the tables pretty quickly for such a packed place. Usually, I take advantage of the fact that it’s a stone’s throw away from Washington Square Park, but that doesn’t really apply on a grey day like today.
Columbus Café – Located at the corner of Columbus and Lombard, this place is far enough off the beaten path to not be overwhelmingly crowded but close enough to the action of North Beach to make for great people-watching through huge street-side windows. The croissant sandwiches are delicious, the coffee is perfectly strong and the owner and staff are always wonderfully friendly. This is the kind of cozy place I’m totally happy to go with a book or a laptop to enjoy while lingering over my breakfast.
Caffe Sapore – I was once at a BBQ in my hometown of Tucson, discussing where I live now when someone asked me if I knew this place. I thought it was odd, since it doesn’t seem to have any particular reason for being a well-known restaurant, but this man swore that the best food he had in SF came from there. The food IS good. The service is often slow but the people-watching is fabulous – the restaurant is on Lombard Street so all of the foreigners traipsing up and down to crooked-ville wander in here. The oatmeal with blueberries and brown sugar is the best.
Pat’s Café – This is near Columbus and Chestnut, right off of the cable car line. There’s almost never a line, and I have tried enough off of the menu to be convinced that they don’t have anything bad at this place. Their California crepes are made by angels. Their mimosas are a Sunday staple. And the artwork on the wall is fun.
Café Prague – This place is located on the opposite end of North Beach from me so I actually haven’t been there – eek!, since before I moved here – but I stopped in several times during travels here and always found the ambience to perfectly match the fabulous food.
Caffe Roma – I never actually eat anything at this place but if I just want coffee, it has to be the best place I’ve been in the area so far.
XO Truffles – You know, sometimes a girl just has to have something bad for breakfast. This place sells coffee for $1 and it comes with a free truffle. I could not possibly ask for anything more!
Caffe Trieste – I feel like I have to include this spot, because everyone and their mother have told me to stop in. Ashamedly, I haven’t done so yet, but it’s got the history of the Beats and the support of lots of dining fans so at some point I will wander my way that way and see what all of the hype is about. Hm, in fact, I just might do that right now. Grumbling stomach wins again!