Where to Go for Brunch This Spring: Discover the Bay Area’s Best Pancakes, Waffles, French Toast and More

If the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that eating outside is an act of community support — and brunch is one of the best meals to enjoy outdoors. Brunch has always been a noun, but the explosion of restaurants serving up delicious eats during the day means there are more opportunities than ever to turn the meal into a verb. How will you brunch this spring? We’ve got some ideas. 

North Bay

Monk’s Kettle

mochi pancakes

The wide, shaded patio is popular on sunny afternoons for a draft kölsch and a damn good chicken sandwich. Mornings call for the black sesame chia bowl and coffee or a stack of mochi pancakes. Made with glutinous rice flour, the texture is similar to marshmallow — soft with a slight chew — and perfect for pairing with a strawberry mimosa.

655 Del Ganado Rd, San Rafael; 415.991.5103; monkskettle.com

RH Marin

American classics define the brunch menu at the rooftop restaurant atop the shop’s extensive galleries. Truffled grilled cheese is popular for all the right reasons, and the burger boasts fries that are crisp outside and soft inside. Regulars shake things up with the lobster roll. Tossed with Old Bay, chives and just enough mayo, the chunky crustacean sits inside a toasted hot dog roll slathered with butter that gives West Coast heft to an East Coast dish.

1750 Redwood Hwy, Corte Madera; 628.266.2040; rh.com

Farm House Local

farm house local

David Monson’s OG breakfast and lunch café boasts a sweet patio and farm-to-table everything, including the gravlax atop the potato and celery root pancake. Cured in salt, sugar, dill and Grand Marnier, the preparation involves turning the fish every 12 hours for three days to achieve its stunning color and deeply flavorful flesh. “It’s a labor of love and a test of one’s patience,” Monson says, a statement evident in every bite.

25 Ward St, Larkspur; 415.891.8577; farmhouselocal.com

Barefoot Cafe

Fans flock to Tony Senehi’s all-day café for the soft frittata and towering Belgian waffle in equal measure. The dish that wins our hearts, however, is the pear-almond pancake. Buttermilk adds zing to the batter that bubbles before Bosc pears and slivered almonds are layered in, boosting the cake to 11.

1900 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Fairfax; 415.460.2160; barefootcafe.com

Le Croissant

le croissant

Like a beacon for diner-style classics, this place named for the French pastry thrives on a busy street flanked by autobody and tire shops. (There’s parking.) More bready than shattering, the croissants cradle everything from a tuna melt to a breakfast sandwich and easily cover half of a diner-size plate. Our money is on the breakfast burrito smothered in red and green New Mexican chili sauce.

150 Bellam Blvd, San Rafael; 415.456.0164; lecroissantonbellam.com

Blue Ridge Kitchen

Fun and unexpected twists are the norm from a Sebastopol spot named for a famous Eastern mountain range. The restaurant bills itself as having a southern drawl but the cioppino with tomato-anise broth and local Dungeness crab speaks clearly of California. Nor is there anything “short“ about the 10 hours ribs spend slowly smoking before becoming Short Rib Hash. Raw oysters, however, are simply topped with Meyer lemon hibiscus granita and a smoked mignonette.

Fern Bar

The lush environs and soaring ceilings defy the speakeasy cocktail-driven vibe of this restaurant and live music venue at The Barlow in Sebastopol. Cocktails get geeky (Banjee Tangie with Genepy des Alpes and tangerine) and freaky (Urban Bourbon with house made wlanut liqueur and Scotch mist) while brunch is more down to earth (French toast, pork katsu sandwich with red cabbage and French fries).

San Francisco

Brenda’s Meat & Three

From catfish beignets to Low Country gumbo, the food from magazine staff favorite in San Francisco’s NoPa neighborhood is influenced by owner Brenda Buenviajé’s New Orleans childhood. We can’t get enough of the eggs Benedict with Creole hollandaise and a biscuit. It practically demands to be paired with a cup of Grandma’s Molasses-Black Walnut Iced Coffee.


Words like “insane” and “amazing” were frequently tossed around the office while discussing the brunch at this coffee shop in San Francsico’s Polk Gulch neighborhood. The must-try dishes are Parmesan-crusted Zucchini Ricotta Pancakes and the Tex Mex Sacramble with roasted jalapeños and chorizo. Though straight up coffee is the go-to pairing at a coffee shop, there’s a Red Velvet Latte to linger over. That’s insane, right?

East Bay


The California by way of Israeli menu from chef-owner Mica Talmor at her restaurant in Oakland’s Piedmont neighborhood changes with the seasons. Eggplant mezze is infused with pomegranate, topped with yogurt-tahini sauce and impossible to stop eating. Beet Ras El Hanout Salad with yam and walnut may give way to carrots roasted with cinnamon and clove. Falafel and hummus, however, are eternal.

Plank Oakland

Bowling and bocce add a touch of cheer to the weekly ritual of Sunday brunch and the family-friendly menu is available at the bar and on the restaurant’s broad patio at Jack London Square. Look for loco moco, Hawaii’s favorite eggs and gravy dish, plus familiar fare like breakfast hash and chilaquiles. Coconut cold brew pumps up the morning while a sparkling Bellini makes toasting a birthday or the season a breeze. 

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Christina Mueller

South America and Europe. She discovered her talent as a wordsmith in college and her love of all things epicurean in grad school. She has written for Condé Nast Contract PublishingSunset, and the Marin Independent Journal, among others. She volunteers with California State Parks and at her childrens’ schools, and supports the Marin Audubon SocietyPEN America, and Planned Parenthood. When she is not drinking wine by a fire, she is known to spend time with her extended family.