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Mazarine Coffee

San Francisco's Top Toast

Four dollars for a slice won't seem crazy after reading this

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Toast: It’s the hottest thing since sliced bread. When local cafés in San Francisco started charging upwards of $4 for the stuff, some rolled their eyes at our hipster-approved trend. Now, the nation has largely followed suit, if sometimes begrudgingly, and expensive, tasty toast can be found coast to coast and everywhere in between.

Still, the Bay Area’s options stand out for their artistry and range: Simple avocado on any old bread won’t cut it. Whether cafes are finishing off freshly-baked breads with small batch jams or piling plentiful toppings on a blank canvas of brioche, these top 13 toast spots are sending out plates sure to convert even the most cynical of skeptics.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Bartavelle

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Tucked in a tiny sun-lit space between Acme Bakery and Kermit Lynch Wines, Bartavelle is primely located for serving up delicious fresh food inspired by local ingredients. Behind a simple wooden espresso bar, staff members scoop and smash Brokaw avocados onto slices of Acme pain au levain, finishing the slice with sea salt, marash pepper, olive oil, and lemon. The toast is beautifully plated with little pickled fruits and vegetables, as well as a soft boiled olive oil egg. Other offerings include lemon zest and honey-seasoned Bellwether Jersey ricotta with seasonal fruit jam and prosciutto, olive oil and garlic.

A.K. Carroll

Awaken Cafe

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Whether or not he can prove it, owner Cortt Dunlap claims to be the first to have served avocado toast to the Bay Area, shortly after he opened Awaken in 2008. The eclectic music venue and cafe prizes local ingredients, serving up two half-inch slices of charred Acme levain topped with fanned out slices of fresh avocado or dual ramekins of creamy Strauss butter and chunky Frog Hollow stone fruit jam. Airy and open, the cafe has a worn in feel with ample seating.

A.K. Carroll

Since opening her fbakery on Larkin in 2014, Amanda Michael has been as focused on her breads as she has her toast toppings, sometimes reverse engineering a bread to suit the occasion. Two full slices of hearty, moist fig and walnut bread are toasted crisp and topped with creamy Bellwether Farms ricotta, crunchy hazelnut gremolata and drizzles of sweet honey. As for the avocado toast, there's nothing refined — aside from its flavor — about the puddle of mashed green fruit, Aleppo pepper, and poached egg that seeps into a thick slice of sourdough. Topped with sweet pickled shallots and spicy jalepeños, it's a mess worth making. A gluten-free quinoa-based bread can be subbed for any of Jane’s toasts, served at both the Larkin and Fillmore locations.

Aubrie Pick

Mazarine Coffee

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Where some cafes focus on showing off their bread, Mazarine puts all the creativity into the toppings, spiraling thin slices of avocado and watermelon radish atop a layer of creamy chèvre and finishing the ensemble with black pepper and chive. Sweeter options include fig jam and ricotta or Nutella topped with chopped hazelnuts and TCHO cocoa nibs. All are served on lightly-toasted Metropolis pain de mie alongside a curated menu of coffee, beer and wine.

Mazarine Coffee

Breadbelly

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At this cozy Asian-American bakery and cafe from a trio of fine dining alums, bright green toast is a standout dish — but don’t confuse the topping for avocado. Breadbelly’s signature kaya toast is fluffy, buttered Japanese milk bread and sweet Malaysian-style kaya jam, a mix of coconut and pandan (a tropical Southeast asian leaf that provides the jam’s striking color).

The Mill

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A serious force in SF's artisanal toast trend, The Mill frequently rotates through a unique variety of sweet and savory toasts, all of which are served on the freshly-baked Josey Baker bread that is continually coming from the ovens in the back. The four to five toast options change almost daily and range from a thick slab of whole wheat sesame poppy slathered with butter and seasonal jam to a dense slice of dark mountain rye spread with yogurt cream cheese and finished with tomato, fennel, and balsamic.

Réveille Coffee Co.

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Big and airy with lots of natural light and sleek modern design elements, Reveille's Mission Bay location is a home base for the roaster, and a perfect spot to nosh on top-notch toast (though the Columbus Avenue, 18th Street, and Lower Haight locations also serve them). Making mornings a bit more manageable, inch-thick slices of sweet Starter Bakery pan de mie are lightly buttered and toasted golden brown. Choose from the AB&J, composed of almond butter and a house-made amalgamation of strawberries, lemon, and sugar; sliced avocado drizzled with Arbequina olive oil; or a delicate pile of soft scrambled eggs mixed with hints of heavy cream and topped with fresh microgreens.

A.K. Caroll

Kantine

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Smørrebrød, a Scandinavian open-faced sandwich, might be the original toast, and its still one of the best. Chef Nichole Accettola’s Nordic-chic Market Street bakery and cafe serves theirs on her house-made sprouted rye bread: Seasonal toppings include pickled herring or goat cheese with shaved asparagus.

For a bar that specializes in high-caliber cocktails and low-fuss small bites, ABV sends out some impressively artful food from its kitchen, including the Tartine toast — two thin slices of grilled Tartine country loaf spread with seasonal fruit and spreads. One recent option was made with pear, mushroom, goat cheese, and miso bagna cauda.

A.K. Carroll

Provender

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This charming, family-owned coffee shop offers five fancy toasts including McFarland’s smoked trout served on seeded slices of Pinkie’s multigrain bread smeared with Bellwether farmer’s cheese and topped with sprigs of dill and sliced radish, as well as a decadent avocado toast made with creamy spicy aioli and topped with cilantro, black sesame, and crispy bits of garlic. $6-11.

A.K. Carroll

Trouble Coffee

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While the rest of the city has taken creative license, Trouble — the purported birthplace of artisanal toast — is still serving up the same scrumptious slices of cinnamon sugar toast that brought it national fame. You can smell it from the street outside the Outer Sunset hole-in-the-wall (as well as the Yosemite Avenue and Oakland locations); thick slices of brioche popping from the toaster, slathered with butter, and doused with cinnamon that creeps into every molten crevice. Holding steady at around $4, it’s a reliable city favorite.

A.K. Carroll

Outerlands

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When the bread is as perfectly crunchy and sinfully soft as the organic loaves that come from the hands of Matthew Jones at Outerlands, it’s hard to go wrong with toast. Four half-inch slices of toasted sourdough levain are served with house-cultured butter and rotating options like seasonal jam made with thick chunks of fruit or savory choice like kale and walnut pesto with delicata squash, sumac, and walnut oil.

A.K. Carroll

Cafe St. Jorge

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If the idea of artisan toast seems just a little too pretentious, try Cafe St. Jorge, a Portuguese-inspired neighborhood haunt where Stumptown coffee is served alongside simple thick slabs of toasted whole wheat from Bakers of Paris. Sweet and savory toast options include organic almond butter with sliced banana and local honey, and a smashed avocado chili sprinkled with red pepper flakes, olive oil and lemon juice. Simple, but substantial with optional add-ons.

A.K. Carroll

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Bartavelle

A.K. Carroll

Tucked in a tiny sun-lit space between Acme Bakery and Kermit Lynch Wines, Bartavelle is primely located for serving up delicious fresh food inspired by local ingredients. Behind a simple wooden espresso bar, staff members scoop and smash Brokaw avocados onto slices of Acme pain au levain, finishing the slice with sea salt, marash pepper, olive oil, and lemon. The toast is beautifully plated with little pickled fruits and vegetables, as well as a soft boiled olive oil egg. Other offerings include lemon zest and honey-seasoned Bellwether Jersey ricotta with seasonal fruit jam and prosciutto, olive oil and garlic.

A.K. Carroll

Awaken Cafe

A.K. Carroll

Whether or not he can prove it, owner Cortt Dunlap claims to be the first to have served avocado toast to the Bay Area, shortly after he opened Awaken in 2008. The eclectic music venue and cafe prizes local ingredients, serving up two half-inch slices of charred Acme levain topped with fanned out slices of fresh avocado or dual ramekins of creamy Strauss butter and chunky Frog Hollow stone fruit jam. Airy and open, the cafe has a worn in feel with ample seating.

A.K. Carroll

Jane

Aubrie Pick

Since opening her fbakery on Larkin in 2014, Amanda Michael has been as focused on her breads as she has her toast toppings, sometimes reverse engineering a bread to suit the occasion. Two full slices of hearty, moist fig and walnut bread are toasted crisp and topped with creamy Bellwether Farms ricotta, crunchy hazelnut gremolata and drizzles of sweet honey. As for the avocado toast, there's nothing refined — aside from its flavor — about the puddle of mashed green fruit, Aleppo pepper, and poached egg that seeps into a thick slice of sourdough. Topped with sweet pickled shallots and spicy jalepeños, it's a mess worth making. A gluten-free quinoa-based bread can be subbed for any of Jane’s toasts, served at both the Larkin and Fillmore locations.

Aubrie Pick

Mazarine Coffee

Mazarine Coffee

Where some cafes focus on showing off their bread, Mazarine puts all the creativity into the toppings, spiraling thin slices of avocado and watermelon radish atop a layer of creamy chèvre and finishing the ensemble with black pepper and chive. Sweeter options include fig jam and ricotta or Nutella topped with chopped hazelnuts and TCHO cocoa nibs. All are served on lightly-toasted Metropolis pain de mie alongside a curated menu of coffee, beer and wine.

Mazarine Coffee

Breadbelly

At this cozy Asian-American bakery and cafe from a trio of fine dining alums, bright green toast is a standout dish — but don’t confuse the topping for avocado. Breadbelly’s signature kaya toast is fluffy, buttered Japanese milk bread and sweet Malaysian-style kaya jam, a mix of coconut and pandan (a tropical Southeast asian leaf that provides the jam’s striking color).

The Mill

A serious force in SF's artisanal toast trend, The Mill frequently rotates through a unique variety of sweet and savory toasts, all of which are served on the freshly-baked Josey Baker bread that is continually coming from the ovens in the back. The four to five toast options change almost daily and range from a thick slab of whole wheat sesame poppy slathered with butter and seasonal jam to a dense slice of dark mountain rye spread with yogurt cream cheese and finished with tomato, fennel, and balsamic.

Réveille Coffee Co.

A.K. Caroll

Big and airy with lots of natural light and sleek modern design elements, Reveille's Mission Bay location is a home base for the roaster, and a perfect spot to nosh on top-notch toast (though the Columbus Avenue, 18th Street, and Lower Haight locations also serve them). Making mornings a bit more manageable, inch-thick slices of sweet Starter Bakery pan de mie are lightly buttered and toasted golden brown. Choose from the AB&J, composed of almond butter and a house-made amalgamation of strawberries, lemon, and sugar; sliced avocado drizzled with Arbequina olive oil; or a delicate pile of soft scrambled eggs mixed with hints of heavy cream and topped with fresh microgreens.

A.K. Caroll

Kantine

Smørrebrød, a Scandinavian open-faced sandwich, might be the original toast, and its still one of the best. Chef Nichole Accettola’s Nordic-chic Market Street bakery and cafe serves theirs on her house-made sprouted rye bread: Seasonal toppings include pickled herring or goat cheese with shaved asparagus.

ABV

A.K. Carroll

For a bar that specializes in high-caliber cocktails and low-fuss small bites, ABV sends out some impressively artful food from its kitchen, including the Tartine toast — two thin slices of grilled Tartine country loaf spread with seasonal fruit and spreads. One recent option was made with pear, mushroom, goat cheese, and miso bagna cauda.

A.K. Carroll

Provender

A.K. Carroll

This charming, family-owned coffee shop offers five fancy toasts including McFarland’s smoked trout served on seeded slices of Pinkie’s multigrain bread smeared with Bellwether farmer’s cheese and topped with sprigs of dill and sliced radish, as well as a decadent avocado toast made with creamy spicy aioli and topped with cilantro, black sesame, and crispy bits of garlic. $6-11.

A.K. Carroll

Trouble Coffee

A.K. Carroll

While the rest of the city has taken creative license, Trouble — the purported birthplace of artisanal toast — is still serving up the same scrumptious slices of cinnamon sugar toast that brought it national fame. You can smell it from the street outside the Outer Sunset hole-in-the-wall (as well as the Yosemite Avenue and Oakland locations); thick slices of brioche popping from the toaster, slathered with butter, and doused with cinnamon that creeps into every molten crevice. Holding steady at around $4, it’s a reliable city favorite.

A.K. Carroll

Outerlands

A.K. Carroll

When the bread is as perfectly crunchy and sinfully soft as the organic loaves that come from the hands of Matthew Jones at Outerlands, it’s hard to go wrong with toast. Four half-inch slices of toasted sourdough levain are served with house-cultured butter and rotating options like seasonal jam made with thick chunks of fruit or savory choice like kale and walnut pesto with delicata squash, sumac, and walnut oil.

A.K. Carroll

Cafe St. Jorge

A.K. Carroll

If the idea of artisan toast seems just a little too pretentious, try Cafe St. Jorge, a Portuguese-inspired neighborhood haunt where Stumptown coffee is served alongside simple thick slabs of toasted whole wheat from Bakers of Paris. Sweet and savory toast options include organic almond butter with sliced banana and local honey, and a smashed avocado chili sprinkled with red pepper flakes, olive oil and lemon juice. Simple, but substantial with optional add-ons.