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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.

1. Bartavelle

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1603 San Pablo Ave
Berkeley, CA 94702
(510) 524-2473
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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

2. Awaken Cafe

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1429 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 863-1440
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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

3. Jane

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2123 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 931-5263
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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

4. Mazarine Coffee

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720 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 398-7700
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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

5. Breadbelly

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1408 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94118

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).

6. The Mill

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736 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 345-1953
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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.

7. Réveille Coffee Co.

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610 Long Bridge St, San Francisco
CA, 94158
(415) 789-6258
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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

8. Kantine

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1906 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 735-7123
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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.

3174 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 400-4748
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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

10. Provender

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1415 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 685-1722
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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

11. Trouble Coffee

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4033 Judah St
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 682-4732

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

12. Outerlands

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4001 Judah St
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 661-6140
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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

13. Cafe St. Jorge

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3438 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 814-2028
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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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1. Bartavelle

1603 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702
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.

1603 San Pablo Ave
Berkeley, CA 94702

2. Awaken Cafe

1429 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612
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.

1429 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94612

3. Jane

2123 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115
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.

2123 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115

4. Mazarine Coffee

720 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102
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.

720 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94102

5. Breadbelly

1408 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118

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).

1408 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94118

6. The Mill

736 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

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.

736 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94117

7. Réveille Coffee Co.

610 Long Bridge St, San Francisco, CA, 94158
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.

610 Long Bridge St, San Francisco
CA, 94158

8. Kantine

1906 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102

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.

1906 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94102

9. ABV

3174 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103
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.

3174 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94103

10. Provender

1415 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94107
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.

1415 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94107

11. Trouble Coffee

4033 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122
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.

4033 Judah St
San Francisco, CA 94122

12. Outerlands

4001 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122
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.

4001 Judah St
San Francisco, CA 94122

13. Cafe St. Jorge

3438 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110
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.

3438 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110

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