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The famous Mr. Holmes cruffin.
The famous Mr. Holmes cruffin.
Mr. Holmes/Facebook

13 Pastries That Define San Francisco Breakfast

Be prepared to wait in line for these beauties

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The famous Mr. Holmes cruffin.
| Mr. Holmes/Facebook

Here in San Francisco there is an abundance of pastry-laden bakeries at which to line up with fellow bread lovers and wait your turn — and you will wait — to select individual versions of the best breakfast ever. This city’s popular morning pastries have found acclaim across the country, whether it’s in magazines (Arsicault), on Instagram (Mr. Holmes), or featured by bloggers nationwide (Craftsman and Wolves). That’s because the creativity of pastry chefs here shines in the unique options, from an everything-flavored croissant with cream cheese inside to savory crawfish beignets.

There are of course plenty of great options for the humble croissant or a nice muffin, but it’s hard to make that choice when faced with the options on this list. Here are 13 excellent options for getting your pastry fix, ones that through their originality and deliciousness reflect the very essence of San Francisco.

Want a sit-down weekday breakfast option? Look no further than this map.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Bob's Donut & Pastry Shop

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1621 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 776-3141
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Even though its hours are technically “all day, every day,” Bob’s Donuts is no stranger to lines. These no-frills, all-flavor doughnuts are made fresh every day and attract pastry enthusiasts who are looking for a no-nonsense fried dough experience. There are 22 unique pastry offerings, most notably the Big One, a big ol’ doughnut that pastry-lovers can eat in a challenge to win the cost of the doughnut, a t-shirt, and of course eternal glory. There’s minimal seating available, but chowing down while striding Polk Street isn’t the worst thing that’s ever happened.

2. Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

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1042 Larkin St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 829-7700
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Welcome to one of the most Instagrammed places in San Francisco, made famous by its funky interior and innovative cruffins (for the uninitiated, that’s croissants baked like muffins). The line for said cruffins begins assembling early in the morning, as Mr. Holmes only sells a limited number each day. True fans would be wise to follow the shop at @mrholmesbakehouse on Instagram where weekly cruffin and donut flavors are announced ahead of time. Pro-tip: Its other pastries, ranging from filled donuts to savory treats, are accessible without enduring the cruffin line.

3. Tartine Bakery

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600 Guerrero St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 487-2600
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With an entire cookbook out on the market dedicated to Tartine’s breaded breakfast goodies, it’s no surprise that the line to buy them at the source regularly exceeds a 45-minute wait. First timers usually go for the morning bun, a flaky but dense pastry with a hint of citrus to it. Bread, tarts, cookies, cakes, and more fill the rest of the saliva-inducing display, all of which make the perfect pairing with people watching in the outdoor seating area.

4. Brenda's French Soul Food

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652 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 345-8100
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This Southern food restaurant has pastry-hungry diners filling up the sidewalk, enticed by the scent of these freshly-baked dough pockets coated in powdered sugar. Brenda’s regularly offers plain, chocolate, granny smith, and even savory crawfish (pictured) beignets. And, when it’s Mardi Gras season, king cake beignets make their debut, those little purple, green, and yellow slices of heaven hard to find anywhere outside of New Orleans.

5. B. Patisserie

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2821 California St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 440-1700
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B. Patisserie chef Belinda Leong doesn't mess around when it comes to Kougin Amann, the buttery, flakey pastry that sends customers to her Pac Heights shop in droves. Don't miss out on the array of gorgeous cakes and macarons that grace the display cases, either — it's all worth the wait.

6. Neighbor Bakehouse

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2343 3rd St
San Francisco, CA 94107
Dogpatch is home to the best kind of neighbor that San Francisco could ask for: one with excellent pastries. Neighbor Bakehouse has been slinging breakfast goods at its own storefront for over a year now, and the croissants have already been rated as among the best this city has to offer, especially the unique everything option with poppy and sesame seeds, garlic, green onion, and cream cheese on the inside.

7. New Hollywood Bakery & Restaurant

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652 Pacific Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 397-9919
If Chinese pastries aren’t on your regular circuit, New Hollywood Bakery is happy to change that. And for good reason — this Chinatown bakeshop has perfected the classic egg tart and brought life to the green onion roll. Enough food to stuff a pantry costs less than your favorite avocado toast, if you’re willing to wait for everyone else craving inexpensive pastries to get theirs first. Fortunately this one is open daily, so diligence works.

8. Arsicault Bakery

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397 Arguello Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94118
Currently San Francisco's most popular croissant, the Arsicault version is "preposterously flaky," according to Bon Appetit magazine, who put the tiny Richmond bakery in the spotlight after naming it the nation's best new bakery in 2016. Which of course created quite the line.

9. Blue Bottle Coffee

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115 Sansome St
San Francisco, CA 94104
This is one addictive waffle, categorized as a liège waffle for the yeasty dough and caramelized pearl sugar on its hot, sweet surface. It's a thicker batter than the American version, and denser to eat from the yeast, yet just as satisfying.

10. Craftsman and Wolves

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746 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 913-7713
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Mad scientist/baker William Werner's masterpiece, the Rebel Within, manages to capture a soft boiled egg within a savory, sausage-studded cake. It's served with a tiny vial of Tabasco salt for added oomph, and takes breakfast to a whole new level. (Check out a detailed explanation of how it's made here.) — Ellen Fort

11. La Boulangerie de San Francisco

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1909 Union St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 440-4450
San Franciscans nearly had a breakdown when La Boulange closed. But it's back in the form of La Boulangerie de San Francisco, and the signature almond croissants are just as good as you remember them.

12. Le Marais Bakery

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Le Marais' coffee cake is everything you want the sweet treat to be: tender, moist, and delicately flavored with walnut, cinnamon, and brown sugar.

13. Marla Bakery

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3619 Balboa St
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 742-4379
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The cardamom-studded Marla bun is just one among many delightful pastries and bagels that Marla Bakery offers in both the Outer Richmond and the Ferry Building. Weekend-goers can get the extra special treat of the sticky bun.

1. Bob's Donut & Pastry Shop

1621 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Even though its hours are technically “all day, every day,” Bob’s Donuts is no stranger to lines. These no-frills, all-flavor doughnuts are made fresh every day and attract pastry enthusiasts who are looking for a no-nonsense fried dough experience. There are 22 unique pastry offerings, most notably the Big One, a big ol’ doughnut that pastry-lovers can eat in a challenge to win the cost of the doughnut, a t-shirt, and of course eternal glory. There’s minimal seating available, but chowing down while striding Polk Street isn’t the worst thing that’s ever happened.
1621 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109

2. Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

1042 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Welcome to one of the most Instagrammed places in San Francisco, made famous by its funky interior and innovative cruffins (for the uninitiated, that’s croissants baked like muffins). The line for said cruffins begins assembling early in the morning, as Mr. Holmes only sells a limited number each day. True fans would be wise to follow the shop at @mrholmesbakehouse on Instagram where weekly cruffin and donut flavors are announced ahead of time. Pro-tip: Its other pastries, ranging from filled donuts to savory treats, are accessible without enduring the cruffin line.
1042 Larkin St
San Francisco, CA 94109

3. Tartine Bakery

600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110
With an entire cookbook out on the market dedicated to Tartine’s breaded breakfast goodies, it’s no surprise that the line to buy them at the source regularly exceeds a 45-minute wait. First timers usually go for the morning bun, a flaky but dense pastry with a hint of citrus to it. Bread, tarts, cookies, cakes, and more fill the rest of the saliva-inducing display, all of which make the perfect pairing with people watching in the outdoor seating area.
600 Guerrero St
San Francisco, CA 94110

4. Brenda's French Soul Food

652 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94102
This Southern food restaurant has pastry-hungry diners filling up the sidewalk, enticed by the scent of these freshly-baked dough pockets coated in powdered sugar. Brenda’s regularly offers plain, chocolate, granny smith, and even savory crawfish (pictured) beignets. And, when it’s Mardi Gras season, king cake beignets make their debut, those little purple, green, and yellow slices of heaven hard to find anywhere outside of New Orleans.
652 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94102

5. B. Patisserie

2821 California St, San Francisco, CA 94115
B. Patisserie chef Belinda Leong doesn't mess around when it comes to Kougin Amann, the buttery, flakey pastry that sends customers to her Pac Heights shop in droves. Don't miss out on the array of gorgeous cakes and macarons that grace the display cases, either — it's all worth the wait.
2821 California St
San Francisco, CA 94115

6. Neighbor Bakehouse

2343 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94107
Dogpatch is home to the best kind of neighbor that San Francisco could ask for: one with excellent pastries. Neighbor Bakehouse has been slinging breakfast goods at its own storefront for over a year now, and the croissants have already been rated as among the best this city has to offer, especially the unique everything option with poppy and sesame seeds, garlic, green onion, and cream cheese on the inside.
2343 3rd St
San Francisco, CA 94107

7. New Hollywood Bakery & Restaurant

652 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
If Chinese pastries aren’t on your regular circuit, New Hollywood Bakery is happy to change that. And for good reason — this Chinatown bakeshop has perfected the classic egg tart and brought life to the green onion roll. Enough food to stuff a pantry costs less than your favorite avocado toast, if you’re willing to wait for everyone else craving inexpensive pastries to get theirs first. Fortunately this one is open daily, so diligence works.
652 Pacific Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133

8. Arsicault Bakery

397 Arguello Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118
Currently San Francisco's most popular croissant, the Arsicault version is "preposterously flaky," according to Bon Appetit magazine, who put the tiny Richmond bakery in the spotlight after naming it the nation's best new bakery in 2016. Which of course created quite the line.
397 Arguello Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94118

9. Blue Bottle Coffee

115 Sansome St, San Francisco, CA 94104
This is one addictive waffle, categorized as a liège waffle for the yeasty dough and caramelized pearl sugar on its hot, sweet surface. It's a thicker batter than the American version, and denser to eat from the yeast, yet just as satisfying.
115 Sansome St
San Francisco, CA 94104

10. Craftsman and Wolves

746 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Mad scientist/baker William Werner's masterpiece, the Rebel Within, manages to capture a soft boiled egg within a savory, sausage-studded cake. It's served with a tiny vial of Tabasco salt for added oomph, and takes breakfast to a whole new level. (Check out a detailed explanation of how it's made here.) — Ellen Fort
746 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110

11. La Boulangerie de San Francisco

1909 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94115
San Franciscans nearly had a breakdown when La Boulange closed. But it's back in the form of La Boulangerie de San Francisco, and the signature almond croissants are just as good as you remember them.
1909 Union St
San Francisco, CA 94115

12. Le Marais Bakery

San Francisco, CA 94109
Le Marais' coffee cake is everything you want the sweet treat to be: tender, moist, and delicately flavored with walnut, cinnamon, and brown sugar.

13. Marla Bakery

3619 Balboa St, San Francisco, CA 94121
The cardamom-studded Marla bun is just one among many delightful pastries and bagels that Marla Bakery offers in both the Outer Richmond and the Ferry Building. Weekend-goers can get the extra special treat of the sticky bun.
3619 Balboa St
San Francisco, CA 94121

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