Where to Eat Near The Painted Ladies
If you’re visiting San Francisco, one picture you can’t forget to snap is of the famous Painted Ladies that sit across from Alamo Square Park. The Painted Ladies are the colorful houses that became famous after Full House aired in the 80s – as Michelle Tanner (AKA the Olsen twins) grew up in one of these houses. The area is also home to some of the trendiest cafes, bars, and restaurants in the city. From the park that stretches over a hill (in typical San Francisco fashion), it’s just a five-minute walk to Lower Haight, offering you even more food and drink spots to explore. It’s particularly worth indulging in brunch around here, especially if you’re all for artisan toast, southern cooking, and rich organic dishes made from fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Highlight: French Toast Orgy
471 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117
(About 8 blocks from the Painted Ladies)
With red and white checkered tablecloths, chalkboards full of specials, and plenty of customers clad in plaid, Kate’s Kitchen has a hip San Francisco vibe with the undertone of rustic Americana seeping through the decor. Only a few blocks over from the painted ladies in Lower Haight, this spot is fabulous. This homey spot serves generous portions of hush puppies, pancakes, french toast topped with fruit, yogurt, granola, and honey (AKA the delicious, and dare we say, healthy-ish “French Toast Orgy”) and plenty of egg dishes, too. But whatever you do, you MUST order the bacon cheddar pancakes for the table. They’re the sweet and savory staple of Kate’s. And, if desired, you can drizzle these beasts with syrup and a dash of butter. Mmm, best to come hungry. We will warn you though, you may need a nap after eating here, so head to Alamo Square and nap with the Painted Ladies. Browse the menu: http://orderkateskitchen.com.
Highlight: Vadouvan Curry Baked Egg
560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117
(About 1 block from the Painted Ladies in Alamo Square)
Put on your brunch necklace, order a mimosa, and enjoy. As you enter this spacious restaurant that sits on the corner of Divisadero and Hayes, a stone’s throw away from the Painted Ladies, large windows shine sunlight across two floors of packed tables. With an ever-changing weekly menu, dishes are made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, sourced locally from Farmer’s Markets and food purveyors around the Bay. With generous portion sizes and rich, flavorful meals, Nopa is one of the most sought after spots in the neighborhood. We recommend making reservations in advance. BONUS: Nopa has, in our opinion, one of the BEST burgers in the whole Bay Area (but more on that another day). Browse the menu: http://nopasf.com/
Brenda’s Meat & Three
Highlight: Johnny Cakes
4402, 919 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94115
(About 3 blocks from the Painted Ladies)
Thanks to chef Brenda Buenviaje, you don’t have to leave San Francisco to get yourself some real southern home cooking. Brenda grew up in Harvey, New Orleans, and lucky for us, moved to San Francisco in her late 20s. In 2007, she opened Brenda’s French Soul Food in the Tenderloin, which overjoyed San Francisco diners. Following this success, Brenda opened Brenda’s Meat and Three on Divisadero, named after the southern tradition where you choose one meat from the menu along with three side dishes. Perfectly located only 4 blocks away from the Painted Ladies, this is the perfect spot for a very hearty breakfast. For a while, you could only get the chef’s famous deep fried beignets at the original location, but these have officially been added to Brenda’s Meat & Three menu as well. At this spot you can also try another local favorite, Brenda’s Johnny Cakes, which are stuffed with shrimp, bacon, scallion, jalapeño, cheddar, corn, and a three-pepper butter, which pairs nicely with the watermelon sweet tea. Ready for Sunday brunch yet? Browse the menu: https://brendasmeatandthree.com/
Highlight: Fancy Toast
736 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117
(About 3 blocks from the Painted Ladies)
The Mill is a cafe-bakery founded on a partnership between Four Barrel Coffee and Josey Baker Bread. As you enter the brick and white paned entrance, you’ll see a variety of teapots and plants on one side, and Josey loaves on the other side near the counter. The famous Josey loaves have caused quite a stir, with the toast’s $4.00-$8.00 price tag. Though, after a taste, it’s clear the price is for the dedicated effort and quality put into each slice. All of the bread is baked in a stone oven, which is why the Mill’s toast is always deliciously fluffy on the inside, yet crunchy on the outside. The Mill even has a mill on location, used to freshly mill their whole grain flour to ensure daily freshness. Paired with seasonal jams, or the very popular cinnamon sugar spread, the artisanal flavors are a mixture of comfort and countryside. Note, there’s no Wi-Fi here – so if you’re looking to tune out of the technology-fueled city, look no further. And don’t forget to order a bold hand-roasted coffee to go along with your pricey, but delightful toast! Take your coffee right over to Alamo Square Park for a look at the Painted Ladies while sipping a fancy latte. Browse the menu: http://www.themillsf.com/
Highlight: Nicoise Tuna Sandwich
550 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117
(1 block away from the Painted Ladies)
A trip to San Francisco is not complete without a picnic, whether it’s at Alamo Square for a view of the Painted Ladies or at the famous Golden Gate Park, just a few miles in the other direction. So when you’re a bit over the brunch lines, go have a picnic. Any San Franciscan foodie will tell you to get your high quality, locally sourced snacks from Bi-Rite Market, an artisanal grocery with a wide assortment of sandwiches, salads, cheeses, and kombuchas, among other items. They’re also known for their ice cream, which they make in their Mission creamery. Signature flavors include Honey Lavender, Ricanelas, and Chocolate Coconut. Ok, but before dessert, let’s go back to the sandwiches. One classic is their fresh and flavorful “Tuna-Nicoise.” A bite into the seared tuna mixed with olive tapenade, lemon aioli, tomato and arugula, sandwiched between a toasted ciabatta roll, is as refreshing as a day at the beach. (No, not a cold, hair blowing all over the place San Francisco day at the beach, we’re talking warm and windless with sparkling water.) There’s also plenty of delicious vegan and vegetarian options. And finally, wait till you see how cute the store is, from the packaging to the decor, to the friendly people that work there. Oh, and if you listen closely, you may hear some hipster bees buzzing around on the rooftop, yes they even make their own honey. Ah, San Francisco at its finest. Browse the menu: https://biritemarket.com/
Highlights: All The Cocktails!
598 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117
(About 10 blocks from the Painted Ladies)
Maven is the spot to go to if you feel your night out wasn’t enough and you still sort of want the atmosphere of a bar. While the establishment has an abundance of greenery and bright, big windows, there’s a plethora of alcohol on display behind the counter, often used to make some wonderfully hip cocktails (including three breakfast options). Additionally, the tall black tables and chairs tend to feel like evening wear, rather than something to slouch into at 10 am. However, their rich brunch options, with some strong coffee on the side, are a great way to start the day. Maven creates classics with high-end ingredients for a fun and delicious twist, such a “Banana Bread French Toast” served with pecans, chocolate, and whipped cream, “Billionaire’s Bacon” with chili and brown sugar, and “Duck & Pork Belly Hash.” Maven’s owners have clearly put thought into the menu, as the flavors are satisfying and you won’t leave hungry. Once your tipsy and very full from brunch, roll yourself over the mini hill to the Painted Ladies. Browse the menu at http://www.maven-sf.com.
Love Stretchy Pants?
Basically, if you are heading to see the Painted Ladies in Alamo Square, Nopa or Lower Haight make time to try some of these delicious brunch spots. If you enjoyed this blog post, you might be interested in one of our awesome experiences! We even offer a Sweets & Victorian food walk with a stop at the Painted Ladies. For more brunch tips and tricks check out the Stretchy Pants Food Walks. We also have cooking classes and custom events for your next office or holiday party.
By Susannah Chovnick
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