15 Top Spots For Elegant Toasts Across San Francisco

Let's talk about bread. Throughout the centuries, every culture across every continent has baked bread. In the modern era, people eat this household staple for breakfast, dinner, and dessert; it's enjoyed as a low-budget option and elevated to fine-dining standards by chefs across the globe. Although we all have our favorite variety of the staple, one is arguably the most prominent of all: Sourdough. And as it turns out, this beloved bread kickstarted San Francisco's love affair with bread. It all began during The Gold Rush of the late 19th century when prospective miners rushed to California in droves. Times were hard, nutrition was slim, and bread starters were productive — Soon, amateur bakers filled the city and began to notice that the moisture in the air from heavy fog made the bread more flavorful in San Francisco.

Over a century later, bakeries across the city sell San Francisco-style sourdough worldwide, and patrons queue for hours to get their hands on the tangy bread. More recently, cafés have sprung up across the city, presenting the city's iconic bread gently toasted, buttered, and finished with unexpected toast toppings. This isn't the toast you throw together for breakfast on a rushed morning — no, this is decidedly decadent. Don't worry, it's not all about the avocado, we promise. Are you ready to explore toast as you've never experienced before? Join us as we scour San Francisco's best spots for elegant toast.

Jane on Larkin

Amanda Michael, the founder of JANE, has conquered the San Francisco brunch scene. Since 2011, Michael has opened a staggering seven Jane locations across the city, with each establishment focusing on freshly made meals cooked from scratch daily.

Toast lovers should make a beeline for Jane on Larkin, a small yet airy eatery that was the first to feature the brand's signature range of bread. There's multigrain, sourdough, gluten-free nut and seed, and whole-wheat to pick from; you can buy it by the loaf or choose from a tantalizing selection of toast slices.

Avocado enthusiasts will be pleased to know that Jane on Larkin has an elevated mashed avocado toast featuring pickled shallots, jalapeño, and poached eggs — there's also a heartier toast topped with hummus, avocado, and tomato. When you've had too much avocado (is there such a thing?), spring pea, lemon, radish, watercress, and egg toast come to the rescue. Are you craving something sweet? No need to turn to the pastries; the classic duo of peanut butter and banana, plus honey and flax seeds, is waiting. Enjoy it with hot coffee, chocolate, or tea, and you've got a perfect morning.

Mazarine Coffee

Picture this: fluffy, soft, and deliciously buttery French pain de mie smothered in creamy sweet ricotta, a drizzle of dark golden honey, a sprinkle of sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and glistening fresh fruits. Mazarine Coffee, a small coffeehouse just a short walk from Union Square, offers this perfectly Instagram-able (and mouth-wateringly delicious) toast on the modest menu, plus more.

The warm and welcoming atmosphere of the small coffee shop is a welcome reprise from the hustle and bustle of busy Market Street. For those who like the liveliness, there are a few tables outside for people-watching and a quick catch-up over lunch. It's one of many ways you can observe the owners have modernized a French influence throughout Mazarine Coffee (its namesake is the Bibliothèque Mazarine, in Paris). Nonetheless, the main draw remains the food — sample an almost too-pretty-to-eat toast topped with vibrant beetroot hummus, sliced avocado, salty crumbled ricotta salata, and toasted sesame seeds, or dig into an up-market take on ham, eggs, and cheese on whole-wheat toast. We'll leave the rest for you to discover.

As Quoted

Organic, allergy-conscious, and wholesome food is the focus of Presidio-based eatery As Quoted. Co-owner Andie Yamagami (along with her sister, Kara) began to pursue her dream of establishing a woman-owned, wholefoods-based café in the industry after personally experiencing the benefits of a clean diet. The focused menu includes a range of healthy soups, smoothies, salads, bowls, and elegant toasts.

Unique to As Quoted is the "BLT" toast, complete with pasture-raised bacon, crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, creamy vegan mayonnaise, ranch, and garnishes of chives and basil. Our second choice would be the sweet toast: Take your pick from a range of spreads sure to please any crowd, from the classic almond butter to the more adventurous cacao hazelnut or maca root and cinnamon spread. And to take it up a notch, why not add fresh fruits on top for an extra burst of flavor and freshness?


Trendy craft coffee and elegant artisan toasts may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the notoriously gritty San Francisco neighborhood of The Tenderloin. However, "in the know" locals will direct you to an indispensable fixture of the area: Scullery, a cozy and compact coffee shop founded in 2016 by Scottish native Sharon Lindley. Although Lindley has made San Francisco her home for many years, she incorporated echoes of her heritage throughout the eatery, particularly evident in the name — a historical British term meaning "small kitchen" — and the menu. The business has since changed hands, but Scullery remains an underexposed haunt with uniquely British dishes.

Expect a small toast menu, a little cabinet of pastries, and a range of drinks (locally sourced coffee and British classic PJ Tips tea are standouts). Welsh rarebit is a must-try — sourdough topped with melted grilled cheddar cheese — and tastes especially good with chutney.


San Francisco boasts an outstanding bakery scene, making it a challenge for anyone to establish their name and stand out among the city's many talented bakers. However, one spot has differentiated itself from the rest: Breadbelly in Richmond. A distinctive bright aquamarine façade and warm windows beckon customers into the modern, elegant, and airy café, which, since its inception in 2018, has consistently seen queues down the street.

So, what's so remarkable about the baked goods at Breadbelly? The story begins with its founders: Clement Hsu, James Wong, and Katherine Campecino-Wong, who met while working at Atelier Crenn, a French fine-dining restaurant on Fillmore street. They used their experience with pâtisserie, applied the flavors of their Asian heritage, and incorporated them into American classics. Here you'll find an alluring selection of pastries with surprising ingredients (think jujube, bee pollen, and guava-rose syrup), takes on savory snacks (spicy peanut sauce hot dogs, anyone?), and the eminent kaya toast.

While the Breadbelly menu changes daily — meaning that you can go back and be surprised each time — Kaya toast, the item that made the café legendary, is a mainstay. House-baked light and pillowy Japanese milk bread are toasted until golden, piped with rich, sweet coconut-pandan jam, and finished with a touch of Maldon sea salt. We can certainly see why people queue for it.


Just a short distance from popular tourist spots is Union Street, the heart of a shopping neighborhood filled with trendy eateries, independent shops, and specialty boutiques, all with San Francisco's famous historic Victorian architecture. Nestled amongst other restaurants is Avotoasty, a Hispanic and woman-owned airy hangout ideal for brunch.

If you hadn't guessed, Avotoasty is all about avocados. Founder Sofia Pinzon, who hails from Columbia, believes that enjoying simple, nourishing, and vibrant food is the best form of self-care. While delicious and healthy açaí bowls, smoothies, and beetroot lattes fill the menu, we can't help but focus our attention on the toasts. Artisan sourdough forms the base of each toast, with most toppings incorporating avocado in some form. Picture simple avocado toast with poached egg; smooth hummus with avocado, olive oil, and micro greens; silky avocado topped with juicy tomatoes, mozzarella balls, basil, and balsamic glaze; perhaps avocado with smoked salmon, or delicate prosciutto ribbons.

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention that Avotoasty is also the only place in San Francisco with "unicorn" toast, an eclectic and vibrant choice with pastel-tinted sweet cream cheese and rainbow sprinkles. Pretty? Yes. Iconic? Yes. What else needs to be said?

Kitchen Story

First and foremost, it's important to note that Kitchen Story is not a toast-focused restaurant. Based in the culturally-rich Castro district of San Francisco, Kitchen Story advertises its food as a fusion of Californian and Asian cuisines. The fusion theme is fully showcased throughout its dinner menu, which features a plethora of comforting, spicy, and flavorful dishes. Conversely, the restaurant gained recognition for its traditionally American brunch menu, particularly the deep-fried French toast and millionaire's bacon. Today, we're here to discuss Kitchen Story's French toast; it may deviate from the standard options, yet it remains a must-have for anyone seeking the most elegant toast in San Francisco.

Let's start with the filling: Sweet, nutty, and rich mascarpone fills the toast, which is covered in a golden-crispy batter, dusted with confectioners' sugar, and topped with honey butter, maple syrup, fresh berries, and zesty citrus slices. Plus, the presentation is exquisite — we can see why it's celebrated.


Soon, food enthusiasts will realize that city centers are not the only spot to find the best eateries. By venturing a little beyond San Francisco's city center and exploring the peaceful community of Outer Sunset, you'll discover the aptly named Outerlands. A gem that's got reviewers raving, the restaurant features homely salvaged wood decor, beautifully presented plates, house-made bread, and some of the best toast in the city.

Outerlands makes most of its toast from sourdough made with levain (starter). Standard offerings include everything from simple toast with fruit jam to the more complex. For vegetarians, there are maitake mushrooms with caramelized onions, goats cheese, frisée, and balsamic; pescatarians will adore smoked trout with dill, capers, cucumber, radish, and crème fraîche; while French toast with seasonal fruits and almond slivers will please the dessert-lovers. Outerlands also runs toast specials regularly, so check before you order.


We can't talk about toast without mentioning Scandinavia — this small region in Northwestern Europe usually refers to Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, but it can also include Finland, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands. Scandinavia is the home of smørrebrød, open-faced sandwiches (pronounced smore-eh-brohd) that form an essential component of the diet in the region. Smørrebrød, a dish with traditional toppings such as pickled vegetables, fish, and paté, has a foundation of dense, dark, and nutritious rye bread known as rugbrød. These days, innovative chefs are creating elegant, sophisticated versions of what was likely once a humble worker's dish.

After living in Copenhagen, Denmark, for many years, chef Nichole Accettola was inspired to bring a little bit of Scandinavia to San Francisco. Katine, a modern eatery with large, communal-style tables, serves elevated Scandinavian cuisine alongside a range of smørrebrød, which change daily depending on seasonality. Expect vegetarian, pescatarian, and omnivore offerings atop sprouted rye and plated with delicate herbs. Do note that Kantine shuts early — it's strictly breakfast, brunch, and lunch.

Bluestone Lane

The U.S. has a remarkably sturdy coffee culture; after all, Starbucks, the largest coffee brand in the world, was founded in the country. On the other side of the globe, Australia has developed a unique coffee culture with "magic coffee," an invention pioneered in Melbourne, Australia's coffee capital. Throughout the years, the influence of Australian coffee culture worldwide has grown, and one of the most pivotal players in the industry is Bluestone Lane.

The chain has five locations throughout San Francisco — the first restaurant opened in the Financial District, followed by Union Square, The East Cut, SOMA, and Theater District. The menus, which offer Australian café fare along with coffee, differ slightly from location to location. The simplistic option is toast with vegemite and butter, an Australian classic. There are also crowd pleasers like smashed avocado toast with chili flakes, cinnamon and honey banana, peanut butter and berries, or smoked salmon with cream cheese. Take your pick!

Farm : Table

The "farm-to-table" social movement prioritizes locally sourced food, traceability, sustainability, seasonality, and perhaps most importantly, community support. Although the drive for accountability regarding our food has been rising since the 2000s, not many restaurants — with a few notable exceptions — have embraced the authentic ethos of the farm-to-table trend.

One of those outliers is Farm : Table, a quaint European-inspired restaurant just a few blocks from San Francisco's Union Square. As the name suggests, the business revolves around farm-fresh ingredients, resulting in frequent menu changes to accommodate seasonal produce. Despite this, toast remains an enduring staple of the menu. Choices of fruit, salmon, and avocado are typical, with the buttered bread slathered with fresh mascarpone and topped with sweet fruits being a customer favorite. There's not much seating inside and only a small patio outside, so arrive early to get a seat.

The Mill

Behind the quaint brick walls of The Mill is a collaboration between two quintessentially San Francisco businesses: Josey Baker Bread and Four Barrel Coffee. While Josey Baker (yes, his last name is Baker) produces the baked goods, Four Barrel Coffee supplies coffee. The partnership began in 2011 when the founder of Four Barrel Coffee, a local and independent coffee roaster, invited Baker, who had been making artisanal bread from his apartment since 2010, to join forces on a café concept.

Since then, The Mill has become synonymous with elegant toast and hot coffee. The café, which is bright, homely, and features shelves of vinyl records, has no WiFi, and the seats disappear quickly. You'll find piles of freshly baked whole-grain bread stacked against the wall, and the toast menu hangs above the counter on a wooden board.

The toast that put The Mill on the map is its simple cinnamon sugar with butter and sea salt, so it's always recommended. But there's creamy avocado mash; lemony ricotta atop homemade jam; smoked trout with rye bread; sage butter and egg-in-a-hole; pumpkin butter, almond butter, and chocolate-hazelnut spread, too. That's not to mention the specials and the gluten-free bread — the only thing to do is try it for yourself.

Nourish Cafe

Does a toast sampler sound like an ideal brunch to you? If it does, you'll want to head to Nourish Cafe, a 100% plant-based eatery with two locations: Nob Hill and Presidio Terrace, respectively. The bright and airy café, which opened in 2015 with a focus on whole foods, ethical eating, and clean ingredients, has been prospering ever since. Both locations' menus feature a medley of salads, smoothies, bowls, sandwiches, and toasts.

If you're anything like us, you won't be able to choose between avocado chimichurri toast, Mediterranean hummus, and chocolate hazelnut. Luckily, there's an easy solution: Nourish Cafe offers a sampler of three different toasts (your choice), so you can try as many flavors as possible. The eatery also supplies gluten-free bread on request for just a small charge.

Tartine Inner Sunset

At Tartine, it's all about the bread. For the founders Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt, working with bread is intuitive. Combining age-old wisdom concerning the science of bread-making with art, craft, and philosophy is what sets Tartine apart. Every step of the process, from milling the flour to reading the weather and working the dough, is carefully overseen by their team of specialist bakers. Customers obviously respond well to the love put into the operation; Tartine has four locations across the Bay Area, five in LA, and six establishments in Seoul, Korea.

Our pick is Tartine Inner Sunset, a modern and casual eatery found within a stone's throw of Golden Gate Park. Tartine Inner Sunset also delivers the best menu selections — you don't want to miss the thick-cut buttermilk toast topped with whipped ricotta, sweet orange marmalade, pistachios, lemon, and lavender honey. We know what we'll be dreaming about tonight.

Lapisara Eatery

On the scene since 2018, Lapisara Eatery (pronounced La-Phit-Sa-Ra) is a woman-owned, Asian-owned business that sets itself apart from other spots on this list by offering more than just brunch. This colorful and chic eatery in Lower Nob Hill serves up American-Thai fusion cuisine across two substantial menus, one dedicated to brunch and the other to dinner.

While you won't find a wide selection of toast, Lapisara Eatery's offerings are classic, elegant, and beautifully presented. Avocado toast comes to life on a bed of rich, buttery brioche, crowned with a poached egg and a sprinkle of lemon zest that elevates the creamy avocado to perfection. The other stand-out opinion — smoked salmon toast — infuses the flavors of Mexico with bright pico de gallo, tangy sour cream, crisp red onion, and fresh greens. Whether it's traditionally American food or adventurous and aromatic Thai dishes, Lapisara does it all with flair and refinement.