I’ve always enjoyed reading through lists of the best places to eat in San Francisco. There’s definitely a bucket list that keeps on growing and growing and I hope to someday go to every place on the list. But sometimes, things that happen spontaneously or by chance are even more inspiring, especially when it comes to food.

These cafés are the result of just wandering around San Francisco and trying out new places. All of them share the fact that they have great food and should be your next destination to explore with friends and family.

Flour and Co

Lara Taniguchi

I’ve gone to Flour and Co so many times that I’ve lost count. When my mom and I were staying in San Francisco for a week, we headed there every morning for breakfast and made sure to stop by in the afternoon again for a snack.

Flour and Co has a wide selection of items, ranging from savory items to satisfy your brunch cravings to sweet items for an awesome way to start your day. One of my favorites is the Pimento Biscuit. The cheesy pimento sauce gives an awesome kick to the warm and flaky biscuit. I also love the Brown Butter Vanilla Bean Bread Pudding. The crunchy crust with bits of sprinkled sugar adds great contrast to the custard middle that makes it so addicting. 

Saint Frank Coffee

cake, coffee
Lara Taniguchi

Saint Frank Coffee is well known for its coffee and my mom swears by their cappuccino — she says it's the strongest cappuccino she can get in San Francisco.

Even though I don’t drink coffee, Saint Frank has a selection of pastries that I always get, especially the banana bread. I’m pretty sure that many people seem to agree because the several times that I’ve gone, the banana bread had run out. It’s not too sweet and just crumbles in your mouth. If you’re lucky, the only piece left will be the heel of the bread and you’ll get it for free!

Moka Coffee

cake, sweet, bread, pastry, chocolate
Lara Taniguchi

Moka Coffee is also a café that focuses more on their coffee but still has a great selection of foods. It’s a small and cozy place — perfect for a slow start to your morning or to settle and get some work done. I’ve tried their Coffee Crumble Cake which is absolutely divine. The cake is moist but light and airy, and the crumble topping on top gives the cake a good amount of sweetness. 

Caffe Trieste

ice, coffee, milk, espresso, tea, cream, mocha
Lara Taniguchi

Caffe Trieste in North Beach will whisk you off to Italy once you step inside, smell the coffee, and see the display of the pastries. Its cozy atmosphere makes you want to sit there and talk with family and friends over some coffee and treats.

I highly recommend getting the hot chocolate. The hot chocolate is creamy and foamy, but the best parts are the huge dollop of house-made whipped cream on top and the residue of the chocolate at the bottom — that's what your spoon is for. 

Marla Bakery

cake, tea, coffee, chocolate
Lara Taniguchi

Marla Bakery is a little stall at the Ferry Building that sells all sorts of baked goods. With tables outside, it’s perfect for a short rest from walking around the Ferry Building and enjoying the views at the piers.

The biscuits at Marla are my favorite. They have sweet and savory biscuits, and you should probably get both because it’s going to be hard to decide. The savory biscuit has tons of layers and is filled with a slight hint of cheese that brings all the flavors together.  

La Boulangerie de San Francisco

cake, sweet, pastry, cream, pie, bread
Lara Taniguchi

La Boulangerie de San Francisco has a great selection of breads and pastries, but there’s one dessert that always draws my eyes, stomach, and heart — the bread pudding. But it’s not just any bread pudding: It’s a Croissant Bread Pudding. When you use your fork to take a bite from the huge slice you receive, the fork cuts with a satisfying crunch through the flaky and buttery crust on top and glides through the creamy custard filled with croissant bits. It’s so indulgent that you won’t want to put your fork down. 

Caffe Sapore

sandwich, lettuce, tomato, avocado, cheese
Lara Taniguchi

Caffe Sapore is the place to go for lunch, especially for their bagels and salads. They are filled with fresh veggies, and the huge portions are sure to fill you up and get you ready for the rest of the day.

I usually get the Veggie Bagel, which is stuffed with avocado, tomato, sprouts, lettuce, cucumber, and onions, all dressed with some olive oil. You’re going to need to take a huge bite out of this bagel to try to get all the flavors at once, but it’ll be worth the struggle. Don’t forget to end your lunch with the hot chocolate, which is generously topped off with whipped cream.

There are definitely so many more cafés in San Francisco just waiting to be discovered. In our busy daily lives, it can be difficult to take time and just let go, but walking around and exploring is something I really enjoy doing and hope more people, including myself, will have more time for. Who knows what food place could be lying around the corner of the street you always hurried past?