We’ve been visiting San Francisco Bakery & Cafe since it opened in 1995 back when we both worked in the area and now that we live near them in Allandale (although the bride and her co-workers still stop in weekly for lunch from her office up off of Metric). The name says it all. The San Francisco bit comes from serving up California-style fresh and healthy food (although there are some decidedly unhealthy choices if you so choose). The bakery bit comes from the the fresh bread and pastries they prepare on-site. And cafe conveys that this is a friendly, un-fancy spot to get fed. When we first ate at the SanFran, the parents held the reigns at this family-owned business. They passed the operation down to the sons, one of which, along with his wife, continues the family tradition.
My go-to dish from the get-go has been the New England Clam Chowder served in a bread bowl. The bread bowl, created by slicing off the top of a monkey-head sized loaf of sourdough and carving out the innards, is perfectly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside (but dense enough to not get soppy). The bread perfectly complements the thick, flavorful chowder. Yes, it’s a hearty carb bomb, but it’s well worth the calories. The sandwiches are also superb, stacked between house-made bread and piled with the flavors of your choosing. Their French Onion Soup is sip-savory, with cheese bubbled over the dish conjuring your inner-archeologist to carefully chip the casein from the pottery. The bakery also serves breakfast, although we’ve not made it past the quiches, easily ordered, brought home, and warmed up for a lazy Saturday-morning brunch. The baked eggs are delicately littered with veggies while the thick and grainy crust jumps with butter and smoke.
Since we’ve been home due to the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak, we’ve enjoyed weekly orders of chow (including Saturday-morning quiches). SanFran reports that they’re ably surviving the shutdown, receiving solid support from their customers and the community. For me, it’s been good to reconnect with an old stalwart, a pleasant reminder of why they were a weekly stop-in when I worked in the area.
I wrote this review for the Allandale Neighbor.
– meh [think twice]
* OK [it’ll get the job done]
** good [solid neighborhood joint]
*** damn good [we’ll definitely be back]
**** yippity-yikes that was amazeballs [fantastic; one of the best]
***** holy sh!t [transcendental; best of the best] each $ = $10; cost is based on a typical dinner entrée and appetizer (no drinks)
each $ = $10; cost is based on a typical dinner entrée and appetizer (no drinks)