If there’s one thing San Franciscans do well, it’s brunch. I often joke with visitors that if they want a TRUE San Francisco experience, then we have to stand in line for an hour at a popular brunch place (sadly, sometimes they don’t realize I’m joking and we actually do this).
Zazie is somewhat of a SF institution. Nestled in a narrow space on the main strip of the peaceful/quirky Cole Valley neighborhood, Zazie is a French-inspired bistro that has been serving some of the best brunch in San Francisco since 1992. In fact, it is SO good, it’s where Adele chooses to brunch when she comes to the SF Bay Area…and “rumour has it” she waits in the long lines just like the rest of us! (Hehe. See what I did there?)
A friend was visiting SF and since I’ve been wanting to try Zazie for a while, I asked if she’d like to join. Thankfully, she’s a big foodie traveler like I am, so she obliged.
I was dreading the prospect of waiting in a long line, but when I walked into Zazie at 9:30 a.m. on a Tuesday, I was seated immediately! There were actually a few tables open. Yay–no wait!
Here’s what we ordered:
Divorceé Eggs Benedict
Eggs Benedict is kind of the measuring stick against which I compare all brunch places, and I can honestly say Zazie’s Eggs Benedict is probably the best I’ve ever had. The bacon, despite being smothered in egg yolk and hollandaise, was perfectly crisp. The avocado and bacon were just the right touch–and the fontina cheese gave it a sharp kick that made it truly mouthwatering. It comes with a choice of garlic roasted potatoes or salad; I went with potatoes, for obvious reasons. Also, the potatoes come with whole cloves of roasted garlic that are creamy and delicious.
“This tastes like Christmas!” I remarked to my brunch companion. The touch of cinnamon in this inch-thick fluffy pancake reminds me of chilly days and cozy fireplaces. It’s slightly sweet and topped with lemon curd and a poached pear, with a small side of butter.
Greece Scrambled Eggs
My friend ordered this and I failed to try it. But she cleaned her plate, so I think it was good! ;)
Pancakes du Midi
A huge, fluffy pancake topped with fresh fruit. “This is clever,” my friend quipped,” because it forces you to eat the healthy fruit before you can get to the pancake.”
If you want to eat brunch at Zazie, here’s what you need to know:
Location: 941 Cole Street, San Francisco
- Zazie does NOT take reservations for brunch on weekends, and it only accepts reservations for brunch on weekdays for LARGE parties.
- If you want the best chance of having NO wait times, then the best time to visit Zazie is on a weekday, particularly Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. When I went to Zazie at 9:30 a.m. on a Tuesday, there were quite a few tables open, but around 11 a.m., it started getting crowded! So definitely go early morning. They open at 8.
- Zazie does not accept tips. Zazie prides itself on paying its employees living wages, giving them paid leave, and a 401K plan. There’s a no-tip policy, and the waiters are some of the most attentive and friendly I’ve ever met!
- Their menu changes. Zazie’s staff is constantly dreaming up new creations based on seasons and holidays, like their Prix-Fixe menu for Bastille Day. With that in mind, be prepared to discover new menu items when you visit Zazie!