5 Bakeries You Have to Try to Believe in San Francisco
Sure, San Francisco is known for its super-cool tech scene, hip cocktails, and amazing array of arts and culture, but it’s also recently experienced a boom in world-class bakeries -- and they’re worth a Bay Area trip in and of themselves. If you’ve never tried the round crusty cake kouign amann, get ready for a heavenly surprise from b. Patisserie. If decadence is your thing, Mr. Holmes Bakeshop has wildly over-the-top Cruffins calling your name. Feeling more savory than sweet? Craftsman & Wolves will rev you up with locally roasted coffee and an egg-filled muffin that hits the spot any time of day. And there’s more. So, so much more. Read on to discover the bevy of bakeries dotting San Francisco’s famous 7x7 (that’s seven square miles winding hills and city streets to whip you into shape after one epic food tour). There’s something for everyone. Or, to be more accurate, there’s everything for everyone. We suggest trying it all.
Arguably San Francisco’s most famous bakeshop, Tartine Bakery began in 2002 and still maintains lines of loyal patrons every weekend. The Mission District location is the OG. Insiders know to order a quiche to-go so they can skip the Sunday wait but we suggest staying a while to peruse the cases of morning buns and flaky croissants, and enjoy lunch on-site if it’s your first time at the James Beard Award-winner. As a sweet addition, Tartine will open a new concept, Tartine Manufactury in the Heath Ceramics building later this summer (you can even purchase Tartine Teal, the bakery’s dishware collaboration with Heath, while you’re there).
600 Guerrero St.; 415-487-2600; tartinebakery.com
Craftsman & Wolves
Amidst the surplus of stellar patisseries in San Francisco, the award-winning French fare at Craftsman and Wolves (CAW to loyal customers) keeps food fans and coffee snobs flocking to its Valencia St. digs. Soaring ceilings reveal a 20-foot pastry case with specialties like The Rebel Within—a savory cake cradling a soft-cooked egg—and Oakland-roasted Highwire coffee.
746 Valencia St.; 415-913-7713; craftsman-wolves.com
Three Babes Bakeshop
This farmers' market staple has a cult following that gathers at its Ferry Building outpost every Saturday to stock up on its speciality: pies. Founded in 2011 in an oh-so-San Francisco way -- on Kickstarter! -- the “three babes” are technically just two, Lenore and Anna, who are committed to sustainable farming practices and local, organic ingredients. Try one of their signature pies like salted honey walnut, bourbon pecan, or apricot blueberry crumble. If you miss the Saturday farmers' market, lookout for Three Babes’ brick-and-mortar shop slated later this year.
For pickup or delivery call 415.617.9774 or order online at threebabesbakeshop.com
Mr. Holmes Bakehouse
For those with a mean sweet tooth, Mr. Holmes Bakehouse is pure heaven. Its signature? The Cruffin. Yes, a killer combination of a croissant and a muffin, with buttery, flaky layers of pastry filled with an ever-changing array of pastry creams in flavors like strawberry milkshake and Fluffernutter. Add cheeky, on-point branding (its gold embossed boxes and neon signs read: I got baked in San Francisco), and a cult following (over 46,000 Instagram followers and legions of loyal customers who line up hours before doors open each morning), and you’ve got yourself an only-in-S.F. bakery that’s worth the hype.
1042 Larkin St.; mrholmesbakehouse.com
This buzzy bakery is best known for its rotating menu of kouign amann, the crusty round cake that originated in Brittany, France, in the 1800s. The humble pastry is closely related to a croissant, but sweeter (it’s spiked with sugar) and denser. B. Patisserie crafts inventive kouign amann flavors like pineapple-pink peppercorn, in addition to more classic profiles like chocolate hazelnut and cinnamon sugar, depending on the season. Yeah, they’re all to die for. If you’ve never had one, we suggest starting with the original -- it’s deceptively simple so trust on this one. There’s also a dizzying selection of macarons, tarts, and other French pastries if you’re looking for variety. And while there is usually a line out the door at b. Patisserie, you can also drop into b. On the Go, its lunch location across the block, offering a small menu of sandwiches and salads that are equally delicious.
2821 California St.; 415-440-1700; bpatisserie.com