When you are on the tot clock, the earlier the better for brunch and thankfully, long-gone are the days when an early brunch spot opened at 11 a.m. We’ve pulled together our favorite local breakfasts that offer kid-friendly favorites like pancakes, waffles and scrambled eggs for families whose morning routines might begin with the sunrise. Hit up one of these and then head to a local favorite playground—or better yet—one of our favorite museum exhibits—to burn off all that good-for-you energy.

Best Brunch Spots in San Francisco

The Ferry Building Marketplace: Early birds know that the Ferry Building is full of breakfast options for early risers. With gorgeous views of the Bay and a playground right across the street, it’s a no-brainer breakfast spot when you have the kids in tow. Here are a bunch of our early morning faves located in this iconic spot:

Daily Driver: This original Dogpatch bagel shop is also at the Ferry Building serving up delicious bagels, butter and cream cheese. Their wood-fired bagel recipe isn’t NY or Montreal style, but as unique as the Bay Area. Get a bagel and schmear to-go and sit outside watching the birds greet the morning. If you happen to be in the Dogpatch area, feel free to stop by and grab a bag for the week. 

Open: Mon.-Sat., 8 a.m.-2 p.m. & Sun. 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

Donut Farm: Founded in 2006 by local musician and activist Josh Levine, Donut Farm produces a range of handcrafted vegan and organic donuts, making it the perfect stop for a guilt-free treat. Donut Farm is dedicated to minimizing its footprint, meticulously selecting local and sustainably produced ingredients beyond a standard most any other donut shop can claim.

Open: Every day at 8 a.m.

Grande Creperie: Crepes are the perfect brunch item, and with sweet and savory crepes enjoyed outside on a beautiful Sunday morning, you might want to bookmark this spot now. Directly from Le Marais Bakery, husband and wife duo are bringing France to the Bay Area with buckwheat galettes and sweet crepes.

Open: Tues.- Sun., 8 a.m.- 3 p.m.

Best Brunch Spots Located Just Outside the Ferry Building

Biscuit Bender: No longer in the Ferry Building and in its new location in the Dogpatch, this bakery prides itself on bringing the Southern favorites to the Bay Area. Owner Van Dao offers a unique variety of homemade buttermilk biscuits—from sweet (peanut butter chocolate chip, lemon poppy seed, Mexican hot chocolate) to savory (wild mushroom, bacon maple, corn jalapeno). Biscuit accompaniments are also available, including flavored butter and jams.

Open: Tues.-Thurs. & Sat.-Sun., 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

Boogaloos: Get to this Mission favorite early to avoid crowds. No need to distract the kids until the food arrives here—artwork and colorful mosaics cover all the walls. This is also a great choice if you are a vegan or vegetarian (the Soyrizo-N-Eggs is fantastic!).

Open: Every day from 8 a.m.–3 p.m.

Sweet Maple: Fast service and organic ingredients are the game’s name at this Lower Pacific Heights eatery known for its spicy and sweet Millionaire’s Bacon. Kids will love the pancake with a choice of bacon, pork-lime sausage or chicken mango sausage. Parents will love the bottomless mimosas or the double kick of the espresso martini.

Open: Every day from 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

Beach Chalet: This spot wins for best views hands down and is also open at 9 a.m. to get your day started right. You can’t go wrong with the lemon ricotta beignets or the baked French toast. Savory fans gravitate to the corned beef hash. You can often find live music here and it’s a great spot to kick off a day exploring Golden Gate Park.

Open: Every day at 9 a.m.

Best Brunch Spots in the East Bay

Sam’s Log Cabin: What kid wouldn’t want to eat in a quaint little log cabin? While the location is historic (the cabin has been there since 1930), the food is modern and there are many organic options. Standouts here include the Cinnamon Currant French Toast and Biscuits and Gravy. Also popular on the breakfast menu are Pork Braised Collard Greens White Corn grits and House-Made Scones.

Insider Tip: If you happen to be there on a sunny morning, grab a seat in the great back patio area.

Open: Sat. & Sun., 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

Café M: This spacious, airy establishment is right in the heart of the Fourth Street shopping area. It’s a great place to stop and fuel up on California-style cuisine before hitting the shops with the kids. Great items to try include Cinnamon Stuffed French Toast (complete with mascarpone filling and banana compote), Aztec Huevos Rancheros and Grapefruit Mimosas.

Insider Tip: If there is a wait, Café M can text you when your table is ready.

Open: Every day at 8:30 a.m.

Rockridge Cafe:This diner-style eatery has been serving early morning favorites since 1973. Try the Ricotta Special with ricotta cakes, eggs and bacon, or hook the kids up with the kiddie-sized challah french toast. They have plenty of high chairs and stroller parking to accommodate all the families that come.

Insider Tip: Get there before 9 a.m. to avoid crowds. 

Open: Every day from 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

Best Brunch Spots on the Penninsula

Crepevine: This Peninsula favorite packs in families for brunch and with good reason—their crepes are a treat both parents and kids will love. The menu is extensive, but a favorite is the Burlingame Sweet Crepe made with strawberries, caramelized bananas, Nutella and chocolate sauce. They also have egg scrambles, omelets, pancakes and wraps, and the kid’s menu has popular items like pancakes and eggs. The Safari Cooler (orange, carrot and apple) is a must-try.

Note: Crepevine has several locations throughout the Bay Area, there’s probably one near you, ready to serve you shortly after the sun comes up.

Open: Every day at 7:30 a.m.

Apple Fritter: Apple Fritter is a very popular San Mateo breakfast spot and its traditional American fare brings in the crowds. If you’re hungry, order the Tooth Fairy (three slices of thick egg bread dipped in house-made cinnamon vanilla batter, served with three pieces of bacon and two eggs). There’s also plenty of tyke-friendly food. The star of this place is the donuts. The Bacon Maple Bar rivals Voo Doo Donuts in Portland.

Open: Sat. & Sun., 8 a.m.–2 p.m., Mon.-Fri. 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

Millbrae Pancake House: The Millbrae Pancake House has been an institution since 1959. Walking in you’ll notice the vintage wallpaper, the old-fashioned booths and the classic surrounding décor. It’s so old-school that it’s hip again. The food is good, the service is fast and the Smiley Face pancakes are a hit with the kids. Bonus: there’s breakfast all day here!

Open: Every day at 7 a.m.

Best Brunch Spots in the South Bay

Stacks: Stacks’ menu is large and varied in the classic American breakfast tradition and the pancakes are ridiculously good here. They also have great ‘Breakfast Basics’ options where you can customize your eggs, potatoes and bagel to include whatever you like—perfect for picky kiddos. Two great things about Stacks are its quick service and the fact that if you order a cup of coffee, they bring you an entire carafe full!

Good to know: If you encounter a wait here on a Sunday, put your name in and then stroll through the nearby Campbell farmer’s market.

Open: Every day at  7 a.m.

Hobee’s: Since the early 1980s, families have dined at Hobee’s for their famous blueberry coffee cake and cinnamon-orange tea. There’s the original location right across from De Anza College in Cupertino as well as five other spots in the South Bay/Peninsula. It has a super laid-back vibe that’s perfect for semi-unruly small diners.

Open: Every day at 8 a.m.

Scrambl’z: This is a restaurant to be enjoyed by kids. From the moment you walk in, everything you see will delight them—including a converted VW bus in the dining room. The space is colorful, loud and completely unique. There’s a great kid’s menu here with lots of options for little ones and an over-the-top hot chocolate. While there’s plenty of seating inside, they also have a great patio in the back with picnic tables.

Tip: You can call ahead to put your name in or to reserve the VW bus! So cool!

Open: Every day at 7 a.m.

Los Gatos Cafe:This local cafe is a mainstay on the Los Gatos main drag. It’s a fun, casual and relaxed atmosphere. The menu here is HUGE. Kids even have their own menu where they can pick how they want their pancakes—Mickey Mouse, bunny rabbit or dinosaur style!

Open: Every day at 7 a.m.

Best Brunch Spots in the North Bay & Marin

The Half Day Cafe: The Half Day Café is a family-run business located in a historic building in Kentfield. This beautiful brick gem dates back all the way to the 1930s. They have all the brunch options-omelets, pancakes, even Green Eggs and Ham. Don’t forget to check out the weekly specials!

Open: Mon.-Fri., 7:30 a.m., Sat. & Sun., 8 a.m.

Barefoot Cafe: This cute neighborhood café offers a little bit of everything for breakfast—from fresh Equator coffee to organic produce to the delicious strawberry waffles. The all-fruit smoothies are a must-try. The Mickey Mouse pancakes here are a hit with the kids!

Open: Sat. & Sun., 7 a.m.–3 p.m.

Poggio: If you haven’t introduced the kids to the divinity that is the Liege waffle, now is the time. Poggio offers these breakfast treats topped with Nutella (everyone’s fave) or maple syrup. Egg lovers can indulge in the frittata for the day to get their fill of veggies.

Open: Every day at 6:30 a.m.

Comforts: Comforts is one of San Anselmo’s beloved eateries. Because it is so popular, you may have to wait for a table on the patio or in the restaurant, but the wait is worth it (and all the better reasons to show up at 8). The bunch menu changes weekly and is always filled with healthy and fresh options.

Insider Tip: Don’t leave without checking out the dessert cases and grab a cookie to go!

Open: Every day at 8 a.m.

—Melanie Ulate & Sandra Lee

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