Lunch and brunch gem in SF’s South Park neighborhood: The Butler and The Chef bistro

While there’s no shortage of lunch and brunch places in San Francisco’s SOMA (south of Market) neighborhood, especially close to the AT&T ball park, it’s not easy to find one that calls itself a French bistro and serves delicious pastries, breads and charcuterie. In general, most restaurants close to the ball park serve ball park food: burgers, hotdogs, “Mexican” grub, chicken wings, greasy tasteless fries. But if you walk a couple of blocks up from King Street, to South Park, home of many tech startups, you will discover an oasis of peace and culinary delights (such as the recently reviewed South Park Cafe, which is also a French bistro). The Butler and The Chef is definitely a local gem and one hopes that it stays that way. It’s open only during the day for breakfast, lunch and brunch. I like to come here for meetings because the food is simple and delicious, and you can sit outside on warm days.

  • Vibe: Cute little French bistro in front of South Park, unpretentious, filled with people from the neighborhood enjoying a cup of espresso or a salad; weekends attract families and people with dogs. Perfect place to avoid the ballpark crowd (who have a tendency to become rather loud after a few beers).
  • Pros: excellent charcuterie plate; good pain perdu (French toast) and breads; good coffee, Wi-Fi; the park is quiet and civilized, a place to get away from the car-infested frenzy of the neighborhood (which is close to the freeway ramps to the Bay Bridge and the ball park).
  • Cons: crowded on weekends especially for brunch; outdoor seating is only for two persons per table so if there are 3 or more of you, it’s definitely a crowd and you’re relegated to indoor seating.

The Butler and The Chef
155A South Park
San Francisco, CA

About Esme Vos

Esme Vos is the founder of Mapplr, a travel site featuring boutique hotels, luxury resorts, travel guides and restaurant reviews. You can find her on and Twitter.