Mapplr’s top cafes in San Francisco

San Francisco has many wonderful cafes: some are European style with good food and fabulous people-watching; others are great for bringing your laptop and using as an office. Some simply have excellent coffee.

Let’s start with places to get a good espresso: my top pick goes to Blue Bottle Café at the renovated Mint Plaza. In addition to coffee, Blue Bottle serves very delicious desserts and sandwiches. You can take them outside to enjoy on the steps of Mint Plaza on a warm sunny day.

Axis Café at the base of Portero Hill offers a contemporary chic interior and a secluded outdoor patio which is perfect for those few warm days in San Francisco. Axis has free Wi-Fi and good food so it’s also an excellent place for a casual lunch meeting. Windows users beware! When I had lunch there a few months ago, I counted 9 Macs and 1 PC.

In South Beach by the Embarcadero, try Crossroads Café, which has good food, coffee, magazines and books. It’s a cozy place to sit, read or work. If the nearby Townsend Café is full, drop by Crossroads, which feels more like the neighborhood hangout.

For more intense people watching, try Café Flore in the Castro, a popular gay (and straight) hangout. Located across from Gold’s Gym on Market Street, you can watch the gorgeous residents of the Castro glide by and wonder how they can stay in such perfect shape while savouring the luscious cakes and pastries on offer. The kitchen is open 7am to 10pm and the outdoor patio is a wonderful place to relax. There’s free Wi-Fi so you can also do work there.

Ritual Coffee Roasters in the Mission is the place to go with your MacBook and be part of the world of geeks at work. Just make sure to support the local establishment and buy a coffee from time to time if you intend to park yourself there for hours.

This leads me to The Grove with two locations: Fillmore Street in Pacific Heights and Chestnut Street in the Marina. Good places to meet people, have a light lunch or enjoy some draft beer. My favorite breakfast dish at the Fillmore branch is the oatmeal with strawberries.

Café De La Presse on Grant Street near the Chinatown gate offers French bistro ambiance, as well as over 200 international magazines and newspapers. It’s a good place for breakfast and lunch, but also for coffee especially if you are shopping around Union Square.

Soccer fans head to Café Roma in North Beach to sip espresso, enjoy the Wi-Fi connection and catch Champions League matches. Ambiance is Italian and there’s a good gelato place next door.

Café Du Soleil in the Duboce Park Area is a sunny French café with outdoor seating that gets a lot of sun. There’s also free Wi-Fi.

Café Gratitude is an alternative eco café that uses only organic produce. The café also sells books, clothing and more.

Finally, there’s Patisserie Philippe where they have amazing butter croissants that melt in your mouth like the ones in Paris. It’s nearly impossible to find a place in San Francisco that makes croissants like these.

Blue Bottle Cafe
66 Mint Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

Axis Cafe
1201 8th Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
+1 415 437 2947

Crossroads Café
699 Delancey St
San Francisco, CA 94107
+1 415 836 5624

Café Flore
2298 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94114
+1 415 621 8579

Ritual Coffee Roasters
1026 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

The Grove Fillmore
2016 Fillmore Street
San Francisco, CA 94115

The Grove Chestnut
2250 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA 94123

Cafe de la Presse
352 Grant Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94108
+1 415 398 2680

Cafe Roma
526 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
+1 415 296 7942

Cafe Du Soleil
200 Filmore Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
+1 415 934 8637

Café Gratitude
2400 Harrison Street (at 20th Street)
1336 9th Ave, (at Irving)
San Francisco, CA (also in Berkeley and San Rafael)

Patisserie Philippe
655 Townsend Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
+1 415 558 8016

Here’s a link to a Google map showing all of Mapplr’s cafes in San Francisco, including the favorites listed above.

View Larger Map

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.