My friend group has an unofficial pact of meeting for breakfast every week to catch up and indulge in the San Francisco café scene. In case we didn’t get enough of each other on the weekends (which will never happen), waking up a smidge extra on a weekday to have one-on-one chats with the people I care about has become a sanity check and friendship-strengthening exercise. It allows me to start the day off right while exploring new neighborhood spots like Arlequin Café & Food to Go.
A casual offshoot of the famous Absinthe in Hayes Valley, Arlequin is a less fussy, yet just as high-quality establishment with pastries from local celebrity chef Bill Corbett – an insanely talented man whose desserts I really admire. It serves food all day in the form of sandwiches, salads, and breakfast, which was my lovely friend’s and my choice meal when eating here.
Arlequin boasts a pretty robust breakfast menu, something I was not expecting when walking in; that also incidentally means that I’ll be making my way back here for brunch so I can get in on that breakfast burrito and granola parfait. Many of their entrees seem more fit for weekend eats, but on a weekday, a simpler meal of house-made pastries seemed fitting.
One of the signature items here is Chef Corbett’s brioche doughnuts, which sadly I didn’t try this time around (this does seem to solidify that doughnuts are definitely trending in 2014. They’ve already taken Portland by storm, and clearly SF is next). The pastries were delicious, and my only complaint is that they were warm. On a Tuesday morning when we were two of four people in the café, it seemed like a natural thing to offer to warm them up. There was no mention of where the coffee came from, but it was a large and very necessary cup to have after a long weekend.
I would come back again, mostly because I admire Chef Corbett’s work too much not to, and because there is still a brioche doughnut and brunch menu to try out. For now, Arlequin Café is a pretty standard morning stopover in Hayes Valley.
384 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
Hours: 8am – 7pm on most days