Sopping up golden yolk that oozed from its poached casing is the pièce de résistance of breakfast. Add some salty ham and rich, tangy Hollandaise sauce, and there really is nothing that comes as close to soothing your soul and soaking up the previous night's events quite like eggs Benedict. Thank you, Mr. Benedict (whoever you are). Before I wax poetic on one of the best breakfasts of all time, here are ten versions of the dish that San Francisco does right.
25 Lusk - Maine Lobster Benedict, arugula, bacon, Hollandaise
Tucked away in a quiet SoMa alley, Chef Matthew Dolan is toasting you muffins and poaching you eggs. He's crisping up bacon and whisking away Hollandaise. But the exciting part is when he poaches Maine lobster in clarified butter and then something like this shows up at your table.
Photo by Jean Y. on Yelp
Zazie - The Valence
This Cole Valley cafe has seven types of Benedict on the menu, and you can't go wrong with any of them. The smoked salmon or hand-picked crab and avocado versions are sure to please, but the Valence is the winner here. English muffins are topped with discs of roasted eggplant smothered in a spicy tomato-chèvre sauce, that comes across as a rich, tangy marinara. And the home fries with whole cloves of roasted garlic will turn even the pickiest of potato eaters into believers.
Photo by To Live and Die in SF
Mission Bowling Club - Dungeness crab Benedict, Hollandaise
Chef Anthony Myint may be getting buzz for his fried chicken and deep fried corn waffle (try this), or his biscuits and sausage gravy. But he also does a Dungeness crab Benedict, topped with a perfectly lemony Hollandaise laid next to a side of boiled and fried potatoes. It sounds simple, and it is. And Myint executes it all to perfection.
Photo by Eliahoo on Foodspotting
Mission Beach Cafe - Wild mushroom Benedict, spinach, caramelized onions, truffle Mornay
This Mission mainstay has proven it's name in the brunch world, and this Benedict could be one of the reasons why. Mushrooms, caramelized onions, and spinach make MBC's version sweet and earthy. Adding a truffle Mornay sauce (a cheesy béchamel) adds layers of depth and complexity.
The Butler and the Chef - Smoked salmon Benedict, olive bread, Hollandaise
Perhaps it's the location in oh-so-cute South Park, or the feeling that you're sitting in a quaint Parisian cafe, but walking into The Butler and the Chef transports you to a happy place. Order their smoked salmon Benedict, served on salty olive bread that soaks up every drop of hollandaise that pools inside the airy crumb.
Ella's - Prosciutto Benedict, basil biscuit, sundried tomato Hollandaise
They don't have it always, but when this special is on the menu, order three. Ella's biscuits are soft, flaky and ferocious on their own; imagine one tinged green by pesto, topped with poached eggs, prosciutto, and hollandaise rich with the deep savory flavor of sundried tomatoes.
Photo by Eva Frye
Prospect - Crispy pork belly, charred tomato compote, sauce Choron
Eggs Benedict already seems to be the most decadent of brunch dishes, but Prospect helped us figure out how to make it even more indulgent: Pork belly, and lots of it. One of the more refined versions on the list, Prospect serves theirs on a house made english muffin with smokey charred tomato compote, sauce Choron (think béarnaise with tomato purée), perfectly cooked sous-vide eggs, and thick, crispy slabs of pork belly served in between muffins.
Photo by Michael S. of Yelp
Universal Cafe - Ham, heirloom tomato chow-chow, Hollandaise, cornbread
Down in the Mission, Chef Leslie Carr Avalos serves a beautiful version of the dish with local-cured ham, heirloom tomato chow-chow, and Hollandaise on sweet open-faced cornbread. Chow-chow, a zesty Southern tomato relish, brings spice and vinegar to the dish and in addition to the sweet cornbread, the chow-chow pushes this restaurant's take from just great to nuanced and interesting.
Photo from Howard Law on Foodspotting
Axis Cafe - Benedict with jalapeño Hollandaise, avocado, black ham, mushrooms
Axis knows that a little more spice is always nice, so they serve their version of a Benedict, with avocado, black ham, and mushrooms, with jalapeño hollandaise. It has just enough heat to give you the kick that you [probably] need first thing in the morning.
Photo from Phoenix Bites
1300 on Fillmore - Tasso Cajun ham, buttermilk chive biscuit, Tabasco Hollandaise
At 1300 on Fillmore, they play up the comfort with spicy Tasso Cajun ham on top of soft buttermilk chive biscuits, and the tangy kick that comes from a Tabasco Hollandaise. The only way this could get more southern is if they had a live Gospel choir. Oh wait, they took care of that too!
Narrowing this list wasn't easy. Where do you think has an excellent version? Let us know in the comments.