Brenda's French Soul Food

Bistro / Restaurant
Brenda's French Soul Food Seven days a week, come rain or come shine, long lines of patient patrons form outside Brenda's French Soul Food, waiting for their names to finally be crossed off the chalkboard and licking their lips in anticipation of the... San Francisco United States 37.782892 -122.418988
4.0 9
Brenda's French Soul Food - Bistro | Restaurant in San Francisco.
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Emma

Party Earth Review Seven days a week, come rain or come shine, long lines of patient patrons form outside Brenda’s French Soul Food, waiting for their names to finally be crossed off the chalkboard and licking their lips in anticipation... ... read full review

  • Metro:

    BART: Civic Center
    MUNI F, J, KT, L, M, N Lines: Civic Center

  • Phone:

    415-345-8100

  • Links:

  • Hours:

    M–Tu, Su 8am–3pm, W–Sa 8am–10pm

  • Recommended as:

    • Day Spot

Party Earth Brenda's French Soul Food Review

The Scene

Seven days a week, come rain or come shine, long lines of patient patrons form outside Brenda's French Soul Food, waiting for their names to finally be crossed off the chalkboard and licking their lips in anticipation of the...

Seven days a week, come rain or come shine, long lines of patient patrons form outside Brenda’s French Soul Food, waiting for their names to finally be crossed off the chalkboard and licking their lips in anticipation of the vibrant Creole comfort food waiting for them within.

Despite the neighborhood’s seedy reputation, this simple one-room brunch hotspot is almost always overflowing with a lively crowd indulging in bottomless watermelon sweet tea and dishes of shrimp and grits.

Clinking silverware, bubbly conversation, and Dixieland jazz create a festive soundtrack as stylish tourists, relaxed locals, and suburban families alike pack in shoulder to shoulder on the wooden benches and stools lining the perimeter.

Fashionable groups of girls ooh and aah as they marvel at the colorful dishes that take center stage on the small white tables, while hipster couples peruse the list of southern beers and international wines, looking for the perfect complement to their oyster po’ boys.

As the overhead fans slowly rotate, sleepy-eyed groups of twenty-something locals gather to down a few flights of sweet and savory beignets and rehash the previous night’s rowdy Polk street adventures.

A chic and comfy hangout made all the cozier with down-home cooking, Brenda’s is a great place for both friends and families to kick back and enjoy some southern hospitality.

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Tip from Emma:

Weekend brunch at Brenda’s is insanely popular, so expect a wait of one or two hours if you show up between 10am and 2pm. To avoid the crowd and a growling stomach, get there by 9am!

  • Crowd

    Young professionals, mellow creative locals, chic couples, easygoing tourists, groups of girls, and suburban families, teens to 40+.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Playlist of oldies, big band jazz, New Orleans classics, and Motown.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Creole dishes for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, including shrimp and grits, cream biscuits, and red beans and rice. No reservations.

  • Prices

    Breakfast/Brunch menu $3.50–$12, appetizers $3.50–$10, soups and salads $3.50–$9, sandwiches $9–$11, entrées $10–$16. Beer $3.50–$4.50, wine $5–$7/glass or $33/bottle, brunch cocktails $6–$7, coffee and tea $2–$6.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Casual to trendy: designer tops, t-shirts, jeans, sneakers, comfy sweaters.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Early afternoons on Saturdays and Sundays for the popular brunch, and early mornings to avoid the hungry hordes.

  • Close By

    Opera Plaza Cinema (601 Van Ness Avenue) is a quiet four-screen theater offering a selection of current independent and foreign films.

Brenda's French Soul Food User Reviews

Average rating:
Good Food, Great Service.
Danny S. Aug 9, 2013
I've been to this little gem before it conquered next door for their expansion. Their french toast with the butter pecan sauce is to die for!!! Their chipotle rémoulade on their Shrimp Po'Boy is one of my favorite sauces. I've had other chipotle sauces on other po'boy sandwiches, but none came close to being this tasty! Their customer service is great. Although the wait is usually long, once you sit down, the waitresses are quite friendly and attentive!
Savory Cajun Comfort
Kelley M. May 30, 2013
Brenda’s French Soul Food is a fusion straight from Heaven. Whether you’re warming your hands with a mug of mulled wine (sadly, this is seasonal) or sipping a Mimosa (thankfully, this is year-round!) while you wait for your name to be crossed off the chalkboard wait-list, you won’t regret your decision to dine at Brenda’s. Located a bit off the beaten path, it’s easy to find if you know what to look for—namely, a large group of 20s and 30s milling around a park bench and clogging up the sidewalk. It also helps that the building is a bold rust-red trimmed in black—you can’t miss it. Once inside, your palate is taken on a trip worthy of any Creole foodie. From the flight of Beignets to Cheesy Grits with Shrimp (DELICIOUS!) to a Catfish Po’Boy, you will devour your meal and then ask for a Cream Biscuit smothered in the fresh-made jam to chase it all down. Don’t be alarmed if you’re feeling overwhelmed about what to order—it’s all amazing!—but when in doubt, the staff is always ready with a recommendation. I hope you love Brenda’s as much as I do! Buen Provecho!
Decadent with a Side of Comfort
Genevieve L. Apr 10, 2013
For an innovative take on brunch, or just a twist on some classic meals, Brenda's French Soul Food is an exceptional little joint. Though it’s located on a less populated street only a few blocks from Union Square, the Parisian-style bistro tables are always full, but worth any wait. The chefs focus on infusing Creole flavors, and its French cuisine roots, with traditional hearty American dishes. I recommend the French toast, a brioche topped with butter pecan sauce, or a croque-monsieur on San Francisco's popular sourdough, with a glass of guava juice and champagne. Visit to be pampered by exquisite combinations, while comforted by savory classics. Brenda's certainly surpasses its typical omelette and toast competitors.
A heavenly fusion!
Melissa M. Apr 10, 2013
Brenda's a great fusion of French, creole and soul food. Every time I have passed by Brenda's on the way to class, there was always a line or people swarming outside. I wondered what the buzz was about for this place and went to discover the intoxicating smells after class. When you first walk in sign your name and number of people in your party on the blackboard with chalk, the place is good and usually crowded with good reason. Now I know what everybody has been talking about, this is a place where you can east beignets, shrimp and grits, french toast with rich sauces, homemade macaroni and cheese (the way my aunt makes it) and delicious heavenly food. Brenda's is a must have on anyone's must try list!
Let them eat cake (and Crawfish Beignet)!
Megan H. Apr 4, 2013
Food and culture fusion is epitomized by Brenda's French Soul Food. Absolutely the best of both worlds: some dishes capture the French's smooth, savory, and saucy preferences, while others breath the pizzaz, spice, and vibrant flavor of soul food. Why choose just one taste, when you can have dozens? Open seven days a week, weekend brunch is Brenda's time to shine with Bloody Marys sprinkled with cayenne, and sweet potato pancakes drizzled in pecan syrup. The line will get lengthy, so arrive early or prepare your senses to be tortured by scents that will seemingly quadruple every minute. Mardi Gras never fades here, and Marie Antounette's famous line of 'let them eat cake!' seems to ring loudly in the air.
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