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Best Banana Bread In San Francisco

Banana Bread To-Go (credit: Laurie Jo Miller Farr)

San Francisco loves its coffee shop Wi-Fi culture, and that goes for the re-opening of a handful of La Boulange locations recently shuttered by Starbucks. Cast that coffee shop drama aside for a moment to take a look at some other places serving up the city's best banana bread, from an early morning bakery run to a fine dining takeaway surprise.

Tartine Bakery (credit: Joanne Boston)

Tartine Bakery & Café
600 Guerrero St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 487-2600

Long live the king of baked goods. If you haven't stood in line at Tartine, a quintessential San Francisco experience awaits. People have been known to miss flights due to this queue. Banana bread is listed on the menu as a tea cake, with walnuts and bits of dates -- an irresistible, dunk-worthy quality. It circulates on the delicate tea cake menu with powerful players such as lemon poppy, zucchini and pumpkin. If you're here as a banana aficionado, you've probably already a huge fan of Tartine's heavenly banana cream tart and banana cream pie.


b. Patisserie
2821 California St.
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 440-1700

Before there was b. Patisserie, what on earth did Pac Heights people do? Banana bread and chocolate banana bread are on the menu at weekends only; on weekdays, opt for a chocolate banana croissant with your Four Barrel coffee to sample a Michelin star-worthy experience. Co-founder Belinda Leong began her career as a pastry chef at Gary Danko, went for deep immersion in Europe and returned as head pastry chef at Manresa. Your expectations will be met and surpassed. Warning: expect an early sellout on banana anything, and buy an extra treat for Monday morning, when they're closed.

Jane on Fillmore, San Francisco

Jane On Fillmore
2123 Fillmore St.
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 931-5263

If you love chopped walnuts in your banana bread, Jane's won't be your favorite. But, if a moist, delicious gluten-free treat is your search objective, bingo. Always busy, this is one of those prime location places (small and narrow) where you start looking for a table before you even get in the slow-moving line. Free Wi-Fi means seats are slow to turn over. Alternative seating is upstairs in a loft space, where there's a wall outlet or two for a quick charge, but the air is hot and stuffy.

Universal Cafe

Universal Café
2814 19th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 821-4608

Weekday brunch is a thing at Universal Café on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (Valencia Orange Mimosa! White Peach Bellini! Saké Bloody Mary!) Weekend brunch? Yes, of course. In a pretty, light-filled small space with fresh flowers, chef/owner Leslie Carr Avalos creates re-inventions on classic combinations. Try your banana bread grilled in a breakfast sandwich. Top tip: go for it with the homemade whipped cream cheese. Your taste buds will thank you.

Gary Danko (credit: Randy Yagi)

Gary Danko
800 North Point St.
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 749-2060

Are you planning a destination dinner for a special occasion? For sure, you're not going to the celebrated Gary Danko for the banana bread, but it's worth knowing that after an epic meal, the house sends you home with a complimentary little loaf of banana bread for tomorrow's breakfast. Of course, if you're fueled by flaming bananas, go gourmet with a show-stopping signature dessert prepared for you tableside: flambéed bananas with mascarpone-filled crepes, oatmeal-graham cracker streusel and vanilla ice cream, a house specialty.

Laurie Jo Miller Farr loves walkable cities. A tourism industry professional and transplanted New Yorker by way of half-a-lifetime in London, she's writing about the best of the bay and beyond for Bay City Guide, AXS, Examiner and more.


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