Brenda’s French Soul Food is a Creole Diner in the Civic Center serving rich, flavorful food with French style and New Orleans soul. Chef-owner and New Orleans native Brenda Buenviaje shows diners her take on French Soul Food: Cooking rooted in French technique and made soulful through Creole and Southern influence.
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Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Rate & Reviews
How would you rate Brenda's French Soul Food?
Forewarning, the lines at this place are very long. Expect a wait or dont go during peak hours.
The food is fantastic. I would recommend the mashed potatoes with bacon gravy, because that was one of my favorite parts of the meal. I've heard the hush puppies are also very good, though I've not tried it myself. The pricing is reasonable and the food is quite heavy, so go with an empty stomach.
I loved everything about this place. We went on a Friday around 1 for brunch and didn't have to wait at all. I know on the weekends the line can get quite long. The atmosphere of the restaurant is very breezy with high ceilings and lots of light. The staff were all really nice. The food was amazing. I got the Grillades & Grits based on the waitress' recommendation, and it was exactly what I'd been craving. We also got the Beignets, which my sister loved.
Brenda's is some seriously delicious Cajun Brunch Food. The wait here can be RIDICULOUS, especially on weekends. I think we waited a little over two hours for a party of two. As others have mentioned, the beignets are something you must try. I only got the chance to try the plain sugar ones though, will definitely try the crawfish ones the next time I swing by. For my main entree I got the shrimp and grits, which are seriously decadent and delicious. However, it is very filling. I recommend sharing this with one other dish, maybe some of their egg dishes. If your ever around Civic Center or Union Square it's definitely worth checking out.
A true hidden gem of the city. Who knew that a little piece of comfort heaven can be found on a little block in downtown?
Brenda's is a soul food spot right in the heart of the city, where people gather for miles to wait in a line a mile long to grab a glimpse of crawfish goodness.
My partner and I went here for a Saturday brunch, typical of an SF resident and visitor. The blackboard on the side screamed "Your patience is a virtue, it will be worth your while, we promise" with the lengthy list of table contenders. Surprisingly, we got seating in about 30 minutes, and considering that we thought that there would be no end to the madness, half an hour was a Godsend,
The decor reflected typical hustlin and bustlin restaurant, with tables close together, waiters weaving to deliver and fans to cool down the place - this place is fire!!
We got the Hangtown Fry and the flight of beignets. Delicious to the last bite! May i suggest eating the apple, chocolate, crawfish, and original beignet, in that order. Your mouth will thank you for the party.
Overall have a wonder experience here!
Be prepared for a line at any time of day, but know that the folks in front of you are on to something good. Brenda's serves delicious soul food at a great value - good for big appetites! I was thoroughly delighted (and defeated) by an order of the BFC, so while it made the best leftovers for lunch the next day, next time I'll order the chicken by the piece and customize my side, as I saw savvy diners do at the table next to ours.
Brenda's serves one of the best brunches I've ever experienced in San Francisco. Brenda lends her N'awlins background to her authentic cajun and creole menu. The ambiance reflects the polished, vibrant, lively food that she presents on her plates. Be sure to try the beignets, cheesy grits, or eggs benedict, and wash it down with their homemade sweet watermelon iced tea.
Note however that everyone knows the food here is good. In other words, expect to wait in a line that trails far out of the restaurant. The key is to get there early so that you can put your party down on the chalkboard. If you do this, you have a greater chance of experiencing their singular brunch before they stop serving it at 3pm.
one word: beignets. come here for the best. get the basic and the chocolate filled...maybe the apple cinnamon too, why not! this has a new orleans influence and some of the best fried chicken eggs benedict you can find...yes you heard me right! also watch for their specials like sweet potato pancakes. you will never leave brenda's hungry!
Always packed!! I think the food is just okay. The BBQ shrimp dish lacked flavor and spice. Beignets and the peanut butter ice box pie were good thoug.
I've been here twice - once for brunch, the other for dinner.
Brunch - long line (obviously), pretty rushed, but a pretty cool place inside and competent staff to process the rush efficiently. My girlfriend ordered a grits dish and enjoyed it.
Dinner - had a reservation and had no problem getting the table. I had the shrimp po boy which was fat with shrimp and tasty aioli on yummy bread. Brought my parents when they were visiting (from the east coast countryside) and the area made them a little uncomfortable.
Yes yes yes! Even the appetizers are delicious enough to warrant a stop to this restaurant. The savory grits, perfectly simmered greens, and cheesy crayfish bread... One almost need not mention their divine fried chicken. :)
Off the beaten path but worth going to. All the reviews said that the wait would be long but I went there on a random day and was seated right away. Staff was friendly and were more than happy to give you there own recommendations. We got a couple of things off the menu (gumbo, fried chicken, crawfish beignets, oyster po'boy) and wasn't disappointed in our experience in any of the dishes. Definitely a place worth going back to, even if there is a wait.
The Soul food served here is great. If you plan to get here for brunch be prepared to wait for atleast 45 mins to an hour. I highly recommend the flight of beignets here. They are very tasty and a must have. The brunch time drinks are great as well. Worth the long wait.
After 2 previous failed attempts to try Brenda's due to long wait, I finally got a table on the 3rd try! Was still a good 1 hr wait arriving at 9:30 on Sunday morning. We ordered the crawfish beignets, shrimp and grits, hangtown fry, and French toast. The beignets came first...read and heard so much about them , I was super excited to finally taste the legendary beignets!! But after the first bite...I was disappointed. It was not hot and fresh as I had expected...rather it was only lukewarm, with little filing, and lots of bread. :( bad start. Then came the entrees. French toast with syrup and sweetened bananas - it was the normal/usual French toast...nothing fancy or unique about the dish. the shrimp and grits was very heavy and cheesy (thank goodness we asked to go light on the cheese...imagine if had the dish without any modification, would have just been a plate of melted cheese plus maybe 4 shrimps), the hangtown fry was essentially an omelette with fried oysters & cajan flavored potatoes with a biscuit on the side. I didn't find the dish mind blowing? I guess generous portion of oyster in the omelette was nice? biscuit was buttery and tasted good with the gravy/cheese from shrimp and grits dish.
Overall....food was so so and definitely not worth the wait. this place is overrated!
Ate here for the first time late one night and had great fried chicken with a buttermilk biscuit. They have fun beer options too. Even though it's a soul food restaurant, the ambiance is more hipster, and some of the servers come with the attitude. So, if you don't care about that, then enjoy the yummy food.
It was good. The wait took forever, but at least they've got a methodical way to sign up for a table - a big chalkboard at the front of the place, where you put your name and party size. Then, grab a coffee next door, because you're in for a loooooong wait. The food was good and came quickly. The beignets were good, my favorite is the plain - don't mess with perfection! Also had the poached eggs on biscuits, yum, carbo loading.
OK let's be real--we both know this place has great food, cool ambiance, and a long wait to be seated. 300+ other reviews here and pretty much anyone on the street will tell you that. I have only one thing to add to that assessment: make sure you get biscuits! Doesn't matter what dish you are getting, how hungry you are, or the time of day. They are perfect. Otherwise, pretty much anything you order here will be delicious, so you're good to go.
This is the kind of place you hear about for years, and then kick yourself for missing out on it that entire time once you finally go. The dining room was nearly full at 8:30am on a Saturday and waits are inevitable for those planning a mid-morning brunch. The crawfish beignets are incredible! Pro tip: if there solo or in a small group, you can order smaller portions of beignets than shown on the menu.
Great breakfast, friendly waiters, amazing service. what more can one ask for. Pulled pork eggs Benedict, first time I've tried pulled pork on Benedicts before. amazing. and the watermelon sweet tea was great.
I was expecting to get a breakfast special… Because I had planned out my meals ahead of time from researching the Internet. However, I was disappointed to see that they were only weekend specials. So I got the most highly popular item, shrimp and grits. It was amazing and the tomato relish was so delicious. Also, the best thing I ever had was the crawfish beignets!!! Get three!
Damn. I thought about lying out of pure selfishness so that I'll be less likely to have to wait in a long line but. But the food is too good.
Imagine a dieter's personal hell. Always exercising, always hungry, only rice cakes to eat but every night, ah, every night the most vivid dreams of food. Now, what food would that hungry dieter dream of in hell? This food. I had the shrimp grits. It was simply dripping in cheese, butter, garlic and even had tomatoes that tasted good. How is that accomplished? Did I mention bacon? Yeah, that too. Okay, it was a bit on the soupy side, but given that it tasted better than pureed angels from heaven above, I don't care.
I died several times. I'm sure I made indecent moose noises. I know very little about authentic southern cuisine but if you're a glutton, you will *love* Brenda's. It took all of my self control not to order half the menu.
Edit: I went back and tried the BFC (fried chicken), and I didn't like it as much as KFC. It was a bit dry, and the spices, while spicy, were not as tasty as KFC's original recipe. And, given that KFC is on the same block and a fraction of the cost, I'd skip the BFC.
Amazing food at a reasonable price! Came here for dinner, and we got there around 6pm on a weekday, so there wasn't a wait. It did however get crowded later on in the evening, and since they don't take reservations, plan to get there early!
Their menu isn't too extensive, but it's got a touch of everything southern. My favorite are the crawfish beignets. They're pretty unique, and very tasty! I haven't had a chance to try their other assortment of beignets (other than the original - which was also very good) but I plan to come back and try! We also tried their bbq ribs, which were good, but not amazing. I'm hoping to come back for brunch sometime to try their breakfast fare.
Finally, I LOVE their watermelon sweet tea! And they have free refills! I swear I probably drank 3 glasses throughout my dinner there. 5 stars just for the tea haha.
We just happened to find this gem of a restaurant on our last day of vacation in San Francisco. I can easily say that this is one of the best meals I've had in California, if not the best! The staff is super friendly and our food arrived very promptly. We had the Crawfish Beignets, Sweet Potato Dumplings, Shrimp & Grits, Mac & Cheese and last but not least the best piece of fried chicken I've ever had! Everything was a 10 out of 10 and we enjoyed every bite! Also, the watermelon ice tea is amazing!
Been here twice and great both times! Little pricey but def worth it, u have to have the Benyas! Delish! I will def be back!
Nice breakfast at Brenda's. Enjoyed the beignet flight, crawfish was particularly good (nicely spiced). I asked the server for input on the Eggs Benedict, whether to have the additional Fried Chicken or Fried Catfish. They immediately said Chicken so I went with that. Chicken in that dish ended up being chicken tender strips. No flavor to the chicken (come on, cajun cuisine, brine that chicken with hot sauce to impart flavor). Otherwise, good meal at a reasonable price.
Brenda's is one of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco. My husband and I have been three times, twice for dinner and once for brunch. Hands down, Brenda's has some of the best ribs that I have ever eaten. The brunch line is quite intense, particularly since Brenda's doesn't take reservations, but the wait is worth it (particularly with the coffee place down the street). Nothing we've had in the three trips has been bad, so try anything!.
Best food we had in SF. Crawfish Beignets, Sweet Potato Dumplings + Shrimp & Grits all of them very good food for a decent price!
The food is great and the staff is very friendly. I'm surprised at how quickly they get your food to the table! I had the red beans and rice - excellent choice! And my dining mate had the Muffaletta sandwich which she loved. The fries were cooked perfectly! This was my 2nd visit here and the first time for lunch. I will be back again and again!
It is hard to not order the fried chicken. Once you've eaten it. It is that good.
The bread pudding may be one of the best things that has ever been on my mouth!!!
Service is friendly and welcoming. The place is always busy, so, they can get disorganized occasionally. Friendly smiles make up for it.
The line can be discouraging, but, it is way worth it.
Yummy!! I am breakfast snob, this place rocks. It isn't healthy, but enjoy
Have I really not written a review for Brenda's yet? Sheesh.
Hands down best cajun/creole type food you'll find in San Francisco. The beignets are huge and amazing. The flight is a great way to go, especially if you have some people to share it with, but I'd say the crayfish beignets far and away take the cake.
Hard to go wrong here... delta scramble, shrimp and grits, po'boys... they're all good.
The ONLY place I'll wait 1.5 hours for brunch. Only.
Nice place with friendly stuff. Huge mural on right wall and bunch of mirrors on other. Extremely high ceiling. But cafe au lait is poor - looks like barista trying really hard to copy original, but coffee still poor and pity. Beignet as far from Café du Monde beignet as San Francisco from New Orleans.
Awesome food! Had the shrimp and grits. Delish! Only reason I don't give 5 stars is because had to wait awhile before getting in. But it was worth the wait!
Awesome food. Go hungry. Cant go wrong with shrimp& grits and chocolate beignets.
I think because everyone had hyped up Brenda's, I had high expectations. I was pretty hungry after waiting over almost two hours, even on a weekday. Parking was tough and it took almost half an hour to find parking. When we finally got seated, I ordered:
- Beignet Flight because I couldn't decide which ones to order so I decided to sample each of them. Looking back, I probably should have only stuck to one choices: crawfish beignet. Frankly, I don't recall much from the beignets so it must not have wow-ed me.
- Shrimp and Grits which was good, I think that was my first time having grits and I liked it. The shrimps were juicy and the grits absorbed all the seasoning, the cheese held it all together so it was a win in my book.
The service was slow and it was really hard to get our severs attention which I guess is expected given how busy they were. But I have received better service at other packed restaurants. I am still contemplating if I would ever go back.
As a fan of fried chicken, I was eager to try it. Luckily, my friend and I decided to share the Catfish and order two pieces of chicken on the side rather than the entrée. The chicken was dry and flavorless. The Chicken, Sausage & Okra Gumbo was the best dish with generous amounts of ingredients. We could have skipped the unmemorable Crawfish Beignets and Hushpuppies. The service was terrible with no one refilling our water glasses. We constantly had to hunt down the wait staff.
Nothing but good times and tasty food. Menu changes constatnly but try the Beignets, an the Egg Benedicts :D
I was lucky enough to visit Brenda's French Soul Food for brunch when visiting San Francisco. The shrimp & grits and crawfish beignets were totally worth the wait to get in. The restaurant is beautifully decorated, and the staff was very friendly and accommodating.
I ordered a mushroom and sausage omelette with potatoe hash. It wasn't well seasoned, it was a bit blend. But the restaurant itself felt fresh with nice staff but the food was soso.
Love this place. Delicious soul food that is well prepared and not overpriced. They can get pretty busy (especially around brunch w. a typical wait of ~1 and a half hours) but my solution to this was to put our name down on the chalkboard, grab a coffee, and make a quick visit to the tenderloin museum a few blocks away down eddy st. before coming back.
Their fried chicken really is amazing. I've had their shrimp and grits before and can also recommend it.
When I was here last for brunch, I opted for the fried chicken benedict w. grits. The benedict is great because instead of an English muffin they serve the eggs on top of a cream biscuit.
I came here on a Tuesday afternoon...we were starving...it was our first meal when we landed in SF after we picked up our rental car to go to Napa. I knew I wanted to try this place so lucky for us, there were only about about 4 tables ahead of us when I put my name down on their huge chalkboard (super creative!). We went to park our car, and by the time we checked in again, there was only one table ahead of us (yay!). Although the neighborhood seems a bit sketchy, the restaurant itself was cozy and you definitely feel the buzz in the air that everyone there knows THIS place serve up some simple good Southern food. I ordered their famous Shrimp & Grits and my boyfriend ordered their famous BFC (Brenda's fried chicken).
The Shrimp & Grits were amazingggggg! It had the perfect balance of flavors and textures - the grits were creamy and had a nice sweetness to it from the tomatoes and the richness from the bacon bits. The shrimps were cooked perfectly. I ate everything on my plate and I was so FULL.
My boyfriend got the BFC Chicken - he said the fried chicken itself was good fried chicken but nothing to really rave about (I mean NYers are hard critics when it comes to their fried chicken...). The biscuit on the side though, was soooo delish. I had a piece of that, and it was light and perfect.
I really, really wanted to try the flight of beignets, but just couldn't find it my stomach to take another bite of anything. As I'm typing this review, my stomach is growling and really regretting not getting it but I was just way too full to even share one beignet....definitely next time!
I wish I could insert a photo!
The waitstaff, the music, the environment - warm and inviting. We came for breakfast and I'm glad we came early. Because a line quickly formed at the door.
We don't eat pork and they were very accommodating.
The next time we're in San Francisco, we'll be back.
Get their beignets! It's unhealthy but it taste so good, I love the crawfish ones! Just run an extra mile later to burn it off!
We got there around 9:30am (probably a record for us) so we were seated almost immediately. That was probably the high point of the meal.
We had the Beignet selection (Chocolate, Apple, regular and Creole) along with the Shrimp and Grits. Having never eaten Beignets in New Orleans I don't have that to compare them too, but honestly it was like eating dense bread with a hint of apple/chocolate. Not impressed. The Grits were pretty good for the first few bites, but then you realize you like it because it's loaded with butter. The Shrimp and the sauce it was in was pretty damn good, but the dish as a whole was just way too rich due to the butter.
Yes, French food is rich and they're not afraid to use butter. However, good French restaurants know how not to cross the line between flavor and a heart-attack.
Crawfish beignets and egg and bacon tartine are out of this world!
VERY good place, haven't been there for brunch yet because it's always packed, but their dinner menu is outstanding as well. Would highly recommend ordering their Shrimp & Grits (with bacon and cheddar)
This is not New Orleans food. I don't know what they are serving and calling it beignets but it is nothing like a beignet. The bread was dense and oily and had none of the taste and characteristic of a classic New Orleans favorite. The menu is not New Orleans food. Staff was nice
Brenda's is a nice twist for those seeking New Orleans style comfort food. The place appears to have opened around 2007 and is located on the western tip of the Tenderloin district. It is very accessible via public transportation.
Our long time friend who is a San Franciscan of 40 years and well known "foodie" in his own right recommended we visit the place since I and my wife share Louisiana/Caribbean roots.
The food was prepared excellent. Very tasty and a good value. The service was good except one twist which I will mention later. We were expecting the usual line outside of the restaurant but to our surprise as we arrived around 11:30 am, we were promptly seated. Several servers stopped by periodically and were very attentive. You've got to love the way they present your bill. Not in the traditional booklet but via a clothes pin.
OK, now here is why I didn't give it a 5 stars or even 4 stars. two observations I must share. A couple was seated next to us about 2 minutes after we were seated. They happened to be white. Our waiter, named Sarita (from the receipt) came to our table several times before we placed our order. After all it was our first time there and while I have a long experience with Louisiana food, especially that from New Orleans, my wife needed to figure out what she would order. We finally ordered.
Sarita came back to the table to take the couples order and very enthusiastically shared the specials of the day and appeared to give a very nice welcome. My wife looked at me and said, "we never were told about specials." I told her no worries but you could tell she was a bit perturbed if not offended. I told her cultural conditioning comes in many forms and while Sarita could not be dismissed as being offensive, it appeared she showed bias in elevating her service to the couple. We were casually dressed but certainly did not look like bums. Cultural conditioning is a pattern related to race where it is automatically assumed those who are white receive more positive treatment than those who are non-white. I would bore you with the rationale but you can Google the term and be enlightened.
My wife who is a very mild, but a proud professional would not let the fact we weren't provided the specials rest. She called Sarita over and explained she overhead her enthusiastically provide the couple the specials of the day but did not offer anything to us? Sarita apologized, but it was her explanation to even made me pause. She stated, it was an oversight and "further the specials are posted on the board." I guess that assumes we are regulars and know the routine? She stated, she doesn't provide the specials to everyone. I found that amazing and figured Brenda and the management team would be shocked if they knew servers were not promoting consistent service.
Now, that episode got me to thinking. Don't get me wrong, Brenda's is a very nice presentation and I did go online to read about the restaurant before we made the trip. I don't know her ethnicity but it goes to show with training you can prepare just about any dish you have the passion to prepare. What was strange was the use "soul food" but as I observed I did not see not one person of African-American or Black heritage working at the restaurant. Perhaps they were all off that day? That experience may not seem like a big deal to you but my wife and I go to many restaurants and the notion of why there were no Blacks working at a Soul Food place, when that is a iconic piece and culture of African-American history left me shaking my head. Anyway, my expectation was if you are going to proclaim Soul Food in a restaurant, at minimum you would expect staff from the ethic group it is derived, especially in the Tenderloin district.
Anyway, sorry to vent or be so long but I wanted to be very honest of our experience. You may disagree or think it is overkill but it is a true representation of our visit to Brenda's. On our next trip to San Francisco we will be going back because the food preparation deserves our patronage.
A really nice please for breakfast and lunch. You would have to put your name down and wait, but the experience is definitely worth it! Food is amazing and the atmosphere really nice. I definitely loved it..
This place is so soulful and they care about their employees so much that they included 2% extra charge for "SF Health Care".
I completely understand that the customer is who pays for employees insurance, but it needs to be either hidden from my check or explained in a better way.
Other than that my experience was great and I enjoyed everything I ordered.
Came to Brenda's on a Superbowl Sunday. This place is quite small, and there is really no parking in front of it, but you can't miss it since there's usually a bunch of people standing outside of the restaurant. Even though we came at around 11 to 12ish, we still had to wait for about ten minutes. They have a cool chalkboard where you write your name on it. Unfortunately, they only seat you when your entire party is present, and with the parking situation, that's a little difficult.
It's a very nice place that really reflects on the French soul food that Brenda's serves. Lots of nice decorations, and though it's small, it's very high in the ceiling (from what I remember), which gives it a lot of air space, if that makes sense. It wasn't too crowded or anything.
Our table ordered Catfish Po' Boy, Pulled Pork Eggs Benedict, Crispy Pork Belly, French Toast with the additional butter pecan sauce, and Shrimp and Grits I believe. On top of that, we ordered a Beignet Flight for the entire table to share. The waitresses seemed to be very busy as the tables were all full. They weren't mean, but they weren't overly friendly either; however, I did understand that they were very busy, and the food did make up for it.
The watermelon tea was very good. There's bits of watermelon in there, and it tastes really refreshing. With the added refills, I do believe this tea is worth the $2.75. The Beignet Flight was pretty darn amazing. Four different beignets (one of basically each one they have): one is a plain one, one filled with molten Ghirardelli chocolate, another with Granny smith apples that have been sweetened with cinnamon honey butter, and the last is the savory one with crawfish that has been spiced with cayenne, scallions and cheddar. I have to say that out of the three (I didn't try the plain one), I liked the granny smith one the best. Full of flavor and I could taste the cinnamon honey butter. I loved the powdered sugar on top. Basically tastes like a very sweet doughnut. I didn't care too much for the savory one. It was good, but I think I prefer the beignets to be sweet.
And then the food! I was already a little full from the beignets, but I had to make room for the Catfish Po' Boy. I think this dish knocked it out of the park for me. I really liked it. I am typically a fan of sandwiches, so I really liked the concept of this dish. Soul food with a little twist. The dish was filled with fries and the sandwich was pretty big. I ended up eating only half. The fish was good, and so was the sauce and the baguette it was served on. I had to smear the sauce onto the bread so there would be more taste for the entire sandwich. They also give you pickled watermelon on the side. Not sure what that was for, but ate it as a refresher. I liked the sandwich a lot. Worth the money and tasted great. I tried the pulled pork eggs benedict. It came with grits or hash, and we opted for the potatoes, which weren't that great. But the biscuits that the pulled pork eggs benedict were served on were pretty tasty. As for the other dishes, everybody else really liked them.
By the end of the meal, the restaurant was less packed, and the waitresses were more relaxed, and helped fill the drinks a few times. I wasn't a big fan of soul food, but this place really made me enjoy it! Have to give it 5 stars as I don't usually eat this type of food, and they made it an A+ experience in my book.
tl;dr: give this place a try! You won't be sorry. :) The food is pretty amazing.
I haf the Grillades & Grits and a beignet flight. It was AMAZING!!!!! Everything was fantastic. I lived in New Orleans and you cant tell that I didnt walk into Brenda's on the Fench Quarters. #SoGood
My wife's son recommended this Cajun style cafe to us while we were in town for a few days on work related stuff.We walked here from our hotel in Nob Hill just a few hours after we flew in from San Diego.There was quite a full house at around 1.30pm when we arrived.We were both pretty famished after a lousy excuse for a breakfast at San Diego airport very early that morning.Even if we had not been to New Orleans previously we would still love this flavorsome style of food.I chose not to have a beer with lunch as I am not a big fan of Abita and there was nothing else to choose that I liked.We enjoyed our meals thoroughly and had an interesting chat with the young couple at the table beside us.We found out on our next visit here to have breakfast that they only stock whole milk for their lattes and cappuccinos.Since we only prefer non-fat or 2% at worst we had to pass on having breakfast here.Other than that this is a terrific place to get a nice feed.
This place is pretty good, I wasn't a fan of the potato hash but I think that's just because of a personal preference. Good food otherwise, very friendly staff and quick service. They've got these stuffed donut things (forgot the name) that are amazing and you've got to try one.
Cons, small place fills up quickly and tables are close together so be ready to enjoy your neighbors conversations.
Food is amazing for both brunch and dinner. I tried the pasta special and it was amazing. The hostess is really nice and accommodating. There may be a wait sometimes, but worth. If you get the beignets are good. There big so you can split them with someone.
Wonderfully different place to have breakfast in San Francisco. Nice & spacious, wonderful menu and the staff is exceptional. We ordered the Hangtown with cheesy grits and chocolate Beignets to share. Delicious!!!
Nice combination of flavors. Wish they had gluten free gravy considering corn starch is used extensively in recipes. Too much cheese on the crispy pork belly but the cut was delightful. Plus, the spicy onion relish was an excellent pairing. The service was a bit unobservant/easily confused and sometimes unprofessional but they got it done. Very quick to ask for drink orders (but before I had a chance to know if they even served--albiet helpful for locals).
Waited 30 minutes or so to eat here on a Saturday at noon. The place looks great and definitely reminds me of New Orleans. I ended up getting the fried oyster omelet and tasting the shrimp/grits. Fried oysters were delicious! The grits were a little too sweet for my tastes though. Make sure you sign in when you arrive and keep your party nearby so you don't get passed over.
Awesome place to go for breakfast. Vegetarians should not be deterred by the southern fare served here. The tofu hash is excellent and richly flavored, with just spice. The cream biscuits and beignets are delicious, as well. The service has been phenomenal every time I've been in, even when the place is packed.
Awesome beignets and crawfish. Fried chicken isnt that good,vut evrything else ive had is great.
Delicious food, seriously amazing. Great customer service. You really need to book a table though! The fried chicken was amazing. You could probably share portions because they are HUGE! Would go back to again and again.
This place was great ! First time visit and I must say the food is delicious great portions and the customer service was great. I can't wait to return again. Good food, affordable prices and great service what more could you ask for ?!
Must-try brunch spot! Love their beignet flight, french toast, savory dishes that come with the divine biscuit. Love their homemade jam too. Good sized proportions which make for delicious leftovers. Relaxed interior with live music at times. The neighborhood isn't the best...being at the edge of the Tenderloin. And the line is a daunting 1+ hour wait during the busy times on the weekends. Luckily, they have brunch all day Sundays!
My number 1 stop! Soul food!
Tips: Skip breakfast or brunch, Come at 5pm instead(Dinner Menu starts at 5pm). No waiting. And I love the fried chicken BFC! On weekend, they have a band paying too. The best!
Chicken Okra Gumbo
We expected a lot from this place but it did not live up to the word-of-mouth or yelp hype.
Great! They have well-trained staff.
We were essentially seated with another group at a tiny table, but what can you expect with the line out the door this place has?
The Shrimp & Grits were delicious, but quickly became too much after a couple bites.
Pulled pork Benedict and fried chicken Benedict were nothing special. I've had much better benedicts in San Diego!
The gumbo was a bit bland, would not recommend.
Crawfish beignets were decent, but very overrated! The meat was good, but the balance between cheese, crawfish, and bread was off.
I was wavering between a 3 and 4 star rating, but realized I do not plan to ever return. Two hours was far too long to wait for the food here.
If you are looking for some serious comfort food, you gotta come here! Everything on the menu is great! The gumbo is hearty. Pancakes are really fluffy and huge. Service is really friendly!
Really good food and service!
Had fried chicken, beignets, gumbo, some baked shrimp dish and dessert. I wanted to order them all but there was only two of us. I will definitely order their ribs next time!
~20 minute wait on a Sunday morning, which was really impressive considering there were at least 25 parties in front of us when we arrived. Very impressive service and speed. Food was delicious. Menu offers many unique & uncommon selections.
Best beignets I've ever had. Worth going for that reason alone. The food is outstanding and the service is fast. Very crowded, very loud. Does not take reservations, so be prepared for a potentially long wait in the cold, in a sketchy neighborhood. Not great for groups as the wait is really long. Ideal fit couples. Still, despite the drawbacks, the food warrants it five stars.
Brenda's blends the San Francisco culture with a New Orleans based soul food that is phenomenal. The atmosphere has a very warm feel and an intimate setting for all sorts of groups. The best part is that you feel comfortable chatting with your neighbor at the next table about whatever comes to mind without the awkwardness!
I have to say that I was impressed. I was of course aware of this restaurant, just one block away from the SF Italian Athletic Club, where I am a member, but I had never been inside. I don't know why, just never had a chance I guess. A special friend steered me there last Tuesday night, and the place was quite busy for a Tuesday. Good start.
BEWARE - Beniets are large. We thought we made a mistake because we ordered six, but realize that we had snacks for a couple days on a road trip and it was a great decision in the end. We were a tad off put by the surcharge they're putting on the bill for employee health care. The service was great, the people were friendly and we will return someday when we come through San Francisco again.
Great little spot. Stopped in for breakfast before we headed out to the airport home - really tasty soul food and fantastic service. Make sure to add your name to the chalkboard wall to check in for a table
Quite a long wait. I probably could of made it to NO and gotten fed faster. Get there and don't forget to add your name to the chalkboard inside or else you'll be aimlessly waiting outside for nothing. Feel free to add your name, do all your shopping, then come back. Best thing we had was the gumbo. 10/10
The deal here is choose a meat and 3 side dishes. Options for me were fried chicken, meatloaf, ribs, fish ( I don't remember the kind), and something else. I went with the fried chicken and had a cup of red beans and rice as an appetizer.
The red beans in rice is everything Popeye's version wants to be when it grows up. Fresh scallions, juicy portions of sausage, and perfectly cooked rice. You have the option of ordering a dinner portion and in hindsight I could've done that and been fully satisfied.
The fried chicken had a well cooked, succulent, white meat but the skin was fried slightly too hard for my taste. Its not that its bad, I just prefer my chicken skin light and fluffy.
Garlic sautéed spinach, the bomb.
Cheese grits, delicious.
Cornbread, let me explain. Possibly the best I've ever had? I don't remember ever having cornbread that was oily to the touch. I could imagine not everyone would enjoy that, but to me that's a good thing. Real pieces of corn sprinkled in. The best. I ate it last like it was a desert.
I went on a quiet Saturday afternoon. Service was accommodating and patient with me, a typical tourist.
Nice place to try, but food isn't good enough to go back
This place unfortunately was not what I expected. The menu is literally 1 short page with little options. Since the restaurant name incorporates "soul food" I was expecting the whole fried chicken, smothered pork chops, jambalaya, etc but none of that nor even close. Plus side is they are kid friendly, play live music (although I was turned off that the musicians past around their hat for money while I am literally eating), the portions are pretty good. Oh and BTW pretty much everything on the menu is spicy.
The best I had in the Bay Area! After going to Nola every year for the French Quarter Fest alas I found a place that makes southern food without a tons of oil and salt. This place is legit. There's a wait, but once you are seated nobody is rushing you to leave. Great ambiance and food! I will come back!
When you feel your food tastes WOW that's when I give 5 stars!!!
1st time at Brenda's and 1st time having grits and that crispy pork belly cheddar grits plate had my name on it! What a beautiful combination of the crispy pork, poached egg and the relish with the cheesy grits. You can probably ask for easy on the cheese if you don't like it that heavy for breakfast. Good size for one person compared with the egg dishes which were a tad too big.
My friends ordered the 2 eggs dish that came with potatoes, sausage (extra) and biscuit. They liked it but their portions were really big so they couldn't finish.
We also shared chocolate beignets which were too die for! Needless to say we couldn't finish them all so packed it to go.
Menu is simple with lots of great options and different prices. Staff is friendly and fast. Places is nice and buzzing and bathrooms are clean.
There is always a waiting line for this place, yep, even on a thursday morning. the lines started getting busy at 10am so come earlier if you want to miss the crowds.
Need to come back!!!
Sensational food! We are traveling from Australia & fantastic people/friends in Palo Alto highly recommended & insisted we must go. Wow this is hands down the best food we have had in America since we got here 13 days ago. Our first time to America. Thank you Brenda's French soul food!
This place is beyond delicious! Arrive early cause it will be busy. The grits are creamy and tasty. Everything there was flavorful and comforting.
The food that I've tried here so far, has been nothing short of amazing. I always leave, feeling full, happy and satisfied. Those who may be expecting a 5-star restaurant level of service- don't go here. There is a line and the point is to turn over tables so people can experience the goodness of their menu. Get your food and get out... don't expect meaningful and thoughtful conversations from their servers so you can up the ante on their tips, but DO expect to be served quickly and fed well... then up the ante on a tip because the staff made it happen! 🤗🤗🤗
I went to Brenda's French Soul Food over the weekend with some friends. I enjoyed everything I ordered. Service is good plus this restaurant has parking space which is very rare in San Francisco. Will definitely go there again next time.
Come here and order everything on the menu. My favorite time to come here is a hot summer day - then I drink whatever their special tea of the day is by the pitcher. The gumbo, po'boys, fried anything, beans and rice. Order a special, they are always good. Good food. Good location. Often long waits.
Went for the first time on Saturday morning. Got there about 15 minutes before they opened and glad we did. Within 1/2 an hour the place was packed. The.food was amazing and the staff is first rate! The place is like a.well oiled machine. I'll be back for more!
This is a popular local spot with some pretty amazing food. I had red beans and rice, gumbo and a piece of fried chicken on the side. All three were exceptional and I plan on going back again soon.
Beautiful little quaint restaurant Cafe that gives you a glimpse of New Orleans style. This place is busy once you go in don't forget to take a right turn and write your name on the chalkboard. We didn't do that at first and we got two people get ahead of us and it took an extra 20 minutes to sit. The food is delicious but it is not authentic as it adds its own Flair. If You're Expecting original Beignets like from New Orleans this isn't where you going to find it. However their donuts with sugar on it is delicious especially when you dip it into coffee. Their Fried Chicken is more like breaded then fried and their grits is creamy and smooth and very heavy. The service is fun and outstanding. Would I come here again absolutely to try other dishes.
This was great just like I had been told. Everything I at was made well and I didn't regret a single item. It's on short list for a day trip back out here and pretty high up there. Service was excellent and food was out of this world!
The atmosphere alone reeked of casual comfort and authenticity. The Shrimp and Grits were nearly perfect (I just don't understand why the shrimp must have the tail on?) The BF fried chicken had a beautiful thin crispy coating. Wish I could go back soon!
If you want a table be prepared to come extra early or wait an hour plus. Put your name on the board and come back later. They are known for the southern style brunch. Everything on the menu I've tried so far is great.
Ok so let me tell you about this place. Hands down best fried chicken and Mac and cheese I have ever had. That's coming from someone who's Mom would make fried chicken two a week. My wife had the shrimp and grits and said the same thing. The next we visit you better believe we will be back here.
If you're ever visiting San Francisco. Brenda's French Soul-Food is a must eat here kind of restaurant. Warning, you may have to wait 30 to 45 minutes before being seated, because the line is long of people waiting. It's well worth the wait. The food was amazing, worth the money, and the service was great.👍
True New Orleans flavor. Macaroni and cheese taste just like moms. Fried chicken so crisp. The oysters are beyond huge. Only her for 4 days and I am considering returning for another meal.
Authentic, rich... amazingly flavorful. A tiny SF joint that opens up to skylights and the smell of fresh Creole cooking. I had the seafood frittata special, loaded with huge pieces of crab, crawfish and shrimp. The coffee was perfect and the cream biscuits... I could eat those with the homemade preserves all day long. Go here... it is a SF must!
Great food! Everything tasted amazing from the eggs to the French roast. And great portions as well! The staff was really kind to us, i would recommend this spot!
Super popular and packed for Sunday breakfast. It’s definitely a solid choice. I wouldn’t say amazing but great service creative menu items and pretty good. I had the catfish Benedict. Biscuit was the best part. Also had the beignet sampler - pretty good - no Cafe du Mondale though. I wish they had a full bar for cocktails - didn’t enjoy the rose mimosas
Cozy ambient, friendly and pretty waitresses.. good food and fancy menu. I popped on my own in just for a quick dinner if I'll come back to Frisco I'll have a "full one :)
Had to wait for almost an hour just to get in due to the long waiting list for lunch. It was definitely worth it. The food was warming to the soul as the name suggests. Tried the crayfish brioche bun. The bun was perfect, warm and fluffy on the inside. The crayfish filling was moist and succulent. Tried the pork belly with warm cheesy grit soups. Never had anything remotely like that before but it was really warming our hearts for that wintry afternoon. The most memorable food I had in San Francisco.
Seating: F U. You are on your own unless you spot the sign way above your head stating you have to write your name on the list. Even if staff is idle, no one to welcome you.
But the food is very Cajun. Best to order to go
Brenda's is always a hit when I come out to San Francisco. I did lunch this time around and it was awesome. I typically do the breakfast, which carries into lunch, and that's been a hit with whoever I am with. I would definitely recommend coming here if you can!
Service was good..food was even better. U know how when u cook chicken breast u can dry it out??. Nope not here the chicken is absolutely amazing. It was moist and flavorful. People don't always get Mac n cheese quite right..they did. Greens cooked down jus the way I like biscuit was fluffy n light n the peach cobbler jam that came with it..off the chain n the pepperjelly too.i could go on n on but I'll stop. Try it for yourself
For a person from South Florida who has never visited New Orleans, I can't make a real comparison for authenticity. However, the food is fantastic. We were in SF for a week and we visited this restaurant a couple of times. The place is small but easy to find. The best part is the food. Eggs Benedict is the best. The shrimp and goat cheese omelette is also unique.
Love Brenda's. The biscuits. I live for their biscuits. No reservations. If you're in a rush but still want some of their delicious food pop into the cafe they have next door. You can get biscuits, coffee, sandwiches. It's delicious and they hardly ever have a line at the cafe.
Good food, lots of it. I like the creativity in the dishes. Being from the south, there was a richness missing. I wanted my tea slightly sweeter and I wanted a tad more seasoning here and there...minor things. However, I can see that being too much for the SF crowd. I love the concept.
I really like how the restaurant looks like and the atmosphere is so good that i don’t even wanna leave! Very relaxing and bright and comfortable! the staff are so friendly and helpful! Highly recommend this place for a morning relaxing breakfast to break the fast and start the day!
The flight of beignets is amazing. Don't pass it up. Great place and great food. We went New Years Day and there was an extremely long wait, but it was well worth it.
Please note that it isn't located in the safest part of San Francisco (Tenderloin) so be aware of that if you're visiting the area or walking alone.
This is a bustling food joint. People literally flock here in numbers to enjoy their meals. Loud conversations and animated faces will feel up this medium sized eateries during a typical weekend. But prepare to wait for a hour atleast to get your table. It might be worth the wait.
The food is good but massive. We shared but weren't able to finish. The wait was not long on a Wednesday morning. Brought family that was visiting and they enjoyed it but weren't impressed. Don't come if you're looking for a light small breakfast.
Awesome place with great food. I went around 10am and there was only a 5 minute wait because the hostess was accommodating a takeout order. But the best part (beside the food) was I made it out in about 20 minutes and I had leftovers!! My waiter was great. One of the highlight of my Bay Area trip!!
Awesome place with great food. I went around 10am and there was only a 5 minute wait because the hostess was accommodating a takeout order. But the best part (beside the food) was I made it out in about 20 minutes and I had leftovers!! My waiter was great. One of the highlight of my Bay Area trip!!
This place is really good, just be prepared to wait. My group of 3 waited over an hour but were lucky enough to grab a seat inside while we waited. Once we got in the service was quick and our food came out very fast. I had the chicken etouffee and it was extremely good.
Went for an early dinner and we avoided the rush perfectly. The seafood and French cuisine was out of this world. Staff was super helpful when it wasn't busy. Not a huge fan of the seating arrangement but the food makes up for it. Need to go here for brunch.
Tried the brunch - awesome grits! The wait was about 45 minutes for us on Sunday around 10am (for a group of 6 people). If it is a group of 2 or 3, it is probably a bit faster. Will certainly come back to try their dinner menu.
Service could improve. Waitress were always running and super busy even when they didn’t have a full house, maybe they need a bigger team. Good was good and reasonable prices on the menu.
Service could improve. Waitress were always running and super busy even when they didn’t have a full house, maybe they need a bigger team. Good was good and reasonable prices on the menu.
Very busy. Very fast service. Very creative way to keep track of the customers for seating. We went at lunch time and even with a 45-minute lunch we were able to be seated and served quickly. The food was delicious. Very small location but they I'm very efficient at getting here seated.
My eyes may have been bigger than my stomach, but dang that was so good. Had the BFC : 2 delicious pieces of succulent fried chicken with tasty spices in the coating, on top of fries and a biscuit. Also came w some tangy homemade pickles and coleslaw. Good stuff. Well worth the $13 because i couldn't finish the whole thing. Our server seemed odd and almost acted like she didn't like serving us, but the food came fast and it was only at the end when we couldn't see her anywhere when our server changed to someone else magically. She wasn't terrible, but something didn't seem right - maybe it was just an off day for her. In any case, food was great and we were taken care of by staff.
So far haven't got there and there is a issue. I have been calling since early this am trying to see if I can bring in a cake for a bday dinner we are having tonight. Literally all morning no one answered the phone not once to ask if we can bring in a cake. I had to make a choice to order the cake or not and risk not having one. When I finally got in contact with someone at 1:00 they said no outside food and that the am is the busiest time. I get it but just for customer service sake and questions someone should be appointed phone duty at some point. Hopefully the food is better than the customer service before u even arrive
Brenda’s makes up for the VERY long wait (over an hour) with an amazing dining experience. Our food was delicious and came out surprisingly quick. Anything on the menu is great but make sure you order the beignets. The coffee was also fantastic. Great overall experience.
I'm giving it one star for the simple fact that I expect a place that says "Soul Food" to have SOUL FOOD! Especially on a Sunday! Definitely on Easter Sunday when I visited! I'm here from Detroit,working, away from my family and friends and wanted some SOUL FOOD on Easter Sunday! It was 4pm in the afternoon and they had NO dinner! Brunch was served so I had a freaking ham sandwich and fries for my Easter dinner! I wanted to cry! I don't even know if this place has Soul food, and if they do, why in the name of SOUL FOOD didn't they have SOUL FOOD on Easter Sunday! Such a huge disappointment!
One of my top brunch spots.
- BYOB - bring your own champagne and mix it in with the orange juice
- Omelette - great portion size, absolutely delicious, top notch omelette in San Francisco
- Great aura - spacious (they doubled in size!), fun environment, yet not too loud
- Prices - extremely reasonable. About $20 a head with coffee + omelette
- Eggs or French Toast - great portion size, extremely well cooked (benedict)
- Wait is extremely long - you may end up waiting an hour if you don't go early
TIP: Put your name down in advance and return back in an hour. Otherwise you're standing on the sidewalk where a ton of homeless people walk by and harass you.
FRIED CHICKEN!!! That's their most popular dish on the menu and it has the right to be. It is like no other fried chicken I have tasted before. Everything else on the menu is pretty delicious as well. This is definitely somewhere I would need to come back for several times to try everything.
The food was delicious. One of our glasses that had water in it was dirty. The waitress reached across my food (almost touching it) to give someone a plate. The waiter put his hands on the top a glass when moving it in order to put my granddaughter's syrup beside her plate.The hygiene practices around food could be greatly improved.
Delicious food with a massive menu! The wait times vary, but it's totally worth the wait once you're in. There are vegetarian options, if you're into that. The prices are fairly good considering the massive amount of food you get (i could not finish my po-boy) and their coffee is delicious. Definitely give this place a shot!
Simple, unpretentious and heavenly delicious food. Brenda's French Soul Food is a rare find with its relaxed atmosphere and excellent breakfast options. Don't order scrambled eggs or bennies, although I'm confident they are good. Try one of the specials grits, and you won't regret it. One of the servers recommended shrimp and grits, which sounded like an breakfast unorthodox choice, and it was a mind-blowing experience. A definite must-try, the food is way above what an average breakfast place would offer.
They line was crazy on heard it was amazing. Waited one hour. Was not impressed. The one omelette was good that was it. I will not come back. Service was wonderful but the food is not worth it. To much hype
First place we decided to eat at after landing. San Francisco, and we couldn’t have made a better decision. The wait time was not as bad as it appeared through the window, but nonetheless, the food was absolutely worth it. This place has a variety of options, each accompanied by unique flavors and aesthetics. I had the BFC, and I am happy about my decision. With plenty of options on the many menus they have, it’s going to be hard not to come back to this restaurant.
The server was wonderful, pleasant, and down to earth. The fried black-eyed peas were delicious. I am from Alabama, and was expecting more (should have known better). The food is probably a good choice for someone from San Francisco or someone not from a southern state, but if you are from the anywhere in the South (especially New Orleans - I go there all the time), you will waste your money (avoid).
Disclaimer: I am a southern man well versed in Cajun food, and comfort food staples. That said, I liked Brenda's for the most part.
The Good: hands down, their biscuits and collard greens are easily their best menu items. Both of these were made nearly identically to how they are done in my family, which means you'll want to give them a try.
The OK: their pepper jelly, though full of flavor is far too watery to count as honest-to-God pepper jelly, but its still quite good atop those biscuits. While I really wanted to love their chicken, I tend to find southern food out of the South to be lacking, and this was no exception. I suspect the chicken was brined, largely because the flavor got weaker in the thicker cuts of chicken, but the brine did little to add flavor. There was a marked lack of heat in the flour dredge, which I found surprising for it being called Cajun. Overall the chicken was cooked well, just significantly under seasoned.
The Bad: the gumbo. I would be willing to bet money that it had both file powder and okra in the gumbo, based on taste. If you know southern food, this is a no no.
All in all, a pretty solid outing in the Tenderloin, and a nice break from the normal SF dining experience.
THE PORTIONS ARE GREAT!!! I was so full when I left. The food was excellent and the service matched. I had the fried chicken, collard greens and the mac and cheese. It was amazing. The dessert was nice and light. Next time I'm in San Francisco I'm going back.
Go at an off time, when the lines aren't so bad. The meat sauce, I forget what it's called. Is so damned good. Put it on your breakfast potatoes and call it good. The French toast add the brown sugar and pecan butter. Oh man! The waiters are great if you are understanding and patient. They do a great job. Remember, they are BUSY! Cut them some slack and they will take care of you. Good food. But go when they are slower.
The Eggs Benedict with fried (boneless) chicken over a homemade biscuit was awesome! With choice of grits or potato hash. Potato hash was tasty! Very delicious. Chicken was crispy and juicy. Great and fast service. Very friendly staff. Little bit of a wait but totally worth it. The biscuits were perfectly fluffy and textured on the edges. The gumbo was also seasoned perfectly and delicious. Mmmmm...this was my first visit and I can't wait to come back to try another menu item.
One of the highest acclaimed restaurants in all of San Francisco! Going in as a vegetarian, I was unsure if they would have any great options. I ordered the Vegan Josephine, which their menu describes as the "best tofu you'll ever wrap your mouth around-on." And guess what, it was. Super soft in its texture and perfectly cooked with a special sauce, served with coleslaw or fries, this tofu was really up there. Great ambiance and really sweet staff! You will know why the restaurant is so highly rated when you have the first bite.
If you are craving any soul food or just feeling soulful one day, you have to come here! It is a just out of Union Square, and the food and menu is very unique. The Beignets were one of the best I have ever had, and the eggs Benedict was cooked to perfection here! It was also full here, so you can tell this place is very good. Everything is homemade and fresh, so this place is a MUST try!
Went here at around 1:00pm on a Thursday and wound up having to wait about 40 minutes for a table for two - lesson being expect this place to be busy and expect a wait.
However, on the bright side, the wait gave me a chance to review the menu. They have different menus depending on whether it's the week or the weekend for Breakfast/Brunch, along with a dinner menu, so keep that in mind. The brunch menu is only on weekends, but the breakfast and lunch menus have similar items and are available until 3pm.
When I finally did get a chance to sit down in the extremely cozy but engagingly designed interior, the staff wasted no time taking my order and getting my food. Kudos for the speed of service!
I had one of their specials for the day - a BBQ Pulled Pork Po-Boy served with fries and coleslaw, whereas my girlfriend had the fried chicken eggs benedict. Both of these dishes were superb - so many delicious and savoury flavors to be had in these two dishes alone, I can only imagine the rest of the menu offers up similar experiences.
Very glad I visited this place while in San Francisco, and I would strongly encourage you to do the same!
Oh my, where to start. There is average brunch, there is excellent brunch, and then there is Brenda's. It is a step above any brunch anywhere else. The shrimp and grits is truly amazing. The tomato bacon relish on the shrimp and grits is truly a flavor explosion with every bite. I would love to have tried over half of the menu.
Less harrowing experience if you eat here on the weekdays after 8 PM since there is no line. Food is heavy and good. I got the French Onion soup, which was surprisingly small but nonetheless delicious, and the salami sandwich. The worst thing about the sandwich was that there was too much pickle, so I will not recommend it if you do not like pickles or heavy dill flavors. Portions are pretty big. You can't go wrong here if you order the BBQ meat plate. The Molasses Ice Coffee was good, but too sweet for my liking.
I had a bowl of gumbo and a biscuit. The gumbo was good though it took a few bytes to come to that conclusion. The sausage was Superior to any I have had. The biscuits are highly rated and live up to there reputation. But the best thing about the place was the service, lightning fast and super friendly. Brenda, you nailed it!
Came here for brunch after a concert. There was a bit of a wait but the staff is SO efficient and friendly. They were to the point and fast without rushing us or neglecting us. Food was amazing and came out fast. I got the seafood frittata and it was absolutely delightful. Exactly what we needed!
Neat spot and it had come highly recommended. The food was good. Service was pretty slow, but hard to judge it on that because for all I know they were short staffed. Nice atmosphere, but pretty cramped and loud when we were there. Worth checking out though assuming you have a few mornings to dedicate to a good breakfast.
Wow! The food and service here was absolutely amazing. Sydney was a great hostess and she is one of the reasons why I left this review. She treated me with so much hospitality. Thank you Sydney and Brenda’s!
All the food was so good. I left way to full. Food was way too good. If I lived in San Francisco I'd eat here all the time but unfortunately I live not here. But thankfully I was lucky enough to eat here one of days I was here so definitely you should also eat here as well especially, if you are short on time, I promise it is worth it. So so so good.
Came here while visiting SF with my girlfriend. Amazing brunch - among the best I've had in my life. The line was enormous - we waited about 1 hour - but it was well worth it. The fried chicken was outstanding, and the beignets were also very tasty and fluffy. Staff was also very friendly.
Had a great experience. Yummy and good vibes.Very busy place and sometimes you have to wait hrs to get in.they don’t take any reservations. They follows old school style ,you have to write down name on the black board and they will call when ever your table is ready.
We had a bit of a wait but it was well worth it. The food was great! I am born and raised in Louisiana which is French inspired, Cajun/Creole cuisine. Brenda's food was well seasoned and flavorful. As well as a good variety. A must do in you're in the area.
This historic restaurant is absolutely worth the wait! The food is amazing - EVERYTHING is good and fresh. I've been there many times. The pancakes are the best. They also make their own bread for the French toast and homemade jams. My daughter had an omelette and loved it!
Great place all around. Staff is super friendly. Food came fast. We really enjoyed our fried chicken and red beans and rice. The biscuits really were amazing.
Came for dinner on a Sunday at 6:30- place wasn’t crowded and there was a great little band playing.
We’ll definitely be back.
5/5 Quality of Food
5/5 Quantity of Food
5/5 Value (Price to Food + Service)
Great food. I ordered the fried chicken eggs Benedict and it was great. The potatoes were tasty but a tad salty, I liked the taste but couldn't eat it too quickly. The eggs Benedict were great and the used biscuits instead of English muffins that went really well with the jam.
Went there for lunch. Got there a little before noon and got seated right away. When we left there was a line of people waiting to be seated.
Service was quick. Seems like some people might want to get in and out on a lunch break but there were a few tables of us slower lunch eaters.
I had a cup of gumbo and the red beans and rice. Both were delicious but I prefer my sausage sliced thin in this dish but this is a very minor nit picking personal preference. Yes I would order it again.
Had an apple pie beignet for dessert.
Really enjoy the comfort food here.
My wife's son recommended this Cajun style cafe to us while we were in town for a few days on work related stuff. We walked here from our hotel in Nob Hill just a few hours after we flew in from San Diego. There was quite a full house at around 1.30pm when we arrived. We were both pretty famished after a lousy excuse for a breakfast at San Diego airport very early that morning. Even if we had not been to New Orleans previously we would still love this flavorsome style of food. I chose not to have a beer with lunch as I am not a big fan of Abita beer and there was nothing else to choose that I liked. We enjoyed our meals thoroughly and had an interesting chat with the young couple at the table beside us. We found out on our next visit here to have breakfast that they only stock whole milk for their cappuccinos & lattes. Since we only prefer non-fat or 2% at worst we had to pass on having breakfast here. Other than that this is a terrific place to get a nice feed !
I’ve come here for years, probably the first place I’ve been exposed to “French soul food”, but have moved on to other establishments more authentic to its name. Nonetheless, a consistent place in Civic Center area and entry point for trying something different. Place can be very busy, especially for its brunch; be sure to write your name on the chalkboard when you arrive to save yourself a spot. Menu could use a revamp and a few new dishes but all items are good.
Place is small & usually busy! So you will have to wait a bit before getting in. But the food is good! Portions are big & the prices are not too expensive. Their friend chicken with collard greens & biscuits is so tasty! They have good pastries too. Super delicious.
Food was delicious. Great portion sizes. Service was fast. Vegan and Vegetarian options. Decor and music give a nice touch to the theme.
For parties paying separately, someone will need to calculate the individual portion from the total check given.
Definitely will return.
Got the Hangtown Fry and wasn't disappointed. The oysters are definitely the first flavor that hits you followed by the bacon. The potatoes were delicious and the muffin was great as well. I also had the iced coffee with whip cream and it was perfect not too sweet (since it comes sweetened already). Overall a spot to enjoy some great food.
One of my preferred places for delicious creole. food with real quality ingredients. service is typically above par. prices were reasonable. atmosphere is like a restaurant in fort worth i loved.
Brilliant Place, Unpredictable wait times.
Brenda's has some of the best soul food in the city. You'll need an empty stomach when coming here cause the food is amazing (and a lot!). The service itself is kind and friendly, nothing out of the ordinary. The grits there are also to die for and they are made with love. The one thing I will say is that the line is pretty bad. As you enter you put your name and the number of people in your party on a black chalkboard and you just wait. This places is extremely popular so you're likely to wait up to an hour for food (my average is 30-50 minutes) if you're not around they'll skip you so be prepared but it's all worth it for the food.
I've gone to Brenda's a couple of times and will likely continue to go over there despite the line
- Delicious delicious food
- Good service
- 30-50+ minute wait time to eat
I was honestly surprised by how good the gumbo and the grits were here. The shrimp and goat cheese omelette was excellent as well. It's topped with a tomato and bacon sweet sauce (can't remember what they called it, but almost like a chunky jam) which is pretty fantastic on it's own. I'm from Louisiana and often am underwhelmed by anything claiming to be Cajun or Creole, but I'll definitely be back here.
Got Delivery and it was amazing! On vacation from Florida and this is the best food we have had in San Fran. Had the chicken, biscuits, grits, Mac n cheese, collards, red beans and rice, gumbo, and the apple beignets. Everything was absolute heaven! I don’t know who Brenda is but I’d give her hug if I could! Best food coma ever!
This place is amazing!! This is the best meal that I've had in a while! Best biscuits I've ever had. I never eat biscuits because they're usually too dry. These were moist, soft, flaky and crunchy a bit on the outside. The greens and Mac and cheese were delicious! This is soul food. I felt like I was back home at grandma's.
Best shrimp and cheesy grits in the area 👌. Super creamy grits with savory tomato gravy, perfectly cooked shrimp. Catfish po boy was also amazing. Came pickled watermelon on the side. Just right proportions. Live music was great. In a run down area with closed down shops all around but when you step inside it's packed, lively and like you just stepped into New Orleans.
Great food. Good portions with panache for a good price. I found it easy to get a seat solo, but for a large group I imagine a longer wait. One time I was there I enjoyed a live two piece band that added to the already lively buzz. Go!
What a find. Brenda's satisfied the need for soul food and took me back to the French quarter! Fantastic hush puppies and chicken. The sauces were delicious. It was busy and the dining room is a little tight, but service was good!
This is my favorite place in SF so far. Delicious fried chicken, all the sides are fabulous, the biscuits are so f- good. I just love it. And our food was pronto. We did go at 9 pm and some server was awkwardly taking away the butter and hot sauces from occupied tables.
This is the best food in the world, served by the best people.
Checkout the Mac & Cheese, Fried Chicken, cream biscuit, buttermilk ranch sauce, pulled pork sandwich, grasshopper pie, banana cream pie, peach cobbler, bread pudding, beignets and so on. Also, the watermelon iced tea has all this real watermelon shredded inside of it, and you get free refills.
Just go here and don’t screw around with anything else. I go here multiple times a week because it’s the best. Period. End of discussion.
A great restaurant for American style breakfast. They have great menu and most of the items are very good. It's usually crowded and large groups have to wait for seats. Pancakes, eggs, and many special menu items are excellent. Tea coffee is also served.
Delicious, authentic southern food! What a great find within a short walk from our hotel. When we arrived we put our name and number of people on a chalk board inside.
It was busy at lunch, although we were there before noon. After a half hour wait we were seated. There is both counter and table seating. We sat at a table & were immediately greeted. This is a lively place with upbeat music, a friendly staff & fun vibe.
My husband ordered the red beans & rice with sausage $12 and I had a shrimp & goat cheese omelette with carmelized onions. My omelette also came with a cream biscuit & choice of hash or grits for $16.
Our food came out fast, was piping hot & slap your grandma delicious. We lived in the south and this place brought the memories of delicious food from Louisiana back to us.
The portions were huge. We saw several people leave with food to take home. We couldn’t finish all of ours, although we gave it a good try.
Fantastic food, good service and good value.
We’ll be returning again soon!
A long, long line but so worth it! We waited about an hour and half to 2 hours. You come in and write your name on the huge chalk board.
We shared the shrimp & grits and a cup of the gumbo.
Shrimp & grits: The flavor is amazing but it's soupier and more runny than other shrimp & grits we've had.
Gumbo: THE BEST gumbo of my life so far. It's perfect and we ended up wishing we got a bowl of it rather than a cup.
We could've definitely done an entire bowl of the gumbo and maybe a cup-size of the shrimp & grits. Get the gumbo!
Brenda's is everything you want it to be and more. The food is SO good. The drinks are great. The space is cozy and comfortable. Prices are very reasonable. This was my first time at Brenda's and I loved it! I'll be back.
It was one of the best breakfast experiences I have ever had!
Everything was amazing; beingets trio was so good. The eggs as well.
The place is so cool. I enjoyed every single bite. Can't wait to go back!
Moved from Memphis recently and been to New Orleans too many times! This place is close to the food you would get in the South! Oysters were really great and so was the seafood pasta. Shrimp & Grits was my fave! Good restaurant, staff is very friendly and cheerful. Food is great! Will be back!
Delicious heartwarming food served up big and flavorful. New Orleans style cuisine thst taste far better than what I had in the French Quarter restaurants. It it a bit small and can be quite busy so get there early. The staff are amazing and very friendly. The facility is clean but they do need to change out the table condiments (jam, butter, etc).
A definite MUST DO!!
Absolutely amazing place. The food was wonderful and the staff was very kind. It was fast and quick too with a very decent price point. The wait staff are all friendly and the establishment is clean, orderly, and presentable. Would absolutely come here again and again. They the pickled watermelon If go. One of te best little sides I've ever had.
Delicious southern breakfasts. Super cute and airy space, very kind service and also quite quick. Love the decor inside and the biscuits with jam were some of the best I've had. The strawberry jam is the perfect consistency and dense with flavor. I had the corn succotash and white cheddar omelette with potato hash and biscuit. Highly recommended.
Came for the fried chicken and it did not disappoint. This place is great for brunch or a weekday lunch. Luckily there was no line so we got seated right away. If you're in the neighborhood I would definitely check this spot out.
We've visited Brenda's twice during our week long stay in SF and it didn't disappoint. The restaurant itself has a lovely atmosphere and the service is great. The food arrives quickly and portions are generous (you can request a doggy bag). Prices aren't bad either. I would definitely recommend eating at Brenda's if you're in San Fran.
I've never had catfish this delicious before, and I've traveled throughout the southern states fairly extensively. The watermelon tea is a good choice of beverage to compliment the flavors set before you. Thank you again for a wonderful experience to be repeated on my next visit to SF.
Incredible food! I'll be dreaming about this place until I get to go there again. Portion sizes were generous, and everything we ordered was delicious. The staff were also very prompt and attentive while serving us. Would highly recommend!
Benn eating restaurant food for three days in downtown SF. Brenda's is the first one to get everything right. The crispy pork belly with cheese grits was interesting and perfectly seasoned. The onion relish was light and spicy. Music was good and the service staff was attentive and helpful.
We went for Saturday brunch. It was busy. We had to wait. (They manage the waitlist with flair and efficiency.) It was worth the wait. So delicious. Bottomless regular coffee if you drink in house - really good coffee. Sweet potato pancake special was stellar. Fried chicken eggs Benedict were devoured. But the portions are for the very very hungry, so be ready to eat!The staff are super attentive. Food was fresh, warm and quick - and most of all - super tasty. Huge portions could not finish despite best try. It’s very good!
Food was delicious. The Buttermilk Fried Cauliflower was of the ordinary from what we normal order at a restaurant but it was great! My Wife's Shrimp Po' Boy was tasty and my Shrimp & Grits was tasteful! Overall food was delicious but our waitress disappeared on us. It took the staff a while to figure out we were waiting there to leave for a while... This is the reason for a 4-Star review.
My first visit. Recommend by my Physician Assistant. Excellent
Can't wait to go again. Parking terrible had to drive around. The wait wasn't too long. Patrons nice enough to tell me about registering on the chalk board. Be patient. I'm a Senior Queen and wouldn't go alone or at night but wonderful for breakfast or lunch. Would definitely take friends and family.🦁
Always a pleasure dining here. There is always a wait for breakfast and brunch, but well worth it!. Friendly service and great prices. A must for us whenever we are in the city. Their Shrimp Benedict and Shrimp and Grits are out of this world delicious!
The gumbo was about as good as you can expect at a restaurant. It’s typically a dish that’s only perfect if they happen to make it the way your mama makes it, and every mama makes it different.
But the hush puppies were among the best I’ve had. Would definitely come back when in the Bay Area.
Awesome vibes from staff with southern slow cooking. We tried the spicy pasta with seafood and Brenda's Fried Chicken for dinner. Both were amazing dishes. Would come back esp to try brunch!
Really good food with great service. The the pasta was made well and the fish po boy was crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. The sauce was spectacular. It gets pretty here on regular days so make sure to come early if you don't want to wait. The seating is a bit tight as well. Overall a great southern cooking restaurant in SF.
Brenda’s was true comfort food. Really authentic New Orleans options that were absolutely delicious. Cool atmosphere, friendly staff. I got the spicy pasta and it was incredible. We also got hushpuppies which were amazing with their dipping sauce. Highly recommend.
The ratings speak for themselves, as does the line out the door. We came for brunch, so be prepared to wait. Servings are generous and super tasty. The grits just melt in your mouth and you walk out of here a very content diner. I was only disappointed in myself that I didn't have room for a beignet!
5 star. There it is. If you want Lousiana soul food in the Bay Area, this is it. Near downtown. First time here. Hardly any wait at dinner time on a Saturday. Fast service. Food was tasty. Everything we got was great. Even the tap water tasted good. SERIOUSLY! We will be back, because we didn't leave room for dessert!
I went here and played it conservative for breakfast the night after seeing Hamilton. The food was absolutely delicious! And when I saw the amazing plates coming out for the other tables, I'm sorry I stayed with the classics. Be adventurous on your visit.
Took my foreign girlfriend here and watched her lose her green card fishing mind. She was so overwhelmed by the incredible taste that she was only able to express her joy in Russian. I picked up the tab and and for what we got it was honestly very reasonably priced. 2 entrees, an appetizer, beers, and dessert all for under $100. This meal was so good that maybe just maybe she’ll let me kiss her on the lips tonight!
Update: I showed her this review and she kissed me! No tongue tho....
Amazing food! Great service! Don't let the line turn you away, they move fast. Great Benedict, French toast and coffee. We will be back next time we are in the city. Can't wait to try something new!
While we were waiting outside some random person walking pass us said the way maybe long it's totally worth it. This person was 100% correct. The wife and I waited about 45 minutes for a table but once inside the food was fast fresh and delicious. A treat for travelers from afar or locals who know a good thing when they see it.
There's a reason there's always a line at Brenda's, but wait it out. It's worth it!
1) Fried Chicken Benedict (5/5):
Order any variation of the fried chicken. You will not regret this important decision. The breading on the chicken is wonderfully crunchy, seasoned perfectly, and, what pleasantly surprised me the most, was the fact that the breading does not fall off the chicken meat. In other words, each bite of fried chicken will have a consistent proportion of meat and Cajun seasoned breading. On the side, I chose grits (over potatoes) and they were a bit too buttery for my taste but still good. I just ate around the butter oil border.
I love Brenda's! And I do agree with my boyfriend who says that Brenda's Meat & Three is a different experience. I definitely prefer this original Brenda's!
I got two fried chicken thighs, a la carte, with a side of macaroni and cheese. The chicken was crazy crispy with a slight spice to it. Excellently seasoned. The macaroni and cheese was great as well, so much creamy, cheese with so much flavor.
We got the flight of beignets for dessert - regular, chocolate hazelnut, and apple. A couple of them seemed a bit overcooked, too crunchy, but the chocolate hazelnut was my favorite.
Would definitely come back for the chicken and macaroni and cheese.
We came here for weekend brunch with kids. Everyone loved their food. Vegetarian options. We started with a flight of four beignets. The biscuits are amazing, as are the grits. They make Benedict’s on biscuits. The catfish Benedict is a big hit. The French toast and pancakes are also amazing. Prices for food are very reasonable. They also have cocktails, which are a little pricey. Service is very good. They pack you into this small restartaunt pretty tightly. I shall return.
Great shrimp and grits!!!
Crayfish beignets are super flavorful!!!!
Grab a coffee and enjoy one of the best this city has to offer for breakfast/brunch.
Be prepared to wait but totally worth it. Write your name on chalkboard and just relax. They will get you in ASAP.
While opposites might attract....they don't always make for great dinning partners per say....me I love Bourbon and Southern comfort food. My girlfriend prefers Soylent ( like can you mix Tito's with that stuff?). I've wanted to come here for years.....and finally convinced everyone to try it!!!!
One of the Top Five burgers in the US as rated by Food Network in 2015.
Came here after a Giants night game and thankfully it was still open. Burger was definitely a Top Five burger with multiple dimensions of flavor.
Fire!! The shrimp & grits is definitely their specialty. We ordered quite a bit of the menu: beignets, shrimp & grits, red beans & rice, fried chicken, macaroni, jambalaya, etc. The shrimp & grits was the best. Macaroni & chicken were really good as well. Service was ok and the chocolate beignet is crazy sweet. I’m a sweet head and it was too sugary for me. Definitely give this place a try!
Brenda's excels at delivering a taste of New Orleans within the charming city of SF. I have vivid memories of waiting 2+ hours in the Tenderloin, a neighborhood with notable SF character, yet as soon as I taste the food of Brenda's, I'm transported back to New Orleans. For those who can't travel to New Orleans this year, I highly recommend ordering takeout from this wonderful joint.
Brenda infuses her food with soul, and each bite is full of flavor, texture, and heat, allowing for a memorable brunch experience. There's a reason why I don't mind enduring the wait on the weekend. My favorites include the fried chicken and the beignets, which are fluffy and hot and rival Cafe du Monde. The shrimp and grits are also hearty and seasoned perfectly. The red pepper jelly is a fantastic condiment, and I definitely will buy the jar next time!
Shrimp and grits, fried chicken and red beans with rice were great. I would have liked more rice with the red beans. Friendly and helpful service.
I've had Brenda's maybe 10 years ago but tried it again this past weekend and was BLOWN AWAY. It was so delicious, it made me break my plant-based diet.
The Crawfish Beignets are a must. Don't order one. You need to order THREE. Trust me. I made the mistake of just ordering one before leaving SF and instantly regret it. It is so fluffy, flavorful, and incredibly delicious.
Also, make sure to get the SHRIMP & GRITS. Wow. The tomato bacon gravy a top the deliciousness was all kinds of flavor bombs. I appreciate the fact that they give you an option to withhold the bacon, which is what I did when I ordered my own before leaving the city.
Easy pre-order online via ToastTab.com and will take roughly 30-35 mins when you're finished. So much easier than waiting in a long, long line just to dine in here.
I ordered the pulled pork sandwich. It was yummy with my mimosa. Great service, great people. Quick, easy and covid safe service.
Been here a few times now and it never disappoints. The sweet potato dumplings are really good. It's one of the better veggie options on the menu. I've also had their buttermilk cauliflower, super yummy! Their mac and cheese is one of the best in the city. It's baked in an individual skillet and has the creamy béchamel sauce. Their biscuits and signature pepper jelly are also amazing. For dessert, the beignets will make you feel warm and cozy, esp. apple pie.
Best shrimp and grits i have had outside of the south. Ive been to alot of "Cajun" restaurants in the bay area and none of them can hold a candle to Brenda's. This is a restaurant that could stand with the thick competition in New Orleans. Be grateful you have access to a place like this in the bay. Say what you want but creole, cajun and soul food is lacking in the bay.
Only had the beignets here but they were very good. My favorite one was the chocolate one, as it had dark chocolate that was very rich and almost a bit salty. I was not a fan of the crayfish, but its really because I don't like cheese mixed with fish. Definitely recommend getting a flight of beignets when you come here. They also were warm, as if just out of the oven, when I picked them up. I'm pretty sure they are baked to order.
...get out of your seat and go to the window...right now...stick your head out and yell "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take mediocre Eggs Benedict...read this and 9240 more