Bestie Eats - Your fave brunch, dinner, desserts and more

by Jim Gladstone

Best Breakfast and Best Late Night Restaurant: Orphan Andy's
Best Breakfast and Best Late Night Restaurant: Orphan Andy's  

"We are everywhere!" may be a queer community rallying cry, but once again, Bestie voters don't seem to eat anywhere but the Castro and the Mission.

Sadly, even in the gayborhood, the pink dollar isn't enough to keep some of our past winners up and running. This year saw the closing of former Bestie champs Chow and Firewood Café.

Past runner-up dessert shop Tout Sweet, gay Top Chef winner Yigit Pura's outpost at Macy's, also shuttered this year. The landmark Flore (nee Café Flore) seems to have fallen out of favor with voters. A previous winner in coffee shop, patio dining and brunch categories, it entirely slipped off the gaydar this year.

Here are this year's winners, along with a few nudges and recommendations to expand your palates.


Best Breakfast: Orphan Andy's (3991 17th St.)
Runners-up: Stacks (501 Hayes St.), Kate's Kitchen (471 Haight St.)

Our raggedy perennial winner is one of precious few 24-hour spots in the city. Swing by with your guy after the bars close to eat fresh eggs before your cock crows.

Try this: Wooden Spoon (2172 Market) complements traditional bacon and eggs with California curveballs like a morning bowl with quinoa, kabocha and chard.


Best Brunch: Hamburger Mary's (531 Castro St.)
Runners-up: Squat & Gobble ( 3600 16th St. ), Dottie's (28 6th St.)

Surprise, surprise; a girl leaves town for 17 years and is immediately popular again on her return. Reservations suggested for Drag Brunch.

Try this: Corridor (100 Van Ness) has a Saturday-brunch. Don't miss the homemade tots and cheese and chive monkey bread.


Best Bar Menu and Best Lunch: Harveys  

Best Lunch: Harvey's (500 Castro St.)
Runners-up: Starbelly (3583 16th St.), Super Duper (2304 Market St.)

Nice to see Starbelly making a Besties appearance. Their invisible-to-the-street tented back patio (overlooked in our patio category) is a lovely place to break bread.

Try this: Kantine (1906 Market St.) features Swedish-style smorrebrod (open-faced sandwiches), salads and savory porridge (Try it, you'll like it.)


Best Dinner: Delfina  

Best Dinner: Delfina (3621 18th St.)
Runners up: Finn Town (2251 Market St.), Canela (2272 Market St.)

In Memoriam: The year's top vote-getter was actually The Firewood Café. But after 22 years, the Castro comfort foodery was scheduled to shut down this past Sunday.

Inexplicable: Year after year, the common threads in the Restaurant Besties are proximity to the Castro and modest prices. So it's a bit of a mystery that Petit Crenn, located in Hayes Valley and serving $95 prix fixe dinners, was our third runner up. The times they are a changin'.


Best Dessert: Tartine (600 Guerrero)
Runners-up: The Baked Bear (2824 Jones St. and 303 Columbus Ave.), Sixth Course (1554 15th St.)

Yes, that hairy dude with the vape pen would make a fine after-dinner treat, but apparently there's a chain of iced cream sandwich shops the gays are also fond of.
New to our ranks is Sixth Course, a dessert stop with the aesthetics of a jewelry shop; sweet and swanky.


Best Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt: Bi-Rite Creamery (3692 18th St.; 550 Divisadero)
Runners-up: Mitchell's (688 San Jose Ave.), Castro Fountain (554 Castro)

Our voters say NoYo. Meanwhile, on the ice cream front, the 18th Street Bi-Rite is currently undergoing seismic retrofitting, but is operating from a truck outside; the Castro Fountain's homemade waffle cones are the city's best; Mitchell's offers at least 40 flavors daily.


Best Restaurant Outdoor Patio: Foreign Cinema  

Best Restaurant Outdoor Patio: Foreign Cinema (2534 Mission St.)
Runners-up: Zeitgeist (199 Valencia St.), Fable (558 Castro St.)

All well and good, but don't neglect the ultimate old time sittin' on the dock of the bay experience at The Ramp (855 Terry Francois St.).


Best Coffee Shop: Peets (everywhere)
Runners-up: Philz (everywhere), Blue Bottle (everywhere)

Want to unshackle yourself from the chains (even our favorite locally grown ones)? Give a little love to some of our solo location also-rans, including Wicked Grounds, Spike's, Castro Coffee and Hearth.


Best Late Night Restaurant: Orphan Andy's (3991 17th St.)
Runners-up: Grubstake (1525 Pine St.), DNA Pizza (371 11th St.),

All nice noshes for queers after midnight, but for a classic mid-20th century urban vibe and top-notch drunken tourist viewing, hit the 24-hour Pinecrest Diner (401 Geary St.).


Best Happy Hour Bites: Hi-Tops (2247 Market)
Runners-up: Harvey's (500 Castro), Jolene's (2700 16th St.)

Yes, Hi Tops. But yasss, hello Jolene's! It's nice to have a new neighbor whipping up avocado eggrolls and charcuterie.

Try this: An $8 bowl of insanely rich seafood chowder and a $5 draft at Bar Crudo (655 Divisadero, Happy Hour 5-6:30pm) makes for a fine early dinner.


Best Bar Menu: Harvey's (500 Castro)
Runners-up: Hi Tops (2247 Market), Lookout (3600 16th St.)

Try this: Beyond the Castro, the tapas and burgers at 15 Romolo in North Beach (15 Romolo Place) are back alley bliss.


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