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Brunching in the Avenues

A few good reasons to get out of bed on Sunday

When I first moved to the Inner Richmond, I was dismayed. I'd relocated to the Bay Area to steep myself in city culture, and here I was, out in the Avenues, far away from anything even remotely resembling city life. Now, seven years later, I am quite delighted with my cozy rent-controlled one-bedroom apartment in the boondocks. It's quiet, it's relatively civilized, and-best of all-you don't have to wait an hour to get a scrumptious brunch on the weekend. Those finding themselves in a similar situation should take advantage of this culinary Mecca; not only will you find ample seating on the weekends, cheap prices and delicious food aplenty, but chances are, you'll find a parking spot, too.

Brunch Spots in the Richmond Inner Sunset, the six blocks surrounding the intersection of Ninth Avenue and Irving, offers just about every type of brunch experience one could want. Top of the list is Avenue 9 (1243 Ninth Avenue), where you can get an amazing plate of Red Flannel Hash with poached eggs and chicken sausage for the equally amazing price of $7. You might also try the zesty Lemon Ricotta and Berry Pancakes, also $7. My second favorite pick is Park Chow (1240 Ninth Avenue), sister to the popular Castro eatery. In addition to a very comprehensive array of fresh-pressed and extracted juices, Chow offers a delightful (albeit limited) menu of brunch dishes, including several Benedicts, pancakes and omelets, paired with delicious Hobb's apple smoked bacon. Also good is Crepevine (624 Irving Street), who, like kissing-cousins Squat N'Gobble and Squat N'Gobble Too, features an all-day menu of omelets, scrambles, sandwiches and crepes. For those wanting a more traditional eggs-and-bacon experience, try Art's Café (747 Irving Street), the Irving Street Café (716 Irving Street) or Howard's Café (1309 Ninth Avenue), all of which are tasty little diners serving eggs and griddled goods galore. Also worth noting is The Canvas (1200 Ninth Avenue), a new, pretentious-looking café/art gallery. While the high-toned exterior seems out of place and more than a little daunting, the art was interesting and the menu looked simple and tasty.

Brunch Spots in the Richmond Clement Street in the Inner Richmond also offers a ton of brunch options; the stretch between Arguello and Tenth Avenue containing nearly as many restaurants as the Inner Sunset. A perennial favorite, The Clement Street Bar & Grill (708 Clement Street), dishes out a slightly more expensive-and yummy-champagne brunch on the weekends. Your $13.95 will get you a Mimosa, a basket of fresh-baked breads and muffins, and the best Crab Cakes Benedict to be found in San Francisco since PJ's Oysterbed stopped serving brunch. Also good is Q (225 Clement Street), where you can find the same type of eclectic, hearty fare as is served up for dinner, including four Benedicts, several omelets, and traditional favorites such as steak & eggs and banana nut pancakes. Diner food and dim sum can be found in abundance throughout the ten-block stretch, but try Cheers Café (127 Clement Street) for the former and Good Luck Dim Sum (736 Clement Street Street) for the latter. If you don't mind investing more dough in your breakfast, try Clementine (126 Clement), an exquisitely pricey French joint-or pop up to Chapeau! (1408 Clement Street) for a less expensive-and less extensive-French experience.

Two restaurants slightly off the beaten path are Tong Kiang (5821 Geary), excellent for dim sum, and Rick's Restaurant and Grill (1940 Taraval Street), where you can chow down on a copious and inexpensive Sunday brunch. Two restaurants worth avoiding are the Beach Chalet (1000 Great Highway) and the Cliff House (1090 Point Lobos Avenue), unless you are entertaining tourists-or unless you really like waiting far too long and paying way too much for substandard food and a drop-dead gorgeous view.

Q Restaurant
225 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 752-2298

Clement Street Bar & Grill
708 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 386-2200

Howard's Cafe
1309 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122
+1 415.564.4723

Irving Street Café
716 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 664-1366

Art's Cafe
747 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 665-7440

624 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 681-5858

Good Luck Dim Sum
736 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 386-3388

Park Chow
1240 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 665-9912

126 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 387-0408

1408 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 750-9787

Ton Kiang
5821 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 386-8530

Rick's Restaurant & Bar
1940 Taraval St, San Francisco, CA 94116
(415) 731-8900

Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant
1000 Great Hwy, San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 386-8439

The Cliff House
1090 Point Lobos Ave., San Francisco, CA 94121
(888) 448-2186