My family was in town this weekend and it presented some interesting food challenges. Six people in all, including my 82+ year old grandparents, and my aunt - a vegetarian. Grandpa was definitely in town for the clam chowder - he is obsessed with the clam chowder at the Cliff House, of all places - so that was our first meal when they arrived.
Sunday, we needed a brunch location. Where do dine which didn't have long waits, had parking that was reasonable and not too awful, and that could satisfy the varying dining needs of the whole fam? Considered the brunch at the Palace, but it was out of the price range, and not what we were looking for ...
On a whim, I called the Fog City Diner. They were open for brunch, and I was assured that I didn't need to make a reservation.
The menu was varied, which worked well with our half breakfast eating/half lunch eating clan. Delicious Bloody Marys all around. Very unassuming in their look and presentation, they had a slow burn that I am craving two days later.
Grandpa played it right, ordering only clam chowder (better than Cliff house, he announced!) and eating off everyone else's plates. I tasted the clam chowder, and it was delicious - more like the broth from steamed clams than the thick chowdery broth I am used to. My aunt was in vegetarian heaven with an eggplant/miso concoction, and some sort of potatoes, as well as a butter lettuce salad that looked delicious.. I had a spinach salad omelette which tasted like something that I would make at home. Piles of spinach, barely cooked, with blue cheese and surrounded by omelette. Mom had the famous mac and cheese, and was very happy with it. Grandma had a chorizo-filled chile relleno, with scrambled eggs. Sis had a cobb salad sandwich.
Service was attentive without being obtrusive.
We finished up with shared desserts - bread pudding and a ice cream sundae that was to die for. Entire meal for six, with tip, was about $150. Definitely not the most inexpensive, but reasonable considering drinks and dessert and coffee.
This was the meal that my family talked about the most all trip, a total and complete hit with everyone. I have always enjoyed taking out of towners to Fog City Diner, and am personally thrilled to know that it is so great for brunch. It really worked well considering the group. Had it been different friends of mine, or not the grandparents, I would have taken them to somewhere a little riskier, however this was perfect given the situation.
Fog City Diner
1300 Battery St
San Francisco, CA 94111-1104
Phone: (415) 982-2000