As an a frequent coffee shop lounger, I’ve conducted a rather thorough assessment of the food available at my local cafes. Most the time, the pastries fall somewhere in the range of underwhelming to depressing. Especially at the cheaper coffee places, you’re lucky if the baked goods taste like they were made with real ingredients vs. artificial replacements.
And then I went to Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters over in the Marina neighborhood of San Francisco. I went for their coffee, which was outstanding. We were also hungry, though, so we bought a scone. And in that moment, our San Francisco breakfast game changed forever. The scone we picked was savory, with the perfect blend of cheese and herbs. The scone “shell” had a nice bite to it, revealing a soft, flavorful crumb. My boyfriend and I gobbled it up. And then we went back later that week. And then again the following week. And then – we asked the barista where their baked goods come from.
Turned out they order baked goods from a place called Marla Bakery in the Outer Richmond of San Francisco. Wrecking Ball sells a small selection of Marla’s pastries everyday to go with their fantastic coffees. But after many trips to Wrecking Ball for coffee and a scone, we decided to seek out the source. On a beautiful San Francisco day, my boyfriend and I ventured out to Marla Bakery to see what else we could sink our teeth into.
What a wonderful experience! We were so glad Wrecking Ball tipped us off to this marvelous place. We ordered a slew of breakfast dishes, punctuated by starting and finishing pastries. Every bit of food was housemade, which meant really flavorful meats, great breads and inventive twists on simple vegetable preparations.
We recently returned to Marla for Round 2 and were just as pleased. This time we started with a Confit Garlic, Parmesan & Black Pepper scone. Then we shared a plate of cured salmon with assorted pickles, housemade cheese and a delicious bagel. We also got a “baker’s breakfast” plate that included a mix of cheeses, vegetable condiments and breads. Everything was so fresh and flavorful. The menu may sound simple, but simplicity lets ingredient superiority shine through- Marla’s definitely offers food with superior flavor to other brunch spots in the city. The restaurant itself is beautiful, too. Tasteful decor inside, and then a nice patio and garden in the back. Our last trip there we lucked out with a sunny day and picked a table in the back.
If you’re in San Francisco, I highly recommend checking out Marla’s. I don’t think many tourists venture to the Outer Richmond, but you can make a really great day of it: breakfast at Marla’s then a stroll through Golden Gate Park makes for a beautiful SF day.Marla takes reservations, which makes it easy to slot it into a busy schedule. After breakfast you can wander east through the Richmond and you’ll hit a fun stretch of stores spanning everything from Russian groceries to Chinese bakeries.
And if you’re ever near the Marina, you have to check out Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters, too. The coffee is really high quality and the store is decorated with the cutest pineapple wallpaper you’ll ever see!
Update: Marla now has a kiosk at the Ferry Building downtown, too. It’s a much smaller selection than their Outer Richmond location but if you’re unable to make it to the full restaurant, at least check out their kiosk!