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Cable Car Cafe – San Francisco, CA

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Worth the fare.

519 Powell St (Union Square Area)
San Francisco, CA 94108
Price: $22.00 (for two – includes tip)
Meal: Brunch / 1pm / Weekend
No website known – sorry! (if we’re wrong, let us know!)

Part of the allure of San Francisco is no doubt the cable cars stuttering over the old municipal rail system.  It’s fitting then,  in the first half of the Powell Mason/Hyde lines is the apt-named cable car cafe. Modesty marketed with only a fading burgundy awning on one of the many steep hills rolling across the city, it’s definitely easy to miss while riding the cables. With so many little eateries all over the city, it was difficult to pick a few to try without running into the dreaded ‘tourist trap’. Thankfully, our visit to the cafe was left without needing any bolt cutters to speak of.

Entering the cafe, you’re asked to order immediately at the counter, which I imagine creates some confusion with a few patrons waiting. After figuring out what we wanted – I tried the ‘Hungary Bohemian’ sandwich and Autumn went for a savory chicken crepe – we sat down a small wooden table and took in the bustling San Francisco streets. The cafe offers a wide assortment of coffees, but loaded with a balance on our Starbucks card, we passed on more coffee. The cafe was only modestly patroned during our mid-Sunday visit, but the 49ers were playing a home game and I suspect that we would have seen more volume at the local bars as opposed to the local cafes.

After only ten minutes or so, both of our entrees arrived. The sandwich was large, and loaded with various meats, cheeses, avocado, and bacon on a ciabatta roll. Autumn’s crepe was also fairly large, housing grilled chicken, sauteed spinach, tomatoes, walnuts, almonds, and a pesto sauce. Each came with a side salad and choice of dressings; the honey mustard I selected was surprisingly good. Prices were consistent with what you’d pay elsewhere in the city, buffered by the good portion size. As for the quality of our brunches, we were thoroughly impressed.

Autumn’s Score: 4.0 Chews
Guru’s Score: 3.7 Chews
Our Score: 3.85 Chews ★★★★☆
Subjective rating: You’ll enjoy it.

 

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