Best Breakfast - 2005
Mama's on Washington Square
1701 Stockton (at Filbert), 362-6421
Every great breakfast spot has a line out the door, and Mama's is no different. Outside it's brutal, but once you get the nod from the server/bouncer, you're ushered into the second line, which hugs the counter. This line is easier. You're now inches from pastries of all sorts, made fresh daily. Locals chat up the cooks as they flip thick omelets and French toast, a house favorite. If you get lucky and someone orders apple pan dore, you'll see the cooks fry apple slices in butter to pour over fried baguettes. You order at the cashier, at which point a server miraculously summons an empty table, a feat in this narrow cafe. If he brings pancakes with fresh berries -- probably the best pancakes you'll ever eat -- he'll invariably suggest you top them with homemade jam, which turns out to be a great idea. A server carrying two pots of coffee prowls the room, waiting for someone to take a sip. Mama's is a well-oiled machine, ushering hungry locals through classic breakfasts.