Best Doughnuts - 2008
San Francisco finds itself in something of a doughnut (or donut) moment right now: Fancy restaurants are featuring the confections (sometimes hidden under the upscale moniker of beignets) in appreciative homage to the humble treat found in neighborhood shops. Get 'em while they're hot!
Bob's Donuts & Pastry Shop 1621 Polk (at Sacramento), 776-3141
A kinda grungy store on a kinda grungy block of Polk, but the kinda lumpy, kinda lopsided doughnuts here not only look homemade (compared to the picture-perfect chain versions), they happily taste that way, too. These are sinkers in the best sense of the word: substantial, not airy. Everything you crave, including old-fashioned cake-crumb doughnuts, buttermilk bars, and (in addition to doughnuts), cinnamon rolls, brownies, and apple fritters, is available 24/7 at popular prices.
Trish's Mini Donuts
Pier 39, Building B, Level 1, 981-4318
Hard to believe that there's actually a treat at Pier 39 that will reward locals as well as hapless tourists, but the freshly-fried mini doughnuts at Trish's are pretty addictive. You can watch them emerge, two by two, from their brief bath in hot oil, to be served plain or rolled in cinnamon and sugar. There's usually a plate of cooled-off samples, but they're better hot. Prices are $2.50 for 6, $4 for 12, and $6.50 for 24 — all piled into paper bags.
1300 Fillmore (at Eddy), 771-1700
At the jazzy supperclub 1300 Fillmore, the little powdered-sugar-dusted beignets look like miniature jelly doughnuts, but when you spear one, creamy warm chocolate oozes out. They're paired with a tiny glass of coffee ice cream soda.
311 Third St. (at Folsom), 536-5800
The French, Vietnamese, and Italian cross-cultural dessert of doughnuts and affogato at Bong Su features warm donuts served with Valrhona chocolate sauce and freshly made Vietnamese filter press coffee, to drench an accompanying ball of rich vanilla ice cream.