Sweet Maple is a casual and inviting restaurant, coffeehouse, and gathering spot nestled in San Francisco’s Lower Pacific Heights neighborhood. After opening in 2010, Sweet Maple quickly gained popularity as a top brunch spot in San Francisco. Over the years, the spot has gained a following with locals, tourists, and culinary enthusiasts.
At Sweet Maple, simplicity is key when it comes to their menu. They opt for high-quality, locally-sourced organic ingredients to create uncomplicated yet delicious dishes. Sweet Maple is best known for their Millionaire’s Bacon, bacon that is extra-thick and infused with sweet and spicy flavors. Beyond their signature Millionaire’s Bacon, they are known for their French toast, Bloody Marys, and bottomless mimosas.
Thanks to their extensive brunch menu that uses high-quality ingredients and its laid-back atmosphere, it is not uncommon to have to wait for a table. And, they do not take reservations. But, the wait is worth it.
Today, Sweet Maple has three locations in the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Palo Alto, and Cupertino. They also have plans to open locations in Walnut Creek and Santa Monica in 2023. On my recent visit to San Francisco, I visited their location on Sutter Street in the Lower Pacific Heights neighborhood, on the border with Japantown.
Interior of Sweet Maple
When I visited Sweet Maple, it was a Sunday afternoon. Being a Sunday, I was expecting there to be a long wait for a table. But, as I arrived after the morning rush, I was able to get a table in less than five minutes.
When I walked into the restaurant, I was surprised by the overwhelming number of people, tables, and workers packed inside. The open dining room had tightly packed tables, making it difficult for the staff and customers, including myself, to maneuver around.
The ambiance was lively, boisterous, and loud, with the voices of customers blending with the sounds of the semi-open kitchen staff preparing food. If you are an introvert or don’t like crowds, you might find the space to be overwhelming. Even I found the space to be too loud for my liking.
The interior décor was modern and sleek, boasting white walls, gray tile accents, and wooden tables and floors. The ample space was brightly lit thanks to high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, and fashionable chandeliers.
Near the front entrance was a small bar with counter seating. Above the bar was a television mounted on a stunning blue-tiled wall. A blue mural adorned with white flowers, stretched along the main wall, was one of the most striking features of the restaurant. Along with the blue tiles near the bar, the mural added a pop of color to the otherwise neutral-colored walls of the restaurant.
Sweet Maple Menu
Although I say this frequently, the menu at Sweet Maple had something for everyone and catered to all tastes and preferences. The restaurant categorized the menu into sections for breakfast, brunch & lunch, a kid’s menu, and a drinks menu.
I won’t go through every item, but highlights of the breakfast section included scrambles, soufflegg skillet, omelets, pancakes, and benedicts. Under Brunch & Lunch, you will find sandwiches, breakfast pizzas, burgers, cheesesteaks, paninis, and salads. The Kid’s Menu had pancakes, a grilled cheese, and an egg scramble option.
As for drinks, you had coffee, freshly squeezed juice, tea, sodas, juice, and milk. There was also an assortment of alcoholic beverages. This included wine, mimosas, Bloody Marys, and craft beers.
Although recognized for their French toast, bottomless mimosas, and Bloody Marys, their Millionaire’s Bacon is their most famous dish. This bacon is cooked slowly for hours in a blend of brown sugar, cayenne, and red and black pepper. The result is a delectably chewy and tender bacon that is sweet, salty, and spicy. The bacon is so famous that it even appeared on the Discovery Network’s “United States of Bacon.”
If you want to try the bacon, consider trying the Millionaire’s Bacon Sampler Platter ($24.00). This platter comes with four types of bacon: Original, Citron, Cinnamon, and Rosemary. Another option is Millionaire’s Candy ($12.00) with four slices of candied bacon.
First up was the Blackstone Benedict ($25.00). This benedict came with English muffins topped with poached eggs, Millionaire’s bacon, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and a Meyer lemon hollandaise. Served on the side was a potato medley. If you aren’t in the mood for the potato medley, you can substitute sweet potato tater puffs for an extra $3 or mixed fruit for $4.
I ordered this benedict because it came with Millionaire’s Bacon. While I could have shelled out $12 or $24 to sample the bacon, I figured I could save some money and try it as part of the benedict.
The bacon was thick, with a smoky, sweet, spicy, and salty flavor that was rich but not overpowering. Although a little chewy due to its thickness, I enjoyed its melt-in-your-mouth fatty goodness.
The poached eggs were perfectly cooked. When I cut through each, they burst with a vibrant golden yolk. I was expecting the Meyer lemon hollandaise to be citrusy, but I found it to be buttery. But, I had no complaints as the homemade sauce was flavorful when it mixed with the rich yolk. And, I enjoyed how the sauce was not too thick or thin.
Hidden underneath were asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and a simple yet fresh English muffin that had been toasted on the bottom. I enjoyed how the muffin absorbed the sauce and egg yolk without becoming too soggy or falling apart. The tender yet crunchy asparagus and sweet tomatoes added texture and color while complementing the dish’s richness.
On the side was a potato medley. The potatoes, while simple, were delicate and incredibly tender both on the inside and outside. The potatoes were so sweet that I initially mistook one for a carrot. I enjoyed how the colorful potatoes were filling but not heavy or greasy.
Savory Soufflegg Skillet
I was having trouble deciding what to order next. That is when I glanced over at the table next to me and saw a fluffy egg dish served in a cast iron pan. It looked absolutely delicious, and I knew I had to try it. This was the Savory Soufflegg Skillet ($24.00) made with scampi shrimp, crispy bacon, and scallions. The dish also included a potato medley and ciabatta au levain toast.
As the plate was placed in front of me, I couldn’t believe how soft and fluffy the eggs looked. It looked unlike any egg dish I had ever seen before. The cast iron skillet was still hot, so I knew the eggs were still cooking. Without wasting any time, I picked up my knife and fork and dug in.
As I sliced through the exterior layer of the eggs, steam escaped from within. Its texture was fluffy, airy, and light and reminded me of tamagoyaki, a rolled omelet popular all over Japan. True to its name, the texture of the soufflegg was a perfect blend of eggs and a soufflé.
The main components of this dish were scampi shrimps and crispy bacon. The plump shrimp were fresh and savory, infusing the eggs with their rich, briny flavor. It almost seemed like the eggs had been mixed with shrimp broth. The bacon was crispy and salty, lending a satisfying crunch and complementing the shrimp perfectly. Finally, scallions added a refreshing crunch and a pop of color. Although seafood and eggs aren’t typically paired together, the blend of shrimp, bacon, and scallions in this dish worked.
On the side was the same potato medley and a slice of ciabatta au levain toast. Served with butter, the toast had the taste and texture of sourdough bread. It was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
Despite the restaurant being busy, and servers running in circles around the dining room, I was impressed by how efficient and friendly the service I received was. I had feared that our server might overlook us in the chaos. But to my surprise, our server consistently made rounds to our table, refilling our drinks, and checked in to see if we needed anything. I could tell the servers were trained well and I appreciated their hard work.
Despite its loud atmosphere, the restaurant remains a popular destination thanks to its modern décor, efficient service, and extensive menu featuring high-quality ingredients. Despite the crowds, it’s definitely worth a visit.
The Blackstone Benedict, with Millionaire’s Bacon, was a flavorful and visually appealing dish. The Savory Soufflegg Skillet, which combined seafood and eggs in an unexpected way, was a unique and tasty offering. It would be great to go back and try some more dishes from their menu.
With that said, I can say that Sweet Maple is a fantastic brunch destination in the Lower Pacific Heights neighborhood. And, it is also one of the best brunch spots in all of San Francisco thanks to its food, décor, and service.
- High-quality, locally-sourced organic ingredients
- Extensive menu featuring delicious, colorful, fresh dishes
- Modern and sleek décor
- Friendly service
- Often a wait for a table and no reservations allowed
- Relatively expensive compared to other brunch restaurants
- Loud interior
- No substitutions allowed
2101 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94115
GPS Coordinates: 37.78571,-122.43512