It’s hard to imagine that the San Francisco restaurant Plow in Potrero Hill has only been open for about six years. To me, it’s almost an institution for its brunch offerings and famous lemon ricotta pancakes.

I often recommend Plow to people looking for a nice brunch spot. (In fact, I list it in my Ben’s Picks page of my favorite places.) But it has been years since I’ve been back so recently I made the journey to the hill with my niece Margot for Sunday brunch.

Fresh flowers brighten the open space in the dining room.

Fresh flowers brighten the open space in the dining room.

So the thing to keep in mind about brunch at Plow, especially on the weekend, is that it’s the worst kept secret in town. Everyone comes here for brunch. The time quoted for the wait is often two hours. Luckily, that part of Potrero Hill has been growing over the years and there are now more cute little shops to browse. Sometimes the wait is shorter than quoted because people give up and leave (the fools).

On the day we went, we waited a little less than 90 minutes. That might seem long, but it had been awhile since I saw my niece so it’s a nice time to catch up.

I have to admit, there were times Margot wondered why we were waiting so long for brunch, but when we were finally seated, it was evident in the serene surroundings and friendly service. And then the food, starting with the popular fluffy lemon ricotta pancakes and my favorite, the housemade potatoes that are twice cooked (and partly smashed).

Breakfast sandwich at Plow

Breakfast sandwich with two fried soft eggs, cheddar, aioli and frisee on an Acme bun, $12

Opened by two chefs who worked a long time ago at Oakland’s Oliveto, the sensibility is very much the same with the seasonal ingredients and organic and homey decor. Brunch has a nice mix of egg dishes and fruits and salads, but you have to order¬†the lemon ricotta pancakes, which are so light and fluffy with just a hint of lemon.

The best plate to try is probably “The Plow” ($17), which is like a sampler plate, including two eggs, two of the aforementioned lemon ricotta pancakes, Plow potatoes, and choice of pork sausage, bacon or chicken apple sausage. (We got the pork sausage that comes out looking like patties.)

We also tried the breakfast sandwich ($12), which was a bit messy to eat because of the fried soft egg on top, with cheddar, aioli, and frisee on an Acme bun. It was good but it really needed some meat (you can add bacon for an additional $2.75 but I generally avoid bacon).

A portion of The Plow, a sampler platter. Show here are two lemon ricotta pancakes.

A portion of The Plow, a sampler platter. Shown here are two lemon ricotta pancakes and pork sausages. (Other half of the platter shown in photo at the very top)

The last bite
The brunch scene may seem chaotic when waiting but you don’t feel it once you’re seated at Plow, where comforting breakfast items done nicely by the kitchen provides the quintessential San Francisco brunch experience.

The rating: 3 out of 4 camera snaps3-snaps



The deets: Plow, 1299 18th St., San Francisco. PH: 415.821.7569. Open daily for breakfast and lunch. No reservations and only parties of six or less. Major credit cards accepted.

Plow Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Here’s a cool video from the Plow’s website. If only the wait went this fast! LOL.

Plow from Peter Belanger on Vimeo.

5 Responses to Revisiting Brunch Institution Plow in San Francisco

  1. Thuy says:

    Ben, the potatoes are to die for! I love that they give you blankets too if you’re sitting outside.

    • Ben Ben says:

      Yes, the blankets are a nice touch, although I kept commenting to my niece that heat lamps would be better, but I guess it’s a hassle moving the heat lamps in and out every day.

  2. Macarena says:

    We have been there once, waited for about 1-1/2 hrs and felt in love at the first bite!! ? The granola is also very yummy!

  3. I swear, I’ve been to Plow so many times and it’s amazing every time!