Our Kantine San Francisco Review is from our recent visit, prompted by a Danish friend's email to us that it had been highlighted in David Lebovitz's San Francisco and Los Angeles dining roundup. Since we regularly bought bread, sandwiches, and pastries at Ole and Steen when we lived in NYC and enjoyed plenty of great Danish bread and pastries when visiting these friends in Copenhagen last summer, we were happy to see how Kantine, which bills itself as “Scandinavian from scratch,” measured up. Chef Nichole Accettola spent about 15 years in Copenhagen, and Kantine is a very personal project, modern and flooded with natural light, which is open only for breakfast and lunch before closing at 3pm, allowing her to spend time with her family, a rarity in the grueling restaurant industry.
Kantine Location and Hours
Kantine is located at 1906 Market Street by Guerrero. It's open Tuesday-Friday 8am-2pm, and Saturday-Sunday 9am-3pm. It's closed Mondays and is walk-in only (no reservations). You order inside, and if you're ordering anything that has to be prepared in the kitchen, you'll be given a small placard and stand to bring to your table.
Kantine Menu and Food
We'd looked at Kantine's menu on its Web site and had decided what we wanted to order for its Build-Your-Own-Brunch.
Unfortunately, Kantine had changed its offerings, so there was no golden beet + green garlic Salad, nor was it possible to order the yogurt with rye and oat granola. There was yogurt that could be ordered as a larger portion separately, so I asked if the appropriate sized smaller portion could be included as part of the brunch assortment (as stated on the Web site menu) but I was rebuffed.
There's indoor seating, but it was actually quite crowded, as several customers were working on laptops, so we chose to dine outdoors. We were given a small placard so that staff could identify where to bring our order.
My husband and son both got the Grovbirkes Breakfast Sandwich; it comes with herbed scrambled eggs and a choice of Havarti cheese or ham (or for a $2 supplement you can have both). The flaky rolls, studded with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds were a huge hit.
I got the Build-Your-Own-Brunch with 5 items: herbed scrambled eggs, runny organic egg with creamy spinach, chickpeas with kale, tomatoes and preserved lemon vinaigrette, overnight muesli, and smoked trout salad (this is a $3 supplement). I liked the variety (and with the vegetables, smoked trout, and dairy, whole grains and fruit in the muesli it was also more nutritionally balanced than the breakfast sandwich), but it was a good thing I'd chosen both egg dishes, as otherwise it probably wouldn't have been filling enough given the small portion sizes of the chickpeas and smoked trout.
The smoked trout was a highlight, although frankly I was expecting a slightly larger portion size. The muesli was fine, and my husband (who likes muesli more than I do) enjoyed his taste, although I would have really preferred to try the yogurt.
The three of us shared a Cardamom Morning Bun. It's very crisp and flaky, and ideal for those who don't like their breakfast pastries too sweet, with a subtle cardamom taste. Personally I still prefer Tartine's Morning Bun, which has a bit more syrup and gooey goodness to it, plus I love the orange zest that Tartine uses; it adds such a wonderful contrast to the rich croissant dough and really elevates it.
We enjoyed our Kantine brunch and would return. The highlights were the Grovbirkes Sandwich on its seeded flaky pastry roll, the smoked trout salad, and the overnight muesli. The Cardamom Morning Bun was good, but we still prefer the morning buns at Tartine Bakery and Tartine Manufactory. I do wish the restaurant would either keep its Web site menu up to date or at least accommodate a small portion of yogurt as one of the Build-Your-Own-Brunch options, given that it was available to order as a larger portion. For many more guest-focused restaurants this would have been easily accommodated.
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