Cafes in West Portal

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Four Things to Know About Roti Indian Bistro

Established in 2005, Roti Indian Bistro coaxes visitors into its warm, inviting space at two different locations: San Francisco and San Mateo. Inside both, diners enjoy a culinary tour through India while feasting upon lunch and dinner specialties. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you stop by:

  • The food is considered modern Indian. That means curries are lighter and spices are less intense, but dishes don't lose the therapeutic qualities of traditional Indian cuisine.
  • Tandoor ovens are heavily relied upon. Though these mesquite-fired clay structures can't win "Employee of the Month" honors, they put in their fair share of work churning out roasted meats and fresh breads—including the addictive goat-cheese naan.
  • Garam masala is made in house from Roti’s own special blend of toasted spices.
  • Try cooking the restaurant's dishes at home. Recipes for some of the most popular dishes are posted on the bistro's website, including one for customer favorite, chicken tikka masala.

53 W Portal Ave
San Francisco,

The Greenhouse: A User’s Guide

Organic, Fair-Trade Coffee | Local Ingredients | Sandwiches and Salads | Patio | Eco-Friendly

Sample Menu

  • Drink: french press coffee or a fresh-fruit smoothie
  • Breakfast: sun-dried-tomato pesto and feta on a choice of bagel
  • Lunch: the vegan soup of the day, and the Oracle, which pairs honey-smoked ham with French brie
  • Dinner: Greenhouse salad—spinach with housemade candied pecans, avocado, and blue cheese
  • Sweet snack: gluten-free peanut-butter cookie

Inside Tips

  • Lattes perform double pick-me-up duty: there’s the caffeine, but baristas also swirl some inspiring art into the foam.
  • Vegan? Gluten-free? There are plenty of dishes to choose from, from soups and sandwiches to cookies and donuts.
  • Take advantage of a nice day and post up on the lush back patio.

Origin Stories

  • The bread was baked at San Francisco's iconic Boudin Bakery (except for the gluten-free slices). Sandwich eaters choose between sourdough and multigrain.
  • The coffee, certified fair trade and organic, has a variety of homes. Beans in the mellow Equator Blend hail from Brazil, Ethiopia, Sumatra, and Central America. The creamy Tigerwalk Espresso comes from Mexico, Guatemala, and Rwanda.
  • The tea hails from all across the globe. For example, the jasmine petal-laced pouchong green tea is from Fuzhou, China, and the citron of the citron-honey tea is from Geoje, South Korea.
  • The produce is sourced from local and organic farmers whenever possible.
  • The silverware and packaging come from an eco-friendly supplier, so the forks, spoons, cups, lids, and straws are all compostable.

Who's in the Kitchen? Husband-and-wife team Sam and Queenia cofounded Greenhouse Cafe because they love coffee, community, and creativity. The duo may own the joint, but they can often be found behind the counter. Queenia, in fact, is the artist behind many of a latte's foam picture. Some items on the menu are even named after their children, Jeanie and Chuckie.

329 W Portal Ave
San Francisco,

Five Things to Know About Manor Coffee Shop

Family-owned and operated by the Jeungs since 1967, Manor Coffee Shop is a diner that proudly shows its age. Here are a few important points to keep in mind.

  • Manor revels in 1950s Americana. From the bright-red swivel stools (with functioning hat clips) at the long curving bar to the posters of Marilyn and Elvis that flank the jukebox, the decor evokes a simpler time.
  • It’s not just the decor, either. Waitresses wear vintage pink uniforms and operate an old-timey cash register.
  • Hamburgers and breakfast staples anchor a menu of diner dishes. They also have more creative plates, such as the fried Crunchy Munchy chicken wings and the Silly Spuds—skewered potato spirals that are deep fried and dusted with seasoning.
  • The kitchen focuses on handcrafted quality. Cooks grind their own beef for the burgers, cut their own french fries, and slice each steak off the ribeye roast right before griddling it.
  • The Coffee Shop pours more than just coffee. It also slings glasses of fresh-squeezed orange juice and milkshakes from fresh-squeezed milk cartons.

321 W Portal Ave
San Francisco,

In Focus: Fog Lifter Cafe

  • Vibe: cozy cafe full of hardwoods, plus a handful of outdoor seating
  • Coffee options: a trio of African blends, plus Blue Bottle Coffee used to make everything from Americanos to mochas
  • To eat: daily-changing quiches and pastries, sandwiches such as eggplant or salmon avocado paninis
  • Earliest time to grab a cup of joe: 6:30 a.m. Monday–Friday, 7 a.m. on weekends
  • Amenities: Free WiFi

1901 Ocean Avenue
San Francisco,

In the days before baguettes were popularized as day-old jousting batons, the dignified breadform was utilized as a sandwich vessel. To preserve the antiquity of the baguette, the friendly bakers at Cocola fetch them straight from the oven on a daily basis and build graspable sandwiches of the highest quality, such as the albacore tuna nicoise (with a lemon vinaigrette, $9.90) and the hearty grilled eggplant (with fresh veggies, mozzarella, and an olive oil and balsamic blend, $9.90). A sandwich is an intelligent way to get the hunger ball rolling down the hill until it crashes into an array of sweet menu treats. Indulge in tri-colored mousse cups ($4.60) and whipped and stacked hazelnut cakes ($4.60), or nourish your petite palate with pear tarts ($2.80) or bite-sized tiramisu ($3.10).

3251 20th Ave
San Francisco,

In Focus: Railroad Expresso

  • Specialty: fresh-pressed espresso drinks and coffee
  • Alternative choices: juices, teas, and pastries
  • What to do while riding the caffeine train: Flip through a book pulled from the shop’s shelves.
  • Other diversions: free WiFi and board games
  • The vibe: decidedly low-key
  • What to do if you get a post-coffee pot-sticker craving: Head across the street to Shanghai Dumpling King.

705 Monterey Blvd
San Francisco,