Haute Top 5: Must-Try Desserts in San Francisco 2017

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From a classic old school doughnut shop to a cart that sells creme brûlée, there is no shortage of delicious desserts in San Francisco. Below we list a few of our favorites.

1 Russian Honey Cake at 20th Century Cafe

The 20th Century Cafe is a charming Hayes Valley bakery and eatery that is open daily for breakfast and lunch. Owner and pastry chef Michelle Polzine has a retro style and amazing ability to make scrumptious Eastern European fare. Her Russian tea cake is layer upon layer of thin honey cake and honey-cream frosting. She caramelizes some of the honey and makes the batter over a double boiler before baking the cake in thin discs on parchment paper. The resulting cake is one of the tastiest cakes we’ve ever enjoyed. A slice is especially good paired with a cappuccino.

2 Banana Split at Ice Cream Bar

Ice Cream Bar is a diner-style restaurant and scoop shop in Cole Valley. It’s an excellent place to pull up a stool at the counter and order a tuna melt and old-fashioned soda like a chocolate phosphate. All of the ice cream is made in house and they offer sensational remedies—fountain drinks with alcohol. For a real treat, get the banana split. Vanilla, milk chocolate, and morello cherry ice creams are piled high with hot fudge, butterscotch, and cherry sauces, whipped cream, and toasted almonds with a caramelized banana on the side. It will be one of the best sundaes of your life!

3 Birthday Cake at Park Tavern

Emily Luchetti is one of San Francisco’s most celebrated pastry chefs. At Park Tavern in North Beach she’s created an elegant dessert menu that includes lovely creme brûlée and spiced bread pudding. However, it’s her birthday cake that is a must order. Each month, Luchetti makes a different kind of seasonal cake and those who are celebrating their birthday at the restaurant can enjoy a slice and feel special. April’s birthday cake is an exceptional coconut cake with finger-licking good cream cheese frosting.

4 Soft Serve at Zero Zero

Zero Zero is Bruce Hill’s superb pizza place in SoMa. Everything about the large restaurant is perfect, from the crisp flavorful pies to the artisanal cocktails to the house made soft serve ice cream. It’s made with organic Straus milk and is the creamy ice cream of your childhood dreams. Diners choose either vanilla, chocolate, or swirl and can build their own sundae. The topping options are plentiful and inventive. There are ricotta doughnuts, flourless chocolate brownie, lemon poppyseed bread pudding, vanilla poached strawberries, chocolate cookie crumble, hot fudge, and more!

5 Grasshopper Sundae at Finn Town

Ryan Scott’s Castro district tavern, Finn Town, is a new favorite—we love everything from the housemade cheez-its to the creative over-the-top desserts. Scott has hired Cheryl Storms to create all of the pastries, breads, and desserts. The hummingbird cake with cream cheese ice cream, the key lime pie with toasted coconut meringues—you name it, her sweet treats are all amazing. However, our personal favorite is the grasshopper sundae. It’s a mixture of devil’s food cake, meringues, chocolate pudding, mint chocolate chip ice cream, toasted marshmallow, and warm ganache and it’s to die for!
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