A Carb Lover’s Tour of San Francisco; Sourdough Bread and Beyond

One of my first “tastes” of San Francisco was a warm, crusty loaf of sourdough bread enjoyed at Boudin Bakery on a trip to the city when I was a college Sophomore living in Baltimore. The tangy, chewy delight helped spark my love affair with the city by the bay and its carb-loaded offerings.

Join me, Thomas Smith, on this gastronomic adventure as we unveil hidden gems and mouthwatering masterpieces that make San Francisco’s carb-loaded sourdough scene truly magical.

Stop 1: Boudin Bakery – The Sourdough Pioneer

Sign with logo for Boudin Bread, May 5, 2020.

As the birthplace of San Francisco sourdough, Boudin Bakery has been a city staple since the 1849 Gold Rush. Today, the bakery continues to attract both locals and visitors with their enticing clam chowder served in a sourdough bread bowl.

The iconic Boudin location is at Fisherman’s Wharf, but you can find their bread throughout the Bay Area.

Stop 2: Arsicault Bakery – The Local Croissant Sensation

Nestled in the charming Inner Richmond neighborhood, Arsicault Bakery has earned its rank as “America’s Best Bakery.”Prepare to be transported to a Parisian street corner as you bite into a golden, flaky croissant that’s been expertly crafted with care.

Stop 3: Tartine Bakery – A Mission District Staple

At the heart of the Mission District lies Tartine Bakery, an institution synonymous with San Francisco’s top-notch carb scene. With every bite of Tartine’s heavenly morning bun, savor the art of baking in its purest form.

Large crowds of diners are visible inside Tartine Bakery in the Mission District neighborhood of San Francisco, California, widely considered among the best bakeries in the world, October 6, 2019.

This is the bakery you read about if you enjoyed Michael Pollan’s classic book Cooked. Many people consider it the best sourdough bakery in the world.

Stop 4: La Marais – A Bite of Paris

Le Marais Bakery features the traditional, flaky baked goods and breads you’d expect in San Francisco, but this French-inspired bakery has another signature item you need to check out–macarons!

Macarons at Le Marais. Credit: Bay Area Telegraph

I love French macarons–the daintier the better–and Le Marais is one of the Bay Area’s best places to get them.

Stop 5: Dynamo Donut – The Artisan Donut Experience

Dynamo Donut, an eclectic Mission District shop, boldly reimagines the classic doughnut. From Maple Bacon Apple to Strawberry Earl Grey, every hand-crafted delight is a adventure for the taste buds seeking the unconventional.


San Francisco’s carb scene extends far beyond sourdough, providing seemingly endless deliciousness that delights both visitors and locals alike. From historic pioneers and modern sensations to future innovators, San Francisco’s love for carbs remains a mainstay in its culinary fabric. So what are you waiting for? Embark on your own carb lover’s adventure, where the ovens are warm, and the city eagerly awaits you.

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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