Café Madeleine Restaurant in San Francisco

Sandwiches and coffee from Cafe Madeleine

Café Madeleine Restaurant Review

Café Madeleine is an adorable European style café that serves sandwiches, salads, quiche, soups, pastries, and desserts. Open for breakfast and lunch throughout the week, Café Madeleine is a popular spot to grab a coffee on the way to work or for a quick lunch. The menu at Café Madeleine restaurant is classic and simple, which seems to allow for the highest quality in the items it does best. They use fresh and local, and usually organic ingredients in their foods. The café is also known for the beautiful cakes and assortment of fancy French desserts on display in the glass cases, which taste as good as they look.

The Location

Café Madeleine restaurant is an oasis in the good-food desert of Union Square, not an area known for its great food. Parking in the area is difficult to find outside of a few pricy garages, but this location is located right between the Montgomery and Powell BART stations.

There are also locations in SoMa on New Montgomery Street and on California Street in the Financial District.

The Address: 43 O’Farrell Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

Phone:(415) 362-1713

Opening Hours

Monday through Friday: 7 AM to 6 PM

Saturday: 9 AM to 5 PM

The Ambiance

Café Madeleine restaurant is much like a small European café, with white marble and sleek black counters, and large glass display cases showcasing the sandwiches and fancy desserts. The vibe is classic and classy, catering to the business crowd.

Seating is limited to a few stools at counters facing out the large front windows and a few tiny tables and chairs on the sidewalk outside. All of the seating offers prime people-watching views guaranteed to provide some entertainment.

The Service

The employees were friendly and efficient, although we had a few minor issues during our visit. First, the cashier taking orders had no idea what d’affinois cheese was, even though it is an ingredient on one of their sandwiches. Employees should probably be knowledgeable about the menu. The other problem was the cappuccino order must have been lost, because it never came. However, the barista made up for the mistake with a complimentary cupcake. Overall it was a pleasant experience and they all seemed to be working hard.

 The Price

Prices at Café Madeleine restaurant are very reasonable, especially considering the location and the ambiance of the place. The portions are not particularly large, but it was filling enough (especially if you splurge on dessert). Sandwiches range from $7.50 to $9 with addition of mixed organic greens at $2.00. Salads are under $10 with addition of chicken or tuna at $3.50 and desserts are pricy at around $5 each.

The Food

Café Madeleine’s restaurant lunch menu features a list of sandwiches, from hot grilled panini to cold cuts on a baguette. The sandwiches offered were great classic combinations of simple ingredients like turkey and white cheddar or avocado, bacon and jack cheese. In addition to some European-influenced flavors, Café Madeleine offers a few American specialties, like the barbeque pulled pork sandwich or the rain day go-to, grilled cheese served with tomato soup. They also have several thoughtful salad combinations that could make eating salad for lunch a little less depressing, like the burrata salad with beets and pine nuts and tomatoes, though I think the burrata would cancel out any health bonus from the rest of the salad.

I ordered the classic Caprese panini (fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil) – I was sold once I saw that it was enhanced with pesto. The Italian roll it was served on was really good and perfect for grilling, but I wish the sandwich had been grilled for longer because the cheese did not melt at all. Otherwise everything was fresh and flavorful. The other sandwich I tried was the cold prosciutto sandwich, paired with arugula and d’affinois cheese (we eventually learned that it is similar to brie), which is served on a soft, fresh French baguette. Both were tasty and filling enough for lunch, though probably both were sandwiches we could easily make at home.

We sat on stools in the window watching a French woman puff her e-cigarette, reading a book at the table outside, and a woman next to her enjoyed her latte while her tiny, white curly-haired dog lounged at her feet, we felt like we could have been in Paris. A fashionably dressed man sat down next to us with his quiche, and I made a mental note to come back to try it.

Their coffee drinks are spot on and they have chocolate whipped cream that they make in-house.

Beautiful deserts at Cafe Madeleine

Beautiful deserts at Cafe Madeleine

I’m usually of the opinion that those fancy, impossibly beautiful desserts can’t also taste good, but Café Madeleine restaurant proved me wrong. The Strawberry Charlotte was incredible and came with intriguing surprises: [spoiler] inside the poppy seed sprinkled ladyfinger cake was a strawberry mousse enriched by leaves of fresh basil. While I’m not always a fan of unexpected herbs in my desserts, this was a welcome surprise and the flavors worked great together. I also tried the Marjolaine, which is a layered pastry made with bittersweet chocolate, hazelnut meringue and vanilla buttercream. The layers were light and delicious, and the bittersweet chocolate helped balance the sweetness of the other flavors and it went great with the cappuccino.

Café Madeleine restaurant is a great little spot for a quick breakfast or lunch near Union Square, but be sure to save room for dessert.

Location of Café Madeleine Restaurant

Location of Café Madeleine Restaurant

Map showing location of Cafe Madeleine in San Francisco

Website :

Nearby Tourist Attraction–  Ferry building

Published On: Monday, February 27th, 2017