Bob’s Donuts: Deftly Fried San Francisco Rings Big and Small

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Donut Box San Francisco

As much as I like small batch donuts with seasonal, market-driven ingredients and creative flavors (when they’re made well), it’s hard to beat a classic cake or raised donut that tastes like Americana. In San Francisco, the place to go for that kind of comfort is Bob’s Donuts, a 24/7 Nob Hill donut emporium that debuted in 1960.

Donut San Francisco
The Ahn family took over Bob’s Donuts more than three decades ago. Aya Ahn and husband Don relieved matriarch Eleanor with donut making duties. The Ahns and their crew typically produce pastry rings between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m., with your best bet of finding fresh donuts falling right in the middle, at about 10. They even make a giant chocolate glazed raised donut ($5.50) that weighs almost three pounds. Eat this behemoth in 3 minutes or less and get it for free, along with a free T-shirt.

Donut San Francisco
Cheers to excess, but I prefer a standard chocolate raised, airy and eminently repeatable.

Donut San Francisco
Bob’s crumb-lined cake donut was far from heavy and not greasy, which afflicts lesser classics.

Donuts San Francisco
Craggy crusted, supple-inside old fashioned donuts are available chocolate, maple or glazed.

Donut San Francisco
A just-fried buttermilk sported a crisp, shiny sheathe and contained moist cake.

Even if you don’t want to tussle with Bob’s three-pound donut after a bar crawl, which could lead to a very different walk of shame, it’s well worth visiting Nob Hill for a smaller donut dose.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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