Is your phone's data plan cramping your style? Do you wish you could find someplace other than home or the library to surf the web and check your e-mail? Free wi-fi is a beautiful thing, and there is no better place to get it than at one of San Francisco's cafes, coffee shops and eateries. Meet up with friends for lunch or go solo with your laptop to enjoy some much-deserved 'me' time.
However, with literally thousands of cafes and coffee shops dotting San Francisco, how do you know which one to choose? You don't have to be a culinary school graduate to figure it out. We've done the heavy lifting and compiled a list of 40 places that deserve to be your next stop. They were chosen based upon good food, great ambiance and, of course, free wi-fi! So the next time you are out on the town, pop into one of these hot spots - you might just discover a new favorite café.
Philz Coffee, 3101 24th Street ( plus eight other Bay Area locations): With 20 handmade coffees on the menu, Philz has been a San Francisco institution for the past 25 years. Brewed 'one cup at a time,' this is the java that was named best coffee by SFWeekly. All locations offer free wi-fi.
Lou's Café, 5017 Geary Blvd.: Hailed by some as one of the city's best lunch spots, Lou's Café features sandwiches slathered in a special sauce. On sunny days, you can settle into Lou's outdoor seating, hook into the wi-fi and watch the world go by.
Wicked Grounds, 289 8th Street: Not for the kiddies, Wicked Grounds likes to point out it is San Francisco's first and only "kink" café and boutique. Part coffee shop, part adult toy store, this café makes for some wild people watching.
Leland Tea Company, 1416 Bush Street: If coffee is not your thing, head to Leland Tea Company for a pot of one of its premium tea blends. Named best tea in San Francisco by SFWeekly, Leland can also boast of handmade baked goods and finger sandwiches that perfectly complement the café's charming French décor.
Coffee Adventures, 1331 Columbus Ave.: Prefer your tea to have a spicy kick? Then Coffee Adventures may be your new favorite café. Despite its name, this Fisherman's Wharf establishment claims to have the best chai in the city.
Nervous Dog Coffee, 3438 Mission Street: Organic coffee, locally-sourced foods and friendly service are all hallmarks of Nervous Dog Coffee. The wi-fi is free at this 'green business' but make a purchase first to gain access.
Café Murano, 1777 Steiner Street: Paninis, pastries and espresso are some of what you'll find at Café Murano in Lower Pac Heights. A laid back atmosphere and cozy seating make this café an ideal spot to hang out with a cup of joe and get some work done.
Contraband Coffee Bar, 1415 Larkin Street: Contraband Coffee Bar offers a sleek design for those searching for a modern coffee house experience. Tuck away in one of the side tables for lunch with a friend or pull a chair up to the counter window to take in the sun while catching up on e-mail.
Jane, 2123 Fillmore Street: Clean and casual are two ways to describe Jane. This café offers organic, handmade baked goods, and vegan and gluten-free items are always on the menu. All-day dining makes Jane a perfect spot for lunch or a light dinner.
Brioche Bakery & Café, 210 Columbus Ave.: Paris meets San Francisco at the Brioche Bakery & Café. Flaky croissants, crusty breads and decadent desserts take center stage at this authentic French bistro. Students at area culinary schools take note.
Central Coffee Tea & Spice, 1696 Hayes Street: If you are looking to hang out in a homey neighborhood establishment, check out Central Coffee Tea & Spice. You won't find a hint of pretentious coffeehouse atmosphere here. Instead, you get a cozy café that features fair trade coffees and welcomes four-legged friends.
L's Caffe, 2871 24th Street: Healthy and affordable is the name of the game at L's Caffe. Cozy ambiance and delectable menu items combine to create a great hang-out spot that serves a killer cup of coffee.
Bello Coffee & Tea, 2885 Diamond Street and 3000 24th Street: With locations in Glen Park and the Mission District, Bello Coffee & Tea serves up handcrafted artisan drinks that are presented with a flourish. Both locations offer comfy seating but outlets can be hard to come by in the Glen Park shop.
Ritual Coffee Roasters, 1026 Valencia Street (plus two other Bay Area locations): Ritual Coffee Roasters has staked its reputation on serving only the highest quality coffee. Its baristas are arguably some of the best trained in the business. You pay a higher price for culinary school experience and quality, but fans say the coffee is worth every penny.
Frjtz, 590 Valencia Street and 581 Hayes Street: Looking for a trendy spot for your next meal? Make a point to stop by Frjtz. Serving lunch and dinner, the restaurant is known for its gourmet burgers, sweet crepes, Belgium mussels, and, oh yeah, Frjtz fries! Try them with one of eateries' popular dipping sauces such as white truffle artichoke ketchup or miso mayo.
The Front Porch, 65A 29th Street: Bringing a little bit of the South to the big city, The Front Porch is open nightly for dinner service. There's Hoppin' John, po'boy sandwiches and fried okra on the menu. But if you can only go once, take our advice: order the fried chicken.
Coffee Bar, 1890 Bryant Street: Perfect as your office away from the office, Coffee Bar offers spacious seating and ample outlets. No wonder it attracts hipsters and creative types who set up shop and work the day away. If you just want to go enjoy a cup of java and an excellent sandwich, rest assured that certain tables are off-limits to the laptop crowd during the lunch rush.
Bin 38, 3232 Scott Street: Not everyone wants to head to a coffee shop for free wi-fi. Bin 38 is a restaurant and wine bar that has won accolades from OpenTable diners as well as SF Gate and San Francisco Magazine readers.
The Toaster Oven, 145 Second Street (plus three other Bay Area locations): As a lunch spot that won't take a bite out of your wallet, The Toaster Oven delivers deli sandwiches made to your specifications. Lines can be long but that just gives you a chance to admire the vintage toasters hanging on the walls.
BrainWash Café & Laundromat, 1122 Folsom Street: You need to eat, and you need clean clothes, right? At BrainWash Café & Laundromat, you can do both. Load up your dirty duds into one of the heavy duty washing machines and then grab a beer and a bite to eat. Then, you can use the wi-fi to read, work or simply surf until your clothes are done.
Blue Front Café, 1430 Haight Street: The genie is out of the bottle, and Blue Front Café's only wish is to serve you. Offering authentic Middle Eastern cuisine in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, the café provides big portions for a little price.
Farley's, 1315 18th Street: Farley's declares itself 'community in a cup' for Potrero Hill, and magazines and board games provide free entertainment for patrons. As a popular neighborhood hang-out, the seating area can fill up quickly during busy times. The coffee gets rave reviews but bring your cash to buy it.
Social Kitchen & Brewery, 1326 9th Ave.: Beer is finally getting the respect it deserves. At Social Kitchen & Brewery, the menu has been crafted with beer in mind. But this isn't Bud Light we're talking about. The restaurant brews top quality specialty beers that can only be described as exceptional. The spacious dining room offers plenty of space to spread out and linger over a good meal.
Patxi's Chicago Pizza, 3318 Fillmore Street (plus six other Bay Area locations): No need to head east for great pizza. Patxi's brings authentic Chicago style pizza straight to Bay Area residents. A casual atmosphere and kid-friendly menu make Patxi's Chicago Pizza an ideal choice for families and friends alike.
Show Dogs, 1020 Market Street: Not your typical hot dog joint, Show Dogs delivers organic sausages dressed with house made condiments. Pull up a chair, plug in your laptop and enjoy an ambiance that has retro styling but a modern appeal.
Thai Idea Vegetarian, 710 Polk Street: You'll never want to eat meat again after sampling the vegan delights at Thai Idea. Serving up authentic Thai dishes, this restaurant is making converts of carnivores everywhere.
Frisco Fried, 5176 Third Street: Soul food at its finest, Frisco Fried is known for its waffles and fried chicken. The restaurant wears its love for San Francisco sports proudly with a décor that is decked out in all things Giants and 49ers.
Dolce & Salato, 3613 Sacramento Street: A breakfast brunch, fantastic sandwiches and affordable pricing are some of the reasons you might find yourself returning to Dolce & Salato time and time again. However, the café's size means it is best suited for smaller parties instead of large groups.
Noeteca Café,1551 Delores Street: Noeteca offers upscale ambiance in its cozy café. Previously named the best wine bar in San Francisco by SFWeekly, this restaurant effortlessly moves from breakfast through lunch and into dinner service. Although Noeteca offers free wi-fi, word on the street is it is unavailable on the weekends.
Latin Grill, 993 North Point Street: Head south of the border with the Latin Grill's Columbian and Venezuelan inspired dishes. Located in Fisherman's Wharf, customers can also choose from organic coffees and teas as well as pastries. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Café Sophie, 3463 16th Street: Considered by some to the best place in the Castro neighborhood to study, Café Sophie offers a well-lit space to settle in for some quality time with your laptop. Outlets are plentiful, and the coffee does not disappoint.
Bazaar Café, 5927 California Street: Free and fast wi-fi is only one reason to check out Bazaar Café. You'll also want to go for their cozy atmosphere, live music and lush backyard garden.
Amsterdam Café, 937 Geary Street: As far as San Francisco beer bars go, this one may offer one of the most extensive collections in the area. Pouring 350 beers from around the globe, the Amsterdam Café is totally cool with you bringing your own food to the party.
Nani's Coffee, 2739 Geary Blvd.: Family owned and operated, Nani's Coffee is exactly how you would picture a small neighborhood coffee shop. Quiet music, consistent quality and a colorful seating area make Nani's a great place to catch up with a friend or on work.
Readers Café, Fort Mason Center, Bldg. C: Serving up Blue Bottle Coffee, wine and healthy lunch fare, Readers Café is a unique take on the traditional coffee house. All proceeds support the San Francisco Public Library so every purchase can nourish both your mind and body.
DeLise, 327 Bay Street: DeLise is all about providing decadent desserts to discerning customers. Their fresh baked sweets would make any culinary school proud. Ingredients come from local and sustainable sources.
Mirtille, 87 McAllister Street: A sophisticated take on French cuisine, Mirtille foregoes heavy fat-laden foods for fresh sandwiches and an amazing salad bar. Seating is limited but the free wi-fi and mellow atmosphere make it a perfect spot to get some work done on the go.
Mama Art Café,4754 Mission Street: Coffee with a higher purpose is the mission of Mama Art Café. In addition to serving up fair trade coffee, the café exhibits art from local and international artists.
Another Café, 1191 Pine Street: Despite its name, Another Café isn't just another café. With its excellent coffee, convenient location and spacious seating area, it is a community hub on the edge of Nob Hill.
Chow, 215 Church Street (plus three other Bay Area locations): Head to Chow for healthy comfort food and a casual dining atmosphere. The menu doesn't provide surprises, but it does deliver both taste and quality.