Hungarian Brunch at 20th Century Cafe

Interior of 20th Century Cafe in Hayes Valley
Interior of 20th Century Cafe in Hayes Valley

While doing a search for Sunday brunch in Hayes Valley, we came across a charming cafe just a few blocks away from busy Hayes St. It was fairly empty when they opened at 10am but little by little patrons started to fill the seats. The interior was clean, bright and styled with a simple yet elegant European touch. Various baked goods were displayed on the marble countertop right next to the cashier so we got to check out the offerings while we waited in line. We ordered a potato knish, pierogi, strawberry strudel, and a Russian honey cake and for drinks I ordered a hot butterscotch and Mestelle ordered a Hibiscus Cardamom tea.

Our drinks and food came out promptly. They were served on cute pastel dishes like what you would find at an afternoon tea place. I took a sip of my butterscotch and it definitely tasted like butterscotch. I was afraid that it would be too sweet but it wasn’t and the spoonful of whipped cream on it added to the nice creamy texture. The first dish that we tried was the potato knish with little poppy seeds sprinkled on top that we cut in half with a knife. The knife made a crunch sound as it cut through the flakey crust. It was still warm inside and the mashed potato filling was well seasoned and savory. Next was the pierogi that came with damson (type of plum) preserves. The sweet preserves really worked well with the savory flavor of the dumplings. The savory dishes were actually a bit filling but there’s always room for desserts! The strawberry strudel also had a golden flakey interior with a bit of powdered sugar sprinkled. The strawberry filling was light and sweet with bits of cut up strawberry inside. Lastly, we tried the Russian honey cake. The layers were just the right amount of thickness and evenly distributed. I didn’t get tired of eating which I usually do with cakes and, like the strudel, it wasn’t too sweet. 
Hot Buttersctoch

Potato Knish

Pierogi with Damson Plum Reserve at 20th Century Cafe
Pierogi with Damson Plum Reserve

Strawberry Strudel at 20th Century Cafe
Strawberry Strudel

Russian Honey Cake at 20th Century Cafe
Russian Honey Cake
The place didn’t get too crowded, probably because it was so foggy that day that nobody wanted to go out, so we were able to take our time and enjoy our food. We actually came back about 2 hours later to see if they had more potato knishes to take home. They unfortunately ran out so I guess we have to come back again soon and hoard a bunch for take home. 
Various dishes at 20th Century Cafe in Hayes Valley
Various dishes at 20th Century Cafe in Hayes Valley.
For more information, check out their website at
Written by Jamie • Photos taken by Jamie

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