Two friends of mine, the lovely Mary and Margaret, introduced me to this place about a year ago (18 months ago?) as a cheaper alternative to Angelina's Catering Co. (another cute but pricier cafe on California St. and 23rd Ave.). The Garden House Cafe is on Clement St. between 32nd and 33rd Ave - close to the Legion of Honor and fantastic views of the city, the ocean, and Golden Gate Bridge. I recently returned for a cup of coffee and a croissant when Java Beach Cafe was too crowded (shocker).
Inside the cafe, there are booths, small tables, nooks, crannies, and bookshelves. Dear Lord, the bookshelves. As far as I can tell, loyal patrons leave much-loved copies of books for others to enjoy. (I most recently spotted a copy of Jane Austen's Persuasion.) Thus, The Garden House Cafe seems like the perfect place to nest and read a book as the infamous (and cherished) San Francisco fog rolls into town. Better yet, for those perfect days when the sun is shining, there is a patio behind the shop with mini-statues and little tables to enjoy your meal.
As for food, the cafe offers an array of hot and cold beverages and sandwiches, all reasonably priced. They even offer discounted refills! (Cough, Java Beach, cough.) More importantly, in order to cut the bitterness of the freshly brewed dark roast coffee, they sell a variety of delicious pastries.