If you happen to be close to the UCSF Parnassas campus, their balconies are wonderful places to have a cup of coffee or lunch. The campus has a couple of locations with gorgeous views of San Francisco. The first location is the balcony attached to Palio’s, on the north side of the campus in back of the food court. Palio’s is a mini-version of the full restaurant downtown, and serves a similar menu. The second location is the balcony of the cafeteria that serves Long and Moffitt hospitals. Either location will offer you sweeping views of half of the city.
Since UCSF sits up on a hill, you are high up relative to the rest of city. You probably do not want to bring a newspaper up there because the wind does swirl around a bit. In the many times that I have been there, especially outside of the lunch hour, the balconies are underused. You do not have to have an appointment to eat there. The selection is fine, and you can bring some of your food from home, and buy the rest of your food there, and no one is going to stop you from admiring the city from balcony.