Where To Eat Near Fisherman's Wharf
So you’re near Fisherman's Wharf. Here’s where to eat.
Fisherman's Wharf is generally full of mediocre food, tourists, and stores with High! From SF shot glasses and cable car magnets. If you live in the city, you’ve probably been avoiding coming here. But eventually you’ll need to take your cousin visiting from Phoenix to gawk at the sea lions at Pier 39, and then devour a chocolate sundae over in Ghirardelli Square. When these things happen, don’t panic. This guide has a handful of places for eating and drinking nearby.
photo credit: Erin Ng
This is the city’s first-ever Filipino fine-dining spot, and the bright, skylight-lit space takes traditional Filipino flavors and remixes them with ingredient combinations you won’t find anywhere else. Think super light okoy fritters topped with pinakurat and more herbs than you’ll find in a garden greenhouse, smoked chicken palabok boosted with soft boiled quail eggs and crunchy rice noodles, and butternut squash dumplings in creamy coconut milk. Familiar Filipino dishes feel new at Abacá, and are served simply to let all of the ingredients speak for themselves. For something uniquely San Franciscan, order the chowder, a cioppino-like soup with coconut milk and tomato oil broth, and loaded with seafood.
photo credit: Krescent Carasso
Palette Tea House
We really like this Ghirardelli Square dim sum spot from the people behind Dragon Beaux. And, like Dragon Beaux, Palette Tea House also serves the colorful xiao long bao with five different flavors, including a tasty crab roe with a turmeric wrapper. Also, ordering the har gow, which come with a small pipette of lobster butter, is never a bad idea. This place makes it easy to get a group together for weekend brunch or an early dinner (they close at 7:30 most nights). It’s super spacious inside and out on their two patios, and has a menu built for splitting and sharing family-style.
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photo credit: Melati Citrawireja
Square Pie Guys
Square Pie Guys’ Ghirardelli Square outpost is the perfect place to enjoy textbook-sized Detroit-style pizzas while staring out at views of Alcatraz. There are massive windows overlooking the water, a patio in front, and, of course, square slices spilling over with gooey mozzarella. Lined with crispy cheddar cheese edges, the crust is somehow light and fluffy despite looking like a brick. The menu is the same as their SoMa and Oakland locations, and full of hits across the board. The classic 6x8 topped with exactly 48 pepperoni cups should be on the table, as should their fully loaded vodka pie with pulled pork, pineapple, and jalapeño. Plenty of beer and wine are also on hand for when you kick back and take in the waterfront setting.
photo credit: Carly Hackbarth
Barrio Ghirardelli Square
Unlike the North Beach location, which is much smaller and serves only beer and wine, this spot makes strong margaritas, highballs and spritzes, and pitchers of palomas. The food is Mexican-inspired, which they serve all day, like blue corn tacos, burritos, nachos topped with cochinita pibil, and chicharrones. They’re all solid, but nothing revolutionary. The best use of this spot is to order a margarita pitcher, some guacamole and chips to snack on, and enjoy the views from up high.
photo credit: Lani Conway
The Buena Vista
You go to The Buena Vista for Irish coffee. In fact, the caffeinated cocktail was reportedly first recreated in the United States at this century-old saloon near Ghirardelli Square in 1952. The long wooden bar is the best seat to watch all the action. Bartenders in white lab coats line up glasses, plop in sugar cubes, and fill them up with coffee, whiskey, and whipped cream. Whether you actually enjoy guzzling down a glass will depend on how much you like sweet and creamy drinks, and/or just enjoy checking out San Francisco tourist traps that are also classic institutions. This place also serves wine, beer, and non-coffee based cocktails, and has a dinner and brunch menu of decent burgers, clam chowder, dungeness crab omelets, and more.
A waterfront meal at Scoma’s is the reason you’ll find us in the area mingling with tourists. The seafood restaurant is located near Fisherman’s Wharf and is considered a San Francisco institution, which you can probably tell just by stepping inside of it and noticing the dark wood paneling and brown leather swivel chairs. Their ode to the old-school extends to the food itself, too. There’s a Crab Louie salad, cioppino, and a linguine con vongole (all of which are pretty good), but you’re here for the roasted Dungeness crab—cracking into one of these is the best reason to wear a bib.