The Ferry Building is an iconic San Francisco landmark (and one of the many great ones in the city). And amazingly, the Ferry Building has achieved the rare balance between being touristy and also a pretty cool place for locals (hello, farmers market). If you’re in the neighborhood and looking for an awesome selection of food and drink to suit any need, check out these 11 spots.
A guide to great spots near the historic building wouldn’t be complete without first mentioning all the great places you’ll encounter walking through it: crackly fresh sourdough baguettes from Acme Bread; meaty sandwiches from Golden Gate Meat Company; juicy burgers and soft serve from Gott’s Roadside; briny, slurpable oysters and clam chowder from Hog Island Oyster Co., and pints of Secret Breakfast ice cream from Humphry Slocombe. You’ll also want to stop by Red Bay Coffee’s brand new Ferry Building outpost for a charcoal latte or other espresso drink.
Angler is a spot that feels perfectly suited for trading stock tips with a friend before driving off on the Embarcadero at sunset to make important power moves. The dining room is a cross between a hunting lodge and a fancy seafood house thanks to stunning bay views, an expansive open kitchen with a wood burning hearth, and taxidermy everywhere - did we mention this is Saison’s more “casual” spinoff restaurant? But luckily, the food from the seafood and meat-focused menu is all pretty great, like the antelope tartare, a whole head of radicchio with XO sauce, and an excellent fried quail.
Tadich Grill is the oldest restaurant in California and that’s pretty clear from the second you walk in. Not because you’ll probably see ghosts, but because this place looks like it hasn’t been updated since the ’60s (even though Tadich is much older than that). Sit at the long wooden bar, order some fried clams or the cioppino, and kick back a few oysters during lunch.
Red’s is a great place to stop when you want a burger and a uniquely San Francisco experience: theirs comes on a sourdough roll (something that this city does best), which we always enjoy with a cold beer on the back patio with waterfront and Bay Bridge views. Come here before a Giants game when the crowd picks up for an extra dose of City By The Bay pride.
There are several Osha Thai restaurants around the city, but the one on the ground floor of 4 Embarcadero Center is pretty large and has a patio overlooking the plaza and Ferry Building. They make reliably great food, with everything from pad see ew and duck curry to noodle soups like khao soi, and it’s an ideal spot for groups or a quick fuel up before or after a stroll on the waterfront. You can also stop here for a few really good cocktails, or daily Happy Hour (4-7pm) with $1 oysters, $5 beers, and $7 appetizers.
Usually when we want to eat near the Ferry Building, we also want to take full advantage of the fact that we’re near the water. This Peruvian restaurant satisfies that need and then some. They do excellent ceviche in a big open space with high ceilings, along with anticuchos, empanadas, and Nikkei nigiri. And the outdoor patio overlooking the water is basically perfect, even on foggier nights (it’s heated and covered).
Yank Sing is a great dim sum restaurant that also happens to be an essential San Francisco dining experience, especially if you find yourself near the Ferry Building. It would be hard to order wrong here, but just make sure the kurobuta pork xiao long bao, pork buns, and pork and shrimp siu mai are on your table. There are two Yank Sing locations, but we always love the one at the Rincon Center - they set up tables in the airy atrium for weekend lunch.
Yes, the Ferry Building is a beautiful thing to look at, but it can be a bit of a chaotic scene. If you’re looking for a bit of a breather with good food and drinks, head to this Bavarian-inspired beer hall. They have requisite boots to drink your beer out of, and some pretty delicious food, too. We’re partial to the pretzels, sausages, and potato pancakes. And heads up - they’ll be reopening in early June.
We highly recommend this Greek restaurant, provided you are ready to spend a not-insignificant amount of money and also dress up a little bit. Definitely start with some zucchini cakes - and the honey donut is something you need to experience, too.
At this Cantonese restaurant located above Osha Thai, the menu is big and the dining room with Ferry Building views is even bigger (we wouldn’t be surprised if they could fit a 747 inside). This makes Harborview an ideal spot to gather with lots of friends and family to enjoy weekend dim sum or celebrate a special occasion over barbecue, sauteed and braised vegetables, noodle and rice dishes, and more.
There are plenty of reasons to head to this family-run bar and restaurant on the Embarcadero - good beer, good burgers, and casual, waterfront dining on their sunny back patio. Pier 23 also makes stiff cocktails to go along with their salads, tacos, and crab cakes.