The Ferry Building is an SF icon. It’s our version of the Empire State Building: any film set in our city HAS to open with an establishing shot letting the audience know that this is the PORT OF SAN FRANCISCO and not any of the other, lesser ports in America.
Amazingly, though, the Ferry Building has achieved the rare balance between being massively touristy and also a pretty cool place for locals. We keep coming back, as you might expect, for the food, which is excellent on an average day, and excellent-plus-plus on farmer’s market days (Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday). In fact, if you’re here before noon on one of those days, particularly Saturday, you should probably ignore all of the advice below, and sample the goods of whichever market stand strikes your fancy.
But if you’re not here on market day, the Ferry building and its environs offer an awesome selection of food and drink to suit any need. Here are our favorites.
One of the great lunch joints on the planet. No exaggeration here. Delicious fresh seafood, an awesome view, an appropriate level of chilly wind coming off the bay, and sparkling rosé for days. Don’t go on weekends, though, the line is hell.
A rock-solid sandwich and “bowls of healthy things” counter, for when you don’t want to hang at the Ferry Building for two hours. Quite tasty.
Pros: your mom has heard of it, and possibly visited at some point in the ’90s. Cons: it hasn’t developed much since the ’90s. It’s not bad, just not where we would spend our hard-earned coin.
This is your spot for a chill lunch. Don’t be fooled by the ‘fast food’ decor and vibe. The cheeseburger and sweet potato fries are above and beyond, and the menu will please pretty much anyone (nice to see you again, kale salad!). Besides the burger, we’re all in on the ahi poke tacos.
A cool breakfast/brunch pick, inside a larder? Say no more. The copper pots hanging from the ceiling will make your fancy, delicious omelette taste even better.
Best coffee around, decent pastries and excellent granola served in a mason jar with milk. If you’re in San Francisco, you need to drink some of this magic brew.
One of the best ice cream shops in the city, nay, THE WORLD. We love Humphry for the reason everyone loves Humphry: they put alcohol and cereal in their ice cream, and it’s heavenly. This creation is called Secret Breakfast, and you should most definitely consume it. Other flavors are excellent too, but SB is their real calling card.
Lunch in the Financial District that doesn’t suck is an automatic winner. Heyday is a great weekday option bringing good food and vibes to an area usually lacking such things.
A temple of Greek meats that you generally need a reservation to worship at. We are all about this spot, provided you are ready to shell out some cash and dress up a little bit. The honey doughnut dessert is something you need to get involved with.
When we find ourselves battling tourists jousting with selfie sticks around the Ferry Building, it’s time for a drink. When you’re in the same boat, head to the German beer hall Schroeder’s, which has a sh*tload of beer, the requisite boot to drink it out of, and some pretty delicious food to go with it. We’re partial to the pretzels, sausages and potato pancakes.
The tallest whisky wall in town? Sure seems like it. A good spot to hang and grab a bourbon drink, and perhaps a bite.
So filled with suited people that you’ll think you’re back in New York. Or at least the United lounge at SFO. Quality Spanish eats come with a that crowd that definitely gives off an aura of money. The cocktails are cool — one comes in a sphere of glass, filled with smoke. Like an alcoholic snowglobe.
Tempeh, tofu and mountains of kale are the trademarks of this healthy spot. They serve a pretty great acai bowl for breakfast, and the dino kale and chicken & arugula salads at lunch are a California dream.