When it comes to eating your way through the Ferry Building, the rule “dessert last” need not apply. Cheese after chocolate, macaroons after oysters—anything goes in this foodie temple. We suggest you come really hungry.
When the summer gets cold in San Francisco our natural response is to crave comforting tomato soup and melty grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato jam to warm our cold feet, and there's no better place to make our cheesy dreams come true than Cowgirl Creamery’s Sidekick Cafe & Milk Bar. Look out for their cheese-centric sandwiches of all forms as well as unique creations such as the San Francisco Egg Cream, made with organic milk and Recchiuti Chocolate.
Plus, just next to the milk bar, in the cheese shop, you can sample their famous triple cream cheese, Mt.Tam, and Red Hawk.
Foodie Tip: On a sunny day, we like to grab an egg sandwich and chocolate milk, buy a ferry ticket to Sausalito and have a small picnic on the deck while enjoying breathtaking views of the city.
You might want to wait until the lunch hour rush has calmed down before you try to get in line for the soft, sticky, steamed buns at Out The Door. The menu at this small food nook with only a few seats at the counter will give you a preview of its big sister’s, The Slanted Door, celebrated Vietnamese dishes. Steamed buns, filled with meaty and vegetarian options are the bestseller, but we also love their crunchy spring rolls or the Saigon roast pork sandwich.
Foodie Tip: Don’t even try to get a spot at the counter, take your food outside to the benches and soak in the prime views of the bay.
There's always room for ice cream. Especially when it’s Secret Breakfast from Humphry Slocombe. Pleasing ice cream enthusiasts with bold flavors (think bacon, cucumber, corn, and Elvis the Fat Years) and quality ingredients, Humphry Slocombe is not your ordinary scoop shop. Have it before dinner, after lunch, and any time in between.
The sandwich and rotisserie menu at Il Cane Rosso happily marries a hint of Italian style with responsibly-sourced, local ingredients. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner Il Cane Rosso is a hot spot for farm-to-take away lunchers. For breakfast order the Olive Oil Fried Egg Sandwich, or if you like to snack while browsing, grab a bag of their homemade chips.
Calling all bread lovers, you must hit up Acme Bread Company. Even from a distance, the beguiling scent of their freshly baked bread will unknowingly lead you to the counter of this nationally renowned artisan bakery. Get a loaf and be merry. Fun fact: The owner, Steve Sullivan, started his baking career at Chez Panisse. To this day, Acme bread is the only bread served at the famed Berkeley restaurant.
When recipes get passed from grandmothers to grandchildren, you know they have to be good, and the buttery and flaky empanadas at El Porteño's stand don't disappoint. The carne—filled with grass-fed beef, pimento stuffed olives, raisins, and hard-boiled eggs—is their best-selling empanada, but the poultry version, is no less delicious. And don’t fret, vegetarian options are available, too! To stay in the carb department, we treat ourselves to a soft and sweet Earl Grey donut from Pepples Donuts afterwards.
Part fish market, part casual eatery San Francisco Fish Company has been serving guest for over 25 years. Sample some oysters on the go or opt for the creamy clam chowder New England-style.
Foodie Tip: Order take-away and replace your standard pizza on a lazy weeknight with a fancy seafood lasagna.
We don’t go to Hog Island Oyster Company for the oysters, we go for the rustic seafood stew— a fish and shellfish loaded tomato broth with grilled levain toast. Basically, a seafood dream. An outpost of the original oyster farm on Tomales Bay, Hog Oyster is an institution in the Ferry Building. To round out your experience, hop over to Recchiuti Chocolates to indulge in fine, chocolaty creations.
If you bring your sweet tooth to the Ferry Building, you must try two of San Francisco’s iconic treats: The chocolate-lavender macarons from Miette and a latte from Blue Bottle. Miette, a colorful and sweet bastion of all things sugary, and Blue Bottle, the unofficial king of artisan coffee roasting, are the perfect love affair for food-conscious folks.
Big, neon letters above the counter command “EAT” and that’s exactly what we do at Gott’s Roadside. Serving up juicy burgers, spicy fish tacos, crispy fries, and creamy milkshakes, you're sure to have a good time at this retro-inspired burger joint. Finish your classic American dinner with Gott’s soft serve ice cream from the bar around the corner and have a stroll on the pier to walk it all off.
Created by award-winning chef Traci des Jardins, Mijita is cocina Mexicana at its finest. Traditional dishes and street food favorites make Mijita a flavorful, taste excursion. Tacos are delish here, but we indulge in every spoonful of the albondigas—tomato-broth with pork and beef meatballs jazzed up with vegetables. For dessert, we like to grab gluten-free almond biscotti over at the Mariposa Baking Company and dip them in a fresh cup of coffee.
If you want a deluxe hot dog, American Eatery is the place to go. The dry-aged all-beef hot dogs with housemade relish will rekindle your faith in the original street food. Bonus points: they have a paleo menu.
Delica is an upscale Japanese food bar serving mix and match bites and sushi to everyone in a need of healthy and balanced lunch. Build your own bento box with hijiki seaweed salad, crab croquettes, and chicken dumplings and enjoy your light meal at Cupid’s Span, only a few feet from the Ferry Building.
It might be a bit on the pricier side, but we still choose Boulettes Larder for fine breakfasting while watching the ferries come and go, and next-door Bouli Bar for lunching. The space is an elegant dining room with an open kitchen and communal table serving small dishes inspired by Turkey, Greece, and Japan. Share a pizza for lunch (our favorite is the Musa—spiced lamb, mint yogurt, and feta) and add the artichoke puree and pita as an appetizer.