- Margot McKelvie
Built in 1898, the San Francisco Ferry Building has become a city favorite. It houses the city’s best and most unique café’s, restaurants, bars, and shops, which attract people from far and wide. The beautiful building, located in the embarcadero, hosts a farmer’s market three times a week, as well as events and fairs throughout the year. Whether you’re just visiting or are a resident of San Francisco, check out our ferry building favorites.
Blue Bottle Coffee
San Francisco and the Bay Area’s legendary coffee, which has recently expanded to New York City, Los Angeles, and Tokyo, is definitely not one you want to miss in it’s hometown of San Francisco. Although their coffee can be found beyond their nine locations in the Bay at select coffee shops, an actual Blue Bottle Coffee shop is undeniably where you find the best coffee and irresistible pastries. The delicious pastries are made by Caitlin Williams Freeman, author of Modern Art Desserts, can be found at store locations as well as a few breakfast items. Head down and have one of these freshly roasted cups of coffee and a pastry to start the day off right.
Hog Island Oyster Co.
For some of the best oysters and other seafood in the area, and a great view to boot, head over to Hog Island Oyster Co. located right on the water in the ferry building on the Embarcadero. With just four locations in the Bay Area, one being the farmer’s market located just outside the ferry building on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, Hog Island is a smaller company that provides some of the freshest oysters and seafood around. The oyster bar farms their own oysters in Marshall and serves them up raw or grilled (in three different ways), and also sells oysters from Washington and Virginia. If you’re not an oyster fan, do not worry – Hog Island also sells clams, mussels and an array of other seafood dishes. They offer both inside and outside seating so on a beautiful sunny day, sit by the water and cool off with some oysters and a cocktail.
Cowgirl Creamery’s Artisan Cheese Shop
Known around the country as one of America’s best cheese shops, Cowgirl Creamery Artisan Cheese Shop sells not only their own artisan products, but also cheese from some of the renowned mongers in America and Europe. The shop sells all kinds of cheeses, including award winning soft cheeses, which are handmade with organic milk at their two creameries in Petaluma and Point Reyes Station. For those craving a bigger bite to eat, Cowgirl Creamery also offers Cowgirl Sidekick, a cheese and dairy bar, right next door. Treat yourself to their fresh mozzarella bar and artisan cheese plate for lunch, then grab some of their best cheeses to fill your cheese board in the evening, all recommended to you by their highly trained staff.
Opening their first retail location, Boccalone Salumeria sells some of the best cured meats San Francisco has to offer. Incanto’s Mark Pastore and Chris Cosentino started the shop when they began making their own salami and sausages in Oakland. The small store offers panini’s, salami cones, and salami platters as well as all kinds of packaged salami and sausages. A personal favorite, and unique to Boccalone, the salami cones are snow cone cups filled with delicious cured meats that allow visitors to enjoy the cuisine whilst perusing the ferry building. On a nice day, grab a panini for lunch, sit outside and enjoy the beautiful view of San Francisco’s Bay Bridge.
With a twist of San Francisco taste, Mijita brings a whole new meaning and flavor to the Mexican Cuisine. The restaurant is located in the back of the ferry building along the water and its large windows illuminate the wonderfully decorated space. They offer both speciality Mexican dishes – such as Oaxacan chicken tamales – as well as street foods, such as carnitas, ceviche and a customer favorite, tacos. With $5 margarita’s and $4 Sangria, along with a few other drinks, a MIJITA happy hour, from Monday through Friday, is definitely not one you want to miss. Grab your friends, some tacos, a pitcher of margarita’s and soak in the sun to wind down after a long day.
BeeKind Gifts from the Hive
Attention all honey lovers, Beekind has come to San Francisco with some of the best honey you can find directly from Doug and Katia Vincent’s bees hives in Sebastopol. The small stand, right near Peet’s Coffee & Tea, sells all kinds of infused honey such as Oregon blackberry, orange blossom, wildflower, truffle, and their most popular lavender love, all infused with natural ingredients. Beekind also sells candles, soaps, honeycomb, and honey pots. The company represents sustainable pollination and does not use pesticides or antibiotics to treat their hives. Stop by to grab all things honey at this local honey company and even head down to their hives in Sebastopol for a tour and learn all about bees and the techniques of bee keeping.
Far West Fungi
You will not find a more unique store than Far West Fungi while spending time in the ferry building. Specializing in all things mushroom, Far West Fungi sells over 42 different types of mushrooms as well as seasonal truffles and uncommon forest products, which all come from their 60,000 square foot farm in Monterey Bay. Along with fresh and wild mushrooms, the store sells truffle salts, oils, pates, mushroom cookbooks, foraging books, and one of their most popular and intriguing items, a Mini-Farm, which provides you with a starter kit for growing your own mushrooms. Far West Fungi is a family business that has been selling their products for over 50 years at farmer’s markets. This store is definitely not one to miss and will open your eyes to the world of mushrooms.
Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant
For all those wine connoisseurs out there, someone looking to learn about wine or an individual just hoping for a wine and cheese night, the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant and Wine Bar is definitely the place to go. The store holds many events, such as tastings every Wednesdays, as well as offering tasting classes, taught by sommeliers. The Wine Bar itself offers over 25 bottles of wine by the glass or, for a small corkage fee, any bottle from the shelf of the shop. Paired with your wine, the Wine Bar also offers cheese from Cowgirl Creamery, freshly baked bread from Acme Bread Company, and an array of other small food items. Have yourself a lovely evening full of wine from all over the world and some of America’s best and creamiest cheeses.
Frog Hollow Farm
Frog Hollow Farm is an ‘urban farm’ café that brings freshly made food and grows their own, organic fruit. The café sells savory and sweet pastries, homemade fruit spreads, olive oil, honey, serves breakfast and lunch, as well as serving both tea and coffee. With only one location in San Francisco, Frog Hollow Farm is a 143-acre farm in Brentwood California that grows all sorts of fruits, such as peaches, nectarines, two types of pears, olives, apples and many more. The small, friendly café is located on the waterside of the building, and is definitely a breakfast favorite that pairs well with the gorgeous views of the water.
Frog Hollow Farm, 11435 Brentwood Blvd, Brentwood, CA, USA, +1 925-634-2845
If you’re looking for a gift or a small bite of something sweet, this fine chocolate shop is the place to go. Recchiuti Confections, a nationally renowned chocolate shop that focuses not only on the beauty of their chocolates, but also the elegance of their store and packaging. The small truffles and chocolate bites include ginger, s’mores, toffee, fleur de sel caramel, Kona coffee and many more. The shop also offers larger boxes of many chocolates, some of which are suggested for whiskey pairings. This small store is the only one that offers all of Recchiuti’s products and is definitely worth checking out.