SAN FRANCISCO ●Attractions●Neighborhoods/Shopping+Restaurants
FERRY BUILDING MARKETPLACE’s best
At foot of Market St./The Embarcadero.
Bay views punctuate the long (it’s the length of two football fields), 2-story-high, sky-lighted interior corridor of this landmark 1898 building. A sort of indoor Main Street, it is filled with food-related stalls and shops. All the best, most delicious organic produce and gourmet delicacies are easy to collect and carry home: Acme baked goods, Peet’s coffee, Cowgirl Creamery cheeses, Frog Hollow Farm stone fruit, Scharffen Berger chocolates. Shops specializing in caviar and in mushrooms are also in the mix. Of special note are:
●Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market operates informally around the exterior of the building and provides seasonal produce, cheeses, baked goods, and more from local growers and producers.
●Acme Bread Company is the only branch of Berkeley’s acclaimed artisan bakery, and it carries the full selection. Team up a baguette with some Cowgirl Creamery cheese from the nearby stand and you will have a wonderful snack to enjoy outside on a waterfront bench.
●Ferry Plaza Wine Bar The food menu here is simple—a few cheese plates, a few meat plates, and some sides--roasted mixed nuts, marinated olives and mushrooms, a lemon hummus or fire-roasted eggplant-garlic spread, and assorted caviars. A nice variety of wines are available as a 2-ounce taste or a 5-ounce glass, as well as by carafe or bottle. A well-stocked wine store adjoins.
●Gott’s Roadside Everyone seems to love the great hamburger, sweet potato fries, and milkshake (my fave is the Madagascar vanilla), but salads, fish & chips, and tacos are also on the menu. Sitting at outside picnic tables is an option.
●Imperial Tea Court This exotic hideaway is a traditional Chinese teahouse that serves some of the world’s most acclaimed, and expensive, teas. Sit down at one of the beautiful rosewood tables and relax while a selected tea is prepared before you. Do be adventuresome and try an earthy fermented pu’erh or some other exotic tea. Like it? It’s available for purchase, as are an assortment of tea accouterments. Hungry? Stay for lunch and dine on spicy house hand-pulled noodles in a rich broth or on a dim sum selection. Tired? A marvelous lounge table for two is located near the entrance.
●Marketbar This popular spot has an outdoor patio sheltered by yellow umbrellas. You can’t go wrong with the delicious fava bean bruschetta or crab-and-bay shrimp Louis salad, and don’t miss the divine apricot upside-down cake for dessert.
●The Slanted Door 1 Ferry Plaza/Market St., in Ferry Building, The Embarcadero. Delicious Vietnamese-inspired food made from quality organic ingredients is served here in a sleek, stylish setting with a bay view. Best bets from the open kitchen include soft spring rolls, rice noodle stir-fry, caramelized shrimp, and spicy baby spinach-eggplant with coconut sauce. Mick Jagger got some satisfaction from the grapefruit and jicama salad, shaking beef, and spicy green beans when he dined here. And that’s just the tip of the culinary iceberg. A large selection of precious hot teas and unusual ales is also available. If you don’t have a reservation, which is essential here, you can probably find a seat at the bar and at least have a drink and appetizer—think mai tai and slanted door shrimp spring rolls.
And don’t miss these non-food establishments:
●Book Passage This small branch of the well-known mother ship in Larkspur offers a satisfying browse, has a nice selection of San Francisco souvenirs, and also schedules special events.
●Heath Ceramics Perhaps you’ve heard about this dinnerware brand as the one of choice used by Chez Panisse. The original factory and store is in Sausalito.