Whenever friends or family comes from out-of-town, I bring them straight to the Ferry Building. To me this gourmet marketplace is very San Francisco, and has a great sample of some of the best local food and drink around the Bay Area. I love grabbing food from inside and then taking it outside and watching the ferries go back and forth on the water-even if the fog is rolling in (one of the best shows the city puts on).
There are a lot of food stalls to choose from and it can be overwhelming at first, but to be honest it’s hard to go wrong. I’ve yet to try everything, but the following places are what I gravitate towards.
A huge outdoor farmer’s market on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10-2 and Saturdays from 8-2pm. It’s worth checking out for its fresh, seasonal produce from nearby farms and for its food stalls.
Speaking of bread…this place is to go for a delicious loaf (or two). When you have good bread in the Bay Area, it’s mostly likely from this bakery.
Recommendations: Try their sourdough (a SF classic) or if you want a ready-made sandwich go for the Cheese sandwich which feature Mt. Tam from Cowgirl Creamery and has a bit of both spice from black pepper and sweetness from jam.
Cowgirl Creamery Cheese Shop & Sidekick Cafe
Cheese is the obvious star here in this West Marin shop, but they also make unique sandwiches, soups and salads that make good use of their cheeses.
Recommendations: Get a little Mt. Tam triple cream and head to Acme for the bread-volia a picnic lunch!
Blue Bottle Coffee
To be honest I’m more of a tea drinker, but I’m surrounded by coffee lovers in my life and they love this place. If you want a good cup of joe, this is a reliable local standard.
Recommendations: New Orleans-Style Ice Coffee and a liege waffle for a sugar overload.
Out The Door
A slightly cheaper, casual version of Slanted Door (its sister restaurant) this is one of my favorite places in the Ferry Building for a full meal. Vietnamese noodles dishes, rice dishes and plenty of small snacks like steamed chicken buns always suck me in.
Recommendations: Spring rolls and wonton noodle soup.
Mariposa Baking Company
If you’re gluten-free this bakery makes you forget you aren’t eating the real thing. A wide array of delicious baked goods-both savory and sweet-are available.
Recommendations: The double chocolate chip cookie.
A charming pastry shop that is filled with cupcakes, ice cream sandwiches, candy-basically a dizzying variety of sweets that will make any dentist nervous. Trust me it’s hard to walk out empty-handed.
Recommendations: Any of the macaroons or the Turkish delights in rose flavor.
For ice cream flavors that you would never think of in your wildest dreams. This is San Francisco artisan ice cream at its finest: bizarre, but undeniably delicious.
Recommendations: If you prefer your caffeine in frozen form, try the Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee. For those brave souls, try the Secret Breakfast (bourbon and cornflake cookies).