San Francisco's stunning view of the bay and its bridges is part of what makes this city so special. The Embarcadero, a wide boardwalk that runs along the Eastern shore of the city, is one of the city's best places to take in these views. Day in and day out, the pleasant stretch attracts crowds of both tourists and diehard locals alike, who come for the weekly farmers’ markets, the wide open sidewalks for strolling, the fresh air — and yes, the eats and the drinks. Embrace what the city has to offer by checking out these 16 great food and drink spots on the Embarcadero.Read More
Where to Eat and Drink on the Embarcadero
A vetted guide to dining and drinking along the bay
Yes, Hillstone/Houston’s is a chain, but a good one — the kind of reliable place you can count on for perfectly executed steaks and dependable burgers and salads. This SF location is supremely scenic, right across from Pier 33, and frequent live jazz performances set the scene for memorable meals.
2. Hard Water
For whiskey fans, Hard Water is a must-go destination in the city. Slanted Door group bar director Erik Adkins has amassed an impressive collection of American whiskeys available by the pour or in carefully curated flights. Some of the whiskeys available for tasting at this small Creole-inspired spot are limited release or even sometimes part of a small run intended for the distillery's experimentation. Food is also served in the rich style of the South, which means alligator rillettes, pork belly crackling, fried green tomatoes, and more.
3. La Mar
Seafood lovers will rejoice in La Mar and its Peruvian take on the fresh catch from the ocean. The vibe is festive, the setting is breezy, and the flavors are big and bright. In addition to a slate of fruity — surprise! — pisco cocktails, it serves plates with punchy flavors, like tiraditos (described as "Japanese sashimi Peruvian style"), empanadas, and big portions of seafood or meat.
4. One Market Restaurant
Tried-and-true upscale dining — think Dungeness crab cakes and prime rib dinners with a piano accompaniment — have sustained One Market restaurant since 1993. Wine director Tonya Pitts and chef/partner Mark Dommen have been holding it down at the restaurant nearly that long, keeping up with the changing times (Google, for instance, wasn’t always the anchor tenant of the space above the restaurant) with menu tweaks and fewer white table cloths.
5. Slanted Door
Charles Phan's iconic Slanted Door in the historic Ferry Building has stood the test of time for a reason. It boasts a winning mix of a stunning Bay Bridge view, elegant and big-flavored Vietnamese food, an award-winning cocktail program, and a venerable wine list. It's hard to beat a sunset dinner of soft spring rolls and succulent ribeye steak, along with a piña colada that uses housemade coconut cream.
6. Ferry Building Marketplace
The Ferry Building is one of the few places in San Francisco that can regularly pull in tourist and local crowds alike. And there is little wonder why: its seemingly endless selection of stalls and restaurants pack a punch in terms of top-notch noshing and tasteful window shopping. Drop by Boccalone for a "meat cone," a paper cone full of charcuterie wonders. Try to nab a seat at Hog Island for some of the city's most beloved and fresh local oysters. Browse Cowgirl Creamery's overwhelming selection of cheeses, including fresh raclette, French cheese melting onto a chewy piece of bread. Go to Acme, home to some of the city's best breads (it serves many of the area's most popular restaurants, including Chez Panisse) and check out a showcase of loaves, much wider than you'll find in most supermarkets. Amble over to Gott's, where you can grab one of its famous greasy burgers. Then end the day at Humphry Slocombe for a scoop of unconventionally flavored ice cream, like Secret Breakfast, which includes both bourbon and cornflakes.
Perhaps the best time to stroll through the Ferry Building, though, is on Saturday mornings, when the famous farmers market sets up shop along the pier.
Boulevard continues to represent classic San Francisco fare. Longtime SF chef Nancy Oakes offers refined plates of fish, like halibut and salmon, along with a pork chop, lamb, and soft shell crab in a classy restaurant setting that will make you forget you live in a land of hoodies and t-shirts.
8. Boulette's Larder
Located in the bustling Ferry Building, Boulette's Larder and the attached Boulibar feature a constantly changing menu that integrates seasonal produce with upscale, Mediterranean flair. Lunch and brunch tables are communal, creating a festive environment, while dinner is served in a separate, more intimate setting.
Chef Joshua Skenes’ sequel to three-Michelin-starred Saison is a stunner, with views of the Bay Bridge and a gorgeous open kitchen. The menu is served a la carte at dinner and lunch by suited servers, though it’s a casual atmosphere. Dishes like live scallop crudo, baby abalone, hot fried rabbit, and more have garnered critical acclaim. Reservations are a must.
10. Perry's Embarcadero
This classic after-work haunt is packed with happy hour drinkers and diners chowing down on Perry’s burgers. Expect basic but pleasing pub food like potato skins and fried calamari, with hearty dinners like pot roast and spaghetti with meatballs. It’s also a pleasant destination for brunch on the patio overlooking the Bay Bridge.
A solid example of San Francisco cuisine, Prospect serves well-executed plates of what are now modern American classics: little gem and grilled corn salad, foie gras terrine, duck breast, pork chop, and strip steak. The quiet dining room is upscale but comfortable, filled with modern chandeliers and a large concrete fireplace that divides the room, which makes it perfect for business meetings and intimate dates alike.
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12. Epic Steak
Among the city's contenders for best cut, Epic Steak puts itself in the game with its romantic Bay Bridge views and surf and turf. Steakhouse favorites like Caesar salad, filet mignon, ribeye, and wagyu are all on the menu, plus other options such as oven roasted bass, pork chop, and duck breast.
Though Hog Island down the street is the more popular destination for oyster diehards, Waterbar provides an even classier setting — your choice of a patio, modern dining room, or bar seat with a bay view. From 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, oysters go for just $1.05 a piece. Then, during lunch and dinner services, the kitchen offers bigger plates, like roasted lamb and fish. As is the case for most Embarcadero hot spots, the tall bridge-facing windows open up to impressive views of the bay.
14. Delancey Street Restaurant
Since 1991, Delancey Street Restaurant has served well-priced food that also supports a good cause. Owned by the Delancey Street Foundation, the kitchen offers jobs and training to those who need to rebuild their lives — whether after prison, a trauma, homelessness, or more. Program participants learn to make some hit classics, like pizzas, rack of lamb, ribeye, grilled salmon, and even sushi, which is served in a comfortable and classy white-tablecloth dining room. It's open for both lunch and dinner, as well as brunch on weekends.
15. CENTO Osteria
Oakland chefs Donato Scotti and Gianluca Guglielmi opened their first SF restaurant with a laid-back osteria menu. Wood-fired pizzas, pastas, and antipasti like gamberi fritti (crispy fried shrimp Jerusalem artichokes, marinated red onion) are good reasons to stop by at lunch or dinner on the way to a Giants game. There’s also an excellent “apericena” happy hour with $7 cocktails and wine, and well-priced snacks.
16. Red's Java House
Opened in the 1930s and renamed Red’s in 1955, Red’s Java House serves a lot more than java — favorites are its fish and chips, hot dogs, and burgers served on San Francisco sourdough rolls. It’s old school, classic, and typically busy as a before and after Giants game spot. If the timing is right, don’t miss Red’s Bloody Mary — it’s a good one, best enjoyed with views of the Bay Bridge in the background.