10 Restaurants Where the View is as Good as the Food in San Francisco
When visitors come to San Francisco, they usually seek out at least one meal on the water. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of places here, and plan for a walk along the Embarcadero before or after your meal. Also many places are open for lunch, so think about that option for the best view.
Epic Steak (369 The Embarcadero)
For a stunning view of the Bay Bridge, and a rather epic steak, here’s your spot (the dining room has a dramatic style). You’ll also find oysters, Dungeness crab cocktail, housemade charcuterie, salads and more to make a meal out of.
Waterbar (399 The Embarcadero South)
A sister restaurant to Epic, this upscale place is known for its extensive oyster bar, outdoor patio, happy hour and menu of sustainable seafood, from grilled spot prawns to local salmon. The floor-to-ceiling aquariums get as much attention as the view.
Fog City (1300 Battery St.)
This classic Cal-American restaurant is just across the Embarcadero, but you still get a slight view of the water. The menu is seasonally driven, full of local vegetables, meats from the grill and wood oven (their chicken is notable), and a really good burger. Outdoor tables, cocktails, wine on tap, and their made-to-order doughnuts make this a popular spot. www.fogcitysf.com
La Mar (Pier 1 1/2, The Embarcadero)
If you’re a fan of ceviche, pisco sours and other Peruvian dishes, this is your place. The causas (whipped potatoes with toppings) and empanadas are also tasty. Bonuses: lunch, brunch, happy hour, a cheerful maritime look and a prime location right on the water.
Coqueta (Pier 5, The Embarcadero)
Chef Michael Chiarello’s Spanish-inspired restaurant has a view of the water at a few of the tables, and the bar area (and outdoor patio) always draw a crowd enjoying gin and tonics, the extensive menu of hot and cold tapas, and larger plates (like paella).
The Slanted Door (One Ferry Building, Suite 3)
Charles Phan’s benchmark Vietnamese restaurant (known for using organic and sustainable ingredients) has a prime location on the water. Menu favorites include the spring and imperial rolls, daikon rice cakes, shaking beef, and cellophane noodles with Dungeness crab. Seasonal seafood is also highlighted.
Alioto’s (Eight Fisherman's Wharf)
One of the Wharf’s most traditional restaurants (since 1925!), it also has one of the most Italian menus, with plenty of pastas to choose from (like their seafood cannelloni), spicy calamari and, of course. they have their own cioppino recipe. Great views.
Bistro Boudin Restaurant and Bar (160 Jefferson St., 2nd Floor)
Boudin at Fisherman’s Wharf has a sourdough starter that’s as old as 1849 and at their handsome Bistro is where you can also get the dish that tourists always associate with SF (although you won’t find many locals seeking it out): chowder in a sourdough bowl. There are also oysters, mussels, cioppino and more. Kids are welcome.
The Franciscan Crab Restaurant (Pier 43 1/2)
This unmistakable 1950s building—tricked out with neon and a playful interior—has some stunning views of the bay. They are known for their whole-roasted crab with garlic sauce and save room for the frozen “kustard.” It’s also kid-friendly and offers validated parking.
Scoma’s (Pier 47, One Al Scoma Way)
Tucked right in the Wharf, this seafood spot has been open for 50 years. The Lazy Man’s cioppino (with picked crab) is a classic, plus their crab cakes, shrimp or crab Louis and petrale doré. It’s not cheap, but at least the valet parking is free. www.scomas.com
Marcia Gagliardi writes a popular insider weekly e-column, tablehopper, about the SF dining and drinking scene, get all the latest news at www.tablehopper.com. Follow @tablehopper on Twitter and Instagram for more SF finds!