Making A List: Surviving The Tourists Edition


Every so often, we roll out an edition of Making A List, as we take the liberty of composing a poignant–and perhaps piquant–list of culinary delights (or culinary don’ts) in San Francisco. Up this week: the best of that tourist trap called Fisherman’s Wharf.

If you live in the Bay Area, you’ve had to play tour guide at least once. With San Francisco tours, there are two givens. First, your chubby Midwest visitors will be wearing shorts in the dead of summer, despite your warnings that summers in San Francisco are rife with 50 degree weather, ceaseless fog belts and a refreshing freezing offshore breeze.

The second sure thing is that they’ll want to see the (in)famous Fisherman’s Wharf, also known as the biggest culinary wasteland in the best food city in the nation.

Enter Making A List. Assuming the $150 tasting menu at Michelin-starred Gary Danko is out of the question, here are our picks for the best places to eat in Fisherman’s Wharf. So avoid the overpriced fish restaurants, ignore the temptation to try Lieutenant Dan’s Drunken Shrimp at Bubba Gump and check out our picks.

Super-great recommendations, post-jump 

Boudin Cafe: Our favorite sourdough bread bowls in the city, Boudin makes their bread fresh every morning, using the decades-old sourdough starter. There’s one in Ghirardelli Square and another on the wharf itself.

Fiddler’s Green: You’re going to need a drink or four after entertaining the guests all day. Fiddler’s Green has many a beer, not to mention a host of authentic Irish dishes.

In-N-Out: The legendary California burger joint opened its first and only San Francisco outpost on the wharf, forever forcing natives to frequent Pier 39. Ugh.

Tarantino’s: The cioppino is decent, but you can probably find better elsewhere in the city. Then again, cioppino is a San Francisco thing, and this is the best option for it in this neighborhood.

Scoma’s: Probably your best bet for a nice dinner in the area. The fish is fresh and the pastas are done well. The prices might be a little steep, but it’s the kind of place your grandma would love. We know ours does.

A. Sabella’s : In the same vein as Scoma’s, it’s a nice dinner-type place, with one notable difference, the 87-year-old A. Sabella’s is closing come November, so you best get your crab-abalone fix in while you can.

Making A List: Surviving The Tourists Edition