Hey you! You looking for where to eat near Fisherman’s Wharf and the Musee Mecanique!
We know, we know – it’s Fisherman’s Wharf. You could throw a stick in any direction and hit someone trying to sell you a bowl of clam chowder. But no matter how you put it, we can all agree that there are a million restaurants in this neighborhood.
The real question is – are they all created equal? NO! And that’s why we’re here to help.
As a matter of fact, we looked into the fish history of this hood by taking a walking tour with a real, live fisherman, and he told us that most of the restos down here serve imported or canned fish from Asia. And that’s not the meal that any of us want to have while hanging out in San Francisco.
You might already be here at the Musee, thumbs exhausted after all that pinball wizardry, and you need us to help save you from the incessant Googling it would take to get to the real intel. Or maybe you’re planning a trip to visit with your out-of-town guests and want the lowdown on the best eats around. Perhaps you’re bringing your company on tour with us and want to grab a bite afterward at a place that will make your colleagues proud.
Either way, arcade fans need fuel, and Fisherman’s Wharf has a few amazing hidden gems to prepare you for or recharge you from your museum adventure.
We’ve scoured the neighborhood so we, as locals, can share with you the full scoop on the best places to fill your bellies so there’s nothing in the way between you and exploring every nook and cranny of that arcade wonderland.
By far the closest spot on our recommendation list is Scomas, which is located just a pier away from Musee Mecanique. They bill themselves as a “pier-to-plate” restaurant, and they only serve fresh and local seafood caught here in the Pacific.
Early in the morning, local fishermen will bring their catch to Scoma’s pier. This place will give you that classic, seafood-next-to-a-pier-Fishermans-Wharf experience. People on Yelp go crazy for their cioppino, and with good reason.
If you have a budget to blow, Gary Danko’s is consistently named one of the best restaurants in the city, and it’s right there in the heart of the Wharf. Not sure if a Michelin star is worth all the fuss?
One recent Yelp reviewer explained:
“Each and every bite here was like an orgasm in my mouth.”
Their wine pairings are purportedly spectacular, and they have something on the dessert menu called “The Cheese Car.” That’s enough to sell me all by itself.
If you’re looking for something a little more casual, head straight to The Codmother. If you require a spot with a fancy atmosphere, The Codmother is not your place, since you might have to fight off hungry seagulls while sitting at their modest patio tables. But if you want perfectly grilled, fried or baked fish, you can’t do much better than this sweet gem of a restaurant.
Finally, if you’re around this part of town at breakfast time (or you’re in the mood for breakfast at lunchtime), you can look no farther than Surisan. They’ve put together a very decadent daily brunch menu that includes popovers, sweet-spicy millionaire bacon, and stuffed French toast. If you’re craving an evening dose of k-tacos or bibimbap, this is also the spot for you. It’s a great reminder that you can, and sometimes should, look beyond the fish in Fishermans Wharf.
To quench your thirst, we’d steer you first and foremost to The Gold Dust Lounge, which is a bar with a lengthy history in San Francisco. This establishment was located in the same spot in Union Square from 1966 to 2013 until it was evicted because the landlord wanted to raise the rent. Instead of closing down, these spunky barkeeps went on the hunt for a new location, and found this neighborhood spot to move into. It’s a welcome addition to the area, and has a very old-timey, gold-rush feel.
If you’re looking for a famous place to grab a cocktail before or after your visit to the museum, you’ll want to visit The Buena Vista. It’s an SF institution and they lay a claim to fame that they introduced the Irish coffee to San Francisco. It’s a bit touristy, but the charm’s still there.
There’s another good bar tucked away at the very back of Players Arcade. It’s called the Luau Lounge, and it’s a weird, hidden tropical oasis with a killer unobstructed waterfront view and an irresistible Tiki cocktail menu.
Finally, here’s a tip from some friends who work in the neighborhood and have good reason to drink around here on the regular. There’s a Mexican spot just up the road called Las Margaritas that has a crazy happy hour and very cheap pitchers of margaritas that will be sure to loosen up your crew.
Okay, so now that we’ve got the food and drinks down — are you ready to grab tickets for an unforgettable tour at the Musee Mecanique? We guarantee you’ll have an amazing time. See you there!