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SF Ferry Building DIY Food Tour

Updated: Jul 23, 2022

It is no surprise that San Francisco offers some of the world's best selections of international cuisine. Hence there are many companies that offer guided food tours throughout the city, often for a hefty price. As locals, we felt we decided to curate our own food tour to expand our palette and try all the food San Francisco has to offer. While the SF Ferry Building is a popular tourist destination that we have frequented many times, we have surprisingly tried very few of the restaurants there. So our darling daughter did some research and created a DIY Food Tasting Tour of the Ferry Building. The key to our food tour was ordering only 1 or 2 items from each restaurant so we did not fill up too quickly.


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Red Bay Coffee: This was our first stop on our food tour, and we tried the Saigon Latte. This latte is made with condensed milk that adds a pleasant sweetness to the drink without being overpowering or sickly sweet. Even though we are not the biggest coffee drinkers, we thoroughly enjoyed this latte, as the beans were not over roasted, the drink was not too sweet, and the coffee was warm enough.

Le Bonta Italiane: Our next stop was a small pop-up stand outside of The Village Market store in the Ferry Building. It was a young boy at a small folding table selling beautiful Italian donuts. Filled with various flavors of cream and topped with powdered sugar, these sweet treats were delicious to look at and to taste. They came in custard, raspberry, pistachio, and Nutella flavors and we opted for the pistachio. While the filling was light, creamy, and not too sweet, the texture of the donut itself was a bit too chewy for my liking. Nothing beats the light airiness of a Krispy Kreme donut, but this Italian donut was still delicious and quickly devoured by our family.

ACME Bread Co: While there are many bakeries in the Ferry Building, ACME Bread Co is definitely at the top of that list. We got a cheese and jalapeno turnover that was to die for. The pastry was buttery and flaky and the filling had a nice kick to it and wasn't overly cheesy. ACME Bread also sells a wide variety of fresh-baked bread and pastries, and we took a few loaves home that were also delicious.

El Porteno Empanadas: El Porteno is an empanada stand that offers a selection of both meat and vegetarian empanadas. While we love empanadas, it is often difficult to find vegetarian ones, so we were thrilled by the variety at El Porteno. We tried the Champinones and the Humita empanadas that were filled with mushrooms and cheese, and sweet corn and red peppers, respectively. Both had a buttery crisp pastry crust and very flavorful fillings but the Humita was definitely our favorite. El Porteno has many more vegetarian and meat empanadas that are all worth trying, but they do sell out later in the day so try to go before noon.

Humphrey Slocombe: Humphrey Slocombe Ice Cream had rave reviews online and was consistently listed as a must-eat place in the Ferry Building. We ordered the Secret Breakfast Sundae, their #1 best seller, and were unfortunately quite disappointed. The Secret Breakfast Sundae consisted of two scoops of secret breakfast ice cream - a bourbon ice cream with cornflakes mixed in, topped with frosted cornflakes and a bourbon caramel glaze. The ice cream had a bitter bourbon taste to it, and the cornflakes mixed in had a grainy soggy texture that was not very enjoyable. We were disappointed by this sundae, given the hype it received, but this restaurant had the longest line out of all the places we visited. So it is clearly popular for some reason.

Grande Creperie: Our second to last stop was Grande Creperie, a cute crepe bistro with outdoor seating that offered great views of the Bay Bridge. We tried the Verte crepe which was filled with broccoli, arugula, cucumbers, ricotta, and Calabrian chili. What made this crepe unique was its dark brown color as it was made with buckwheat which gave it a different but enjoyable flavor. While we wish the filling was distributed more evenly throughout the crepe and wish there was some more flavor overall, we were satisfied by this light snack.

Dandelion Chocolate: We ended our food tour with a stop at Dandelion Chocolate, a bean-to-bar chocolate factory. While they have larger locations throughout the city, the one in the ferry building served mainly coffee and chocolate-based drinks as well as a few chocolate pastries and desserts. We tried their frozen hot chocolate drink and were surprised by the lack of sweetness and the slight bitterness from the cacao seeds. You could tell that there were not any processed ingredients that went into this drink as the fresh flavor of the cacao seeds was very distinct.

Overall, we were glad that we got to try a wide variety of the food that the Ferry Building had to offer and were mostly satisfied with everything we ate. A DIY food tour such as this is a great way to experience food from all over the world, without getting bogged down by restaurant choices and reservations.


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