Chocolate, oysters, cheese, fruit tarts, fish tacos, fungi...it's local food galore at the little shops that line the hall of the Ferry Building which opened in 1898 when as many as 50,000 ferry commuters a day would arrive through its doors. With the construction of the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge in the mid '30s many people began to make the trip to San Francisco by car and the Ferry Building lost lots of its traffic, so in the '50s the elegant open hall was made into office space and the Embarcadero Freeway was built directly in front of the building. The freeway was damaged in the 1989 earthquake and was torn down a couple years later and once again the Ferry Building, with its 245 foot clock tower inspired by the 12th century Seville Cathedral in Spain, became the focal point at the foot of Market Street. Renovations on the building were completed in 2003 and it is now a bastion of local food, as well as a place for passengers to wait for their ferry to Sausalito or Larkspur or Vallejo.
So what would you like to eat? Maybe green papaya salad from Out the Door? Just grab one of the stools at the takeout counter, it's a cheap way to enjoy the cuisine from the Slanted Door which is just next door. A bite of chocolate from Recchiuti? They are usually giving out a free sample of something delectable. Coffee? You can choose between Peet's or Blue Bottle. And if you want you can take it outside to enjoy on the wharf, whether the day is bustling and sunny or quiet and gray.