San Francisco’s Best Places to Dock and Dine

An ideal way to reward the crew – and the skipper too – for a great day on the Bay is a wonderful meal on the waterfront.

Fortunately the Bay Area boasts some tasty ‘sail to’ restaurants, from fish shacks to five star, there is something for everyone.

 Seafood Classics

sam's anchor cafe

San Francisco sailors all know Sam’s Anchor Café in Tiburon, it’s practically an institution. Sam’s serves up traditional seafood dishes along with beautiful views of Angel Island, Alcatraz and the San Francisco skyline.

Tie up at the guest dock and dine al fresco on their popular waterfront deck. Sam’s is especially known for it’s cioppino. Giada De Laurentiis featured Sam’s cioppino recipe in an episode of Giada’s Weekend Getaways.

Boating is a way of life for owner Brian Wilson who commutes from his home in Sausalito to work via motorboat.

Do note that it can get shallow there, so sailboats should time visits for high tides.

skates on the bay

Berkeley’s Skates On The Bay, which is just across from Berkeley Marina, offers classic seafood favorites and majestic views. In addition to famous live lobster, they have a new raw bar, featuring interesting new additions like scallop and ahi credo.


San Francisco’s Pier 39 beckons with many options. Slip fees at the Pier 39 Marina are $25 for half day, allowing you to enjoy that extra glass of wine.

fog harbor fish house

Pier 39’s Fog Harbor Fish House offers Golden Gate views and serves delicious 100% fresh and sustainable fish and meat.


House specialties are fish and chips, crab cakes and cioppino.

wipeout grill pier 39

When the crew includes kids, a great option is Wipeout Bar and Grill, which offers child-friendly favorites like burgers, pizzas and sandwiches and sports a festive, colorful décor.

Fog Harbor and Wipe was created by the Simmons family who actually developed Pier 39. The name may be familiar to local racers, they also race Blackhawk, one of the most competitive J/105s on the bay.

crab house

Also on Pier 39 is The Crab House. Crab fanciers will revel in the many preparations offered: crab louie, crab cakes, crab lasagna, filet and crab, it goes on and on.

Haute Cuisine with an International Flair

Pier 1½, which is free for three hours, is becoming an epicenter for exotic epicurean dining. Ground zero is La Mar Cebicheria Peruana, a little bit of Peru in San Francisco, right in front of the pier.

The décor is stylish and sophisticated and the food matches. It’s beautifully presented and just as tasty. This is the place for cebiche; the sampler is a must as is the Pisco Sour, the popular South American cocktail.


Just a block away travel to Spain at Coqueta, where celebrity chef Michael Chiarello creates an imaginative tapas-based menu featuring the likes wood-grilled octopus, patats bravas and olive oil ice cream. The wine list features lovely Spanish ones and some really wonderful Napa wines are also available – on tap!

slanted door

Charles Phan’s celebrated Slanted Door is just a little farther down the street in that culinary temple known as the Ferry Building.

slanted door haute cuisine

Phan’s modern take to traditional Vietnamese created an international sensation. The Slanted Door is the most profitable restaurant in San Francisco; try it and you can taste why.

hog island oyster bar san francisco

A more casual option in the Ferry Building is Hog Island Oyster Company, and although not technically ‘haute cuisine,’ some passionate oyster people might disagree. The menu and décor are simple but not the flavor.

il cane rosso warm egg salad sandwich

Next door is gourmet sandwich stand Il Cane Rosso, where you can indulge in imaginative combinations like the Garlic & Thyme Roasted Mushroom, made with pistachio-mint pesto, local greens and fontina cheese.

All five restaurants are on the water with beautiful Bay Bridge views.

Destination Dining in Half Moon Bay

Cruising out of town for the weekend? Culinary treats await in picturesque Half Moon Bay. There are quite a few options within easy walking distance of Pillar Point Harbor.

barbara's fish trap

Right on the water, Barbara’s Fish Trap is the quintessential beach fish shack. It’s a must if you crave fish and chips; people come from far and wide for them. Barbara’s has a lovely view of the harbor and an ultra casual vibe. Bring cash though! In true fish shack form, that’s the only payment accepted.

sam's chowder house sunset

Also on the water is the multi-award-winning Sam’s Chowder House, which to my delight serves both Boston and Manhattan-styled chowder. Interestingly, it was Sam’s lobster roll that initially put it on the map. The Today Show food editor declared it ‘One of the Five Best Sandwiches in America’ and the rest was history. Their seafood entrees are exceptional as well.

In the mood for Italian? Mezza Luna, housed in an historic building built in 1908, serves contemporary Southern Italian Cuisine that never disappoints.

half moon bay brewing company

A great way to finish the evening is at the ever-popular Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. Named ‘One of America’s Best Beach Bars’ in 2011 by Travel & Leisure, the bar and patio continues to delight year round with fire pits, heat lamps and water views.

Half Moon Bay Brewing Company features live music on Friday and Saturday nights, which is always festive and fun. Hungry? Their Clam Chowder is legendary. Beer fans will delight with in the selection of hand-crafted ones created right there, in the brewery adjacent to the restaurant.

We hope you enjoyed this little list, the first of an annual feature, which we’ll expand over time. Is a favorite of your missing? Let us know for next time!

Note: As we go to press the dock at The Ramp and The Trident are closed indefinitely for repairs. The Trident’s dock has also become somewhat of a sea lion hangout and until the protected animals relocate it’s off limits for people. We hope there are some changes next year so these popular spots can be included in next year’s edition.

This article also appears in the 2015 Northern California Yachting Yearbook; click here for more information or to purchase a copy.

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