Just imagine if Andy Rooney from 60 Minutes was answering these questions and perhaps it won't be as offensive. Seriously, we've been asked all these questions and more.
Ferry Plaza Seafood gets a lot of requests and questions about why we don't have this or that and rather that thinking about us as a restaurant trying to appeal to everybody's whim, which is of course impossible, we try to focus on the food we like to do the way we want to do it. We are also asked general questions such as where we are in relation to?.... To that end, here are some commonly asked questions and answers that come up often:
- Do you have crackers?
No we don't serve a single cracker in the whole restaurant. We serve all the bread you can eat.
- Do you have ranch dressing?
No we don't have ranch dressing, we have Louie dressing and Vinaigrette, but that's it.
- Do you have a full bar?
No just beer and wine.
- What wine do you recommend?
We have a well balanced wine list, and we serve both red and white. Most of our white wine is dry and on the crisp and clean side which we think pairs well with seafood. We have a nice selection of Chardonnays as well as a dry Riesling, some bubbly items and a few other surprises thrown in.
- Do you serve flavored iced tea?
No, just plain ole black tea.
- Do you have fried calamari?
No, we don't have anything fried. No French fries or fish and chips or alas... fried calamari. But we have some other great things to eat, check out our menu! Remember what we told you, we specialize in fresh fish without all the "added mystery stuff" on it.
- Do you have tartar sauce?
Unless you are eating fried food, you don't need tartar sauce. So, we don't have tartar sauce.
- What do you serve for vegetarians or vegans?
Our specialty is seafood, but we do have a few things. We have a mixed green salad or a grilled cheese sandwich, but aside from a steamed artichoke that's about it.
- What food do you recommend?
Well, we recommend a lot of things, but we think it would come down to bread or no bread. We like to eat as much fish as possible. With that, if you like bread definitely have our Crab Melt Sandwich with a pint of Anchor Steam. Another quick bite to eat would be a cup of our fantastic chowder and a Crab Tower or a Crab Cake. Lastly on the super fresh side have a seafood platter and a piece of fresh fish over veggies from our specials menu. Honestly, there are so many yummy things, but that's a good start for some ideas.
- Do you take reservations?
No we don't. We just aren't that fancy. It's first come first serve unless you book a big party or an event.
- Why don't you stay open later?
There are a couple ways to answer this question: We are open if there are customers, but sometimes in the winter, we close early because it's really slow and it costs too much for us to stay open. In general we are open Tuesday through Sunday until 6 or 7 pm. The only restaurants reliably open after 6 or 7 are Slanted Door and Market Bar. The best thing to do is, just give us a call at 415.274.2561. Just think of it this way, our hours essentially parallel the hours of the Ferry Building vendors themselves.
- Why are you closed on Mondays?
Well, even we need to rest.
- How many people total can you accommodate for a buy out or party?
50 to 80 if you include all of our outdoor seating as well.
- Can I just get a beer or glass of wine and wait for a table outside?
The Ferry Building is very very strict about not permitting alcoholic beverages outside the restaurant. No we can't give you an alcoholic beverage unless we can assign it to an actual table. I know it's hard to believe, but we aren't in New Orleans.
- Why don't you allow any "outside food?"
This is sticky subject: Of course all the vendors want to support each other and do, but we are also all trying to make a living. Incidentally, all the vendors in the Ferry Building are owned and operated separately from each other and we all rent space from the Ferry Building. So if one person wants seafood and everybody else brings in outside food, then the whole table needs to be tidied up, linens washed, water glasses cleaned etc. and only one person actually ate. The best thing to do in this case is to get your meal "to go" that way everybody can get what they want and you can all eat outside and take advantage of the view just outside the Ferry Building.
- Do you serve sour dough bread?
We don't serve sour dough bread because we serve other breads we think really work with our food which comes from our favorite bakery, Acme. We also don't serve soup in a bread bowl which is pretty specific to Fisherman's Wharf. It's an odd, tourist driven, phenomena that is really specific to Boudin, but we prefer the tradition of dipping fresh bread into our chowders. Incidentally, if you google the "where did chowder in a bread bowl come from?" you will find strong arguments and opinions about the whole topic of soup in a bread bowl. It's truly a subject sparking a lot of passionate conversations. Who knew?
- Why do you charge for bread?
In San Francisco, we have generalized health care. Many restaurants charge an over all percentage of your meal, some charge a flat fee for you to sit in the chair at the table. There are many ways to generate money to pay for the generalized health care program. We choose to charge for our bread because it's the least intrusive way for us to pay for the health care and it only affects folks who choose to eat bread. Oh, yes and it's a whopping 50 cents.
- When is the best time to come?
Anytime is a great time to come by, but do know that Saturdays in general are the busiest day of the week because of the large Farmer Market. On Saturday, the slower times are before 12:30 or after 2:00.
- Where are you located?
We are in the same corridor as Farm Fresh To You, Hog Island and Golden Gate Meat on the bay side.
- You aren't Hog Island Oyster Company?
No, we aren't Hog Island Oyster Company. We have a similar blue logo, we are opposite each other in the corridor and we do serve oysters, but oysters are not our primary focus. We specialize in all types of seafood and oysters happen to be on our list.
- Do you have Hog Island Oysters?
No, but Hog Island Oyster Company has Hog Island Oysters. We typically have Hood Canal, Lil Skookum, Quilcene Bay or Marins. All but the Marins are from Washington State. The Marins are from Marin county up North of San Francisco. Occasionally we will get other selections, but these are typical for us.
- How far is Pier 39 from the Ferry Building?
It's 1.3 miles away which is a 15 min public transit ride or a 24 minute walk.
- How far is Fisherman's Wharf from the Ferry Building?
It's 1.7 miles away which is a 23 minute public transportation ride and a 34 minute walk.
- Where is the best place to park?
Parking in and around the Ferry Building can be tough. There are many lots, but the easiest place to park is at the Embarcadero (1, 2, 3 or 4). Plus you can shop around there as well and either work up an appetite or walk off your lunch. If you are going to park on the street with a meter, bring lots and lots of quarters.
- How does the Ferry Building work?
The Ferry Building corridors are made up of various eateries and vendors. In addition to the full time businesses within the building there are farmer markets that happen. Two of the standard market days are on Tuesdays 10am - 2pm & Saturdays 8am - 2pm.
- Can I take my glass of wine or beer outside and sit on a bench to look at the view?
No, unfortunately, the law states that we cannot let you wonder about with alcohal. Please don't get upset with us, we didn't make the rules. We will need to assign the beer or wine to a table or a counter spot location and you need to consume your beverage there. Remember, we have outdoor seating as well within our restaurant. You are more than welcome to sit outside and have a drink as long as it's inside our restaurant. Lastly, please don't lie and say you are going to stay and then we find you wondering about. It's illegal first of all and second of all you will be embarassed and so will we, to go get you and bring you back to the restaurant.