Though it was designed primarily as a covered marketplace, the Ferry Plaza Marketplace is a great
place to get a snack, light lunch, full lunch, dinner, dinner fixins... actually, it's a great place to
get food. Period.
Coffee & Pastries
Start your visit with Peet’s Coffee & Tea and pastries from Miette Patisserie or the Acme Bread
Company. After giving your light breakfast an hour or so to digest in the brisk Bay winds or
perhaps browsing functional and antique kitchen ware from Sur la Table or Culinaire, you can now
concentrate on pre-lunch activity.
Oysters to Die For
The Hog Island Oyster Company opens daily from 11:30 a.m. so it qualifies as a lunch “spot”.
However, I consider it an “any-time-of-day” meal spot (I once ordered a dozen oysters on the half
shell as my “desert” at Pinot Blanc to the raised eyebrow of our server). They usually serve about
four different varieties of oysters in this slightly-larger-than-your-bedroom restaurant that seats
twenty five. The oysters that they do serve are the freshest, most flavorful oysters that I have ever
consumed. Period. They actually don’t even need my usual accoutrements of lemon juice or
Tabasco to enhance flavor. For those who are squeamish with raw bivalves, they also serve a to-die-
for fresh clam, chorizo and bean cooked dish with that natural clam “au jus” for bread soppin’. I’m
not sure where they procure their chorizo but it doesn’t bleed that characteristic red oil that
chorizo usually releases upon cooking but still releases all of the characteristic spicy goodness. It’s
interesting that during our visit, we viewed as many tourists dining as Bay Area working denizens.
At first glance, DELICA rf1 looks like your typical Japanese “mall food”. Upon closer inspection,
you realize that their bento looks a little different than those that obaachan made for you.
Croquettes with scallop or shrimp along with the usual niku. Haricot vert salads seasoned with
miso vinaigrette, hijiki salads and salmon spring rolls – while not traditional – are sure to meet
obaachan’s approval. They offer ready packed bentos for those on the run or you can customize
your meal ala cafeteria style.
What About Beverages?
The Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant Wine Bar provides the perfect gustatory backdrop for all that you’
ve purchased to consume. They openly welcome any food purchased at the Ferry Plaza
Marketplace at their Wine Bar. Granted, your edibles aren’t served on Wedgewood but they offer
paper plates and plastic utensils for any solid consumables. Along with our DELICA rf1 bento,
Acme Bread Company deserts and freshly cooked potato chips from Lulu Petite, we sampled ½
glass wine samplers from the Wine Bar. Though one of the principal owners holds the Master
Sommelier title, the wine offerings are far from stuffy – they emphasize wines that are high
taste/cost ratio from California and abroad.
We did visit on a Monday when several stalls were closed (Tsar Nicoulai Caviar, Stonehouse
California Olive Oil, The McEvoy Ranch, Miette Patisserie and Far West Fungi) so I would visit the
Ferry Plaza Marketplace on alternate days. Parking as usual follows a complex permutation based
on the day of the week (we cabbed it) and walked to Fisherman’s Wharf to assist in calorie
expenditure. However if you do visit on a holiday, birthday or vacation, calories and cholesterol
But What’s For Dinner?
For a delightful, delicious dinner, my suggestion is Aziza at 5800 Geary Boulevard and 22nd
Avenue. The Moroccan themed restaurant starts with a list of house cocktails that are delicious
and also marry perfectly with the cuisine. We started with their take of the basic Cosmopolitan
made with a blood orange vodka and blood orange juice. The ginger and pear martini with
muddled fresh ginger (smashed fresh ginger for lack of a better description), Frangelico and pear
infused gin was the perfect accompaniment for the mixed Mediterannean spreads of balsamic
eggplant mousse, roasted red pepper and pomegranate spread and yogurt-dill spread. In fact, all
fourteen of their house cocktails are touted as food friendly.
We opted for the chef’s five course tasting menu which included the Mediterranean spreads along
with a choice of soup, Bastilla, entrée and desert from the usual dinner menu.
The organic green lentil soup with cilantro oil was a refreshing change from the usual American
lentil and ham soup. The roasted squash soup of the day was perfectly complimented with a touch
of cream. The Bastilla is a signature dish of saffron braised chicken with almonds and cinnamon
wrapped and baked in phyllo dough so that the crispy phyllo crust balances the savory poultry
within. The couscous Aziza contained chicken, shrimp, lamb sausage and lamb atop a vegetable
couscous (pin-head sized pasta that absorbs cooking liquids) while the Andalusian Chilean sea
bass with charmoula included seasoned vegetables and preserved Meyer lemon cooked in a tagine.
The fish was cooked to flaky perfection with a hint of citrus. Sadl,y we were down for the count at
this point and could only muster the tropical fruit sorbet for desert. They also do offer eclectic
desert selections such as Figs & Cornmeal - black mission figs roasted in honey and rosewater,
toasted organic cornmeal pound cake, vanilla ice cream and a sprinkle of minced red jalapeño
chile, The Trendy Cuban - rosemary infused custard, baked in caramel, shard of rosemary-sesame
brittle and Fire & Ice - a round of chocolate chiffon cake topped by a thick slab of lemon sherbet
& raspberry ice cream, all blanketed with a flamed marshmallowy orange blossom meringue.
Aziza is located at:
5800 Geary Blvd @ 22nd Ave
San Francisco, CA 94121
Phone: (415) 752-2222
Eating Around the Bay Area. Episode 2: The Ferry
Plaza Marketplace and Aziza Restaurant