I have not visited S.F. in 20plus years. I am returning with husband and teenage son. Since we are tourists and staying in Fisherman's Wharf what are some good places to eat in the area. Also Chinatown for dim sum and North Beach area.
Just because you are staying in FW does not mean you have to eat there, avoid at all cost.
Go over to North Beach and Russian Hill where you will find much better places. Here are some links-
Also, you could over to Ferry Plaza and get somethings for a picnic and head over to Fort Mason, there is a great park there with a wonderful view.
and Bubba Gump's is a chain that is surely not "San Francisco!
My favorite albeit a bit touristy, spot on the wharf is Scoma's -- for Dungeness Crab and Chardonnay. I can't go to San Francisco without doing that!
The Farmer's market and etc at the Ferry Street building are not to be missed.
Favorite places I like to eat are Zuni Cafe, Slanted Door, Moose''s. maybe not "trendy, but wonderful food and a good time!
I can't say that I would personally recommend Stinking Rose. As far as Italian goes, North Beach has a lot of sub-par stuff, but also some very nice spots (L'Osteria del Forno, Da Flora, etc). A search of the board will bring up reports on these places. Lots of previous discussion on Chinatown dim sum as well.
I've eaten probably more than most at Fishermans Wharf and Pier 39. Here's some hints
Fisherman's Wharf Survival Guide
That's Right, Fisherman's Wharf
Fisherman's Wharf - Cafe Pescatore ... OMG, was it good!
Since the survival guide, Eagle Cafe was sold and seems to have gone down hill. There is one restaurant on Pier 39 that I keep meaning to check out and haven't yet ... but I will say for the most part ... Pier 39 ... over-priced dreck.
Also as far as Cafe Pescatore is concerned there was one good report and one eh, report ... I have it on my to-try list but haven't got there. My guess is that it is one of the best of an ... at best ... mediocre group
The thing with the wharf area is that it is average at best and usually overpriced. The sea lions are pleasant to visit though. In the Wharf Area visit the Maritime Museum.
If you MUST eat at the Wharf, eat at lunch time. I really like Scomas a lot for their 3-course lunch special. The fish is stellar-fresh ... the sides, at best mediocre. But I go for that fish. For dinner, for a similar dinner, I'd go to Tadich in the financial district. If you MUST eat at Scomas for dinner, consider sharing entrees. The prices are expensive but the servings are HUGE. One entree would easily feed two.
Since you are near North Beach, that's where I would head and do a search of "North Beach". Also if you enter chinatown and dim sum you will get results. I would vote for Louis, though no one has reported lately. There are lots of little bakeries that sell dim sum items ... the most noted is Golden Gate for the baked bbq pork buns and custard tarts.
Breakfast in North Beach ... for pastries and coffee ... any of the cafes ... Cafe Roma, Cafe Trieste, Cafe Greco etc. Full breakfast Mama's ... and though I haven't tried it yet, you might consider Curley's for an inexpensive place. It is on my to-try list.
I'd hope on the street car from the Wharf and go to Ferry Plaza and chow down there. Lots of posts on Ferry Plaza on the board if you search for that. Try to make the Saturday Ferry Plaza Farmers market.
Two good books to get:
The Chowhounds Guide to the SF Bay Area ... easy breazy and fun to read with a lot of tips
Patricia Unterman's Food Lovers Guide ... very comprehensive by a great food writer. There's some sort of condense guide but I haven't looked at it yet.
And ... PLEASE ... report back. Let us know what you tried and how you liked it. The more fresh reports the better.