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Food Shopping in the Marina (SF) Area/Ferry Building Market

I'm going to be SF for a week starting this Thursday, staying in the Marina area. There is a Safeway very close by, that I haven't checked out yet, but that I suspect will be fine for my general cooking needs while I am there.

However, one night, I want to cook for my brothers' friends - seven or eight in all - on the 22nd, and would like to be able to put on a feast. I have no idea yet what I'm going to cook, but would love suggestions for good food shopping in the area, where I can browse and see what appeals to me, etc. I did see a small Italian market on Chestnut - Lucca? - but didn't have the chance to go in.

Another thought I had was to go to the Ferry Building, maybe on Saturday morning for the farmers' market, and to do much of my shopping there. (Haven't figured out how to get there by public transport, but would take a taxi back.)

So, I'd very much appreciate any suggestions you might on this subject.


P.S. I did do some searching, but didn't find much about food shopping in the area. If there are threads that are helpful, please let me know.

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  1. Lucca is a good Italian delicatessan. Down the same street, Chestnut, is the Marina supermarket and on the same block as that Marina meats. Both have the same owners and that's where my wife does most of her shopping. To get to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, take the 30 Stockton bus on Chestnut towards the Cal Train depot. Then transfer to either the 12 at Stockton and Broadway or the 1 California at Stockton and Clay. Check out www.sfmuni.com for times, etc. You can use their trip planner for assistance. Go to the farmers market early because it and the ferry building get crowded as the morning goes on.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bobpantzer

      Transferring to the 1 California is the easiest.

    2. The Marina Safeway is famous, btw, for it's singles scene, and has been since the swinging '70s (ah, my not-misspent-enough youth).

      2 Replies
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Oh, lordy, is it still famous for that?!? I moved to SF in '76 and always had to "primp" if I went there.

        1. re: c oliver

          I was curious, so I did a search and found a blog post from 2007 claiming it was still living up to its reputation (she did a comparison with two other Safeways as controls).

      2. The Safeway is fine but nothing special. The Marina Market and Marina Meats are great but a little pricey. Real Food Co. in Cow Hollow is a step above Marina Market, particularly for organic stuff, but also very pricey.

        1. Your idea of shopping at farmer's market at Ferry Bldg EARLY Saturday is excellent; you can make your life a lot easier just taking a taxi each way.

          Lucca's prices are really out of this world; no one else in SF charges this much.

          2 Replies
          1. re: walker

            And how early is EARLY? Thanks.

            1. re: MMRuth

              Most of the stands are open by 8am; you should be able to avoid the worst of the crush if you arrive by 9.

          2. You'll love the Saturday morning farmer's market, MMRuth -- it's very easy to get there via public transportation, and there's a ton of great stuff there. Here are a few good threads about good stuff a the FPFM around this time of year: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/503670 http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/512277 -- a lot of the stuff suggested and listed there are bakery items and non perishables, but you'll also find spring produce, like asparagus, which has just hit the markets, maybe early peas, green garlic, and the usual greens. Strawberries have also been in (though I don't think they're quite ready yet) -- you can check the CUESA website for their e-newsletter at the end of the week http://www.cuesa.org/ and it will tell you the likely suspects for being at the market.

            1. Just a thought. DiPalo's could ship some goodies to you in SF. I even had them offer to customize an order a while back, meaning not on their website but they said to call Lou and he would take care of me.

              Travel safe and be well.

              1. Regarding cabs, you should be able to hail one on or about Chestnut even early in the morning (I see them all the time on my way to get coffee). The best place to catch one near the Ferry Plaza is in front of the Hyatt Regency in 5 Embarcadero Center. There should be a line of them.

                1. So, Ferry Building it is! On Saturday. If I want to buy some fish - if it's really fresh, I suppose I would be ok buying it on Saturday, if you recommend any particular fish mongers. If not - any tips for Sunday or Monday morning? Still haven't decide what I'm cooking, of course.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: MMRuth

                    Chinatown. That same 30 Stockton will take you through the heart of the part of Chinatown where all the markets the locals shop in are located.

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        You'll want to buy the fish AFTER Ferry Bldg farmer's mkt. It's not too bad a walk from there to Stockton and Pacific area where the produce/fish, etc. vendors are located. Then again, you might be weighed down with purchases; so, it's about a 4 minute cab ride. A Cab might be hard to find right in front of Ferry, so, as mentioned above, best place to find one is in front of Hyatt Regency, California/Drumm.

                        1. re: walker

                          I think the idea was to hit Chinatown another day closer to her dinner.

                  2. I was just wondering: will you have time to go to Berkeley to check out Berkeley Bowl and Monterey Market? (MM is closed on Sunday.) Across from older BB is a wonderful Hungarian Bakery: Crixa Cakes, 2748 Adeline.

                    Berkeley Bowl
                    2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

                    Crixa Cakes
                    2748 Adeline St, Berkeley, CA 94703

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: walker

                      Just noting that the lack of a car should not stop you from heading to Berkeley to check out the Bowl or MM; I'm sure that there are some chowhouds who could pick you up from BART and take you along on our shopping trips either Saturday or Sunday...

                      1. re: JasmineG

                        Berkeley Bowl East is 2-3 blocks from the Ashby BART station. If I were to make a trip of it from SF, I'd probably go to Gourmet Ghetto (downtown Berkeley BART) for lunch at Gregoire, Cheeseboard, Cesar or even Chez Panisse upstairs, walk around, go to Epicurious Garden, then stop at Berkeley Bowl on the way back to SF.

                        Berkeley Bowl
                        2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

                        Chez Panisse
                        1517 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

                        Epicurious Garden
                        1513 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709

                        1. re: ML8000

                          Thanks all - I don't think I'm going to make it out there, unfortunately, as, on this trip, chowish things are a diversion from all the things I need to take care of while here, rather than the focus.

                          1. re: MMRuth

                            Smart move. I have friends who live in North Berkeley, and taking the 30 from the Marina plus BART to Berkeley is doable but a MAJOR schlep.

                    2. Should also mention that there's a Trader Joe's on Bay St @ Mason, about halfway between the Marina and Ferry Plaza.

                      1 Reply