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Breakfast more or less near the Ferry Building [San Francisco]

I'm taking AMTRAK's Capitol Corridor to SF, which deposits me at the Ferry Building. I will arrive at some horrible hour in the AM on a Tuesday and have time to kill before I meet friends. So my plan is to turn up only minimally caffeinated and have breakfast. Somewhere.

Last time I tried this, I had breakfast at the MarketBar. Acceptable, but how about another alternative? I'm willing to walk, oh, 15 or 20 minutes for a great meal. I want a sit down place. Don't mind a short wait or even having to make a reservation, but don't want to stand in line forever.

No allergy or dietary restrictions. Just a place that will accommodate me, the Chron, a large-ish breakfast, and endless coffee.


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  1. You could aviod the bus ride to SF by switching to BART in Richmond, then get breakfast in the Mission, where there are lots of good options.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Good idea! It will be crowded but OP will get on early enough to get a seat.

      1. re: wally

        Richmond's the start of the line so getting a seat should not be a problem.

        If you do take the train all the way to Emeryville and take the bus, Orale Orale has good Mexican breakfast and isn't as expensive as most Financial District sit-down places.

    2. Dennis Leary opened Cafe Terminus at the foot of California Street a while back. The website shows a small, but encouraging breakfast menu. I haven't been, so this is a guarded recommendation....but Leary's food generally is good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Rapini

        I am a Leary fan too but would not recommend Café T for a leisurely or relaxed meal. Too few tables, too open, not so comfy, and it's cafeteria style during the day on to-go containers.

      2. Places inside the Ferry Building tend to stress me out in general. For the most part, not a good place to relax. If you can sit outside at Marketbar on a day when the weather is nice, it's enjoyable, but I really wouldn't make plans for something like that for an early breakfast.

        So here is an idea: There are some hotels in the neighborhood and since they are hotels, they are more or less compelled to offer breakfast. And often in an environment that is a little bit more comfortable and serene than you average Starbucks. For instance, you have Americano in Hotel Vitale, which is a boutique hotel with nice ambience, right across the street from the Ferry Building.

        1 Reply
        1. re: nocharge

          One of my favorite hotels in SF…

          The room service (serviced by Americano) is wonderful.
          I can't vouch for the breakfast in the restaurant but the breakfast in the room was delicious.
          I agree with eating in the Ferry Building…even on a weekday it was a little frenetic.

        2. Cane Rosso in the Ferry Building was serving breakfast on Saturday. Don't know about Tuesday.

          1. Dottie's True Blue Cafe, near the corner of 6th and Market, will have a large-ish (and high quality breakfast) and endless coffee in an interesting environment. At 1.5 miles from the Ferry Bldg., Dotties may be just at ( or outside) the 15-20 minute walk preferred by the OP . . . Who perhaps could opt for a cab?

            2 Replies
            1. re: Mike in Rhinebeck

              "interesting environment", in this case, means on Skid Row. Cafe de la Presse, 352 Grant (at Bush, across from the Chinatown Gate) should fit the OP's requirements, and he/she won't have to dodge derelicts or walk on urine-soaked sidewalks to get there.

              1. re: Mike in Rhinebeck

                The Amtrak bus stops a block away from Dottie's (as does BART). The bus makes half a dozen other stops besides the Ferry Building.

              2. At what time are you hoping to have breakfast?

                1. I can't tell from you post whether you are more interested in quantity (endless coffee) or quality (Martketbar was acceptable). For quality, I would go to Boulette's Larder in the Ferry Building. It's a small place and less overrun than some of the other restaurants in the Ferry Building. I've had large breakfasts there but those breakfasts were not cheap ($20-$30).

                  1. What about walking down the Embarcadero to Towns End? Maybe a 10 minute walk? I have enjoyed several breakfasts there. It's relaxed, the people are friendly, and the food is really good. Plus the walk would be beautiful along the water.


                    2 Replies
                    1. re: The Librarian

                      I had a super nasty eggs benny there. One egg was basically raw (and I have a high tolerance for runny--love runny yolks and tolerate some snotty whites, but this was barely opaque at all, I don't even know how the got it on the plate). I moved it to the edge of my plate and not once did anyone come by to check on the meal. I was with a guy who couldn't bear it when I mentioned anything that wasn't perfect, so I didn't seek out a manager. But ick. I'll never be back.

                      1. re: miss louella

                        Sorry you had a bad experience. I've had nothing but enjoyable food the times that I've gone.

                    2. across the street from Town's End is a great little greasy diner, greek owned and really great breakfasts.. then if you pass Town's End going towards At&T park.. there is a tiny place called South Beach Cafe... great and Interesting breakfasts there too


                      1. I'd go to Bocadillo's, they open early, have a great breakfast menu, and are only about 13 minutes (0.6 miles) away on foot. Another great spot is Mama's on Washington Square, which is about 25 minutes (1.2 miles) away from the Ferry Building. Town's End, mentioned above, also does a fine breakfast.

                        Bocadillos breakfast menu. http://static.squarespace.com/static/...

                        1. The Plant Cafe on the Embarcadero

                          1. Egad! I am sorry: I forgot to come back and reply.

                            For assorted reasons, I cannot stray too far from the Ferry Building--I need to be within walking distance--but the 15-20 minute walk is not an issue. When I'm by myself, I do like to sit with the paper and smile at servers as they pour more coffee. A hotel is an idea--they are used to people settling down for breakfast.

                            Thanks for the suggestions. I shall explore them.