Finest San Francisco
San Francisco food markets are a cornucopia of fine edibles. Most are quite expensive, mind you, but the selection and quality of food is outstanding. Here are some of the best markets in the SF Bay Area.
Bi-Rite Market, 3639 18th St between Dolores Park and Guerrero St , Mission — The ultimate in local SF neighborhood markets. It’s small, packed with food & people, features carefully selected local organic products, has super service,and is very, very expensive.
One nice way to control costs but still enjoy the experience is to get only a sandwich at their deli, or some wine & cheese, for a picnic in Dolores Park. For dessert after your picnic pick up an ice cream cone at Bi-Rite Creamery across the street from Bi-Rite market; or, have pastry & coffee at Tartine Bakery on the corner of 18th St & Guerrero St.Here, all within one block, are three of the best food experiences in San Francisco.
Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, 1 Ferry Building at the corner of Market St & The Embarcadero, SF — This is THE place for farm fresh local produce and artisan foods. Probably the biggest, best, and most expensive farmers market in the country,this is a great place to see a diversity of food and enthusiastic people. The biggest farmers market is held Saturdays from 8-2 pm; we recommend you get there before 10:00 am to avoid the crowds. Smaller versions of this farmers market with fewer vendors are held here on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10-2 pm.
Trader Joes, 1820 S Grant St off Hwy 92, San Mateo (&many other locations we’ve been) — Here’s a rare exception… reasonable prices. Mr. “Trader Joe” :) specializes in finding and passing on good buys. And, he usually does an excellent job, especially for wine. The only problem with this approach is that when the Trader does not find a good buy he just stops selling it … but we can live with that. Bottom line: We and most of our friends go weekly. You probably do too :).
By the way, a new Trader Joes location opened October 2009 at 45 W Hillsdale Blvd, San Mateo. This is across from Hillsdale Mall and almost next door to Barnes & Noble. This is across from Hillsdale Mall and almost next door to Barnes & Noble.It even has decent parking which is definitely an exception for Trader Joes.
Whole Foods, 1010 Park Place near Hillsdale Ave, San Mateo (also 774 Emerson St, Palo Alto; 450 Rhode Island St/17th St, SF; and many other locations) — The lamb shanks dinner at the San Mateo deli counter is fantastic. Its one of best take out meals you’ll ever find.. They also have quite an array of other food as well. On the negative side, some of our friends refer to Whole Foods as “Whole Paycheck” because you can easily walk out with a whole paycheck demolished.
The Rhode Island St. store in SF is big and newer. The Palo Alto store replaced the old Co-Operative and is where yuppie Palo Alto housewives love to shop. Bottom line: A variety of nice higher end foods, high prices.
Draeger’s Supermarket, 222 E 4th Avenue, San Mateo (also Menlo Park, Los Altos, & Blackhawk) — High end but doesn’t seem as expensive as Whole Foods. Go for their selection which is incredible making it a great place for foodie gifts. This definitely includes the bakery. Among the many, many fancier baked goods displayed I find the bear claws to be almost the best I’ve ever tasted.