Written by Nadia Ibanez
When you visit San Francisco, you’ll probably get the usual run down:
“You have to check out Fisherman’s Wharf and get a bowl of chowder!”
“Go see the jail cells at Alcatraz and make sure you say hi to the seals!”
“Don’t leave without taking a cable car!!”
Yes, in my head, these sound like lovely things to do while you’re in town. But when it comes to visiting SF landmarks, my eyes and nose point in the direction of restaurant institutions serving customers for generations. One of these particular restaurants is Fog City along the Embarcadero.
The location dates back to before the Gold Rush in which it served sailors before heading out to war and acted as a docking point for hopefuls looking to find their fortune and weight in gold. In 1985, the restaurant opened as the original Fog City Diner.
Before the recent renovation, walking into the Diner was like stepping back to the 1930s. Stainless steel, checkered tile and other sock hop decor elements overtook the look of the restaurant. Reopening in 2013, Fog City offers casual cuisine and cocktails in a modern locale with great Bay views.
The restaurant invited me to check out their new digs and sample the menu. The area itself is saturated with bars and restaurants so if you’re looking for a casual and warm place for a great cocktail and meal, this is your place. We started out with cocktails and oysters, my favorite way to end a busy workday. (Make sure to check out Oyster Happy Hour Monday thru Friday, 4-6 pm.)
Belly up to the V-shaped bar and you’ll have your choice from local wines on tap, artisan beers and seasonal cocktails. Go for the Bicycle Kick with No. 209 Gin (distilled right in the city), Campari, Velvet Falernum, lemon and sauvignon blanc. If vodka is more your style, The Vodka Fix is a blend of basil vodka, carpano bianco, lemon, honey and Prosecco. Oysters are a great addition and Fog City’s come with a shallot mignonette and oak barrel aged hot sauce.
For starters, go for the Ahi Tuna Tartare, served on sticky rice cakes with an essence of Asian pear, wasabi, sesame, soy and shiso leaf. If you’re not already planning on ordering a burger for dinner, you HAVE to order the Furikake Fries served with garlic aioli. Who knew a Japanese seasoning of dried fish, seaweed and sesame seeds would be such a delicious combination?
If you want to indulge, order the signature Fog City Burger, with smoked tomato aioli, housemade American cheese and all the fixings. Other delicious entrees include a Wood Over Whole Chicken with broccoli romanesco, bacon, fingerlings and kimchi butter and the Oak Grilled Pork Chop with bacon braised romano beans, sweet corn polenta and apple chutney.
Save room for dessert because Fog City’s Frozen Custard tops several lists of must-try treats in the city. The kitchen churns milk and cream from Straus Dairy daily so go for The “B” Bomb, a glazed French cruller served with vanilla frozen custard and housemade egg yolk caramel. This dessert makes for a great temperature and texture combination. If you fall in love with the frozen custard, the restaurant offers pints to go.
So if you’re traveling through SF and want to get a taste of city’s restaurant history, drop by Fog City. For more information, visit www.FogCitySF.com.