Ferry Building : Michelin's recommendations
A hugely successful renovation, completed in 2003, has brought this long-neglected landmark back into the spotlight as an airy gourmet retail and restaurant complex. Designed by A. Page Brown of Colusa sandstone, the building was hailed at its dedication in 1898 as the most solidly constructed edifice in California, a claim that was roundly proved when it survived the great earthquake of 1906 with only its exterior stones loosened. The Ferry Building's 240ft clock tower, designed by Willis Polk, was inspired by the Giralda Tower on the Cathedral of Seville and boasts four huge (and accurate) clock faces.At its height in the early 1930s, an estimated 50 million people passed through the Ferry Building annually en route to the East Bay and Marin County. But completion of the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge in the mid-1930s decimated the ferry business, and the building was gradually converted to office space. The recent $100 million renovation created 65,000 square feet of marketplace space along the first floor's central nave. Here you'll find the crème de la crème of Bay Area artisan food producers, including Niman Ranch meats, Frog Hollow Farms organic produce and Cowgirl Creamery cheeses, as well as a number of popular restaurants. The city's largest farmers' market fills the surrounding plazas four days a week. Behind the building, commuter ferries still depart for Sausalito and Larkspur in Marin County. Just north, another ferry offers service to Alameda, Oakland, Tiburon and Vallejo.