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“Forbes Island Restaurant” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Forbes Island

Forbes Island
Between Pier 39 and 41, San Francisco, CA 94133-1009 (North Beach)
415 951 4900
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Ranked #100 of 5,005 Restaurants in San Francisco
Price range: $41 - $80
Cuisines: American, Cajun & Creole, French, Californian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Special occasions, Scenic view, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations, Late Night
Neighborhood: North Beach
Northern Virginia
16 reviews 16 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Forbes Island Restaurant”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2013

The restaurant is basically a very fancy house boat where the dining room is actually below water and there is a lighthouse on top. It was a fun experience and the food was excellent. We enjoyed it enough that we want to go back the next time we are in San Francisco. The owner captained the trip over from the dock to the restaurant and entertained with stories about the island.

  • Visited November 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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135 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Duluth, Minnesota
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
31 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“interesting but over-rated”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2013

We heard such great things about this "underwater" restaurant and watching fish through the portholes, etc. A bit of hype. You have to take a shuttle boat to the restaurant, a short ride. The restaurant is underwater, basically a boat. It's an interesting decor and very pleasant but as far as we could tell, there was only one table that had two actual portholes that you could look through. The evening we were there, it was very windy and there was a LOT of motion--not recommended for anyone who gets motion sickness or sea-sick... The menu is limited, not much for seafood available and quite pricey. The food was good, the service was excellent, the decor interesting. Be sure to explore the "island"--go up to the top of the lighthouse where there are excellent views of the bay and the city.

  • Visited October 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newtownards, Northern Ireland
13 reviews 13 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Fantastic Experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2013

I decided to book the restaurant as a surprise for my boyfriend's birthday after seeing the 'Island' on our first trip to San Francisco 2 years ago.

On arrival, we sat at the Jetty with a few other groups as we waited for the ferry to bring us over. It was covered over and even had a heater while we waited, thank goodness as the wind had started to pick up and it was getting chilly.

Captain Ryan then arrived with the ferry, asking if there were any celebrations, I told him about my boyfriend's birthday (more about this later!) and we were given a short history of the Island when we arrived.

Heading downstairs we were shown to our table and from there on received excellent service from the waiters. It is quite a 'posh' restaurant, in that the service is what I would expect from somewhere like the Ivy etc. However, the atmosphere was very comfortable and the waiters made us feel very welcome.

We ordered a bottle of sparkling wine, the soup of the day (Butternut Squash) for both of us, flat iron steak with potato au gratin, country chicken, then followed up with vanilla ice cream and apple tarte tartan. Every single course was delicious, and I was quite stuffed afterwards!

Between the main and dessert, we took the opportunity to head up to the lighthouse. It was quite windy, so we didn't stay outside too long, but the views were lovely, and a different aspect from any we had seen in the City so far. There is also a few outside seating areas which seemed to be for during the hot days with a cocktail, but as it was night time we stayed inside.

I had heard that the ladies toilet was a definite must see, and I wont give anything away, but it was something of a talking point, and different from anywhere else!

After dessert, there was no rush to get us out, and we sat and took in the ambience for a while. As the actual dining room is under the water, there are portholes into the bay, and I caught sight of a few fish swimming past.

The price, although more expensive than anywhere else we had ate in San Francisco, was completely reasonable, especially as we had three courses and a bottle of wine, plus tips.

The highlight of the night was the trip back to the 'mainland'. Captain Ryan took us back, and we were the only two people on the ferry. He had remembered it was my boyfriend's birthday and got him up to steer the boat right back to the jetty, even giving him a captains hat. My boyfriend loved it!

All in all, we had a fantastic night, something different in a gorgeous city. The price was a bit more than I would usually pay, but I knew that before I went and it was for a special occasion. I would recommend this place for anyone staying in the City.

  • Visited October 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
126 reviews 126 reviews
79 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 51 cities Reviews in 51 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
“Fun, but over rated”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2013

This is one of those places that because it is a bit of a landmark, you have to check it out. I remember this place from an old show "Life of the Rich & Famous", which made it even more interesting. Very quirky, but with an excellent staff & very good food. I'm not a huge fan of dark atmosphere so this was not a happy point for me, but it was an interesting experience with good food. We had a chance to meet & talk with the owner & builder, he's quite a character as well.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Presron, England
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Gorgeous food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2013

Gorgeous food, pure tourist woo, but they make good on the promise with quality food. eating underwater is an experience, and the staff are very helpful

Visited September 2013
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