We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“A delightful place for a celebration” 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
Website
Menu
Improve this listing
Ranked #100 of 5,004 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
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“A delightful place for a celebration”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2014

Had dinner with a group of five to celebrate an event and we were all delighted with Forbes Island. Everyone from the ferry captain to the wait staff was friendly and attentive.

The food was delicious. I had the crab and avacado appetizer and the filet -- both great. The short ribs and flat iron steak were a big hit with others in my party.

My nine year old son had a great time climbing the lighthouse and looking at all the cool maritime stuff. There's no kids menu, but they will make up pasta in different ways and grilled chicken, which was a big hit with my son. Everyone was very nice and accommodating. If your kids can sit still and be reasonably quiet at a restaurant, I think this is a great place for kids, with lots of unique and fun experiences.

Definitely check out the women's room in the captain's quarters.

  • Visited February 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

135 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    80
    39
    9
    5
    2
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Oakland, California
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“How did we miss this place for so many years?”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2014

Forbes Island is in fact a 700-ton barge submerged just off Pier 39 in San Francisco. There is a ferry that takes you to the island, maybe a 3 minute trip. It is adjacent to the very loud sea lions that commandeered a number of docking areas for boats years ago, and finally won the stand off. Sea Lions 1, Boats 0.

The main dining area is partially submerged, with portholes. The leave a little "forage" on the glass outside to keep the crabs and such coming back to clamber around on them. Lit from the outside, it is pretty cool to see them while eating your filet mignon.

The food is spot oin, nothing super fancy, but solid and well prepared. You can see the menu online. We were very happy with the service and preparation and quality. Wine prices were actually decent.

The bar and interior id off the charts. Wood paneling, reputedly mimicking the interiors of the USS Institution in Boston Harbor. Lovely. There is also a hard hat diver suit in the corner, complete with Mark IV helmet.

The cocktails are good if pricey. The well drinks were $9, but in SF, at the Pier, with a ferry ride to an underwater bar...worth it. And the martinis came in what we call Big Girl glasses - a good pour. Don't know if there is a Happy Hour but I doubt it. Who cares?!

Go at 5, have a drink or 3. I am just sad we lived here for over 15 years and only just now made it over.

  • Visited February 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 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.
Ocean Springs, Mississippi
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Something so different”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2014

We thought this restaurant would be a tourist trap but absolutely not. Very interesting place, unique experience and great food. We enjoyed our dinner so much that we booked our dinner for new years eve there as well. If you want something different and good - don't miss out. Wonderful staff as well.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix, Arizona
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Great find at Pier 39”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2014

Stumbled upon this place while looking at reviews for pier 39. Made reservations for a Saturday night which I recommend. The dock to take the boat to the island is just left(same side where the sea lions are) of the Pier 39 when you are facing it.

Once we were there the restaurant is uniquely decorated and darkly limited so great for couples. The menu was small but seemed to have something on the menu for everything. Everyone in our party loved what they ordered. Had a chance to order the apple desert which was excellent

Service was great and attentive. And we enjoyed spending time going in the light house and taking great pictures of the sky line

Visited January 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Silver City, NM
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“Pleasant atmosphere, gourmet food, unique dining experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2014

While celebrating our anniversary at Fisherman's Wharf, where we had honeymooned 40 years earlier, we began getting mysterious texts. Go to dock H between piers 39 and 41, pick up the grey phone... Our daughters had set up an adventure for us.

Forbes is a floating island complete with a lighthouse, palm trees and a bit of a sandy beach. A short shuttle ride in a pontoon boat begins the experience. The dining room is downstairs, well below the water level. There are portholes but you can't see much through them. There is also a rocking motion which concerned me but I didn't get sick. We had only brought casual clothes and were concerned when we saw other well-dressed diners, but the atmosphere is friendly and comfortable. There is no dress code. Decor is slightly overdone formal pirate-ship maritime, a very pleasant and relaxing place.

The dining was gourmet, but with large portions. If your appetite is small consider sharing appetizers. I recommend the avocado bruschetta, and one order is plenty for two. My entree was slow braised short ribs. They were three generous chunks of glazed boneless meat so tender it could be cut with a fork. Seasoning was very delicate, I added salt and pepper. With potatoes and squash it made for a very large meal. We didn't save room for dessert, but shared a mango sorbet which was just right.

  • Visited January 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 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.

Travelers who viewed Forbes Island also viewed

 
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco, CA
 

Been to Forbes Island? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Forbes Island, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.