Initially designed as a private floating residence by houseboat designer Thor Kiddoo, Forbes Island originally launched December 23, 1980 and immediately became the place to go in San Francisco. The original island featured three private staterooms complete with a waterfall that cascaded into a hot tub and was featured on shows such as Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous and That’s Incredible.
Now featuring a variety of dining rooms, including a wine cellar available for a private dining experience for two, the Forbes Island Restaurant has continued to be one of the most unique landmarks in San Francisco. The views are incredible. The Tahiti Dining Room boasts views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge and the Sea Lion Bar and Dining Room has amazing waterfront views of Downtown San Francisco, Coit Tower and Russian Hill. One of the most unique features about the Forbes Island Restaurant is that is an actual island – in fact, it is the only man-made floating island in the United States.
Diners take a five minute “voyage” to the restaurant aboard a 27-person ferry that puts diners up close and personal with the famous Pier 39 sea lions and provides beautiful views of the pier and city. As you near the island, you will notice the 40-foot lighthouse and towering palms that make the floating establishment seem natural rather than man-made. The only privately built lighthouse in the United States, it’s equipped with an authentic Fresnel Lens on loan from the United States Lighthouse Society. The restaurant features several dining experiences.
From large indoor and outdoor spaces to intimate nooks for two, any room that you choose promises to provide a unique atmosphere to enjoy the excellent cuisine and perfectly mixed cocktails.
The Sea Lion Bar and Dining Room offers beautiful views of the harbor, while the Tahiti Dining Room is actually a thatched beach hut perfectly positioned under the gently swaying island palms. To really appreciate the Forbes Island experience, you have to check out the restaurant’s underwater dining room, The Main Salon. To step into the Salon is to enter another world. Filled with nautical artifacts and designed to feel as if you are in the hull of a wooden galleon ship, the views are through portholes that allow diners to see the underwater world.
If you are looking for an intimate dining experience with a loved one, The Forbes Island Wine Cellar is a private experience for parties of Two. Availability is limited, so plan ahead.
No matter where you choose to dine, all guests get to sample from the same menu which is as varied and inviting as the island itself. From the Dungeness Crab, Avocado & Bay Scallop Salad to the Bruschetta with a balsamic glaze, the appetizers are perfect for sharing and take advantage of the regional staples from land and sea. The dinner selections are sure to please. From the Denver Cut Steak with a Brandy Mustard Crème Sauce to the Wild Mushroom Risotto finished with a balsamic glaze and the Organic Salmon with a Ginger Lime Crème Sauce, there is definitely something that everyone will be sure to enjoy.
Of course, there is always room for dessert!
The Crème Brulee is creamy with a smooth vanilla finish that is complemented by a perfectly toasted crunchy sugar crust. But you cannot leave without trying the Berries Napoleon layered with mascarpone crème and hazelnut tuile, this dessert is bright, creamy, sweet, tangy and nutty all at once.
So, the next time you are in San Francisco head on over to Forbes Island Restaurant and say Hi! While you arout there stay for some great wine, some amazing food and some of the best views of San Francisco that can be found!
Since you have to take a ferry, reservations are necessary, but rest assured, they are easy to make simply go to:
Sea Lion Harbor, “H” Dock (Between PIERS 39 & 41)
SAN FRANCISCO CA 94133