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Where to Eat and Drink on Treasure Island - March 28, 2018 - SF Weekly
SF Weekly

Where to Eat and Drink on Treasure Island

Mersea’s Double Wagyu cheeseburger. Photo by Peter Lawrence Kane

Until a few years ago, Treasure Island residents had to drive or ride the bus to a non-insular part of San Francisco to buy their hot dog buns and toilet paper. That changed several years ago with the opening of Island Cove Market (800 Ave. H), a full-service grocery store. It’s not Bi-Rite, and prices are high, but there’s fresh produce and a fried-chicken franchise in the back. Don’t get it confused with Island Market and Deli, the now-shuttered 7-Eleven-esque convenience mart that stood on Avenue of the Palms at the foot of the island, like a tollbooth with fresh sandwiches.

Apart from that, the places to eat and drink on Treasure Island are visitor-focused, mostly capitalizing on the city views and day-tripping atmosphere — and most of them have sandwich boards all around, for easy navigation. But sadly, in spite of the provenance of the island’s name, there is no Long John Silver’s.

Aracely Cafe
401 13th St.
An indoor-outdoor restaurant with lovely fire pits as well as a venue that hosts weddings, 4-year-old Aracely Cafe is without question the most beautiful spot on the island even though it lacks a water view. Tucked away toward the northern end, far from most of the traffic and any commercial bustle, it’s a spot for affordable brunch dishes like croissant french toast and a braised chicken jasmine rice bowl with mushroom sauce. (Brunch is seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. — and Aracely can hold up to 250 people for private events.)

As of this spring, chef-owner Linda Edson and chef de cuisine Ramon Villarreal opened for Thursday-Friday dinner service, with entrees like a flank steak and a grilled rack of lamb holding under the $21 threshold, and wines by the glass from $8 to $13. How’s that for reasonable?

Mersea
699 Ave. of the Palms
Having opened in the winter, the shipping-container-and-bocce-complex known as Mersea has yet to reach its full potential. Crowds are already there on the weekend, and when summer arrives, it’s going to be the place for high-end bar snacks and rosé, along with a whole roast chicken and some expert craft cocktails. And if you score a seat inside, you can watch a sunset over the water without a jacket. Where else is that going to happen?

Tammy’s Chicken in Waffles
200 California Ave.
Tammy Powers is an out-and-proud trans woman who serves waffles in the morning, hustles off to her bike shop, then comes back in the evening for the dinner rush. Apart from chicken in waffles — as opposed to chicken and waffles — she also feeds the hordes with specials like peaches and cream. As Avenue of the Palms, Treasure Island’s main north-south drag, prepares to undergo major construction, Tammy’s hot-pink shack has relocated to a parking lot near a hangar near Avenue D and the cluster of boozy hangouts along Clipper Cove — and plans are in the works to expand to Berkeley, too.

Woods Island Club
422 Clipper Way
Open on weekend afternoons during the warmer months, quirky East Bay microbrewery Woods Island Co.’s “beer beach” is a sandy spot to throw back some unique brews, like the mate-infused (and therefore caffeinated) Morpho or the juicier Freeze Pop. Inside, there’s a piano and a cavernous industrial feel, and fun events like the occasional cookie-and-beer pairing. It’s like an early-’60s Elvis movie, really.

Wine Tasting Rooms
Owing to its cool temperature and relatively constant humidity, Treasure Island is full of wine. And while it’s much closer than Yountville, tastings tend to be a weekend-only affair. Starting with the obvious, 11-year-old Treasure Island Wines (995 Ninth St.) is the original, a casual outpost that looks like an auto garage and punches above its weight. Fans of sulfite-free pours gravitate toward the ex-Navy brig that houses Fat Grape (1080 Ave. M), while on the south shore there’s a cluster — no pun intended — of tasting rooms. Perhaps the most exciting is Sottomarino (400 California Ave.), which looks like you’re in a submarine, few of which likely stock Italian sweet wines in their cramped rec areas. There’s bocce just outside. Right next door (and upstairs) are Winemaker Studios, VIE, and Sol Rouge, with tasting room and event space The Winery just across the parking lot. A huge gun, probably from a decommissioned battleship, points straight at it.

 

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