With the advent of spring comes relative sunshine and as seen recently some spectacularly warm days. On the heels of that, folks in San Francisco emerge from foggy hibernation to participate in one of their favorite weekend activities--having brunch outside. A fair number of places have a few tables outside their establishments, but there are some which have large outdoor patios to accommodate patrons wanting fresh air and food all in one. A popular off the beaten track option for this is The Ramp located near Pier 66 in China Basin, it's a go to choice for folks who live in SOMA/Dogpatch neighborhoods.
And it was that the SO and I found ourselves heading over there on a recent sunny/cloudy yet warmish day to enjoy the great outdoors--and food. The area has been an up and coming neighborhood for like 10 years now and is a mix of new apartment buildings and crumbling dock buildings. For me, it's always seemed to look like that. Sitting off the street it's the sign above you need to look for to find this place and fortunately they do have a sizable parking lot. The building itself looks pretty shabby (and not in a chic way), it's almost like a rundown bar at the docks. But it has a huge outdoor patio seating area and it is this that draws people to come here, hang out, eat and drink bloody Mary's and mimosas.
We hit the place up just after the brunch rush and got a table outside easily. (They do have indoor seating, but really, why) It is literally right on the water and you have a great view of the bay, Oakland, large container ships and ship repair yards. It's kind of funky industrial and makes interesting visual pictures for the photography minded. But what about the food? The menu is pretty basic--egg dishes, sandwiches, salads, burgers and a couple seafood things. After a brief discussion we got the fish and calamari fritto and The Ramp burger.
Deep fried Alaskan cod and calamari with a side of fries ($15.25) and grilled Angus beef burger ($12.75) plus grilled onions ($1) and sub a side salad ($2.25). For the most part the food was just okay. The seafood was hot and crispy and not too greasy. The fries however were a little over done and tasted like the oil may have needed changing. The burger was cooked medium rare and was juicy and the onions had sort of a spicy barbecue seasoning--all in all decent--but not really food that makes you say "Hey! Let's go to The Ramp and get a burger!" I mean the food really is only about 1/3 of why you go here, and probably not the best third. Folks hit them up to drink and sit outside on a rare sunny San Francisco day. The food isn't going to excite you, fill you up and make you no longer hungry (maybe absorb the alcohol) yes, but later in the day you are probably not going to rave that those were the best burgers or eggs benedict you ever had. (Plus it's kind of pricey--particularly if you add in alcohol)
Be that as it may, I would still say going to The Ramp is worth it as the place really is an institution. (Though sadly like many an institution the food is a little rough around the edges these days) It is a funky place with generous outdoor seating, booze and a unique view of San Francisco and the bay. The Ramp is also really good to go to with a group of friends and just hang out and while away a few lazy weekend hours. Who knows, maybe after that third mimosa you may decide it really is the best burger you've had in town--then again maybe not.
Oh and watch out for these dudes--they will try and steal your food--while you are eating it.