Boudin Bakery & Café, San Francisco

4 out of 5 stars 4 Stars - 26 Reviews

156 Jefferson Street (415) 928-1849

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  • The packaging -:)
    The packaging -:)
    by Gypsystravels
  • My kalamata olive loaf
    My kalamata olive loaf
    by Gypsystravels
  • Signage outside
    Signage outside
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  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    Boudin Bakery & Café: a bit touristy but what the heck

    by richiecdisc Updated Nov 15, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Okay, this is a touristy thing to do, but San Francisco is noted (and rightfully so) for its sourdough bread and Boudin’s surely makes a great one. The idea of putting soup, preferably clam chowder into a round scooped our loaf evidently originated here. It’s full of tourists but still a cool place to visit as you watch the bread being transported by a pulley type device. You can eat outside under space heaters, much needed with the city’s infamous foggy cool weather. It’s very convenient and I guess something everyone should do once.

    Favorite Dish: We shared one bowl of the chowder as it was a bit pricey at $6.95. The chowder itself was not bad but not exactly full of clams and the portion was pretty measly other than the bread bowl it came served in. Generally, we noticed people throwing the bowl away rather than eating it when we found it the best part of the meal! By only ordering one, we were able to eat the whole thing and then picked up some fried calamari at one of the nearby seafood stands.

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Boudin's: Clam chowder bread bowls-Fisherman's Wharf

    by Dabs Updated Oct 3, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Boudin's sourdough bread chowder

    Stopping by Boudin's for a bread bowl filled with clam chowder was a suggestion I read frequently, we stopped here twice for a bowl. I don't know that it was the best clam chowder I've ever had but I love the idea of the delicious sourdough bread sopping up the chowder and then being able to eat your bowl. And it's especially nice at night when the temperatures drop a bit and you are looking for something to warm you up.

    We first stopped by after the Alcatraz cruise, it was late and we weren't sure if we be able to find a lot of places still open so we stopped here and then over at the takeout fish places. The 2nd visit was a little busier, it was mid afternoon and we joined a lot of people soaking up the sun on their patio. Upstairs at the Wharf location there is also a full service restaurant, we ate at the downstairs self service cafe which has soup, salad and sandwiches on the menu.

    In addition to the chowder, you can buy sourdough bread to take home including some loaves crafted into shapes such as crabs and lots of other goodies at their shop. There's a glass window on the outside of the building where you can watch the bread being made even later in the evening, if you are there during the day you might look into the museum and bakery tour.

    Favorite Dish: Clam chowder in a sour dough bowl of course! We also grabbed sandwiches at their airport location for the plane ride home, surprisingly only about 30 cents more than the Fisherman's Wharf location.

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  • ATXtraveler's Profile Photo

    Boudin Bakery & Café: Have some Chowder!

    by ATXtraveler Written Jun 15, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Boudin Bakery

    The fog is rolling in, you forgot your windbreaker, so you have purchased one for 25 dollars from a street vendor, and you are walking in Fisherman's Wharf...you are not sure what you want to eat... what's the local thing?

    Chowder. In a Sourdough bowl. Enough said. The place to get this taken care of is Boudin's. All over SF you will be able to find a hot bowl dropped right into the bread!

    Favorite Dish: Chowder in a Sourdough Bowl.

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  • madamx's Profile Photo

    Boudin Bakery

    by madamx Updated Feb 10, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I was excited to try the Original Sourdough Bread -- and *ahem* I didn't like it. I think it was just too "sour" for my taste.

    I am embarrassed to admit that I gave in to trying the clam chowder in a bread bowl. I was really disappointed. The soup was starchy and had the consistency of wet cement, with almost non-existent clams. I would have been better off opening a can of Campbell's.

    If you're into the bread, it seems well-made with good texture, but I just didn't like it.

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  • SJTravel's Profile Photo

    Boudin's: A San Francisco Staple

    by SJTravel Written Jan 9, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you are walking on the street near Fisherman's Wharf, stop by and check out the windows at Boudin's. They make fresh sourdough bread there daily. The cool thing about looking in the window is that you may be treated to them making the bread in very fun shapes. Some things that I have seen them make include: crabs, bears, turtles, and alligators. It is very cool to see.
    Downstairs is a cafeteria type place, while upstairs offers more of a restaurant type experience. I have only eaten downstairs. You order your meal at a counter and bring it to a table. If you are there with more than one person, I recommend having someone stake out a table and someone going to get the food.
    While you are sitting downstairs, you are treated to the site of the bread being delivered straight from the bakery to the counter. It is a treat because they have this elaborate system where things are put in a basket that sits on a track that takes the bread up toward the ceiling and then down to the other side of the building where the food counter is. It is really neat and easily miss-able if you do not pay attention or know about it.

    Favorite Dish: I love Clam Chowder in a bread bowl. I definitely recommend it because it is a great it when San Francisco weather gives you chills while visiting the the wharf right on the water. Plus the Clam Chowder and the Sourdough Bread Bowl are big San Francisco staples. Boudin's is definitely a bread place. The Clam Chowder is good, but not the best I have ever had. However, it is edible. The sourdough bread is delicious.

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  • goingsolo's Profile Photo

    Boudin Bakery & Café: House o' sourdough

    by goingsolo Updated Jul 7, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    San Francisco

    The boudin bakery is a popular place for many reasons. You can tour the bakery, you can watch real live bakers in action and you can actually eat here.

    Boudin's serves sandwiches and its famous sourdough bread. They really raise San Fran's famous bread to an art form here, too. In addition to rolls, the bakery bakes loaves in all shapes and sizes, including cute little crab and starfish shaped loaves of bread that are almost too pretty to eat. Its not a good idea to buy these as souveniers though unless you plan on bringing a practically fossilized loaf as opposed to an edible one as the bread hardens after a day or so.

    I bought a sourdough loaf here, as this was recommended as something to try while in San Francisco and this seemed the place to do it. It was hot and fresh and I didn't find it too sour as I'd heard. It wasn't my favorite meal of the trip, but it was still a good taste of San Francisco.

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  • WulfstanTraveller's Profile Photo

    Boudin Bakery & Café: Overrated - Go Elsewhere for Sourdough, etc.

    by WulfstanTraveller Updated Aug 24, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is a local sourdough-based restaurant serving decent, but overpriced food that really is overrated and far more well-known than it should be. It has become a bit of a chain with branches throughout the area and even in Disneyland, having cashed in on San Francisco's fame for sourdough bread. I can say that this region of California (and not just SF) deserves a good reputation for sourdough bread, and you can find a lot of great sourdough, but the bread here is mediocre at best. The food in general is stock stuff thrown together like any other chain. In an area with so many great places to eat, and find great sourdough, there is, therefore, not really any reason to go here.

    Favorite Dish: None. The soup in bread bowl is decent, somewhat tasty, and filling, but mediocre and not nearly as good as it should be.

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  • poetjo's Profile Photo

    Boudin Bakery & Café: Great Sandwiches

    by poetjo Updated Jan 29, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This location has closed. So, check out the location on Jefferson street near Taylor or the one at Pier 39. They're all good.

    I'm writing about the one on Beach Street within Ghirardelli Square. It's a very small spot though the service is quick enough that you're really never waiting for a very long time.

    The sandwiches are very good though a bit pricey. My fav. is the vegetarian sandwich and the turkey and swiss with cranberry sauce. Yummy!!!

    They are known for their clam chowder served within a round sourdough bowl.
    There are various locations.

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    Boudin's: Eating clam chowder out of a sourdough bowl!

    by Carmanah Updated Mar 24, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
    1 more image

    It was 11am and I had already checked into the hotel and had scaled down the stairs at Lombard Street before making my way to Fisherman's Wharf. And there is was in all its clam chowdery glory: Boudin's.

    Boudin's takes over a significant chunk of real estate at Fisherman's wharf, with an entire restaurant, bakery, and separate take-out restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating.

    The concept of eating clam chowder in a sourdough bowl is definitey a novelty, but if you're going to play tourist in San Francisco, it has to be done. The city, after all, is famous for its sourdough bread, and when you're famished at 11:30am and you've just teleported yourself to San Francisco, what else are you doing to do?

    Exactly.

    We ordered clam chowder from Boudin's take-out location. While waiting to be called, I learned something very important: when you order from the take-out window, choose to sit underneath the awning. There are literally dozens of pigeons and seagulls that permanently reside next to Boudin's outdoor seating areas - all awaiting left-overs from other people's bread bowl clam chowders.

    Needless to say, being rained on by seagull poop is not on anyone's agenda. (A family with kids sitting next to me learned this the hard way). To avoid this scenario entirely, I recommend eating the soup under some sort of covering, regardless of how much you want the sun in your face!

    Favorite Dish: The clam chowder in the sourdough bowl is pretty much the famous item on the menu here, but it ain't cheap. For 2 bowls of clam chowder plus one bottle of water costs $17. While not outrageous, they're tourist prices.

    The clam chowder was New England style - creamy with bits of potato in it. It was just simple comfort food, and was perfect on that cool spring afternoon. There's way more bread than soup per portion, and good luck to anyone who attempts to eat the whole bowl. I couldn't, but I tried. The bread is tasty, but bring a hearty appetite!

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  • worldkiwi's Profile Photo

    Boudin Bakery & Café: Chowder and a sourdough cob on Pier 39.

    by worldkiwi Written May 7, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Boudin's Bakery and Cafe, Pier 39.

    The Boudin Bakery and Cafe seems to be a popular chain in this part of the world. I've categorised them as "fast food", because you basically go in, order, get served at the counter, go off and eat. For the average budget traveller tramping around on foot, Boudin's offers filling tucker. I enjoyed a chowder in a cob (a hollowed out bread bowl) that was made of sourdough, I believe. It was actually very yummy and just what I needed when I stopped for a break at touristy Pier 39.

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  • binkieloo's Profile Photo

    Boudin Bakery & Café: The best sourdough bread bowls

    by binkieloo Written Apr 3, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Boudin's from the street side

    This casual location at Fisherman's Wharf is reknowned for the sourdough bread that is supposedly from mother dough that was introduced over a hundred years ago.

    The super fresh bread bowl I had my clam chowder in was wonderfully tangy and had the right mix of a crispy crust with warm soft bread on the inside. The chowder itself was tasty too.

    A lot of people said not to bother with this "touristy" location, but I dont think my trip would have felt complete if I had not been.

    Favorite Dish: Anything served with the sourdough, but the clam chowder is wonderful.

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    Boudin Bakery & Cafe: We love their olive loaves

    by Gypsystravels Updated May 10, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    My kalamata olive loaf
    3 more images

    Boudin is a San Francisco institution and has been around since 1849. They are known for the sourdough bread which are baked fresh daily and use the original recipe. There are a variety of breads with include the sourdough, Kalamata olive (my favorite), walnut, ciabatta and pain au levain.

    I've been buying bread here for years and everytime I'm in San Francisco I try to bring home a few loaves. My sister and I love their kalamata olive loaf made with delicious olives. The bread is so yummy, hearty and can last a few days if you use it for toasting.

    I've never eaten at the bakery, but it's always packed with people eating their signature bread bowl with clam chowder. The location at Fisherman's Wharf has a really large bakery, cafe and restaurant with beautiful large windows over looking the bay.

    Favorite Dish: I love their Kalamata Olive loaf and take home a 1lb loaf everything I find myself down by Fisherman's Wharf.

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  • machomikemd's Profile Photo

    more crowded: At Pier 39

    by machomikemd Updated Aug 28, 2008

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    lots of people
    4 more images

    This is the More Crowded Branch of Boudin (Ghirardelli branch is closed) since it is located in the touristy Pier 39 area (although it is just 1/4 mile away from the main branch) and again this San Franciscan Tradition, born of the Goldrush area was established in 1849 by Isidore Boudin, son of a family of master bakers from Burgundy, France, by blending the prevalent sourdough among miners in the Gold Rush with French techniques and they claim that thet still use that same mother dough.

    Favorite Dish: bread bowl filled with creamy clam chowder to die for! again like what I've said, sourdough bread is a 3,000 year tradition and was started by egyptians but why do san francisco sourdough bread taste the best? it is because of the AMBIANCE!!!! No trip to San Francisco would be complete without taking several loaves of San Francisco sourdough bread home (although clam chowders are better in seattle specifically at Ivar's, they don't have the tasty sourdough bread of San Francisco!).

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  • acemj's Profile Photo

    Boudin Bakery: Boudin Bakery

    by acemj Written Aug 25, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This place was started in 1849 by Isidore Boudin and has been a local institution ever since.

    Favorite Dish: Clam Chowder served in a hollowed out sourdough loaf. A true San Francisco original and Boudin was the originator.

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  • machomikemd's Profile Photo

    Boudin Sourdough Bakery & Café: A San Francisco Classic!

    by machomikemd Updated Oct 18, 2007

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Yum!
    4 more images

    Boudin Sourdough Bakery and Cafe is located on Jefferson and Taylor, but there are also locations in the wharf area at Pier 39 and Ghirardelli Square. They have been making the original San Francisco sourdough bread since 1849 and it is like no bread you'll ever have anywhere else in the world. It was established in 1849 by Isidore Boudin, son of a family of master bakers from Burgundy, France, by blending the prevalent sourdough among miners in the Gold Rush with French techniques.

    Privately owned and operated, the cafes sell a variety of food and bakery products. In addition to its Sourdough bread, Boudin Sourdough Bakery & Cafes sell coffee and espresso drinks, Sourdough bagels, pastries, hearty sandwiches, soups in a bread bowl, salads in a bread bowl, and Sourdough pizzas.

    Opens: everyday from 11am-6pm

    Favorite Dish: Boudin Bakery is world-famous for its Original San Francisco Sourdough French Bread, which is baked with the same "Mother Dough" or Sourdough Starter used since 1849. Born in the Gold Rush, Boudin Bakery is the oldest business in San Francisco. The bakery still uses the same "starter" yeast culture it developed during the California Gold Rush.

    If you want a light lunch, you can get a bread bowl filled with creamy clam chowder to die for. No trip to San Francisco would be complete without taking several loaves of San Francisco sourdough bread home (although clam chowders are better in seattle specifically at Ivar's, they don't have the tasty sourdough bread of San Francisco!). It's a place to bring your out-of-town friends here to impress or entertain them. The glass building was built only 2-3 years ago. There're usually a small crowd gathered along the Jefferson St where you can peek in to see the making of the monstrous shaping bread: Lobster, big crab, and crocodile. San Francisco's famous clam chowder is hold in a sourdough bread bowl for ~$8. As you're waiting in line, you'll find yourself dazzled with the moving bread baskets on top

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