Have you been here? What were your thoughts?
My friends and I met in the Fisherman's Wharf/Pier 39 area. After being kind of less than thrilled by the tourist trap stuff there, we made our way to Ghirardelli Square.
It is a bit of a walk, maybe around 20 minutes, but the view along the way helps the time pass a bit quicker.
The shop is enormous. There will likely be a line out the door on the left. You need to get in this line if you want to order ice cream and sit in the shop. The other door is solely for you to buy chocolate and other Ghirardelli merchandise.
Once you get into the shop, it's a free-for-all. You don't actually get seated. You have to wander around and find a place. We were slightly thrown off by this. We ended up going to the second floor and found this tiny table. It was a little tight for 3, but then we noticed another family of 6 around a similarly tiny table.
One person should save the table while another goes and waits in line to order downstairs.
But, luckily, the waiter will bring your ice cream to your table.
We were definitely disappointed, visually, when we got our sundae. It looked nothing like the picture and generally was a little sad. For some reason, much of the ice cream was melted, which is pretty sad at an ice cream fountain. Also, the whipped cream had melted, it was such a disappointment.
We ordered the Espresso Escape ($8.95) because we wanted a more savory sundae and none of us like milk chocolate, so we were drawn to sundaes that feature dark chocolate. The ice cream and topping were FAR TOO SWEET!
Maybe little kids will really enjoy this. My friends and I talked about how we think this is the taste of American childhood.
We were happy that the three of us opted to share one. It would have been overwhelming to eat a whole one by ourselves.That being said, the 4-year-old at the table next to us definitely polished off one of those huge sundaes all by himself, so take that into consieration.
The main floor is where the action is. You can see the inner workings of the factory. It'll be great for kids and adults alike to see the gears move and how they make the ice cream.
The cleanliness left a lot to be desired, as is typically the case at tourist traps. They're super busy and know they'll do fine business, so they do not clean as much as they should. The bad part, this is ice cream and all things sugary, so the tables and chairs are super sticky.
My touring must-have: Wet tissues
The prices are pretty steep. People on review websites are all talking about how great everything is, etc., but even still it's pricey. Even at places that do homemade ice cream with unique flavors, etc, it's not that expensive.
Overall, I would skip this stop the next time I'm in SF...and subsequent trips.