Shhh... It's a Secret! (Recipe, that is!)

It’s no secret that we have one of the best burgers in the Bay Area, being ranked #11 of the 26 best restaurants to eat at in Tiburon. Whether it be our daily cafe menu items or our weekend-only specialty Cantina menu items, you won’t leave Angel Island unsatisfied with your breakfast, lunch or early dinner. We not only focus on producing quality meals for our guests to enjoy, we also make sure the atmosphere and service around them follows. But one of the things that makes our food distinctive at The Angel Island Cafe and The Angel Island Cantina is our commitment to making everything we possibly can from scratch on the island from passed down family recipes.

All of our sauces, vinaigrettes, soups, base proteins (such as carnitas and barbecued pork) and dressings are all made in-house on the island from original recipes that have been compiled from year’s of family traditions. Angel Island Cafe’s General Manager Dee described her search for these one-of-a-kind recipes stems from cooking shows, her grandmother’s secret recipes and also her husband, who is a chef in San Francisco. Find some of our favorite menu items below:

One of our current specials is a BLTA (Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato & Avocado). What makes this sandwich extra delicious is that the tomatoes are heirloom, organic and in season, and the “spread” is a basil mayonnaise. This basil mayonnaise adds a taste of summer sunshine to the sandwich. You will find similar touches in many of our menu items. You will also find that many of our sauces feature a pairing of sweet, spicy and salty such as the “special sauce” on the Cantina Burger. This sauce is mayonnaise based, but it also combines the smokiness of Spanish Pimenton, the sweetness of pickle relish and the tanginess of capers. The sauce also has garlic and red onion in the base.
Want to know how you can make this special sauce for your home-made sandwiches? Learn how below: But Shhh! It’s a secret!

Authentic “Special Sauce” Recipe from Angel Island
Two cups of mayonnaise
2 1/2 ounces of Pimenton (a really good paprika will also work)
2 ounces of capers
1/2 small red onion
5 cloves of garlic
3 ounces of pickle relish
1 tablespoon of champagne vinegar

Combine everything but the mayonnaise in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add mayo and combine. Special Sauce is great on beef, pork or chicken.

Let us know how your special sauce making goes by sending us a photo of your sandwich to us at, Twitter @AngelIslandCafe or Instagram at @AngelIslandCafe.



Categories: Cantina Deck

Mt. Livermore: History, Hiking & Happy Hour

Whether you’re looking to have a moderate, well-balanced active day hiking or you are looking for something to do that the whole family can enjoy, hiking Mount Livermore is a fun and priceless activity that will let you see a full 360 degree view on the San Francisco Bay Area. And you’re in luck! September and October are the best months to experience this view. With temperatures being in the mid to high 60’s and low 70’s, these late summer and early fall months are chosen to be the best months to hike. I mean, who wants to hike atop this 788 foot peak and be clouded by loads of morning fog?

Mt. Livermore was named after a very memorable conservationist to Angel Island named Caroline Livermore, who was prominent in the campaign to create Angel Island State Park. Today, Mt. Livermore serves as the highest point on Angel Island, and is almost 6 miles roundtrip from Ayala Cove to the summit. When starting at Ayala Cove, you have two hiking options: the North Ridge Trail and the Sunset Trail. The North Ridge Trail immerses you directly into island shrub following blue belly lizards, plentiful oak trees and dry dirt pathways; things that are merely thought of as imagination in the busy San Francisco lifestyle. Don’t be fooled by San Francisco’s notorious cold weather: this hike relishes the dry, hot climate that the northern bay area receives once you start hiking towards the summit.

The Sunset trail takes you through an easier, more grounded path, and on the Sunset Trail your views of San Francisco are endless; magnificent views of the Golden Gate and beyond will fascinate you throughout your whole hike. This is a perfect trail to take if you are motivated by watching your elevation climb with each step you take. Both hikes intersect about a mile away from the top of Mount Livermore, allowing you to take one path up and than a different path down.

* Click individual photos below to make larger

Atop of Mount Livermore, an unlimited amount of view and plenty of picnic tables for lunch await you. You can never go wrong with an Angel Island veggie wrap while overlooking this view. (And not to mention, they’re delicious!) Just grab one at the Angel Island Cafe “to go”, and our friendly staff will wrap any menu item they can for your hike. Be sure to hike on a Saturday or Sunday in September or October to experience the Angel Island Cantina on your way back down to Ayala Cove! Live music is playing every Saturday & Sunday from 2-4:30pm (thanks to our music sponsor Lagunitas Brewing Co). A Lagunitas IPA or cold beverage of your choice await you at the bottom. Good luck!


For those interested in a guided hike tour, click below to view information about our guided hike to the USIS Museum:




Categories: Activities, Cantina Deck

Get Out & Active for Children's Bill of Rights Day!

Angel Island State Park is proud to host the Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights Day, this Friday, July 17th and Saturday, July 18th from 10:30am – 3:00pm.COBR Poster 2015

This awesome event is held to encourage children to discover the outdoors and participate in fun and healthy activities to benefit them mentally and physically. Angel Island is a perfect place to host such an event; Ayala Cove has multiple activities to offer, such as exploring, swimming, hiking, and more. Today, our world is filled with distractions that limit our children’s desire to get outdoors and play. Making a designated day towards physical activity for your children and you will benefit everyone!

The Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights Day has one objective: Every child in California should have the opportunity to experience the following activities at least once by the age of 14 – And with one trip to Angel Island, your child can accomplish almost EVERY item on this list alone!

1. Play in a Safe Place – Ayala Cove and Angel Island are extremely safe and have multiple rangers on site for any questions or concerns. Not to mention, this opportunity gives your child the chance to play with other children that are close in age!
2. Follow a TrailAngel Island has two main hiking trails to Mount Livermore, the tallest point of the Island: North Ridge Trail and Sunset Trail. North Ridge trail is less difficult and takes approximately two hours roundtrip. This hike is “do-able” for almost all ages that are able to walk long distances.
3. Explore Nature – The amount of plant species and trees on the island are endless! Discover pine trees, sycamore trees and more.
4. Camp Under the StarsWith 11 campsites to choose from on the island (one being ADA), you can reserve your spot to camp on Angel Island with friends or family for the night. Angel Island camping reservations can be made here.
5. Learn to Swim – Ayala Cove is a perfect, shallow area to get wet and learn some swimming techniques!
6. Ride a BikeBikes are available to rent with the Angel Island Company in Ayala cove by hour or for a full day. Although no training wheel bikes are available, there is plenty of room to learn how to ride a bike on the Island!
7. Connect with the Past – Our Immigration Station is an unbelievable excuse to get to connect with the past of San Francisco, as well as the history behind the Island that can even be found in the visitor’s center upon entry in front of Ayala Cove.
8. Go Fishing – Whether you want to fish from your own boat, the pier, the beaches or anywhere else, the bay offers many fishing opportunities that are available while abiding by normal fish and game laws. Don’t forget to bring your own bait and tackle!
9. Go Boating – If you have your own transportation, you can boat directly into the Angel Island dock. If you don’t, don’t worry! You won’t miss out on the fun. Take the Ferry from Tiburon or San Francisco to Angel Island, and it will feel like your own personal boat ride over!
10. Plant a Seed – Whether or not you plant an actual seed on your Angel Island visit, you’ll be able to plant a seed for the island in your heart after this awesome visit!

This event starts this Friday, July 17th at 10:30am and goes until 3:00pm, as well as Saturday, July 18 from 10:30am – 3:00pm. We hope to see you at the island this Friday!



Categories: Special Events

10 Things to Remember to Bring on the 4th of July

America’s independence day celebration is right around the corner, and although I have seen firework shows for over 20+ years in my short life on this memorable day, I feel as if I always seem to forget some of the most basic necessities to enjoy these cold nights and luminescent skies. It may seem easy to plan accordingly in a quick manner just hours before the firework show of your choice, but some things that might be considered ‘must haves’ need a little planning! That’s why I’ve decided to make a list of ten things I find very valuable, necessary or just plain fun to have for the 2015 San Francisco Bay Area fireworks show viewed on Angel Island. I mean, when else can you see panoramic firework views of San Francisco, Marin County and the East Bay? This year, the night of the 4th is averaged to be around a crisp 57 degrees when the fireworks are planned to start, meaning the number one most important aspect to our list is…


No matter where you are in the San Francisco Bay, a Saturday night is always going to be a chilly adventure, especially when you are outside for a few hours enjoying a fireworks show. The key is blankets! It’s always a good idea to have a blanket for each person in your family or friend group, as well as a larger blanket for everyone to sit on together. Our July 4th experience at Angel Island includes a round-trip tram ride from Ayala Cove to Battery Ledyard, which overlooks the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge. The Battery Ledyard has plenty of open spots for large blankets to sit on. As long as you have some helping hands, this is your best bet to stay warm throughout the show!

2. Your Appetite

14679399822_93f35c3ede_kOnce you depart from Tiburon and head to Angel Island, you are headed directly for the life of the party: Ayala Cove. Not to mention departure time from Tiburon is 5:00 PM sharp, a perfect time to enjoy a tasty dinner! At the Angel Island Cantina, you can find an awesome meal for every member of the family. And if interested, we have our Way Down South Dinner Buffet on the Cantina Deck for an additional fee (more information here).

3. Your Camera

I mean, how else are you going to capture the memories of the San Francisco firework show at one of the best viewing spots in the bay area?

4. A Reusable Mug for Warm Delights

14677439064_07e17e2cbf_kDid someone say Expresso Menu? That’s right, we’ve got the best espressos, lattes, cappuccinos and hot chocolates for you to bring to your front row fireworks seats after dark. We’d be glad to fill your reusable mug, or if your hands are already full, we have plenty of disposable cups for your pleasure.

5. Glowsticks

Glowsticks are amusing and some safe fun to bring for the kids. They fit in perfect with the colorful fireworks, and your kids can wear them and be easily spotted by wearing certain colored glowsticks!

6. A Flashlight

There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to set up your seating arrangement in the pitch dark while holding your cell phone light to the ground to try to see what’s beneath you. Bring a flashlight along your escapades to easily set up your seating, find things in your bag and more.

14709754895_fb57856a4c_h7. Bugspray

There’s no doubt that summer nights spent outside are notorious for finding multiple bug bites on you or your children in the morning. Take the precautionary step so that this doesn’t happen and load up on the bugspray before you get to the island!

8. Binoculars

Even though you’re already going to be at one of the best places to view fireworks in the bay area, it’s always fun to bring binoculars to see a unique, extremely close up perspective of the fireworks. Take turns sharing them with your whole group, and see the firework’s details like never before!

9. Earplugs (For the little ones!)

You never know if your child will be scared of the noise of fireworks, or if you do, being prepared and bringing earplugs could be one of your best ideas. You might find that you too even want to wear them; Fireworks are loud, so prepare accordingly!

10. Fun Games!

Although the 4th of July is surround by awesome fireworks, live music and the great outdoors, the 4th is a time to come together with family and friends and spend some quality time with eachother. One of the best ways to do this in an outdoor setting is to bring fun games everyone can enjoy: frisbees to throw around, a football or baseball to catch back and forth, a deck of cards for unlimited card games for multiple people, etc. Ayala Cove has plenty of room for all these outdoor activities, and couldn’t be a better place to spend your 4th of July celebrations.

Find out more about our 2015 4th of July Event here.



Categories: Holidays

Segway Saturdays: The Views, the History, the Experience

Being the the middle of the San Francisco Bay on an island is an extraordinary sight,
especially having the opportunity to see a 360° view of the bay on a full island tour via Segway. It’s without a doubt that are Segway tours are the best way to get a one-of-a-kind feel for the island, having the crisp air stroke across your face while zipping up and down the island’s hills. But don’t worry – If you’ve never ridden a Segway, you’ll get a crash course from one of our awesome tour guides to make sure you’re a professional by the start of the tour. And age limits? That’s no worry; As long as you’re over 16 years old, you’re eligible for this awesome ride. Become an Angel Island extraordinare with the help of one of our tour guides; Freda is sure to get you as excited about the island’s history as she is! You won’t leave unsatisfied after seeing the island in a unique and fun way.



On our tours you’ll not only see beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge, but you will also see unbelievable, picture perfect views of the Oakland Bay Bridge and Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Not to mention you’ll be overlooking the beautiful waterfront cities of San Francisco, Sausalito, Belvedere, Tiburon and as many more as your eyesight allows you. And if you’re lucky, you might run into our family of geese currently residing on the island! Our tour guides will give you a few moments to snap some great photos on the lookouts along the way. Luckily, in the summer days the bay area fog clears up rather early!


Get the most out of this unique tour by booking a reservation with your friends, your loved ones or your special someone; groups of ten or less are permitted at once. Be sure to book early; tours on Saturdays and Sundays in summer fill up fast! And after your tour, the fun doesn’t stop there. Check out what we have to do Saturday and Sunday afternoons at the Angel Island Cantina.

Still have questions or concerns? Click here for more information.




Categories: Activities, Uncategorized

3 Reasons Why You Have to Visit the Angel Island Cantina this Summer

One of the best times to visit the island is when the Angel Island Cantina is open on the sunny weekends of June-October. The Cantina not only pleases your taste buds with its made to order, fresh ingredients and secret sauces, but it also entertains your ears with personally selected solo, duo and trio artists to rock out the Cantina deck from 2-4:30PM every weekend. Sponsored by our good friends and IPA specialists from the Lagunitas Brewing Company, you can enjoy Lagunitas on tap or multiple other bottled beers that we offer. We also have a great selection of notable Pinots, Sauvignons and Chardonnays to fit to everyone’s likings (there’s also assorted sodas and drinks for the kids!). Even though we could talk forever about the experience of our Angel Island Cantina, we’ve nailed it down to 3 reasons why you have to come to the Cantina deck this summer.

1. Hog. Island. Oysters.

We’re not talking just any kind of oysters. These oysters are delivered fresh from Hog Island Oyster Co. in Tomales Bay. The cleanliness of Tomales Bay allows for these oysters to grow to perfection naturally, while our Cantina includes our special touch of cilantro citrus dressing infused inside each oyster. Our staff shucks each oyster plate made to order, ensuring our seafood arrives to you as fresh as possible. These hand-raised, sustainable oysters are certain to knock your taste buds out of the park. In addition to our Hog Island oysters, our wide selection of other Cantina favorites such as shrimp ceviche, tilapia tacos and our grilled “mexi corn” are also great choices when enjoying the next reason you have to join us at the Cantina this year: the live music.


2. The Live Music Experience

Every Saturday and Sunday from June-August, the Cantina hosts live music events from 2-4:30 PM on the deck for entertainment, enjoyment and an overall relaxing afternoon. All music styles are featured throughout summer, with our personally selected artists from surrounding cities rocking the deck with each of their unique styles. Whether it be reggae rock or bluegrass jazz, our artists are bound to throw in some awesome cover songs that you will recognize and love. Pictured above is Todos Santo, an island favorite and a remarkable acoustic trio with a music style recognized as “Cantina Americana”. And if you’re brave enough, our deck is just big enough that in case you get those dancing feet you’re more than welcome to tango! Nothing beats these awesome tunes like some great weather to enjoy them with, which leads us to our last reason why we’ll see you on the island this year…

3. The Best Weather of the Year

It’s without a doubt that summer is the best few months to plan a visit to the island because of the perfect weather, usually sitting in between 65-80 degrees comfortably. The island is blessed with the fact that barely any fog rolls in throughout these summer months (especially in the afternoon), and so the amazing views the island holds are easily seen at almost any time throughout the day. If you’re planning on spending a few hours listening to music at the Cantina deck this summer, we recommend shorts and a t-shirt for the hot summer days. But don’t forget a pair of pants and closed–toes shoes if you are looking into doing one of our Segway tours, and make sure you also remember to bring a jacket if you are taking the ferry from San Francisco!


To see our live music schedule for this summer, click here.

To see a sample menu of a few things on our Cantina menu, click here.

To learn more information about Angel Island and the tours we offer, click here.



Categories: Cantina Deck







The Angel Island Cafe will be offering shuttle transportation to the site starting at noon on October 11th and 12th.  The United States Navy Blue Angels flying show is part of an exciting week of events in San Francisco.  Click on the link to see the full fleet week schedule of events. Shuttle prices are $5 round trip and tickets can be purchased at The Angel Island Cafe on Angel Island.



Categories: Uncategorized

Camping Out On Angel Island

In the heart of the San Francisco Bay, immersed in nature and surrounded by idyllic views while offering a long list of daily activities, Angel Island is far from a one trick pony. For the active nature lovers among you, there are biking and hiking trails. For those looking to relax, there are history tours and delicious Hog Island Oysters. For visitors who feel at home in the outdoors, we have a treat: Angel Island has no fewer than eleven camp sites situated on it; one of which is an ADA site accessible to those with disabilities. If you’re planning on spending some time kayaking around the island, Angel Island has designated a kayak campsite just for you.

A simple trek for experienced campers used to driving hours out into the wilds, each of these sites is easily accessible with the farthest being only 2.5 miles from the dock. These sites offer a perfect retreat for those hoping to fit a lot of what Angel Island has to offer in to one day. It is much easier to tire yourself out during the day if you know the commute home can wait until tomorrow. Better still, you have a second chance to get some more of our activities under your belt if you have the next day to enjoy yourself, too!

In addition to the convenience, the campsites at Angel island have a wide array of benefits to offer for visiting photographers. The island is the perfect spot from which to get a unique sunset shot from the heart of the San Francisco Bay. At night, the sky will be lit by the urban attractions that surround the island, making for some breathtaking night shots.

The Angel Island campsites accommodate up to eight people each and have tables, running water, toilets, food lockers and a barbeque. Please only bring charcoal or a stove, as no wood fires are allowed on the island. Additionally, we recommend that you use some method of securing your food just in case the local wildlife decide to have a midnight snack. Finally, please remember that Angel Island is a state park and as such it would be appreciated if the campsites were to be left as you would like to find them, ready for the next weary traveler.

Camping on Angel Island offers a rare chance to make a little piece of nature feel like home and to see the spectacular Bay area from the inside at night. We hope to see you traipsing along the trails with your tents sometime very soon. Enjoy your stay!

To reserve a campsite please visit:



Categories: All News

All Aboard the Ferry to Angel Island!

Situated in the center of the San Francisco Bay lies the beautiful wildlife preserve and state park that is Angel Island. In many ways, the unparalleled views and rich history put Angel Island at the Bay’s heart in more than just location. From the very top of Mount Livermore to the dock at Ayala Cove, Angel Island offers hours of fun and a number of different activities that will no doubt have you coming back to finish it all off. Whether you are feeling active, musical, in need of relaxation or just want to brush up on your history, it is easy to find what you are looking for.

“Sounds great, but how do we get there?”

Access to Angel Island is by ferry from the mainland. There are a number of different ferries available to you which set off at different times throughout the day and throughout the year. The ferry services run seasonally and from October to April service is limited to weekends only.

Angel Island Tiburon Ferry

The Tiburon Ferry takes 12 minutes and runs four weekday trips daily to and from Angel Island during peak season (May to September). The weekend ferries during this season run hourly from 10am. Last trips to the mainland are at 3:30 pm on weekdays and 5 pm on weekends, so be sure not to miss them!

If you see Captain Maggie on board be sure to give her a wave, as she is not only an experienced Captain and regular sunny face in the area, but is also heavily invested in voluntary and charity work. You can find her website and Captain’s (B)log here.

The Blue & Gold Fleet

Blue & Gold Fleet offer ferry rides directly from Pier 41 in San Francisco. That in itself is a great way to snap some iconic pictures while out on the water! The Fleet run a number of ferries, seven days a week during their peak season (end of April to October). The last ferries returning to the city are at 3:20pm on weekdays and 4:30 at weekends. These trips can take between twenty minutes to an hour to reach the island, depending on which time you decide to return.

Whichever company works out best for your trip, and however many activities you have managed to fit in, your trip to beautiful Angel Island is sure to be a memorable one. We hope to see you skimming across the fresh open water back to us again very soon.



Categories: All News

Fun and a Bit of History at Fort McDowell

In the late nineteenth century, the entirety of Angel Island was known as Fort McDowell — a name now used exclusively for the East Garrison buildings on the island. From1898 to 1901, the garrison was used as a detention center for American troops returning from the Spanish-American war. The first Army to be detained here was the 31st Volunteer Infantry, whose ranks had contracted smallpox whilst serving overseas in the war and the Philippine Insurrection. This caused the military presence on the Angel Island to increase significantly.

From 1901 to 1905 the East Garrison became a discharge camp for all American personnel returning from the Philippines. Here servicemen were processed, given their final pay and mustered out of service. In eight months over ten thousand troops had passed through the camp. By 1905, that number had risen to over 87,000.

In the summer of 1909, military prisoners from Alcatraz were used to increase the site of the discharge camp into a large recruit depot which was complete with a hospital, a ,400 man mess hall and 600 man barracks. This meant that the island’s headquarters had to be moved to a new eastern garrison. This continued to be used during the first and second world wars as a hub for western American military operations. In fact, more than 300,000 American troops passed through Fort McDowell on their way to the Pacific Theater of Operations in the second world war alone.

These days, Fort McDowell is put to much more peaceful uses; Situated just one and a half miles for Ayala Cove and taking under one hour to walk there. The Fort is a perfect spot to wander along to with a picnic. In addition to the picnic tables and restrooms, Fort McDowell also boasts a baseball diamond and a volleyball court. So grab your kids, invite your friends and take ’em out to the ball park for a fun, enjoyable and historic day out on Angel Island!



Categories: All News


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Video – Island Fun