With the departure of Treasure Island Music Festival last year, many Bay Areans have lost their annual reason to visit that oasis—you know, the one you simply pass over as you traverse in your cars between San Francisco and Oakland.
But the opening of the new restaurant Mersea is giving us a fresh reason to visit Treasure Island; and maybe, just maybe, is giving the place new cred as a destination in its own right.
Located on the west side of the island dotted with palms, Mersea comes to us from chef/restauranteur Parke Ulrich (Waterbar and Epic Steak) and partner MeeSun Boice, both fans of the Treasure Island community who wanted to be part of the impending revitalization of the island, where new housing, hotels, parks, shops, and seriously major art are already underway.
Designed by Treasure Island–based Mavrik Studio, Mersea is a light-filled jungle of shipping containers that come together to create an eccentric open-air eatery primed for leisurely weekend meals. It’s classy yet rustic, rural yet urban—you might find yourself here for day drinking and games of bocce and golf as well for a romantic evening in the draped dining room. If you commute between the city and the East Bay, this is your new happy hour spot for catching the sunset on an otherwise average workday.
An Inside Look At Mersea
Three shipping containers define the borders of Mersea, each transformed into dining, bar and kitchen spaces. Thirteen total containers make up the whole project.
Two small putting greens guarantee a good time.
Fancy a game of bocce? Two courts at the corner of the property mean you can play all day as you drink and nibble.
Repurposed pallets and shipping containers make for ample outdoor seating; a bike rack is also in the works for diners who choose to cycle to Mersea.
Playing into the portable theme of the restaurant, the team opted for a compact, mobile military kitchen, the likes of which can be dropped into a war zone and used to deliver 1,700 meals a day. Pallets are incorporated here once again for small herb gardens that the chef can utilize in his dishes.
Large glass garage doors can be rolled up to let fresh air into the enclosed dining room and bar.
Floor to ceiling windows and breezy drapes brighten the dining room, where table tops have been recycled from the old bowling lanes of an alley that once resided on the island (look for the small brown triangles embedded in the slabs).
No matter where you turn, you’ll find succulents everywhere. A living wall spells out the restaurant’s name at its entrance.
The menu has no rules—a little Latin, Asian, and American all at the same time. Expect comfort eats with interesting twists coming out of the tiny buy mighty kitchen.
Subtle nautical vibes and palm trees outside make the bar at Mersea a lovely spot for a drink.
The menu has plenty to sate you from breakfast all the way to dinner. There are island favorites, seafood, sweets and snacks. Order up the lamb riblets, perfectly charred and covered in a thick sweet chili glaze.
The popular Hawaiian munchie known as musubi gets elevated here with slices of tender roasted pork in the place of the usual Spam. The dish is layered with kimchi and jade rice and sprinkled with nori and sesame seeds on top.
We could eat the Jersey Girl sandwich any time of day. A doughy housemade English muffin hugs a Taylor pork roll (a Jersey classic), a runny egg, kimchee, arugula, and special sauce.
You can even get ramen here! This menu doesn’t hold back, offering shio-style noodles with roast chicken, pork, a soft-cooked egg, and scallions—a cozy dish to enjoy on a foggy day.