12 Restaurants Serving Up Fresh Seafood in San Francisco
Seafood. The word is vague, yet a catchall for everything that comes from the sea/ocean. However, the word conjures up images of succulent steamed shrimp and crab; buttery, red lobster, or savory pearls of oysters. Anyone featuring any of these items on their menu could be considered a seafood restaurant. Theoretically, that includes 95%* of the restaurants in San Francisco.
The point of this article is to answer the question: Who has the best seafood in San Francisco? To get to the bottom of this, we had to put in some rules, rules that will make the picture much clearer. Here are the rules we abided by to make this list:
- Seafood is technically any thing that is born in the sea/ocean.
- A restaurant’s specials, dishes they are known for, must be seafood. Emphasis on the plural.
- Seafood must be the star of the dish. This strikes out Chinese or Thai dishes that are noodle based. Sushi is a no-no, too.
- Any dish that makes seafood interchangeable with another protein was not considered.
Without further delay, here’s our list of the best seafood in San Francisco:
Cioppino’s (400 Jefferson St.)
There’s nothing better than a bowl of Cioppino with a stunning waterfront view of the San Francisco Bay. Don’t miss out on their signature Cioppino – a concoction of seafood favorites that will have you in seafood heaven until the very last bite. What to eat: Cioppino, Clam Chowder.
Fog Harbor Fish House (PIER 39)
Who doesn’t want to eat 100% sustainable seafood served with a side of the Golden Gate Bridge? Fog Harbor’s menus are ever-changing, as their chefs craft the menus based on what seafood is fresh and sustainably caught. What to eat: Baked Oysters, Garlic Roasted Dungeness Crab.
Tadich Grill (240 California St.)
This list has to start at the beginning. That means 1849, the year San Francisco grew from a gold nugget and the year Tadich Grill came into being. Imitated by many, but none better than Tadich Grill, this restaurant has been serving varieties of seafood forever. This needs to be on your bucket list. What to eat: Seafood Cioppino. Website
Hog Island Oyster Company (1 Ferry Building)
The freshest oysters in the Bay Area are at Tomales Bay, where the Hog Island Oyster Farm is located. If you can’t make it all the way up there, Hog Island Oyster Company in the Ferry Building is a great second option. Along with freshly shucked oysters, you get a gorgeous view of the bay. What to eat: Hog Island Sweetwater or Atlantic.
Scoma’s (Pier 47)
Once a little coffee shop on the pier in 1965, Scoma’s has become a force of buttery goodness today. There’s butter sauce and then there’s Scoma’s butter sauce. Nothing compares. What to eat: Shrimp and Scallop Alla Gannon. Website
Swan Oyster Depot (1517 Polk St.)
There are a few truths that ring free in San Francisco. A line out the door of Swan Oyster Depot is one of them. People have come from the farthest reaches of the country to suck down clams and oysters from this institution. Anthony Bourdain has been quoted, If god made anything better he kept it for himself." What to eat: Combo Salad.
Bar Crudo (655 Divisadero St.)
Bar Crudo is the first local’s place on this list. Many people hope it stays that way because the wait for a table is already long enough. If you have time to come here more than once, you should definitely make your way through the entire menu. However, if you come only once, you should always order the chowder. It’s legendary. What to eat: Seafood Chowder.
Woodhouse Fish Co. (1914 Fillmore St.)
Woodhouse Fish Co. is a neighborhood spot serving up quality seafood in a New England style atmosphere (think red-checkered paper mats). The clam chowder and sourdough bread is a match made in heaven and the Crab Melt should be on your list for next time. What to eat: Lobster Roll.
Anchor & Hope (83 Minna St).
If you find yourself wondering the streets of the SOMA neighborhood, Anchor & Hope is a great place to stop for lunch and dinner. Named to 7X7’s 2010 Big Eat list, Anchor & Hope hasn’t let the press get to its head. Come in for the $1 oysters and stay for much more. What to eat: Angels on Horseback.
The Codmother Fish & Chips (2824 Jones St.)
A place both locals and tourists can agree is delicious. This stationary food truck near Ghirardelli Square cooks up amazing fish and chips, shrimp and chips, and baja fish tacos. Since the inception of Yelp, Codmother has been named one of the best in the city. What to eat: Standard Fish and Chips
Anchor Oyster Bar (579 Castro St.)
With great food, comes great competition. In light of Swan Oyster Depot’s long lines, many imitators have come onto the scene, but none of them have been held in the same regard, except Anchor Oyster Bar. Since 1977 they have been serving fresh sustainably caught fish, shellfish, crab and delicious, simply prepared, seafood dishes. What to eat: Clam Chowder.
ATwater Tavern (295 Terry Francois Blvd.)
Steps away from the ballpark, ATwater Tavern is the perfect venue for to suck down oysters on the halfshell. The waterfront location features two levels of indoor and outdoor dining with incredible views of Oracle Park, the San Francisco Bay and the downtown skyline. What to eat: Atwater Cioppino. Website