The City by the Bay is also right on the Pacific Ocean, so it's natural that it has great seafood. And since it's also a food city, you know there are going to be lots of great San Francisco Seafood restaurants — so many that it was a bit difficult to keep our section down to the top ten.
In fact, going right back to the Gold Rush era, SF has had a reputation as one of the best places in the country for fresh seafood. In our selection of the best San Francisco seafood restaurants you'll find old favorites like Scoma's and Anchor Oyster Bar, but we also wanted to introduce some of the newest, best, and brightest of the modern eateries. So, mixed in with perennial faves, you'll find other clam-tastic options to get your seafood fix.
Kusshi, Miyagi, Naked Cowboys, Sea Cows — the names of the fresh oysters are like punk bands of the 80s. The menu is bold and hip, divided into Oysters, Shellfish, Crudo, Cold and Hot sections. Twin brothers Mike and Tim Selvera opened Crudo back in 2005 with the intention of having a fresh oyster bar. Little did they know that they would create a bustling restaurant serving some of the most innovative seafood in San Francisco.
→ Must Order — seafood chowder with hot sauce and smoked bacon, uni avocado toast.
You can't have a top seafood restaurant list without at least one sushi restaurant. This petite gem of a restaurant is owned and operated by a husband & wife team who oversee the operations on their 12-seat restaurant. When you dine at Kiss you must order omakase, the multi-course fixed menu featuring fresh sashimi, sushi and a few surprises from Chef Naka. If you don't have time for omakase, try the Hamachi-kama Misozuke, grilled hamachi marinated in soybean paste or the Chef's special sashimi plate.
→ Must Order — chef's tasting menu.
We love the tagline, "local fisherman's fare since 1965". When brothers Al and Joe Scoma bought a rundown coffee shop on the wharf on Pier 47, little did they know the legacy they were about to create. When they started, the restaurant really did service the working fishermen. Today, it's a major draw for locals and tourists seeking out old favorites like seared local calamari marinara or linguine con vongole. (If you don't believe it's an SF institution, chick out the address!)
Must Order — cioppino.
A reviewer called Farallon "one of the most underrated restaurant in San Francisco." We might just agree! The restaurant is twenty years old and, back in the day, the Jellyfish Lounge was cutting edge design. Today it's a little tired, but never mind, the seafood is as fresh as this morning's catch. Need a little pick-me-up after shopping in Union Square? Stop by for Happy Hour for a half-dozen freshly shucked oysters and a glass of bubbles from the Loire Valley. Or, if you're after a long luxurious dinner, try the tasting menu or our favorite, a gigantic fruit de mer (a platter of iced shellfish) followed by golden imperial osetra caviar.
→ Must Order — fruits de mer platter.
Settle in for the twinkle-light show from the Bay Bridge and the best show in town — the restaurant's floor-to-ceiling fish tanks. The oyster selection features a dizzying 25 varieties. Visit during Happy Hour for daily dollar specials. Plus, there's a lot more than oysters to sink your teeth into. Try grilled local sardines, tempura ling cod BLT, ceviche, sashimi or whole lobster and crabs.
→ Must Order — octopus and roasted potato salad.
Who doesn't love a juicy seafood sandwich? Drop by the Woodhouse Fish Co for a luscious Ipswich clam roll, a split-top Maine lobster roll, or a cheddar cheese crab melt. Sandwiches not your thing? Try the Dungeness crab linguini or go all out and order the cioppino with garlic bread. This is one of SF's most popular casual seafood spots. Run, don't walk!
→ Must Order — shrimp & avocado roll, lobster roll.
3.5 million satisfied oyster-eaters! Since 1983, Hog Island Oyster Co. has been growing certified sustainable shellfish in the cool waters of Tomales Bay, California and Discovery Bay, Washington. They harvest an astounding 3.5 million oysters, Manila clams and mussels each and every year and that number grows with each passing season. Hog Island locations are found in Napa, Marshall, and the Ferry Building in San Francisco. This is the place to order a huge platter of fresh oysters and wash it all down with a cold Sancerre or chilled beer.
→ Must Order — fresh oysters, Caesar salad with anchovy croutons.
Sometimes you just crave a no-fuss, no-muss seafood meal that doesn't include kale, quinoa, or any other trendy ingredients. When that mood strikes, head to North Beach to partake in Italian soul food. Order up a bottle of vino bianco and revel in the simplicity of the menu — wild crab cocktail, crab Louis, oyster on the half shell, a blue cheese wedge…bon iceberg lettuce. Add bay shrimp for a extra three bucks. Check out their uber-popular Cioppino recipe that appeared in the pages of Saveur magazine.
→ Must Order — seafood risotto, linguine with Manila clams.
Riding the tidal wave of Poke-mania is Pacific Catch with its playful, inventive interpretation of the Hawaiian fresh tuna classic. There are in fact six variations to choose from. Purists can order the original, made with ahi tuna, sesame-soy marinade, and seasonings. Trendsetters must try the serrano chili version with crispy won tons on the side. And yes, there are other delicious things to eat besides poke. We love the tempura sashimi and the Baja shrimp ceviche.
→ Must Order — poke wasabi bowl, shrimp tacos.
Ahh, music to our tired ears. One location and locally owned, the Anchor Oyster Bar opened its doors in 1977 and is still operated by the original owner. San Francisco Chronicle has named their clam chowder a Bay area favorite. Nothing fancy, also on the menu are simple salads, crab cakes, seafood cocktails and house-made cioppino redolent with luscious seafood.
→ Must Order — fresh oysters, clam chowder.
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