With a prime waterfront locale, it's no wonder that the City by the Bay is well known for its fresh seafood. Whether you like Dungeness crabs or oysters, you can find many delicious items of the aquatic variety on menus throughout San Francisco. Since there are dozens of eateries specializing in seafood here, we've helped you narrow down the options. Here's your guide to San Francisco's top seafood spots, from Fisherman's Wharf to NoPa.
In business for over four decades, Anchor Oyster Bar offers up a varied selection of seafood dishes, each prepared with fresh fish that's been sustainably caught. Oysters are one of the main attractions at this delightfully snug Castro space, as well as the clam chowder and crab cakes. Sake oyster shooters add a little kick to the already lively atmosphere at this locally-owned restaurant.
Waiting for a table at the Pacific Cafe is surprisingly enjoyable, thanks to the endless supply of complimentary white wine you'll get to pass the time. In fact, the wait is such a part of the café's experience that some people show up after the Outer Richmond restaurant has reached maximum capacity. Along with a set menu of dishes like grilled salmon and baked halibut parmesan, this landmark eatery features a daily blackboard selection of items, all served with either rice, potatoes, or fries, and a choice of soup or salad.
Every night, a crowd of people line up outside this Nob Hill institution, lured by its menu of no-frills classic seafood and shellfish. It's a first-come, first-serve kind of place, and has been feeding customers for well over a century. Local residents and SF visitors are equally smitten with this place, which boasts a long stretch of counter stools, wines on ice and beers on tap, and all the fresh fish you can eat.
With two SF locations—one on Market Street just south of the Castro neighborhood, and the other on Fillmore Street—the casual Woodhouse Fish Co. is best known for its select menu of seafood-based sandwiches and entrées. Here, you can get dishes like fish and chips, cheddar cheese crab melts, and a split-top Maine lobster roll that calls to mind New England summer nights. The food goes down even better with pints of draught beer, and plates of crispy calamari or steamed shellfish to start.
In a neighborhood where seafood restaurants are a dime a dozen, Scoma's stands out for its delectable Italian-style seafood. This waterside joint has sported views overlooking the bay in Fisherman's Wharf ever since brothers Al and Joe Scoma first opened it in 1965. The old-school space still relies on fresh fish brought in by local, small boat fisherman, and dishes range from butter-drizzled scallops seared in olive oil to “Lazy Man's Cioppino.” A San Francisco original, this meal features crab, prawns, mussels and more, all served in “Mama” Soma's mouthwatering tomato broth.
An early frontrunner in the new wave culinary scene in NoPa and Divisadero Corridor, the endlessly trendy Bar Crudo keeps things buzzing with its modern raw bar and creative raw fish offerings. Try ordering the Arctic char served with horseradish crème fraiche, or the Tombo tuna topped with herb pesto. A daily happy hour (5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.) is especially enticing, with its $1.50 oysters on the half-shell and $5 beer specials. Come here on a date or swing by with your coworkers.
It's classy, decadent, and oh-so-delicious. Tucked away in the city's Financial District, Leo's Oyster Bar calls to mind the golden era of seafood eateries (think: a bright, tropical-inspired interior and a rich menu offering everything from rock shrimp ceviche to caviar and blinis). The oysters are served both on the half shell and as part of “Leo's Plateau,” a two-tier tower that includes snow crab claws and shrimp cocktail. Expect exotic cocktails, the occasional dish served on a scallop shell, and a fun fern theme.
For Michelin-starred seafood, North Beach-based Coi is SF's ultimate go-to. It specializes in Californian-French fusion seafood, served as part of a multi-course tasting menu that changes daily. This sleek and sultry modern space also offers an optional wine pairing, as well as an extensive à la carte wine list to complement its standout avant-garde menu.
Tucked in the back of the city's historic Ferry Building Marketplace, the indoor/outdoor Hog Island Oyster Co. serves up a changing menu of fresh seafood and oysters on the half shell, including its very own Hog Island Sweetwater oysters (sourced directly from Marin County's Tomales Bay). Among the spacious restaurant's rotating favorites, you can find grilled oysters prepared with bourbon and brown sugar or spring garlic butter. Or, try ordering a selection of small plates, like the fried soft-shell crab and raw halibut. Each Saturday, Hog Island Oyster Co. sells take-away oysters and live oysters to-go.
A perennial frontrunner on the list of San Francisco's best restaurants, Farallon serves up fresh seafood in the heart of Union Square. This award-winning eatery offers modern takes on dishes like halibut (served lightly torched with gingered pickled peaches) and line-caught King Salmon (topped with salsa verde). Along with a classic raw and oyster bar, the restaurant is home to the Jellyfish Lounge, a relaxed space sporting custom-made jellyfish chandeliers and a menu that includes casual options like fish and chips.
A North Beach standout, this family-owned establishment specializes in Italian seafood fare, including hearty helpings of Crab Cioppino and Manila clam linguine. The atmosphere is both decidedly kitschy and nautically-themed, complete with mounted fish and bibs for dining. On your way out, don't forget to pick up a pint of the Boston-style clam chowder to-go.
Whether you're after grilled oysters with chorizo butter or beer-battered flounder and house-cut fries, SoMa district's industrial-chic Anchor & Hope is sure to satisfy. Entrées like the Shrimp Louis salad and steamed mussels (doused in spicy tomato sauce) are par for the course at this lively eatery, housed in a former garage.
Specializing in fresh catches prepared boiled, grilled, and sautéed, San Francisco's oldest restaurant has been gratifying patrons for nearly 170 years. Featuring a long wooden bar, dark paneled walls, and white table-clothed seating, Tadich is the epitome of "classic." Solo patrons fill up the stools nightly, while larger parties slip into the booths and share plates of Oysters Rockefeller and the seafood-combo Cosmopolitan Salad. Tadich doesn't take reservations, so get here early.