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Seafood in San Francisco

Looking for a restaurant with super fresh fish and reasonable prices in San Francisco. Any suggestions?

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  1. Go to the Tadich Grill on California. It's old SF but has some of the freshish seafood in the city. No reservations taken. The sand dabs are outstanding as is the petrale sole.

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    1. re: rtmonty

      I second this! Due to Downtown errands, we've had lunch the past two weeeknds in a row. Love the clam chowder, as well as the dinner salad with crab and shrimp and louie dressing on the side. For mains, two weekends ago we had a great sea bass with corn salsa (from the daily specials) and lobster thermidor last time (James was feeling very continental.) I also love the petrale sole and sand dabs and would add a vote for poached salmon with egg sauce. YUM. The portion on the salmon was enough to bring half home.

    2. You can get a live fish at Yuet Lee to complement your pepper salt squid.

      1. I would have to disagree about Tadich Grill. When Sand dabs are in season they would be fresh but I thought the other fish options were plain and not necessarily fresh.

        At Incanto they seem to be fond of serving a whole Branzino which can be amazing. There is also a seasood restaurant in the Ferry Building, across from the delicious Hog Island Oyster Co.

        I'm a fan of eating at Yum Yum fish which is a fish market and also a little Japanese "restaurant." The fish is very fresh here!

        1. Go to either Sam's or Tadich--both are old-time SF places that specialize in very fresh fish, simply prepared, and served by waiters that came with the building.

          1. I'm a big fan of Pacific Cafe, a neighborhood fish house in Outer Richmond. At 34th and Geary, it is a cab ride from downtown, but worth it if you are looking for casual, reasonably-priced, fresh seafood and a real San Francisco experience.

            Pacific Cafe has been around since the 1970s and hasn't changed. They open every night at 5. They don't take reservations, but while you wait for up to an hour on the sidewalk outside, the crowd is chatty and friendly (mostly regulars) and the waiters circle with free wine (white, but they'll bring red if you ask). The wine isn't good, but the atmosphere is great.

            If the wait is 45 - 60 minutes, you also have time to go around the corner to 32d and Lincoln for a drink at the Tee Off -- a fun neighborhood bar with a super, eclectic jukebox.

            Once inside, there is a list of the fresh seafood on a chalk board and the waiter can provide guidance and details. Nothing is fancy or complicated, but it is tasty.

            It reminds me of a low-key version of Jake's Grill in Portland,if you've ever been there.

            Please report back on where you end up.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ggchickapee

              We went the Pacific Cafe last week (before I posted this query) and really enjoyed ourselves! There wasn't a wait (phew!), they greeted us with white wine when we walked in the door, the staff was very friendly, and we were pleased with our meals (tuna w/ wasabi, shrimp scampi, and baked halibut). I thought their potato wedges were quite bland, but the seafood entrees were really quite delicious!

            2. Check out Swan Oyster Depot. Hole in the wall, no tables only counter, you'll wait in line on the sidewalk 30 minutes to get in -- and it's worth it! Been around since before 1920 and the same family has owned it since 1948. Great fresh seafood, eccentric ambiance and a fun set of brothers and their sons behind the counter.

              1517 Polk St
              San Francisco, CA 94109-3606
              (415) 673-1101
              Cross Street: California Street

              1. I don't know what your definition of "reasonable" is, but if you want really good seafood, you have to pay for it. In SF, try Farallon.

                1. The Alamo Square Grill. Small place, very inexpensive, good fish. Also try the mussels (with frites, enough for dinner) and the salmon risotto appetizer is awesome. Good fixed price (we're talking $12.50) mid-week, plus I think Wednesdays are no-corkage.

                  1. Thank you, everyone! We can't wait to work our way through this list!

                    1. If it's a list we are after, here are some more:

                      Thanh Long (vietnamese crab)
                      Hayes Street Grill
                      Hog Island Oyster Bar

                      1. hello, I'll second paul h's suggestion of Pesce. Some months ago Pei(then nooodles) recommended it and it wasn't til this past weekend that health and schedules gave us a chance to try it.

                        I think it's usually a combination of things that make a dining-out enjoyable. Competition is stiff and it's almost required to have competent cooking and good ingredients. The pleasing combination at Pesce included an old school neighborhood trattoria feel to it--long L-shaped room with the small hexagonal and square black and white floor tiles. Efficient and non-snobby service. A menu that stays succinct while offering plenty of choices (very seafood-centric) and avoids formulaic offerings, namely, calamari not present at all, but anchovies, sardines, octopus, salt cod in two different preps. Again avoiding formula, the cioppino didn't feature Dungeness (the menu had two other dishes that did) but was chock full of assorted fresh fish, including tuna, mussels, clams, and sweet head-on (so you could suck them, the shell was off most of the body)shrimp, and small slices of grilled polenta, all in an assertive tomato-fish stock.

                        We had several small plates leading to the cioppino, the best of which were a salad with seared scallops, arugula, sauteed onion, mandarin orange, and a salt cod cake, in which the fish was thoroughly desalted, in thick, meaty flakes, and had minimal filler, dressed with toasted pine nuts and capers. Not least in the pleasing aspects of the meal was the wine, a half bottle of Caprai Montefalco rosso, in which the 15% sagrantino gives a pleasingly bitter, tannic complement to the sangiovese and merlot, and the bill, $77. after tax (20 for the cioppino enough for two, 22 for the wine, and four small plates).

                        A few weeks ago we had the oceanic extravaganza at Oliveto, and given that the approach to food differs (Oliveto richer and fussier with more esoteric ingredients, ambience corespondingly more plush but not necessarily more comfy), by the criteria of food alone, Pesce was nearly as good, and not nearly as dear. Thank you Pei.