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Best fish restaurants in SF?

Any suggestions would be welcomed as I've not been there in a few years.

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  1. I like Taddich Grill, both for the old school San Francisco feel as well as the great fish.

    1. Best Panda
      Bodega Bistro
      Hayes St. Grill
      Hog Island Oyster Co.
      Pesce
      South Sea Seafood Harbor
      Woodhouse Fish Co.
      Yuet Lee
      Fish. (Sausalito)
      Koi Palace (Daly City)
      Sea Salt (Berkeley)

      Damn, now I'm hungry.

      13 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        GREAT list! I'd add Thanh Long and Aqua... though no-one ever described either of them as a bargain, they are both very intersting and good.

        1. re: Paul H

          From recent reports, Thanh Long is no longer good.

        2. re: Robert Lauriston

          Hog Island? What kind of fish dishes do they serve? I always thought it was strictly oysters?

          J

          1. re: J T

            Right, just oysters and clams. I was thinking seafood.

          2. re: Robert Lauriston

            I vote for Robert's list and would also add Farallon if an expense account is in the picture. While the decor is a bit "wish they'd stopped 30 minutes earlier" (think Jules Verne with a sub-therapeutic lithium level) the rooms are comfortable. The further back you go, the better you'll be able to enjoy conversation and the less silly the lighting.

            I had one of the best grilled branzino meals, if not the best, of my life here. The shellfish are super fresh and have that oceany-clean scent and taste that is so satisfying. I've found equal attention is paid to the non-ocean derived food as well. Crisp and flavorful salad greens and veggie sides, which I always appreciate, as they are not a given in a seafood place. I can't recall having dessert there...perhaps never made it that far.

            Aqua, while also good, I've found to be more uneven. Plus, we had to borrow Maxwell Smart's Cone of Silence to enjoy dinner conversation. Super loud.

              1. re: snarkygirl

                We found Farallon to be almost insultingly bad. To pay those prices for such underwhelming food just made me sick. Great atmosphere, really, really poor work in the kitchen. I find it hard to believe that our experience was a rare exception, as every dish on the table was mediocre.

                Sorry to seem grumpy, but that place felt like a world-class rip-off.

              2. re: Robert Lauriston

                Would also add Michael Mina. See my post on Littleman's thread about dining near the St. Francis.

                1. re: snarkygirl

                  Michael Mina has a lot of seafood and fish dishes on the menu, but so do the majority of upscale restaurants in the city.

                2. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Could you add an address for the SF choices? Hayes St. excepted.
                  Thanks!

                  1. re: Marco

                    You can find most any restaurant address on Google Maps with a search string like:

                    hog island near san francisco

                    http://www.google.com/maphp

                    1. re: Joan Kureczka

                      Not to my list. Its popularity mystifies me.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        I'm with Joan. Pacific Cafe is a favorite of mine and my wife's, but I can see how it might not hit with some folks. They're a pretty no-frills place--you don't get a lot of sauces and reductions or food piled on top of other food. They do basic fish--salmon, snapper, halibut, tuna, crab, trout, abalone--in basic ways--grilled, pan fried, baked, to name a few--but the do it really well and very consistently (ymmv). They also have various other fish available occasionally based on availability (mussels, sturgeon, sand dabs) and generally if they have one of those on the menu, that's what I get. And during crab season, their Louis is not to be passed up. Their soups are all house-made--the salmon bisque, when they have it in the summer, is fabulous, full of cream--and the clam chowder, made with potatoes rather than cream is always good.

                        There's always a wait most nights--they have their fans who show up in legions--but they placate the masses with free cheap wine while you wait, and I've had some interesting conversations with my fellow diners while hanging out on the sidewalk.

                        As I said, it's not everyone's idea of a great place, but the folks who love it, really love it. (One possible reaason: their prices are quite reasonable, generally upper teens to mid-twenties, save for the abalone, which is in the upper $30 range.)

                        1. re: Jimmyhoffa

                          If I thought they cooked fish well and consistently I'd have no trouble understanding their popularity.

                    2. While only a counter and cold plates (minus chowder), Swan's Oyster Depot on Polk St. is pretty damn good.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: ML8000

                        Swan's is a good choice for very basic fare. Sort of the "meat and potatoes" of seafood. No delicate preparations, no complimenting sauces, and for me, not better than the husband can make at home.

                        1. re: snarkygirl

                          You have a point, nothing fancy. It is a counter with four joe fishmongers serving you. I'm guessing however Swan's has a line on fresher selection and that's 3/4 the battle with seafood.

                          1. re: ML8000

                            Agree. Husband believes it's the freshest in the city.

                      2. "The House" on Grant Ave.