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Oct 15, 2006 03:36 PM

Cioppino & Crab Season

I don't know about everyone else, but I'm definitely excited for the start of crab season in about a month or so, and thus was looking for some cioppino rec's outside of Tadich's and Scoma's (not that either version isn't great, so much as those are the ones that are ALWAYS mentioned). If anyone could let me know where to find wonderful cioppino, I would appreciate it.

That, and does anyone know if there's any indication about when those wonderful Dungeness are coming in? Is it still mid-November or will the haul be pushed back? Thanks in advance!

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  1. Bought some crab from Ranch 99 yesterday. $3.49 a lb. Sauteed them in butter, garlic and black pepper. The crabs were on the smaller size but were quite meaty!

    1. The CA Fish and Game website seems very non-user friendly in terms of getting information about commercial seasons, (if someone wants to try and figure it out, have fun at


      but the short answer appears to be that, no, as of yet no announcement has been made about delaying the start of the season (and I think it would be too early to expect any such anyway, since it is based upon an analysis of the state of the fishery just prior to opening.)

      I am pretty sure that November 15th is the scheduled date if not moved, and those crab from Ranch 99 were from Alaska or elsewhere, assuming they were live.

      2 Replies
      1. re: susancinsf

        Here's Ruth's cite of the F&G reg defining the season -

        on Sep 29, 2004 Ruth Lafler replied

        Local crab season starts in November. From the Fish and Game regulations:

        "ยง29.85. Crabs.
        (a) Dungeness crabs (Cancer magister):
        (1) Closure: Dungeness crab may not be taken or possessed in San Francisco Bay and San Pablo Bay, plus all their tidal bays, sloughs and estuaries between the Golden Gate Bridge and Carquinez Bridge.
        (2) Open season:
        (A) Del Norte, Humboldt and Mendocino counties: From the Saturday preceding December 1 or December 1 when it falls on Saturday through July 30.
        (B) All other counties: From the Saturday preceding the second Tuesday in November through June 30."

        And, as you say, no word yet on changing it this year.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Thanks, Melanie, and thanks to Ruth for having patience to look through the regs (the F and G website search engine is useless).

          So that means this year, if I am reading my calendar correctly, the season in all but Del Norte, Humboldt, and Mendo counties starts on Saturday, November 11th, and on November 25th for those three counties (assuming no delays, knock on wood!).

          Looking forward to it!

      2. A lot of crab comes in from Oregon and Washington, which may have earlier seasons, and it's available frozen year-round (much of the commercial crab is caught at the beginning of the season and frozen immediately).

        There are dozens of places that make cioppino aka cacciucco, but a high percentage are tourist traps. These places might be worth trying:

        Bocce Club
        Caffe Sport
        Cozmo's Corner Grill
        Fog City Diner
        Last Supper Club
        Little Henry's
        Palio d'Asti (cacciucco)
        Rose Pistola (cacciucco)

        2 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Actually, the season for Dungeness goes from south to north, although in Alaska it runs so late it sort of "wraps around" to the beginning of the next season in the south.

          My fishmonger was advertising first of the season fresh crab this week -- I'll have to ask where he's sourcing it from.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Last week we had a really delicious Mediterranean Fish Stew at NOPA. I would imagine they'll do it with crab when the season starts.

          2. I remember going to a "Cioppino Feast" at the Portuguese Social Club ??? on Main Street in Half Moon Bay years ago. "All you can eat", reasonable prices. Does anyone know if these are still held and do you have any feedback on the food quality?

            1. I've had an out of town version on my to try list at Phil's Fish Market in Moss Landing.

              When I asked during my cioppino crawl, Rose Pistola and Yabbie's (I'm told a different version) remain on the top of my list to try based on board recs. There's only so much cioppino you can eat in a year. Here's that old thread that mentions Yabbie' and Pesce as well.

              Anyone know if you can still buy it at the Marin Farmer' market?

              Hmmm, for some reason I had Alioto's on my list, don't know why except I liked something there recently. Maybe I'll give that a try this year.

              A vote for Fisherman's Grott #9 (by a reliable poster too). It's three year old, but those Wharf restaurants don't change too much.