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Cioppino~Tadich or where?

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Hunds~we are heading to SF for a day for "the windows" and some cioppino. We were thinking Tadich but welcome your ideas on other places which might be great!

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  1. since crab is in season, i imagine many italian places will have cioppino as a special or on the menu. you might want to check and see if perbaccho,much discussed, here has it. there are literally steps away from each other on California street.

    1. You can't go wrong at Tadich, IMO.

      10 Replies
      1. re: Civil Bear

        Used to be, can't go wrong & can't get in. What's the probability of getting a table in December?

        1. re: Waterboy

          100%. They don't take reservations, so the question is how long you're wiling to wait in line.

          You can go horribly wrong at Tadich.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            >>"You can go horribly wrong at Tadich."

            How so?

            1. re: Civil Bear

              By ordering complicated dishes such as lobster thermidor.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Ah, I have never tried it there (and it sounds like I shouldn't). What was wrong with it?

                1. re: Civil Bear

                  I wouldn't order it. Tadich's kitchen can't even turn out simple grilled and sauteed dishes that reliably, as you can see from reports here they have a tendency to overcook. Anything fancy, forget it.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Since I've worked in the Financial District for a few decades, I've eaten at Tadich's for quite a few business lunches. While for me Tadich's has never been exiting food ... it's just fish after all ... but it has never been badly prepared. At least in my personal experience it has been reliable.

                    Chowhound gave me a better appreciation of Tadich's in what is one of the classic posts by Melanie Wong about what Tadich does right. I'm starting it with my comments and a few more people who chimed in in support of Tadich. Melanie's lovely report is a few posts down.
                    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                    Styles and tastes are different. I have never been a fan of the lastest trend of undercooked fish. To people who like their fish on the rare side and don't specify that, they might report that the fish was dissappointing.

                    For me the fish has always been correctly cooked, never dried out but not raw ... not exciting ... but done right. Just my own experience.

                    I'm trying to recall if there were any reports on disasterous fancy dishes at Tadich's. It has been so long since I've had lobster thermidor, not sure if I could recoginize a good one anymore ... now I'm craving lobster thermador ... sounds festive and Christmasy ... if I get down to Tadich's I'll report back.

                    1. re: rworange

                      Personally I send undercooked fish back. If the menu doesn't say "seared," it shouldn't be raw in the middle. But it shouldn't be dry, either.

                      I think the sand dabs are reliable, they're so delicate that the cooks have to pay close attention.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        I only had sand dabs at Tadich once. I usually order salmon or some sort of white fish fillet and have been happy, so I'm not seeing a reason for the warning about the food at Tadich. My own recollection is that there are as many good as bad recs for Tadich ... and probably more good ... when I wrote that post a few years back I was just glad to see someone was undewhelmed ... and my problem had more to do with wanting East Coast seafood.

                        From my personal experience, I would say to Waterboy who originally asked the question that Tadich hasn't changed a bit. So if your own experience has been 'can't go wrong' ... no changes there.

                        Where have things gone wrong for you or a member of your party, Robert? I'm more likely to expand into some of their other items that I read were good on the board like the liver and onions, corned beef or hang town fry ... and something else for brunch, but I'd like to avoid anything that I might see and impulsively order and be dissappointed. Tho the words impulsive and Tadich seems sort of like antonyms.

                        1. re: rworange

                          I agree rworange. I have had the grilled Halibut Steak at Tadich several times and it has always been perfect. And this is from a guy that likes to catch & grill his own. Believe me, Halibut is a very difficult fish to get right (i.e. cooked all the way through without being dry towards the outside.). And the seafood rub they use is incredible.

      2. My wife and I had our annual Christmas lunch at the Tadich yesterday. The cioppino was outstanding and perfect for a chilly SF day. We arrived at about 11:15 and had no problem getting a table (a two top). By quarter of twelve the place was packed. The Tadich is a very popular place for Christmas lunches and traditional Christmas lunches like ours. We've done it for well over 10 years.

        1. there's an old-school italian place in the inner sunset (romano's?) near pj's oyster bed that serves a pretty good (and large) cioppino. different style than tadich's.

          but like operalover says, lots of places could have it on the special menu now. happy cracking.

          1. Pesce had a cioppino special when I ate there 2 weeks ago. Anyone tried it?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Melanie Wong

              I had Pesce's cioppino about a year ago. It's not as big a bowl as Tadich's, but I remember it was good. I can't remember enough to say anything except "I liked it, but it was different."

              Maybe this photo is more helpful than I am: http://www.chezpei.com/uploaded_image...

            2. I few weeks ago, I went to the restaurant below Alioto's in SF Fisherman's Wharf (from what I understand it's owned by the Alioto's). They give you much more crab legs than Tadich for about the same price. Saying that I love the Cioppino at Tadich. If you want a Cioppino with more garlic, Stinking Rose in North Beach is an alternative.

              I'm going to Tadich this Saturday!

              2 Replies
              1. re: hungry_me

                Thanks ... two new reports about cioppino ... just chuckling a bit here ... in an email I was saying that given the chance, I'll bet that there were even good dishes at Stinking Rose.

                Can you tell us a little more about the versions at Stinking Rose and Cafe 8 (the name of that downstairs restaurant owned by Alioto's). How was the broth... soup? I liked the fish at Scoma's but the soup was too thick, almost like tomato sauce. It was pretty filling.
                http://www.aliotos.com/cafe_8.htm

                1. re: rworange

                  Thanks, OK so the name of the restaurant below Alioto's is Cafe 8. Their Cioppino was predominately crab with some clams and mussels. I did not notice any chunks of fish nor scallops. The broth was not too thick like Tadich, the way I like it. As for Stinking Rose, it's been 3 or 4 years since I had their cioppino, all I remember is it had lots of garlic and we were all reeking the next morning, lol.

              2. Just a word on the "getting a table in December" notion - I went last Sat. with a party of 4. We walked in at 5:30 pm and had a 45 minute wait. During the entire time we waited, people were piling up behind us.

                1. Two of us shared the Cioppino at Rose Pistola last weekend and there were still left-overs! Abundant with crab, shrimp, mussels, etc, I have always been impressed with their version.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Carrie 218

                    Rose Pistola seconded. Most authentic in the City!

                  2. Had cioppino for the first time a couple weeks ago at Fog City Diner. Never had it before, so I dont have much to compare it to, but it was tasty!

                    1. I read thru this entire thread expecting to see raves about the cioppino at the Anchor Oyster Bar on Castro. It's not on the menu, but they have it fairly often in crab season and it's the best I've had in the City.