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Jan 18, 2009 10:46 AM

Looking for a San Francisco local crab lunch...

Will be in the San Francisco area from 2/15 until 2/18 and then San Jose on 2/19. We already have dinners set up at Gary Danko, La Folie, The French Laundry, and Arcadia as well as early lunch at Aqua and Slanted Door - probably some breakfast and baked goods here and there as well. What we're looking for now is a cool local place to just eat simply prepared crabs at lunch - I've gotten recs for Crabhouse at Pier 39, but it seems a little touristy. Is there someplace more 'local' that just serves great crab meals with some bread or potatoes?

Thanks for the help and I can't wait for the trip.

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  1. Swan Oyster Depot or Anchor Oyster Bar.

    Swan Oyster Depot
    1517 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109

    Anchor Oyster Bar
    579 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114

    2 Replies
    1. re: wolfe

      Thanks. Others? Something near Citizen Cake, perhaps??

      Are there any less-trendy places on the wharf?

      1. re: wolfe

        I think people from out of town should be made aware that Swan is NOT a restaurant, but a seafood vendor with excellent cold seafood (except soup, which is mostly hot) and the most uncomfortable stools at a crowded counter. Anchor is more of a real restaurant.

      2. Swan's Oyster Depot is a typical SF hole in the wall and I love it. It is a real SF experience. Same people since the 1950's. All the customers are repeats and everyone knows everybody. It is a lot of fun. Great SF sourdough, fresh crab, oysters, crab louis. It is a lot of fun but you will have to wait for one of those bar seats.

        Scoma's at Fisherman,s wharf has very good crab louis.

        Swan Oyster Depot
        1517 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109

        Scoma's Fisherman's Wharf
        47 Pier 45, San Francisco, CA 94133

        1 Reply
        1. re: 64mary7

          I totally agree that's SWAN's is the place to go! The line is long depending on the time and totally worth the wait.

          It's crowded, cramped, and quaint—you will love it! Another place I make sure I take my family and friends when they are visiting SF! Even if I'm telling my father I might be passing through SF, he asks if I stopped at Swan's for lunch... Best NE Clam Chowder in the city!

        2. Hasn't Aqua stopped serving lunch?

          1 Reply
          1. re: chezchristine

            I think Aqua only announced no lunch in January. It's unclear if they will extend that through February.

          2. I've never had their crab, but Woodhouse Fish Company in the Castro does have it. I've been a number of times, usually when they have $1 oysters, their sandwiches are fine if not exciting. It's a very local place with a different crowd than some other parts of the city, it's accessible on the F line up Market Street or from the Church Street station on the MUNI underground. It's pretty hard to screw up crab if it's just being boiled, so I would expect that it's fine.

            1. Crabhouse is part of a local chain. I've never had the crab at Crabhouse, but I've had it at one of their other restaurants ... the menus are pretty much identical. I remember the crab wasn't particularily great. However, there have been some good reports ... though from visitors ... that they liked the crab at one of the other restaurants. These places do serve Acme bread with the meals.

              Lot's of people seem to like the salt and pepper crab from R & G in Chinatown.

              8 Replies
              1. re: rworange

                What about simply getting crab from one of the vendors at the Ferry Market? It seems many offer both live/fresh caught and prepared versions at their booths/stores.

                1. re: uhockey

                  The seafood restaurant in the Ferry Plaza next to Hog Island Oyster depot is quite good and serves excellent crab melts and crab louis salads (very classic san francisco). They also have a well-selected wine list and nice views of the bay. I can't remember the name of the place (I think it is rather generic) but it is right next to Hog Island -- you can't miss it.

                  1. re: SFDude

                    Perfect. :-) Ferry Plaza Seafood it appears is the name.

                    A crab louis salad, a baguette from acme with some cheese from cowgirl, some blue bottle coffee, and a pastry from miette sounds like a perfect way to start my San Francisco trip.

                    1. re: uhockey

                      Umm ... you might be better off with a pastry from Boulette's Larder or Frog Hollow. Miette is very pretty stuff ... and pretty pricey ... but you have to be careful. Don't know if things will change now that the Bay Bread people are part owners.

                      1. re: uhockey

                        Just had a crab melt at Ferry Plaza Seafood yesterday, at the counter, looking out on the Bay Bridge...and with a nice glass of Anchor Steam. I couldnt think of any place I would rather have been.

                        1. re: tomritza


                          Ferry Plaza Seafood
                          1 Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA

                          1. re: tomritza

                            Sold. Thanks to all on this thread.

                            1. re: uhockey

                              i also really like Anchor & Hope. they have a dungesess crab paella that is delish!