tall order from my Japanese client: "typical" san francisco seafood restaurant, not terribly inconvenient from SFO, maybe Pacifica?
HELP! I'm local and consider myself pretty knowledgeable about our food scene, but he's got me stumped. Arrives at 6:30 on Friday and he wants me to take him to a non-stuffy, casual place that serves good local seafood, BUT (here's the kicker...) not too much of a haul from the airport. Willing to go into the city, but trying to avoid N. Beach/downtown/Fisherman's wharf which wipes out most places I can think of and/or recommended by others on this board. Is there anything in Pacifica?! Thanks in advance for your wisdom!
The local commercial salmon season just opened yesterday.
You might be better off eating at Yankee Pier in the airport.
re: Melanie Wong
Yankee Pier is past security, so it could work for the visitor but not for the local.
My choice would be Anchor and Hope (http://anchorandhopesf.com/). It's in SOMA so it's more convenient to the airport than the neighborhoods you mention. It's definitely non-stuffy and casual, and they serve a mix of local and east coast fish and seafood.
re: Melanie Wong
I haven't been back to Moonraker since my previous post. The reviews on the other website are not looking very good, lots of complaints about the food. They still don't offer a good variety on their menu and nothing that screams local or seasonal.
They have added an early bird pre fixe menu and Sunday brunch.
Wouldn't recommend it to the OP. Too risky and more expensive than it should be.
The OP didn't say where his guest is going after dinner. The Fish Market in Foster City would be a good choice, but it's the opposite direction from the City. Old Clam House is an easy on/off of 101, but your guest would have to be a bit adventurous or they might be put off by that neighborhood.
The best seafood around SFO is Chinese, but that's probably not what he wants.
Kincaid's, chain place, not great but very American, just down the road from SFO. Sodini's Bertolucci's in South SF. Maybe the Old Clam House.
Since you have to drive around the hills, Pacifica's a longer drive from the airport than many parts of SF.
I think it really depends on how much energy you want to put into this.
I would recommend Fish Market in Foster City. It's fairly casual but slightly upscale, it's on the lagoon / water, and they do have good local fish. better than Kincaid's or anything like that.
If you want to go whole hog, I think you'd have to do Half Moon Bay - but that's a haul. 40 minutes minimum.
But - I think you should rethink the city idea. Remember that getting _to_ the city isn't bad, it's getting _across_ the city that kills you. In particular, consider Skool. It's hip, it's SF, and it's 20 minutes from the airport by Google Maps.
I second the rec on the Fish Market (properly in San Mateo, not Foster City) but I don't think it's upscale, unless you go upstairs to Top of the Market. Downstairs is very casual, and you can sit at the small counter area in the waiting area to make it even more casual (you can watch the counter guy cook your steamers right there). Patio dining is nice in good weather.