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Fish in SF

Looking for a restaurant with terrific fish in SF for small (6) group of foodies. Price is not a problem, nor is location.

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  1. The Tadich Grill and Sam's Grill are SF's two "old-school" seafood houses.

    Tadich is the larger of the two and attracts more tourists, but plenty of locals eat there regularly. Sam's is more of a locals' place. Both have been in business a very long time.

    I don't think either takes reservations. If it matters to you one way or another, Tadich has been featured in both Anthony Bourdain's and Emeril's TV shows.

    Your best bet at both places is to ask what fish is fresh and have it prepared either grilled or sauteed.

    If you go to the upper right-hand corner of this page and do a search, you will find a good number of past threads about both places.

    3 Replies
    1. re: DavidT

      Sam;s does, Tadich doesn't
      Sam's
      Hours:
      Mon-Fri 11 am - 9 pm
      Takes Reservations: Yes
      Accepts Credit Cards: Yes

        1. re: DavidT

          Tadich is old-school in both good and bad ways. It's easy to order badly and have a lousy meal, and even if you order the right dish they might overcook it. Same goes for Sam's though the current owner has maybe made some improvements.

        2. I am not a big fan of the old-school format, so for me I'd go to either Skool, Bar Crudo or Anchor & Hope. Skool had awesome food, though there was long waits between dishes (I'd say about 30 minutes between each dish). It sounds like that may not be normal.

          2 Replies
          1. re: goldangl95

            I remember when Jim Leff said Chowhound was for people who are the anthesis of "foodies"

            1. re: jason carey

              Ha! I think the term "foodies" has some different connotations now than back then. But fair point:

              Skool and Bar Crudo both have good food and are food trendy so they will satisfy either chowhounds or foodies (though Bar Crudo has slipped for me lately).

              Anchor & Hope is more food trendy - the food is fine but it's more of a I want oysters and a good beer list and there's a reservation available! It's not quite chow worthy.

              Sam's and Tadich are institutions. For some - that's a turn on- and for others - that's a turn off. Whether that's more true of chowhounds or foodies I don't know.

              1. Waterbar

                Kokkari (greek) does nice fish.

                1. If you're looking for terrific fish and price and location is not a problem, fly to LA.

                  Seriously, you can catch the 4:15 UA and make a 6:15 reservation at Sushi Zo (the 405 north seems often clear around then), catch a 9:30 flight back, be home by 11pm. It'll cost you about $500 a person for airfare, $200 for fish, maybe $100 for airport transit. Yes, I've done this.

                  This is probably not what you meant by "location is not a problem", but it works and the fish is the best. I don't know if you can make Ursawa work, the benefits of Zo are proximity to the airport, and they run Zo like a swiss watch since it's all omakase. Ursawa is far more widely acclaimed, I'd think you'd want to try your own dry run before doing it with a group of 6 - with 6 you should get a limo and have it wait by the restaurant.

                  Regarding places actually within the borders of SF (instead of where you can reasonable dine if you started in SF), I've had my best fish at non-fish places, grill them about whether it's local line caught, exactly where. SF is not a fish town. The japanese fly everything in (Sakae - near the airport - not in SF (burlingame) - widely considered best) anyway.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: bbulkow

                    Actually, if you're going to fly down to LA, Mori would be better than Zo, and both n/naka and Shunji would be better than either of them.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Lets not make this a discussion about LA sushi, please!

                  2. Hayes Street Grill took its inspiration from Tadich but I think they do a better job of selecting and cooking fish. It's been in business for over 25 years so it's something of an institution itself by now.

                    The most memorable seafood dishes I've had in the past year were at La Ciccia.

                    1. sawa in sunnyvale (sashimi feast)
                      yum's bistro in fremont (cantonese)

                      are definitely worth a day trip from sf to hit them both (yum's for lunch, sawa for dinner), and serve the best seafood in the bay area by a margin.

                      for highest end in sf proper, saison's tasting menu is seafood-heavy.

                      for also very fancy, i think the seafood dishes at gary danko are very well done.

                      for sf-proper, non-asian, non-tasting menu type places, i like tadich. sand dabs, crab+lobster thermidor, the red clam chowder, and the crab cakes are the dishes i've had several times, and think are very good.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Dustin_E

                        The food at Yum's is excellent indeedy, but it is a downscale neighborhood place after all, and much of the best dishes need to be preordered in advance, plus the pacing of the meal due to the small kitchen size. Walkins may have a different experience.

                        This is where Koi Palace comes in for out of town guests that need to be impressed, where the kitchen is bigger and has more resources, and can do more things on the fly, and of course the largest fish tanks in town for a Cantonese seafood restaurant, where the ability to pick and choose is also a good thing to have. Can't go wrong with Alaskan King Crab following it up with a roast suckling pig.

                        1. re: K K

                          in a nutshell, what do you think are the best pre-order only dishes at yum's?

                          their under-the-bridge crab is the dish that really blew me away...

                          i've walked in (ie made reservations an hour before) a couple other times, and had good experiences. but i have no doubt results are a lot better when you pre-order correctly.

                          my koi palace experience is limited to groups of 2 or 3, so i'm not sure i've really experienced their a-game.

                      2. 20 min. north of SF just off 101, Fish in Sausalito has very fresh fish in minimalist preparations. no table service, picnic table ambience. side dishes from top quality, fresh ingredients and well prepared, including the fresh, made in house linguine.