The best seafood restaurants in San Francisco

We round up the best seafood restaurants in San Francisco to feast on super-fresh crabs, local oysters and fish dishes

Photograph: Aubrie PickWaterbar

Seafood restaurants

Swan Oyster Depot

4 out of 5 stars
Recommended

Opened more than a century ago as a fish market-cum-lunch counter, Swan's has been dishing up fresh, no frills seafood—filleted, cracked and shucked before your eyes—ever since. Belly up to the marble counter and start with a bowl of clam chowder, served with a hunk of fresh San Francisco sourdough. Move on to a plate of fresh-cracked Dungeness crab, thinly sliced smoked salmon, half a dozen Miyagi oysters, or mixed seafood cocktail/salad topped off with a dollop of cocktail sauce or house-made horseradish. Accompany everything with a pint of local Anchor Steam beer and you can scratch authentic SF seafood experience off your bucket list. Cash only.

Nob Hill

Tadich Grill

4 out of 5 stars
Recommended

Established in 1849, Tadich is the city's oldest restaurant, and still one of its most popular. Power-lunching politicians, techies and tourists alike belly up to the classic mahogany horseshoe bar and tuck into old-school San Francisco dishes such as crab Louis, shrimp a la Newburg, Hangtown Fry (oysters and eggs), and giant bowls of San Francisco cioppino (shellfish stew) accompanied by a big hunk of sourdough bread. If you prefer more private seating, let one of the white-coated waiters usher you into a wooden booth (with service bell). No reservations are accepted and there's invariably a line out the door, but it's worth it to experience a bit of Barbary Coast San Francisco.

Downtown
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Waterbar

4 out of 5 stars

Sister to Epic Roasthouse, Waterbar takes full advantage of its Embarcadero waterfront location with panoramic views of the Bay from both inside and the outdoor patio. A pair of 19-foot-high circular aquariums anchors the main floor, filled with all-manner of fish and marine creatures. A glass caviar-inspired chandelier and a horseshoe-shaped raw bar offers dramatic seating for the sustainably harvested seafood menu, which includes a full oyster menu and seasonal selections such as wood-oven roasted Alaskan halibut with fresh pole beans and mussels en papillote.

South Beach

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