All across the Bay Area, Dungeness crab season – which is at its peak in the winter – is cause for celebration. Restaurants everywhere bless their menus with the fresh and imaginative dishes featuring the succulent crustacean.
A lot of the catch comes from Bodega Bay, but it’s worth a trip to the City by the Bay, San Francisco, for an upscale twist.
Alioto’s #8: Since 1925, Alioto’s #8 has been serving family recipes with the city’s freshest crab, complemented by beautiful views of Fisherman’s Wharf and the Bay waters. Must-try Sicilian specialty dishes include cioppino and shellfish risotto.
8 Fisherman’s Wharf, aliotos.com.
This Euro-Vietnamese eatery delights with drunken or roasted crab, made even better with a side of robust garlic noodles.
1475 Polk Street, houseofan.com.
Franciscan Crab Restaurant: Recently named “Best Food at Fisherman’s Wharf” by Sunset Magazine, the Franciscan Crab Restaurant stays true to its name. So does its menu, boasting sumptuous dishes like sizzling Dungeness crab legs and crab enchiladas.
Pier 43 ½, Fisherman’s Wharf, franciscanrestaurant.com.
R & G Lounge: Hidden away in Chinatown, R & G Lounge serves up Dungeness crab many different ways. Top notch treats include Salt & Pepper battered and fried crab, crab meat winter melon soup, crab in black bean sauce, fried crab with garlic and hot peppers, crab in salted egg yolk, and crab in spicy garlic sauce.
631 Kearny Street.
Sabella & La Torre: Who says the Dungeness delicacy has to be expensive? A staple in Fisherman’s Wharf, Sabella & La Torre has been serving up crab since 1927, and their prices are wonderfully retro, with a crab sandwich for only $6. Other specialties include the shellfish combo of crab, prawns, oysters and clams; crab cakes; crab cocktail; crab Louis; and the decadent crab au gratin smothered in wine cream sauce and Parmesan.
2809 Taylor Street, sabellalatorre.com.
Scoma’s Restaurant: Celebrating their 50th anniversary next year, Scoma’s is a true San Francisco tradition. Their menu changes with the season’s freshest catch, but don’t miss out on the Dungeness crab cakes or the “lazy man’s” cioppino.
Pier 47, scomas.com.
Swan Oyster Depot: It’s a casual seafood diner, but it serves some of the city’s freshest fish. Lines can grow up to 45 minutes long, but it’s worth the wait to sit at the counter of this family-run establishment and dig into the cracked crab dripping in hot drawn butter.
1517 Polk Street, sfswanoysterdepot.com.
Tadich Grill: Founded in 1849, Tadich Grill is a San Francisco classic, with waiters attired in spotless white uniforms. In the city that invented Cioppino, be sure to try their signature version brimming with crab, prawns, scallops, shrimp and whitefish. Best bet, bring a bunch of friends and load the table with crab cocktail, crab cakes, crab Louie, crab leg sauté, crab stuffed avocado, and the Cosmopolitan salad of vegetable, crab, prawns, Bay shrimp and anchovy.
240 California Street, tadichgrill.com.
Tip: Driving in traffic can make you crabby. Relax, sit back and let your Pure Luxury chauffer glide you to the city in a private limo or Town Car.