Swan Oyster Depot

San Francisco, US

A meal at this perennially popular Bay area mainstay is to be transported to the briny waters of the Pacific. The bijou institution has sat on the same site since 1912, building a reputation for fresh-as-they-come, home-style seafood comfort classics lauded by the likes of Anthony Bourdain. Indeed, the marble counter, tills and piled-high market boxes look like they’ve not changed since it opened, while walls clad in posters, NFL jerseys and a jumble of photos add to the neighbourhood vibe. To snag one of only 18 seats, you’ve got to be prepared to wait – the Sanicimino brothers only do business in person. Arrive early and look for the sea-blue awning, which yields to reveal a hand-illustrated menu that’s a bona fide ode to the ocean. Blue Point oysters – out the water two, maybe three hours tops. West Coast littlenecks. Boston chowder. Spiced Delta crayfish. The iconic dish? Crab back – a buttery medley of crabmeat and liver on a half shell – the embodiment of gill-to-fin cooking. A lively team are on hand to offer suggestions for those who can’t decide, though a side of San Francisco sourdough is obligatory for mopping up juices, as is a local Anchor Steam beer to wash it all down.

Key Information


1517 Polk St, Nob Hill, San Francisco, California, CA 94109