San Francisco Break – Swan Oyster Depot

In between trips I met up with a friend in the City and I had really wanted to go to Swan Oyster Depot. Swan is a century old institution on Polk Street. A seafood market and a lunch counter. Yes the line is long, and yes the seafood can probably be had for much cheaper at any number of places. It’ll probably be just as fresh and just as good. But there’s something so undeniably old-school San Francisco about this place; the guys that run the counter are so conversational and the atmosphere is much like a local grocer (which in fact it is a local fish monger) that I feel its worth the extra 15% in price to come and sit and eat some of the best and freshest seafood this side of Tsukiji

California Visit 2013

We started with some bread and clam chowder – as you do in San Francisco, you need sourdough. If I was picking nits, I’d note that the clam chowder is actually more watery than I like it to be, but I understand this is how its served traditionally.

California Visit 2013

Here’s the view from the counter.

California Visit 2013

Oysters! A half dozen selection – kummamotos, bay points and I forget the third variety. Excellent.

California Visit 2013

I also went with a crab salad. Old school cocktail sauce over succulent sweet dungeness crab.

California Visit 2013

Here’s the fresh fish window.

California Visit 2013

All in all, while it was expensive (I think I spent about $30 and still wasn’t exactly full) the seafood was screamingly fresh and delicious and the entire neighborhood feel of the place which is disappearing from both San Francisco and well, most places, was extremely charming.

1517 Polk St San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 673-2757
Price: Pretty damn expensive. And slightly touristy. But also, lots of locals.

This entry was posted in food, Travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to San Francisco Break – Swan Oyster Depot

  1. WoAi says:

    I keep wanting to hire a car and tour the west coast for a couple of weeks, but never actually make it happen because of distractions like family weddings in Toronto (another one this year) and Olympic Games in my home city. If only there was no such thing as work …

  2. Terence says:

    I’m super biased but the I think the west coast of North America is the best place in the world.

  3. WoAi says:

    Speaking impartially, I’d say it’s the second best place in the world after London!

  4. Terence says:

    London, California Or London, Ohio?

  5. WoAi says:

    London, Ontario. My cousin’s daughter studied there and apparently it’s awesome!

  6. WoAi says:

    There is only one London!!

  7. Terence says:

    And it’s in Nigeria!

  8. uzbekcelia says:

    Ugh, perfectly good Dungeness desecrated by sauce. (Don’t get me started on soy sauce over rice.) A shrimp louie might have been better.

  9. Terence says:

    @uzbekcelia – don’t worry. I had plain crab as well!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *