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San Francisco Bay Area

Fisherman's Wharf [San Francisco]


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Restaurants & Bars San Francisco Bay Area

Fisherman's Wharf [San Francisco]

OliverB | | Mar 8, 2013 05:16 PM

Is there anything good at the Wharf besides Scoma's?

Despite the crowds of undiscerning tourists and abundance of generic chain food, both of which seem to detract focus in the area from the likes of food conscious locals leaving a vast and seemingly destitute strip along The Embarcadero with little destination dining of merit (at least West of the Ferry Bldg, Fog City Diner, Waterbar, etc) - there also seems to be many "old San Francisco" red sauce (checkered tablecloth) joints and cheap fish shacks along the docks, that have seemingly been around since the mid century and have plenty of atmosphere to spare!

I've never really explored the restaurants as everyone always warns to stay away (and until now, I've heeded this advice) but in a city of local and sustainable chef-driven kitchens, I'm apparently of the minority when it comes to enjoying old timewarps of the '40s-'50s-'60s as much for their charm as the old fashioned dining experience.

So I'm curious... What's good and what's decent around the Wharf?

I've always wanted to try Forbes Island for the ambiance; it looks like a ton of fun! Can anyone comment on the quality of dining? I don't remember the many other red sauce Italian joints that I passed by and took notice of this week as I was taking my younger out-of-town sister 'round the area on a city-wide walking tour of the Bay, but I am curious to know what restaurants (value-aside comparatively!) actually serve good quality meals in the immediate waterfront area.

Are any of the smelly crabshacks or fish stands at the piers good; what about Salty's Fishwich? Is the Grotto totally gross? It's got pretty stinko reviews on Yelp... And what about Alioto's? Would any of these be worth trying simply for the sake of doing so, are are you guaranteed a bad meal and experience?

I must be in the minority because I actually find the Wharf to be pretty fun and exciting, and I really enjoy the lost cultural experiences from dining at old (pre-1970s) restaurants- for which San Francisco has no shortage! The majority of food conscious critics have deemed the Wharf a culinary wasteland however, and there's been little value attributed to anything in the immediate area. Is there anything worthwhile on the waterfront at all??

And what about Forbes Island?!