Sooner or later, whether you’re a local or visitor, highbrow or lowbrow, native or transplant, you’ll need to eat at Fisherman’s Wharf. Fear not: it can be done.
Alioto’s is an old standby, with 50’s decor, great views, and waiters in tuxedos. The Godfather would eat here if he’d lived to move to SF, says rworange. At lunchtime there are good deals, even though a la carte pricing puts a cup of soup over $7 and fresh fish of the day as high as $30. One good catch is the Sicilian chicken soup, a half-sandwich of bay shrimp, and dessert, all for $12. The soup is a deeply golden chicken broth with a few peas and noodles, some cooked egg yolk, and meatballs. The broth doesn’t have much chicken flavor, but it’s house-made and pleasant enough. The bay shrimp are delicate and fresh. For dessert, creme brulee is among the best rworange has had: thick, rich, and very deeply yellow from the eggs, with a perfect hard caramelized top.
For a totally different kind of Fisherman’s Wharf meal, run to Saigon Grill for banh mi. Not kidding. The meat in the grilled lemongrass pork banh mi (thit nuong) is so good you’ll pull pieces out and eat them by themselves. Thin tender slices of pork with a whisper of fat, all nicely marinated with a touch of grill flavor, and slightly sweet like teriyaki. They use nice crusty rolls with mayo, pickled daikon radish, and carrots, fresh cilantro, and large slices of super-fresh jalapenos. It’s a wonderful mix of texture and flavor–hot, sweet, smoky, crunchy, velvety–that’s worth the $3.50 (yep, nearly twice what you’d pay in the Tenderloin).
If you’re spending lots of time around the Wharf and Pier 39, pull down the whole list of suggestions by rworange, whose other favorites are Gary Danko, Nick’s Lighthouse, Scoma’s, Eagle Cafe, and Ana Mandara.
Alioto’s [Fisherman’s Wharf]
8 Fishermans Wharf, San Francisco
Saigon Grill [Fisherman’s Wharf]
2731 Taylor St., between Beach & Jefferson St., San Francisco
Nick’s Lighthouse [Fisherman’s Wharf]
2801 Taylor St., San Francisco
Board Links: Fisherman’s Wharf Crabby Crawl – Lunch at Alioto’s
SF- A Tale of Two Banh Mi – Saigon Grill & Little Vietnam Café
Hey, San Francisco visitors, tell the locals about Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39