Most people make it to San Francisco’s Embarcadero when they visit this beautiful city but there so many seafood restaurants that it’s hard to know where to start. We’ve sampled a few of them but given how long I’ve lived in the City by the Bay, it’s surprising I haven’t spent more time wandering around the piers. I recently learned about the ever so classic Fog Harbor Fish House and if you’re a seafood lover, get ready to whet your appetite…..oh what a treat!
The restaurant was started by the same family who developed PIER 39, so there’s quite a bit of history behind the place, that spans over three decades and generations.
Sustainable & Fresh
Let’s start with a few of the things that make this seafood spot so special. For responsible foodies, you’ll be happy to learn that Fog Harbor was the first restaurant in Fisherman’s Wharf to serve 100% sustainable seafood. Secondly, the fish, crab and oysters all tasted fresh and there’s plenty of choices. And third…..did I mention the views? We’ll get to their magic window tables in a minute. First, let’s talk about their seafood towers, which I’d strongly suggest starting with, at least on your first trip, whether you’re there as a couple or a group.
Since there were only two of us, we went for what they refer to as the Shellfish Tower, which consists of a half Maine lobster, half cracked Dungeness crab (yum!!), 6 fresh shucked oysters (my favorite) and 6 Jumbo Shrimp (and they were truly jumbo!).
Our seafood platter was paired with a 2016 Robledo Sauvignon Blanc from Lake County, one we had never tried and I have to admit, it was a lovely choice. Another safe choice on the menu would be the 2015 Ferrari Carano Fume Blanc from Sonoma.
Salads & Appetizers
If you’ve read my restaurant reviews for awhile now, you know that I’m a huge salad lover and regardless of what unique gem is on the app menu, I must include a salad in the order. In other words, I need my greens.
They had a number of salad options to choose from, including Salmon Club Salad, your classic Caesar, a Blue Cheese Wedge and others, but one of the managers highly recommended their California Crab and Avocado Caesar Salad and noted it as a favorite of many.
We were surprised at how good (and large) it was and we asked for a half portion. I would gladly return, sit at the bar, order a glass of Chardonnay and this salad alone as a meal. Add a dozen oysters and you’ll be in heaven.
Our fabulous crab salad was paired with a 2014 Chard from one of our favorite wineries — Jordan from Russian River (hats off to you Lisa and team). Who has a Jordan Chard and doesn’t fall in love? We’re huge fans!
Grilled Fish, Crab & Platters
We’re huge seafood fans, so can’t imagine anyone going to a “fish house” and not ordering fish, crab or lobster. That said, they have other options, like a pan seared chicken breast, filet mignon, New York Steak and a Flat Iron Steak. They also offer a few pastas however with a Shellfish platter, Garlic roasted Dungeness Crab, lobster, Mixed grill, swordfish and Ahi Tuna on the menu, why would you want to order anything other than seafood?
I’ll be honest with you — it was a tough call and it was hard to pass up the Ahi, which they prepare in a sesame seed crust with a ginger soy glaze, wasabi aioli, stir fried veggies and garlic jasmine rice.
We opted for the Grilled Salmon with roasted corn, arugula and peppers and one of their specials — the Alaskan Halibut which is served with Quinoa, arugula, toasted pine nuts (yum!), basil, cilantro, citrus beurre blanc, tomato relish and crispy leeks. Both were so delish!
I’m mesmerized by the magic of sauces and chefs who simply get them right. While the garlic shallot aioli was not a topping to either of our orders, I asked to taste a little of it — how could I not? For those interested, it is their Seared Pacific Cod (a special on the menu when we were there in late July) that they topped with this exquisite concoction.
If you have kids in tow, they have a few fried platters and sandwiches, including a grilled chicken and a Salmon BLT. There’s also a burger for fussier eaters which comes with french fries of course, and a garnish.
For the Italians out there, they had Cioppino on the menu – whoah! LOVE this dish but we felt it would be too filling it we wanted to sample several dishes from their menu.
One other thing to note that will also make Italians happy before we move to sweets — they had a Dungeness Crab Ravioli on special when we were there so check their specials before you book.
While we’re not as strict with our crab intake as we were six months ago, we went for grilled fish instead. That said, it’s hard to pass up a fresh ravioli with fresh crab if it’s on the menu, so take note. The sauce? Shallot butter sauce with spinach and tomatoes. Scrumptious right?
The oh so lovely Conundrum by Caymus came out with our entrees — we’ve always been fans of Caymus, so was thrilled with their pairing choice.
Ready for Dessert yet?
They boast tons of choices regardless of your sweet-tooth favorite. How about a warm chocolate fudge cake (they strongly recommended this one), Apple Crisp a le Mode with vanilla ice cream, a Blondie Sundae with walnuts or a cream biscoff cookie crumble and a biscoff sweet spread?
We opted for their Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee, which is always hard to beat in my book and a Tiramisu, layered with mascarpone cream and dusted with chocolate. They also have a delicious looking Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding topped with vanilla bean sauce, which we didn’t try but our neighbors got excited about.
In the Kitchen
In the kitchen, executive chef Adolfo Soto and his team whip up delicious fare which as noted above, doesn’t only include seafood. That said, seafood is what they’re known for and where they shine and after all, you’re right on San Francisco’s harbor.
Photo credit: Fog Harbor
I mentioned the views early on because this is a huge plus of this local PIER 39 restaurant. The restaurant is pretty spacious so regardless of time of year, you can usually get a window view of the waterfront, especially if you request it when making your reservation.
Not only can you take in stunning views of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge over dinner but you have a fantastic cocktail menu to choose from as well as top notch wines as we mentioned with our perfect pairings for each and every dish. And remember, the seafood and meat are sustainably selected.
You can also watch the boats coming in and breathe in the fabulous sunset.
It also has a fun bar and I’d return for that to die for fresh Crab salad we raved about earlier, a few appetizers and to see how the bartender makes a Margarita.
Fog Harbor Fish House
San Francisco, CA 94133
Note: we were hosted by the restaurant but all opinions expressed are entirely our own.