Old Clamhouse, San Francisco’s Oldest Restaurant


Although close to home, we never ventured into The Old Clamhouse, which is San Francisco’s oldest restaurant, still in its original location on Bayshore Boulevard since 1861. From its earliest beginnings, the establishment has survived many city transformations, including the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906.

Over 155 years later, it is still in tact and continues to serve fresh seafood and cocktails. The Old Clam House was constructed on what was then the waterfront to the south of Islais Creek, just below Bernal Heights.

Old Clamhouse

Shellfish and more at Old Clamhouse in San Francisco

Old Clamhouse: A San Francisco Institution

It was first named The Oakdale Bar & Clam House, the restaurant at one time was connected to downtown San Francisco by an estimated two miles of plank road. It quickly became a gathering place for the waterfront workers and neighbors settling in the area, during an era when the Bay Area contained a thriving fishing industry.

Old Clamhouse

Old Clamhouse

From salads to fried crab cakes, they’ve got you covered and the portions are reasonably large, so a great place to go as a group.

Old Clamhouse

Fried calamari at Old Clamhouse above and below

If you want to go on the lighter side, there’s plenty of salads (including a classic Caesar) and fresh veggie options to choose from — we went for a combination of both.

Old Clamhouse

Old Clamhouse

Classic Caesar salad at Old Clamhouse

Beet salad at Old Clamhouse

Beet salad at Old Clamhouse, a must try.

Old Clamhouse

Tuna, hard boiled eggs, Romaine, tomatoes and green beans at Old Clamhouse

oysters at Old Clamhouse

Fresh raw oysters at Old Clamhouse

Old Clamhouse

They also serve meat and more classic/traditional dishes at the Old Clamhouse as well. And, the dishes are beautifully presented.

One of the classic dishes worth mentioning because it’s one of the things the Old Clamhouse is most known for, is their seafood stew – oh so yum! Imagine a mish mash of seafood and shellfish (the mussels are to die for), simmering on the oven for hours in a scrumptious tomato sauce.

We’ve been to the restaurant several times but on this occasion, we were there as a party of six, so this dish is a popular one to share when you’re heading to the Old Clamhouse as a group.

stew at the Old Clamhouse

Old Clamhouse  Old Clamhouse

Inside, the ambiance is cut out from an old western movie. And truth be told, it’s old enough to feel spirits from old wandering about, but it’s also one of the things that make it so interesting.

The decor is fun and authentic, with blue checked tablecloths throughout. If you’re a party of two or four, I’d suggest sitting on the front porch if the weather is reasonable, next to a window for people and car watching. They also have these lovely booths in the back room which are perfect for two couples dining together.

Old Clamhouse

Inside and outside the Old Clamhouse — about as authentic as it gets.

The Old Clamhouse is really considered an institution by many locals who say they have been going for years. If you’re passing through San Francisco and want an authentic seafood experience, head south and get ready for some clam, oyster and mussel magic. Head on over to their website for the menu and latest. Be sure to check out our San Francisco section as well as our Food/Wine section and our Restaurant Reviews section.


The Old Clamhouse

Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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