It’s been a while folks! We’ve been caught up in wedding planning, new jobs, and lots of other things, but had some time recently to recount some great meals we’ve had. It’s great to be back.
Swan Oyster Depot is arguably the most famous destination we’ve come across on The Lists. It’s been featured by Anthony Bourdain, The Travel Channel, and tons of other tv shows and magazines throughout the world. Part of what makes this Nob Hill spot so great and special is that THEY DON’T CARE about all that. Seriously, the guys and gals that work there go around their day with a friendly cheer that makes everyone feel at home for the short time they are there. We overheard them talking about a tv show that had been there recently and they couldn’t even recall the name, that’s how little they care about glamour.
The restaurant is tiny (and there is almost always a line), offering 12 seats at the bar and barely enough room to walk behind the chairs. You can see all the seafood for the day in the window, and the place looks like it was decorated 50 years ago and not changed since. The menu is simple, and focuses mostly on fresh, raw seafood. The main draw for this place is the quality of the food they get. You get the feeling that these are the guys who are waiting on the docks for the fishing boats when they land, taking first pick before anyone else.
Fresh crab is something special when it’s good. Slightly sweet, salty, and oh so tender. The Dungeness Crab Salad at Swan Oyster doesn’t skimp on the crab, and gives you plenty of the coveted claw meat. The crab is of a great quality (the Dungeness is local) and it checks all the right boxes. To be honest, we’d be fine without the salad component, since it’s basically lettuce and dressing. In addition we got some shrimp and oysters, since all that crab meat wasn’t indulgent enough…..
It’s interesting. The two times we’ve been here we’ve loved the food, the atmosphere, and the staff, but we’re not sure if this ranks really high for us. Don’t get us wrong, the place is great for a lot of reasons, deservedly so, but maybe it’s the long wait coupled with the high price tag that gives us pause. We’ll recommend it since it’s such an icon and you might not find fresher seafood, but no need to schedule around it. Go mid-week during the afternoon (they aren’t open for dinner) to avoid the weekend crush and you should be set.
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