Now we’ve never been to Maine, but we imagine that Anchor Oyster Bar would fit right in to some blustery town along its coast. Tucked into the Castro, this little spot features white tile, nautical themed wall decorations, a tiny kitchen, and a staff that you can tell has been slinging seafood there for a long time. Speaking of a long time, the restaurant has been owned and operated by the proprietor since 1977. We came on the perfect type of day too, a classic cold and foggy SF evening. The type that makes you want something like clam chowder.
We’ve found that clam chowder is a pretty subjective dish. It seems that people like it in a lot of different ways, and not many agree on who has the best. Some like it with potatoes, some like it buttery, some want big chunks of clam. We say this because obviously a lot of people think it’s one of the best, but for us, it was just good. It wasn’t earth-shattering or even our favorite in SF (that would be Tarantino’s). We wanted a little more pepper kick and maybe a few more clams. Now stay with us, because we did order a few more dishes, and those puppies were quite tasty.
First off were the sautéed garlic prawns with roasted potatoes and vegetables. So simple, so fantastic. Maybe it’s due to the fact that the grill has possibly been there since the 70’s, but the smokey flavor that permeated that dish was heavenly. Slightly charred veggies, garlicky shrimp, and a perfect snap of chili flakes (quick side note; any place that puts the following on their menu like Anchor Oyster does gets points with us “We like to use red chili flakes). Let your waiter know if you would prefer not to have any”. It was a great example of food cooked basically, but very well.
The other dish we got to round things out was their cioppino. Let’s put it this way, if the spoon can’t even fit in the bowl because of the amount of seafood, there’s a good chance things are going to be good. That theory held up quite well in this case, as we were straight diggin’ this dish. A nice spicy tomato broth with boatloads of seafood and grilled garlic bread has got to be one of the best combinations, and Anchor Oyster combined it well.
While the clam chowder didn’t wow us, Anchor Oyster reeled us back in with the rest of their offerings and their old school setting. If it’s cold out and you’re in the area, pop into Anchor Oyster and get yourself some high quality seafood.
A & K