Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Swan Oyster Depot, a casual, no-frills joint for seafood lovers

Our trip to California was driven by Anthony Bourdain's recommendations.  Swan Oyster was our top pick of them all.  If you want exceptionally fresh seafood...COME HERE!  To be honest, this place is simple...just really fresh seafood, they have a great raw bar selection.  Tip:  Remember to bring CASH and expect a long wait or you can do it like us and take it to go.

We didn't make it here on our first day of arrival because they close at 5:30pm but because they are always so packed and they do plan on leaving on time, they start kicking people out with a complimentary tall glass of beer at around 5pm.  You have to understand this restaurant is literally a narrow alley, there are only around 10 stool seats inside.  But...we actually really loved our plan because we got to have 2 great people join us for our feast...I am talking our last meal, breakfast, which was a fantastic seafood feast, picnic style!  The warm hospitality, friendly people, and the happy faces you see at Swan Oyster Depot is unmistakable.  We were greeted with a complimentary freshly cracked crab claw...MmMmMmMm =)  You can truly feel they LOVE their job, which makes you feel really good as a customer to know that they love serving you and they adore what they are doing.  

We ordered 3 different type of raw oysters (super plump and juicy), shucked sweet crab meat (very convenient when you are eating picnic style and we watched them shuck them), and a scrumptious seafood salad packed with crab meat and shrimp.  
Our star and what we truly came for was this crab head filled with crab brains...OMG drool!  It has a very rich, buttery, and ocean saltiness to it that is unmistakable and irreplaceable.  When you dip your sourdough bread into this pool of golden goodness...seriously you will be speechless.  We all were!

Overall this place was mouthwatering.  The freshness and quality of the seafood was fantastic, the price was reasonable, and the hospitality was welcoming.  Other than the wait and their odd hours of operation, we really didn't find anything to complain about.  We would give this place a 9/10 and we would definitely come here again if we go to San Francisco.  This place is truly a foodie landmark, in a city full of foodie landmarks.

Swan Oyster Depot
1517 Polk St
(between California St & Sacramento St) 
San FranciscoCA 94109

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