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Where to Feast on Dungeness Crab in the Bay Area

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Despite delays in the Bay Area’s commercial crab fishing season, hauls of Dungeness crab from the northern coast started hitting Bay Area restaurants and seafood markets in December. That sweet, sweet crustacean meat is now scuttling onto plates all around town, in the form of crab cakes, risottos, salads, chowders, and more. Here are 28 of the finest places to feast on fresh, locally caught Dungeness crab, whether it's a whole steamed crab, or another crab-focused preparation. Either way, arm yourself with the crackers and drawn butter, because we're going in.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Princess Seafood Restaurant

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32096 N Harbor Dr
Fort Bragg, CA 95437
(707) 962-3046
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The Princess is a fishing boat run by an all-women “crew of real princesses,” and it also has a fish market on the harbor. The case is filled with wild West Coast seafood, from California king in the summer to Dungeness in the winter, plus you can buy Dungeness cracked and cleaned to take home, or enjoy crab cocktail, crab roll, crab salad, or crab cakes at the outdoor tables. 

Dungeness crab plate at Princess Princess Seafood

2. Fisherman's Cove

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1850 Bay Flat Rd
Bodega Bay, CA 94923
(707) 377-4238
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This tiny waterfront bait shop slash seafood shack is known for being one of the best spots in Bodega Bay for freshly shucked oysters — and, especially during the local crab season, for steamed Dungeness, either served with wasabi cocktail sauce or on a sandwich. For the full experience, grab a seat at one of the picnic tables outside.

Crab at Fisherman’s Cove Fisherman’s Cove

3. China Village

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1335 Solano Ave
Albany, CA 94706
(510) 525-2285
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One of the East Bay’s best regarded traditional Sichuan restaurants is also the birthplace of a truly only-in-the-Bay-Area dish: mapo tofu prepared with an entire wok-fried Dungeness crab instead of the usual ground pork. It’s got all the tongue-numbing heat of the traditional preparation, but with the added succulence of sweet crab meat — especially when the local crabs are in season. Eat with plenty of white rice to soak up all that spicy-savory sauce.

Crab at China Village China Village

4. Fish

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350 Harbor Dr
Sausalito, CA 94965
(415) 331-3474
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Fish is known for responsibly sourcing seafood from trusted fishermen. The combined market and restaurant sits right on the bay in Sausalito, and the generous outdoor space boasts fresh views. Fans love “the crab roll,” a torpedo-shaped bun stuffed to the gills with lump meat, as well as louie salads and a cracking cioppino.

5. Chef Smelly’s

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2430 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94612

Dungeness crab is one of the specialties of this cult favorite pop-up, currently housed Wednesday through Sunday at the Uptown Oakland bar Au Lounge. Order one of Chef Smelly’s garlicky Creole-style crabs — and have him serve it over garlic noodles for good measure.

6. alaMar Kitchen & Bar

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100 Grand Ave #111
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 907-7555
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Chef Nelson German, as seen on Top Chef Season 18, owns both Alamar seafood restaurant and Sobre Mesa cocktail lounge in Uptown Oakland. The former is a seafood destination, starring shrimp boils and garlic noodles year round. But during Dungeness season, there are crab boils and crab poppers, and the most popular variation is the “Steph Curry” whole crab stacked on sausage, corn, and potatoes, and drowned in curry sauce.

Crab dish at Alamar Alamar

7. Pier Market

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Pier 39
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 989-7437
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At the waterfront seafood restaurant, you can order a half Dungeness crab steamed, chilled, or roasted with garlic; crab cocktail; crab cakes; crab Louie; or even get clam chowder in a sourdough bowl, and top it off with extra crab.

Roasted crab at Pier Market Pier Market

8. Crab House at Pier 39

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203 Pier 39
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 651-2574
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Open since 1998, Crab House was purchased by the Simmons family during the pandemic, so it’s now under the same ownership as Fog Harbor and Pier Market. It’s known for the trademarked “Killer Crab,” a 2-pound Dungeness roasted in garlic sauce and served on a skillet.

Whole Dungeness crab at Crab House Crab House

9. Fog Harbor Fish House

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39 pier
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 421-2442
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Fog Harbor Fish House is putting Dungeness crab all over its menu: crab cakes, crab-topped clam chowder, crab Louie, crab ceviche, crab ravioli, crab risotto, filet mignon finished with crab. The purest expression will the garlic roasted whole Dungeness crab.

10. Scoma's Restaurant

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1965 Al Scoma Way
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 771-4383
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Scoma’s, the seafood institution sitting on the dock of the bay, has been cracking Dungeness crab from local boats for more than half a century. Tie on a bib to attack a whole Dungeness crab, either chilled or roasted. Alternatively, if you prefer to keep your shirt clean, the “Lazy Man’s” Cioppino comes fully cracked, with lump crabmeat, scallops, clams, mussels, calamari, and fish swimming in a spicy tomato broth.

A plate of Dungeness crab Scoma’s

11. Sotto Mare

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552 Green St
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 398-3181
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This very North Beach neighborhood restaurant, in a historic building with kitsch crammed onto the walls, has been run by several different Italian-American families over the years and talks a big game. During the season, tie on a bib for crab cocktail, crab diavolo over linguine, or “the best damn cioppino in San Francisco.”

Cioppino at Sotto Mare Sotto Mare

12. California Fish Market Restaurant

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550 Green St
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 757-0918
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This new contender in North Beach opened mid pandemic as a combined fish counter and restaurant. True to the neighborhood, there’s Italian-American flare, and Dungeness crab stars in cakes, chowder, linguine with calabrian chile oil, and of course, cioppino.

Squid ink pasta from California Fish Market California Fish Market

13. Hog Island Oyster Co.

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One, Ferry Building, #11
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 391-7117
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The Bay Area’s leading oyster farm, based up the coast in Marshall, is known for slurp-worthy Sweetwater oysters — but during crab season, Dungeness claws onto the menu. The bar at the Ferry Building usually serves Dungeness either roasted with garlic herb or chilled with lemon aioli. During the pandemic, they also started offering it simply cooked and cleaned, if people want to put their own spin on it at home. And the farm in Marshall sometimes sells it live, if any day trippers are up for the adventure.

Whole Dungeness crab at Hog Island Oyster Co. Hog Island Oyster Co.

14. Harborview Restaurant & Bar

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Level, 4 Embarcadero Ctr
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 399-1200
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Of course, Dungeness often makes a dramatic appearance at upscale dim sum spots, and Harborview does not disappoint when it comes to bay views and crab specials. Feast on whole crab, either smothered in Singapore-style chilis or deep-fried and golden in the classic salt and pepper. Or take comfort in a big bowl of congee with either a half or whole crab sunk into the porridge.

Dungeness crab at Harborview Harborview

15. R & G Lounge

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631 Kearny St
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 982-7877
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A Chinatown classic, R&G Lounge has three floors worth of white table cloths and spinning Cantonese-style dishes. It’s known for its iconic salt-and-pepper crab that’s generously battered and deep fried until golden. But you can also get crab prepared eight other ways, including with black bean sauce, salted egg yolk, or stir-fried with garlic and peppers.

Crab at R & G Lounge R & G Lounge

16. Tadich Grill

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240 California St
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 391-1849
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The oldest of the old-school seafood spots in San Francisco, Tadich dates back to 1849, and at 172 years old, it claims to be the longest-standing restaurant in California. Between the bustling waiters in white coats, the clamor of dishes, and the trolley car ringing outside, it’s not quiet and offers no reservations. Smart diners slide in at the bar and tuck into Dungeness crab cakes, Louie salad, and classic cioppino.

Cioppino at Tadich Grill Tadich Grill

17. Swan Oyster Depot

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1517 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 673-1101
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It was one of Anthony Bourdain’s favorite destinations. Take your place in line at this icon for fresh local Dungeness crab, served boiled and with bread, butter, and your choice of cocktail sauce or mayo. A customer did call them out for a racist experience in 2021, and the Sancimino brothers, who’ve never exactly known for warm and fuzzy customer service, declined to apologize.

Swan Oyster Depot Daniel Krieger

18. Waterbar Restaurant

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399 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 284-9922
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This Embarcadero spot with sparkling bridge and bay views is always a solid choice for seafood. Now it’s serving the first Dungeness of the season as part of an oak-roasted seafood platter, with Dungeness crab, Tapneck clams, and prawns with crab fat Hollandaise, garlic, chiles, and shoestring potatoes.

Patio at Waterbar Waterbar

19. Woodhouse Fish Co.

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1914 Fillmore St
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 437-2722
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You can always count on Woodhouse Fish Co. to have excellent lobster roll, but the Dungeness comes in during the true season. Get it cracked and steamed in a lemon, garlic, and white wine sauce, or chilled with butter or lemon aioli. Or enjoy it in dishes like crab Louie, crab cocktail, cioppino, and stuffed artichokes.

The crab roll from Woodhouse Fish Co. Patricia Chang

20. PPQ Dungeness Island

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2332 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 386-8266
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With Dungeness in the name, PPQ is responsible for roasting crabs year round, and it sources them from Washington during the Bay Area’s off season. But it’s now back to local crab at this Clement Street banquet hall, where it’s available roasted, drunken, curried, spicy, or in a pepper sauce.

21. Hayes Street Grill

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320 Hayes St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 863-5545
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Hayes Street Grill is a seafood institution, and the moment crabs land at the wharf, owner Patty Unterman starts pulling the live beasts into the restaurant, then plunges them in salty boiling water. At lunch or dinner, enjoy a cracked half Dungeness crab with aioli and roasted vegetable salad.

Hayes Street Grill

22. Hang Ten Boiler

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2315 Santa Clara Ave
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 263-8688
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For an Asian-Cajun-style crab boil, it’s hard to beat this popular Alameda spot, where the crab — along with the crawfish, shrimp, sausages, and whatever else you want them to put in the bag — comes drenched in the shop’s extra-buttery, well-spiced sauce. Make sure to ask them to include the head, which comes topped with a mound of rice to soak up all the umami-laden crab fat.

Hang Ten Boiler

23. Thanh Long Restaurant

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4101 Judah St
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 665-1146
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Dungeness crab and garlic noodles are the raison d'être for this Outer Sunset Vietnamese restaurant, which serves them year round in the owner’s secret garlic sauce, but prizes the local catch this time of year. The An family also includes Crustacean in SF and additional restaurants in SoCal, and most recently opened ANQI Shaken & Stirred within Bloomingdales in Santa Clara.

24. Anchor Oyster Bar

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579 Castro St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 431-3990
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Crab season is back at this Castro neighborhood gem, where local Dungeness is served steamed, chilled, or with garlic butter. Round out the meal with a classic cioppino of epic proportions.

Cioppino at Anchor Oyster Anchor Oyster Bar

25. Billingsgate

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3859 24th St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 379-0936
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This new fish counter in Noe Valley is an extension of Four Star Seafood, a wholesaler that’s supplied local restaurants for years. The cases are filled with ice and stocked with fresh fish, so in season, it’s an ideal spot to pick up a few crabs to crack at home. And they’re doing a few prepared items, including crab toast on a thick slab of buttery brioche.

Dungeness crab salad on griddled brioche at Billingsgate Billingsgate

26. Nick's Rockaway

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100 Rockaway Beach Ave
Pacifica, CA 94044
(650) 359-3900
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When Eater SF pondered where the best crab sandwich is in San Francisco, readers spoke up loud and clear — it’s not in SF. It’s in Pacifica. Nick’s is an old-school joint with white table clothes, live music, and a view of Rockaway Beach. The grilled crab sandwich is a thick stack of buttered sourdough and sweet meat. There’s also cracked crab, which is chilled and marinated in lemon, garlic, and herbs per “Nona Lena’s recipe.” At brunch, try crab cake Benedict.

27. Barbara's Fishtrap

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281 Capistrano Rd
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
(650) 728-7049
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It’s a cash-only fish shack and a legend of Half Moon Bay. Barbara Walsh first opened a restaurant in 1971, and though the location and name have changed with the tides and over the decades, Barbara’s Fishtrap now inhabits a hundred-year-old building with a view of the bay. Load up on Dungeness crab sandwiches, crab Louie salads, and garlic cheese crab bread. It’s takeout only at the moment, but you can snag an outdoor table or take your crab feast to the beach.

The crab sign at Barbara’s Fishtrap Barbara’s Fishtrap

28. Sam's Chowder House

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4210 Cabrillo Hwy
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
(650) 712-0245
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Half Moon Bay’s classic seafood house boasts a big patio, fire pits, and ocean views. The East Coast–style clam chowder and lobster rolls step aside during crab season, when the West Coast’s best crustacean makes an appearance. The cioppino is teeming with fish, shellfish, prawns, clams, and crab claws, and a whole Dungeness crab comes on a big plate with a choice of two sides, such as fries and slaw or mashed potatoes and Italian chard.

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1. Princess Seafood Restaurant

32096 N Harbor Dr, Fort Bragg, CA 95437
Dungeness crab plate at Princess Princess Seafood

The Princess is a fishing boat run by an all-women “crew of real princesses,” and it also has a fish market on the harbor. The case is filled with wild West Coast seafood, from California king in the summer to Dungeness in the winter, plus you can buy Dungeness cracked and cleaned to take home, or enjoy crab cocktail, crab roll, crab salad, or crab cakes at the outdoor tables. 

32096 N Harbor Dr
Fort Bragg, CA 95437

2. Fisherman's Cove

1850 Bay Flat Rd, Bodega Bay, CA 94923
Crab at Fisherman’s Cove Fisherman’s Cove

This tiny waterfront bait shop slash seafood shack is known for being one of the best spots in Bodega Bay for freshly shucked oysters — and, especially during the local crab season, for steamed Dungeness, either served with wasabi cocktail sauce or on a sandwich. For the full experience, grab a seat at one of the picnic tables outside.

1850 Bay Flat Rd
Bodega Bay, CA 94923

3. China Village

1335 Solano Ave, Albany, CA 94706
Crab at China Village China Village

One of the East Bay’s best regarded traditional Sichuan restaurants is also the birthplace of a truly only-in-the-Bay-Area dish: mapo tofu prepared with an entire wok-fried Dungeness crab instead of the usual ground pork. It’s got all the tongue-numbing heat of the traditional preparation, but with the added succulence of sweet crab meat — especially when the local crabs are in season. Eat with plenty of white rice to soak up all that spicy-savory sauce.

1335 Solano Ave
Albany, CA 94706

4. Fish

350 Harbor Dr, Sausalito, CA 94965

Fish is known for responsibly sourcing seafood from trusted fishermen. The combined market and restaurant sits right on the bay in Sausalito, and the generous outdoor space boasts fresh views. Fans love “the crab roll,” a torpedo-shaped bun stuffed to the gills with lump meat, as well as louie salads and a cracking cioppino.

350 Harbor Dr
Sausalito, CA 94965

5. Chef Smelly’s

2430 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612

Dungeness crab is one of the specialties of this cult favorite pop-up, currently housed Wednesday through Sunday at the Uptown Oakland bar Au Lounge. Order one of Chef Smelly’s garlicky Creole-style crabs — and have him serve it over garlic noodles for good measure.

2430 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94612

6. alaMar Kitchen & Bar

100 Grand Ave #111, Oakland, CA 94612
Crab dish at Alamar Alamar

Chef Nelson German, as seen on Top Chef Season 18, owns both Alamar seafood restaurant and Sobre Mesa cocktail lounge in Uptown Oakland. The former is a seafood destination, starring shrimp boils and garlic noodles year round. But during Dungeness season, there are crab boils and crab poppers, and the most popular variation is the “Steph Curry” whole crab stacked on sausage, corn, and potatoes, and drowned in curry sauce.

100 Grand Ave #111
Oakland, CA 94612

7. Pier Market

Pier 39, San Francisco, CA 94133
Roasted crab at Pier Market Pier Market

At the waterfront seafood restaurant, you can order a half Dungeness crab steamed, chilled, or roasted with garlic; crab cocktail; crab cakes; crab Louie; or even get clam chowder in a sourdough bowl, and top it off with extra crab.

Pier 39
San Francisco, CA 94133

8. Crab House at Pier 39

203 Pier 39, San Francisco, CA 94133
Whole Dungeness crab at Crab House Crab House

Open since 1998, Crab House was purchased by the Simmons family during the pandemic, so it’s now under the same ownership as Fog Harbor and Pier Market. It’s known for the trademarked “Killer Crab,” a 2-pound Dungeness roasted in garlic sauce and served on a skillet.

203 Pier 39
San Francisco, CA 94133

9. Fog Harbor Fish House

39 pier, San Francisco, CA 94133

Fog Harbor Fish House is putting Dungeness crab all over its menu: crab cakes, crab-topped clam chowder, crab Louie, crab ceviche, crab ravioli, crab risotto, filet mignon finished with crab. The purest expression will the garlic roasted whole Dungeness crab.

39 pier
San Francisco, CA 94133

10. Scoma's Restaurant

1965 Al Scoma Way, San Francisco, CA 94133
A plate of Dungeness crab Scoma’s

Scoma’s, the seafood institution sitting on the dock of the bay, has been cracking Dungeness crab from local boats for more than half a century. Tie on a bib to attack a whole Dungeness crab, either chilled or roasted. Alternatively, if you prefer to keep your shirt clean, the “Lazy Man’s” Cioppino comes fully cracked, with lump crabmeat, scallops, clams, mussels, calamari, and fish swimming in a spicy tomato broth.

1965 Al Scoma Way
San Francisco, CA 94133

11. Sotto Mare

552 Green St, San Francisco, CA 94133
Cioppino at Sotto Mare Sotto Mare

This very North Beach neighborhood restaurant, in a historic building with kitsch crammed onto the walls, has been run by several different Italian-American families over the years and talks a big game. During the season, tie on a bib for crab cocktail, crab diavolo over linguine, or “the best damn cioppino in San Francisco.”

552 Green St
San Francisco, CA 94133

12. California Fish Market Restaurant

550 Green St, San Francisco, CA 94133
Squid ink pasta from California Fish Market California Fish Market

This new contender in North Beach opened mid pandemic as a combined fish counter and restaurant. True to the neighborhood, there’s Italian-American flare, and Dungeness crab stars in cakes, chowder, linguine with calabrian chile oil, and of course, cioppino.

550 Green St
San Francisco, CA 94133

13. Hog Island Oyster Co.

One, Ferry Building, #11, San Francisco, CA 94111
Whole Dungeness crab at Hog Island Oyster Co. Hog Island Oyster Co.

The Bay Area’s leading oyster farm, based up the coast in Marshall, is known for slurp-worthy Sweetwater oysters — but during crab season, Dungeness claws onto the menu. The bar at the Ferry Building usually serves Dungeness either roasted with garlic herb or chilled with lemon aioli. During the pandemic, they also started offering it simply cooked and cleaned, if people want to put their own spin on it at home. And the farm in Marshall sometimes sells it live, if any day trippers are up for the adventure.

One, Ferry Building, #11
San Francisco, CA 94111

14. Harborview Restaurant & Bar

Level, 4 Embarcadero Ctr, San Francisco, CA 94111
Dungeness crab at Harborview Harborview

Of course, Dungeness often makes a dramatic appearance at upscale dim sum spots, and Harborview does not disappoint when it comes to bay views and crab specials. Feast on whole crab, either smothered in Singapore-style chilis or deep-fried and golden in the classic salt and pepper. Or take comfort in a big bowl of congee with either a half or whole crab sunk into the porridge.

Level, 4 Embarcadero Ctr
San Francisco, CA 94111

15. R & G Lounge

631 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA 94108
Crab at R & G Lounge R & G Lounge

A Chinatown classic, R&G Lounge has three floors worth of white table cloths and spinning Cantonese-style dishes. It’s known for its iconic salt-and-pepper crab that’s generously battered and deep fried until golden. But you can also get crab prepared eight other ways, including with black bean sauce, salted egg yolk, or stir-fried with garlic and peppers.

631 Kearny St
San Francisco, CA 94108

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16. Tadich Grill

240 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111
Cioppino at Tadich Grill Tadich Grill

The oldest of the old-school seafood spots in San Francisco, Tadich dates back to 1849, and at 172 years old, it claims to be the longest-standing restaurant in California. Between the bustling waiters in white coats, the clamor of dishes, and the trolley car ringing outside, it’s not quiet and offers no reservations. Smart diners slide in at the bar and tuck into Dungeness crab cakes, Louie salad, and classic cioppino.

240 California St
San Francisco, CA 94111

17. Swan Oyster Depot

1517 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Swan Oyster Depot Daniel Krieger

It was one of Anthony Bourdain’s favorite destinations. Take your place in line at this icon for fresh local Dungeness crab, served boiled and with bread, butter, and your choice of cocktail sauce or mayo. A customer did call them out for a racist experience in 2021, and the Sancimino brothers, who’ve never exactly known for warm and fuzzy customer service, declined to apologize.

1517 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109

18. Waterbar Restaurant

399 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105
Patio at Waterbar Waterbar

This Embarcadero spot with sparkling bridge and bay views is always a solid choice for seafood. Now it’s serving the first Dungeness of the season as part of an oak-roasted seafood platter, with Dungeness crab, Tapneck clams, and prawns with crab fat Hollandaise, garlic, chiles, and shoestring potatoes.

399 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94105

19. Woodhouse Fish Co.

1914 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115