Eaten at San Francisco’s Fishermen’s Grotto (140/366)

“At the table with good friends and family you do not become old. ”
~ Italian folk saying

Fishermen’s Grotto was the first restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf, and though they’ve had their “75th Anniversary” banner up for a little while, that landmark year is still pretty special. They began serving food before the Golden Gate Bridge was even erected (the Golden Gate celebrates its 75th Anniversary this year)!

Most San Franciscans avoid Fisherman’s Wharf at all costs since it’s so flooded with tourists, but of course it’s a great place to go when people visit from out of town. Today, Ryan was up visiting and we wanted to bring him to the “Musée Mécanique,” or the Mechanical Museum, which was relocated to the Wharf after being at the Cliff House for decades. What a great time to check out Fishermen’s Grotto for a meal!

When you walk into the bottom portion of the restaurant, it’s a quiet unassuming room, with back windows that give you a nice view of a little inlet of the marina. It’s actually a public area as well, so it’s a nice place to stroll and maybe take a picture or two after your meal.

We ordered Fried Calamari and a cup of clam chowder to start.  For our entrées, Ryan got the “Calamari Steak Sandwich – Served on Sourdough Bread with Tartar Sauce and Fries,” Nick chose the “Combination Seafood Plate a la Grotto: Sautéed Dungeness Crab Legs, Prawns, Scallops, Oysters & Calamari,” and I ordered their “Whole Dungeness Crab Special – Steamed in Olive Oil, Garlic and Fresh Lemon”.

We’ve read mixed reviews about Fishermen’s Grotto – one of complaints being that their food is overpriced – but we say, it’s San Francisco – it’s expensive here.  Our food was fresh and tasty, the service was very friendly and accommodating, and this place is a piece of our city’s history.  It’s well worth a visit.

When we ate here, we ate in the downstairs dining area and didn’t even realize there was a whole upstairs dining room.  There is a very different feel in the room upstairs – it’s a nice space to take a group for a special occasion – it’s got beautiful views of the water, and really cool bar area just as you walk in.

If you’re in the Bay Area and you haven’t been to Fishermen’s Grotto, be sure to stop by for a visit.  This place has been run by the same family since they started out – selling seafood from a cart in this spot, before they even had a building, over 75 years ago.  Alex, the bartender, was so friendly and gracious – and who told us all about the history of the restaurant – has worked there for almost 20 years.  Although many of us who live in San Francisco try to avoid tourist areas like Fisherman’s Wharf, long-standing, family-owned and run businesses like this definitely deserve our patronage!

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