Scoma's Restaurant Pier 47, on Al Scoma Way at Jones St./Jefferson St., Fisherman’s Wharf, (800) 644-5852, (415) 771-4383. L-D daily; $$$. Reservations not accepted. Free valet parking.
Hidden away from the touristy bustle and featuring a prime waterfront location, this old timer is reached via a back alley leading out over the area’s actual wharfs. Built from a modest coffee shop and using the owner’s family recipes, it boasts a pleasant old S.F. ambiance, big windows with views of weathered boardwalks and fishing boats, and a professional waitstaff.
And since it is the only restaurant in San Francisco with a commercial license to buy right off the boats, it's hard to beat the fresh seafood selection. The kitchen gets first choice of the best fresh fish off the “mosquito fleet” of small boats, which stops here first.
Meals begin with exceptional sourdough bread made by Boudin especially for the restaurant (they use 175 loaves on an average day). When at capacity, two separate kitchens keep the wait short. Menu items are organic and from local small farmers when possible, and an active effort is made to recycle (they have reused 50% of the fry oil since the 1970s). The menu includes everyone’s favorites, many of which are house specialties--Lazy Man’s cioppino, fried calamari, clam chowder, crab cakes, shrimp and Dungeness crab Louis.
The chef also prepares perfect scallops and a delicious crab risotto studded with fresh peas, plus house-aged Angus beef is available. The wine list has “something for everyone at a reasonable price,” and cocktails are made with fresh-squeezed juices. It is interesting to know that the wooden walkway outside is one of the few original ones left on the wharf.
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image ©2010 Carole Terwilliger Meyers
updated June 21, 2019