The massive amount of press heralding Nick's Cove's fresh seafood dishes almost overshadows its iconic history. The Tomales Bay eatery's lore intersects with Abraham Lincoln in that his chief of staff once owned the waterfront property before it became a refuge for area fishermen and farmers. As tourism to the region boomed, the site transformed into a popular spot for shrimp and crab cocktails. Today, the coastal property is an award-winning destination, replete with cabins for lodging and a farm-to-table restaurant where guests can sample the bounty hauled in from Tomales Bay.
Executive chef Austin Perkins and his kitchen crew braise California white bass, sear American wagyu flat-iron steak, devil duck eggs, and find a way to work Dungeness crab into anything from mac 'n' cheese and eggs benedict to the dinner bill's black jacket. They also boast a raw oyster bar and masterfully detailed wine list.
When Don Disraeli and his wife, Randee, turned their attention to seafood retail in 1983, they considered more than their love of tasty fish. Drawing upon his PhD in Biology and her stint as a Scripps Institute of Oceanography researcher, the duo worked to ensure that each aspect of their business would be environmentally sustainable. Those standards are still upheld today, as Kanaloa Seafood remains one of the only North American and European seafood companies environmentally certified by the International Organization of Standardization.
Environmentally responsible fisheries supply the Disraelis with sushi-grade fish, which cutters clean and slice behind large viewing windows at Kanaloa Seafood’s Santa Barbara and Napa storefronts. The succulent cuts are then sustainably packaged inside recyclable corrugated boxes. Every Monday to Friday, guests can procure fish ranging from wild-caught black cod to Hawaiian ahi tuna. Patrons who are unsure of what to pick from the vast assortment will be greeted by a knowledgable staff member who will assist in picking out an ideal choice. Kanaloa Seafood also distributes a variety of marinades, rubs, oils, and sauces, as well as prepared dishes from the staff chef.
OpenTable reviewers named The Caprice a Diners' Choice for best ambience, food, service, and scenic view, among others. Zagat rated the food, decor, and service as "very good to excellent." Yelpers give the restaurant an average of four stars and OpenTable reviewers give it a 4.2-star average.
Teppanyaki chefs twirl their knives and ignite towers of flame while cooking meals tableside inside Hana Japan Steak & Seafood. They slice new york steaks, chicken, and salmon and toss scallops onto the grill alongside chopped veggies and mounds of rice, all without ruffling their tomato-red toques. Each hibachi dinner comes with a shrimp appetizer, a bowl of soup, and a salad with organic Hana dressing imported from the organic part of Japan.
With the right dishes, a tiny boardwalk fish stall can grow into a prestigious seafood restaurant. Just ask the Alioto family. In 1925, Sicilian immigrant Nunzio Alioto, Sr., took the reins of stall No. 8 on Fisherman's Wharf, feeding Italian laborers with hearty seafood cocktails served out of paper cups. Eight years later, when Nunzio passed away, his wife, Rose, took over, steadily expanding the operation to keep pace with Alioto's growing reputation, not to mention the influx of customers brought by the construction of the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges.
Today, the family still serves the traditional Sicilian recipes of Nunzio and Rose—but on the top floor of a three-story building, overlooking the spot where the modest fish stall began. The chefs work largely with fresh, local catches for the seafood-centric menu, preparing hauls of sea bass, swordfish, scallops, and of course, dungeness crab—a standout favorite among the critics that have sung Alioto's praises in the press. Though many cite the crab cioppino—a spicy tomato and shellfish stew—as their preferred dish, Frommer's lauds the dungeness crab, whether it's "cracked, caked, stuffed, or stewed." Sicilian classics such as the fried calamari are also a huge draw, not to mention the restaurant's third story ocean vistas, a vantage point City Genius hails as "one of the best views of the Bay."
Judging by the number of house recipes on their menu, the only shortcut that the chefs at Capurro's believe in is the fishing line that hooks their daily specials. A permit allows for the chefs to purchase fresh seafood directly from the local fishing fleet. Pasta—from lobster ravioli to crab rotini—provides a bed for recently netted morsels, just as discs of hand-tossed pizza dough cushion toppings of california black mussels and italian sausage. Those who prefer uninterrupted bites of seafood can indulge in a whole or half-portion of dungeness crab, served steamed, chilled, or woodstone-roasted with a white-wine-garlic sauce. Signature touches typify even the fish and chips staple: Capurro's cod is battered in firestone double-barrel ale before being served with tartar sauce and fries.
The Capurro family, which comprises much of the restaurant staff under patriarch Paul, has perfected these entrees over 66 years in business. Their convivial spirit and commitment to cooking fresh, locally caught seafood still unflaggingly defines the venue. Though their kitchen embraces San Francisco traditions, such as hearty cioppino stews, it also preps more modern oceanic eats, including fish tacos and barbecued oysters that each have their own Twitter page.
When star chef Mario Batali tasted Cioppino's Restaurant & Bar's signature dish—cioppino, an italian seafood stew with tomatoes and fennel—he liked it so much that he said, “I could eat that every day.” The richness of the cioppino sets the tone for the rest of the menu, which teems with hearty Italian staples such as rigatoni pomodoro, shrimp capellini, and margherita pizzas.
Diners devour these dishes inside the mural-bedecked dining room at tables draped in red-gingham tablecloths. They can also head out to the patio, which the Fisherman’s Wharf restaurant keeps open 365 days per year, come rain or kraken attack.