The massive plate windows of The Caprice's main dining room afford panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island, and the rolling hills of San Francisco's East Bay. According to Gayot, these windows have overlooked the same bayside view for more than 55 years. As sailboats effortlessly glide across water within full view of the tables, diners can enjoy a classically inspired menu of New American cuisine that draws almost as much inspiration from French culinary techniques as it does from the nearby ocean waters. The Zagat-rated eatery's menu brims with a variety of seafood dishes. Appetizers of oysters on the half shell with cranberry mignonette appear alongside entrees of halibut with a sundried tomato-almond butter sauce, quinoa, and wilted spinach. At the same time, the chefs' French inclinations shine through in dishes such as the duck breast a l'orange and the rack of lamb with mint-tinged balsamic sauce. Although the international wine list helps guests complete their meal with well paired bottle, Fodor's says that "polishing off the warm chocolate cake with almond ice cream while gazing out at the sunset and porpoises bobbing in the waves below is a near perfect end to the evening."
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.
When Skates on the Bay says its seating is on the water, it really means it. The restaurant juts out from the shore and extends on stilts into the bay, its floor-to-ceiling windows framing a landscape of sun, sea, and sailboats gracefully toward the marina or away from sea monsters' mouths.
Naturally, Skates' chefs specialize in local seafood. Alongside classics such as fresh oysters on the half shell and chowder made with Pacific Northwest clams, the chefs get creative. Here, for instance, nigiri might mean Applewood-perfumed scallops with smoked sea salt, or flame-charred halibut with shredded daikon. The menu also includes land-based options, such as char-grilled pork chops stuffed with Bing cherries and wild mushroom and grilled filet medallions oscar style, served with asparagus and crab with b?arnaise sauce
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 Japan.
History: Legend has it that when the eatery originally opened, as The Oakdale Bar and Clam House, the structure stood completely on the water—until the earthquake in 1906 filled the Bay. Since then, the restaurant’s gone through many changes, yet still stands on the same ground, making it SF’s oldest restaurant still operating in its original location. When the current owners took over, they renovated the interior, yet kept the menu’s most-loved dishes, such as the cioppino and the cup of hot clam broth that greets each diner upon arrival.
While You’re Waiting
Inside Tip: Try the clam chowder; it’s made with a recipe from The Oakdale Bar and Clam, dating back to the late 1800s.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Find some new place settings at the Heritage House Tableware show room (2190 Palou Avenue), where more than 1,900 patterns are on display.
After: See what’s in season at the Bayshore Farmers Market (300 Bayshore Boulevard).