The stout, mottled brick front and black and white striped awning of BFC Cajun Seafood's storefront conceal the carefully crafted and spicy Cajun fare waiting inside. Bone-in catfish fillets come on sandwiches or as part of fried-fish plates sporting rich batter with an extra crunch that frequently alarms local seismologists. Beneath the glittering shell of a glass counter, an array of fresh-baked homemade pies and cakes divest themselves of single slices or travel whole to patrons' homes packaged in carry-out orders.
The walls at Currylicious exude the same orange and yellow hues as saffron and turmeric, which flavor its traditional Indian dishes. Appetizers include hearty veggie samosas and the kachumar salad, an intermingling of fresh garden veggies, herbs, and lime juice. Entrees such as chicken shahi korma and lamb karahi cool down spice with infusions of yogurt sauce and side helpings of naan. During pleasant weather, diners can sit outside, where they take in Oakland’s scenic landscape, or season their meals with crushed sunshine.
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.
At Sinbad’s Pier 2 Restaurant, guests can look out over the bay as they savor blackened swordfish and startlingly fresh seafood. Clean ocean breezes tickle through the windows as guests spoon up sips of clam chowder and load forks with pasta, shrimp, scallops, and mussels. Customized dishes of salmon-stuffed pastry shells and crab cake eggs benedict start hitting tables as early as 10 a.m. for breakfast-craving diners. An extensive wine list brings out the delicate flavors of the fish and seafood, as well as any napkins that fall into your mouth by accident.
Blu Restaurant's floor-to-ceiling windows overlook the bustle on Market Street from the fourth floor of The Sports Club/LA. Servers set entree plates such as grilled salmon and house-made wild fennel pappardelle atop white linen tablecloths, and mixologists behind the sleek ebony bar fill glasses and crystal Super Soakers with libations from an extensive wine list. Blu Restaurant's multiple dining rooms and bar play host to private events, such as corporate functions and bridal showers.
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."