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.
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.
Kincaid's puts an upscale spin on classic American dining. The kitchen's signature prime rib, for instance, is slow-roasted under rock salt to ensure a tender texture and perfect crust. Lobster tails are served with blistered lemon, and meatloaf arrives wrapped in savory bacon. Along with these mainstays, seasonal specialties showcase local meats and produce. Kincaid's whips up hearty plates for brunch, lunch, dinner, and second dinner, with different delectable options served at each meal.
Bites can be paired with handcrafted cocktails, draft beers, or glasses of wine?Kincaid's serves up nearly 30 red and white wines by the glass, many of which hail from California, Oregon, and Washington. The accompanying bottle list features dozens of additional selections from vineyards near and far.
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."
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).