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.
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.
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."
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.
With just one counter, six stools, five tables, and a performing crab, Frank and Marian Pompei opened Pompei's Grotto on Fisherman's Wharf in the winter of 1946. Natives of the seaport community of San Benedetto d'Ancona, in Italy, the Pompei's served a modest menu of sandwiches, spaghetti, cracked crab, and seafood cocktails. Similar items are still served today, but under Frank's daughter, Nancy, the menu has expanded to include even more seafood and Italian favorites.
Fried shrimp, scallops, and white cod comprise the Captain's Platter, and from-scratch meat sauce made with local ingredients flavors the lasagna's layers of pasta and cheese. A popular pairing at Pompei's, seafood and Italian flavors join forces in dishes such as linguini and whole clams in a garlic, butter, and white wine sauce, as well as shrimp scampi made with jumbo shrimp sauteed in white wine, butter, mushrooms, and scallions, with linguini and fresh vegetables. And like the evolving menu, Pompei's storefront has also grown since 1946, and now includes an outdoor patio where Fisherman's Wharf's salty air mingles with the aroma of the kitchen's cooked catches.
In 1915, Thomaso Castagnola created his first crab cocktail for the San Francisco World's Fair. The following year, he opened a crab stand on Fisherman's Wharf. As it grew in popularity, his small stand blossomed into Castagnola’s restaurant. Nearly 100 years later, the two-story semiformal eatery still welcomes customers to try its fresh seafood, as well as its steaks and chops, inside an amber-lit dining room where tall windows overlook the busy harbor.
Servers bear Italian seafood and chicken pastas, steamed crabs, crab cakes, shellfish stew, and 20-ounce steaks to tables with views of fishing boats and krakens on the bay, the historic F Line trolley, and the downtown skyline. They also pour more than 120 wines, gathered from California and around the world, that complement each dish.