About this Business
From Our Editors
As a young Sicilian immigrant working the docks in 1930s San Francisco, Mike Geraldi asked to be paid in fish. After he'd helped fishermen unload their catches on the wharf, he'd traverse the city selling what they gave him by the basket. Slowly, he became familiar with the workings of the harbor and his clientele's tastes. He'd log potential recipes in his mind, pairing the flavors of his Italian homeland with the fresh flavors of the sea, and he kept saving up toward a kitchen in which to perfect them. He soon bought a boat, then a corner stand, and finally, the first sit-down restaurant on Fisherman's Wharf.
Fishermen's Grotto has stood as a seaside beacon managed by the Geraldi family ever since. Its chefs schedule hand-offs with the local fishing fleet to buy fish and crustaceans that have been netted that very day, crafting specialties such as broiled halibut and whole dungeness crabs served with housemade mayonnaise. Many dishes come with fresh sourdough bread, or in the case of the crab cioppino tomato stew, a bib so that customers can leave their dining slickers at home. Though chowders, fish fillets, and seafood combinations remain the Grotto's mainstays, the menu also includes Italian pastas and other staples, such as chicken marsala and veal scaloppine.
Styled like a Venetian villa and crowned by an enormous neon sign, Fishermen's Grotto retains much of its original 1930s charm. Low wooden beams and red lanterns hang above white tablecloths and a carpet of ocean waves traversed by cartoon fishermen in yellow. Indoor and outdoor tables afford views of the Golden Gate Bridge and, closer at hand, the bobbing vessels that ferry food from the sea to the stove.