Restaurant: Anchor Oyster Bar
Location: 579 Castro Street, San Francisco, CA 94114, United States
Price Range: $$$
Who goes to San Francisco and not have seafood! Initially I wanted to go to Fisherman Wharf’s because supposedly there is this amazing clam chowder there. When I told my sister that, she gave me this where-the-hell-did-you-read-that face and said “NO LOCALS GO THERE OK.” She then quickly drove my family to Anchor Oyster Bar, gave me a smack for not doing a better research on seafood restaurants and yelled at me for almost falling into a tourist trap.
From Yelp reviews, it seems the Anchor doesn’t accept reservations and there is usually a 30 minutes to an hour wait time. My family arrived around lunch on a weekday and there were actually no tables available except for the bar, so the owner told us to put our names down on the waitlist board above. However the bar was available and we were hungry, so bar seat it is!
As you can see the restaurant itself was very small and cozy, at best it can seat around 15 people. The decor is very simple and the staff was awesome! Despite arriving during the busy lunch hour, the servers were attentive and made sure we had enough napkins and water. The owner even gave me an apron after he saw how I was struggling to break the crab leg (I’m not a messy eater, I swear LOL!!).
We were seated at the bar and I had the full view of the open kitchen! It was amazing to see this old lady (the chef) making all the dishes from scratch, so you can tell everything were made to order :).
They also have a daily special menu as well, however I left all the ordering to my brother-in-law as he have been here before.
The clam chowder had this amazing aroma the moment it arrived to the table. It was amazingly delicious, really creamy yet not too rich and the chowder had nice chunks of clam and hearty potatoes. However if you prefer a heavier and thicker clam chowder, I don’t think you would enjoy this.
For oysters we got half and half of Wellfleet and Quivet oysters that the restaurant offer on the special menu. I can’t remember which one is which.. and I’m no oyster-expert but I believe the plump ones are wellfleet oysters. Nonetheless, they were very fresh and sweet, and the accompany sauces were delish! With that said, these oysters run for almost $3 each, so.. your call to order this or not.
On the menu it just stated steamed mussels, but trust me, it’s more than JUST STEAMED MUSSELS. I’m not sure what were the broth here, but from my observation of the cooking process, it seemed to be made with a white wine and garlic broth. Mussels were cooked to perfection while slightly fall off the shells. The broth was light and complimented the mussels. I liked how most of the dishes were simple yet they were done just right and had complex flavors.
Holy, for $60 the portion was humongous, it can easily be shared between 5 – 6 people! The cioppino included a lot of perfectly cooked seafood, with clams, mussels, a few crab legs and large chunks of white fish. Although the broth was lacking in salt, I liked how you can truly taste the seafood base and mixture of herbs, unlike the ones I have had in Toronto where it was just bland tomato based broth. And oh god, the garlic bread was amazing, crunchy crust but soft and had a generous amount of buttery garlic spread. It was perfect to dip the leftover seafood broth, just thinking about it make me drool ….
Anchor Oyster Bar have been opened and operated by the same owners since 1977, so you know it has to be good if a restaurant have been around for this long. While the restaurant is on the pricer side and the wait can be a turn off, this place is definitely worth a visit if you are in San Francisco. Everything is made from scratch. Seafood were fresh and much more superior than the ones you would find in the tourist trap stand in Fisherman Wharf!
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