The best part about living in San Francisco is that there’s so many good eats. The worst part about living in San Francisco is that there’s so many good eats… And so many people who love eating. Which means lots of long lines and never being able to walk into a popular restaurant on a Friday night and get seated immediately. Any “good” brunch spot means at least a 45 minute wait, and in some cases, even TWO hours (Plow). Swan Oyster Depot is one of those places where their reputation precedes them. Notorious for having a long wait, I’ve avoided going for the whole time I’ve lived here in SF. To be honest, I had forgotten about them until…
Jenny posted a picture of it on her Instagram and I was like, “Holy SH*T I HAVE TO GO THERE.” And so, I ended up going for lunch on a weekday, which is probably wayyy better than going on the weekend. As we circled for parking, I was already dreading the wait after seeing a big crowd.
However, the wait ended up *only* being about 35 minutes. We were a little pressed for time and ended up having to take it to-go, which is actually a great option for those who don’t want to wait long. For any of those ordering food to-go, you can skip the line and head straight to the register to order it.
The fish looks so fresh and beautiful. You can tell the fish is super fresh from its sheen and iridescence. You know you love food when even the fish looks beautiful. Can you spot the uni?
Everything they serve is cold except for their clam chowder. They’re most known for their fresh crab, lobster, oysters, and Italian style sashimi.
I ended up walking out with a ridiculous amount of raw seafood for two people. Now is probably a good time for me to emphasize it’s cash only, so bring extra!!!
We got a selection of their oysters and half a dozen of their cherry stone clams (the pink ones). I have to say, the cherry stone clams were OUTSTANDING. I’ve never had them before now I’m obsessed. These little briny pockets of goodness are perfectly textured with a hint of sweetness.
We also got a small Italian sashimi. Out of all of them, the scallop sashimi was my favorite. It was fantastic. I’m a huge fan of Japanese sashimi, and this sashimi was a little too cooked from the lime/lemon sprinkled on top.
The clam chowder was creamy but not too rich. I loved that it wasn’t packed with potatoes and had a serious amount of seafood as well. Uni lovers will adore their fresh uni– it’s a great deal. I’ve never had so much uni in my life. U ni’d it. Get it? hahaha. It’s not for everyone, but I also got the crab back, which is one of my favorite parts of the crab when eating it Chinese-style. It was a unique dish but I’ve decided I prefer it cooked the Chinese way. Happy I tried it though. Overall, I’m definitely itching to go back to try their fresh crab and lobster!
Swan Oyster Depot
1517 Polk St. at Sacramento
San Francisco, CA
Must Try’s: Cherry stone clams, fresh uni, clam chowder, scallop sashimi