1517 Polk St, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9410937.790962 -122.420746
Neighborhoods: Northeast, Nob Hill
Classic San Francisco seafood bar. Plan on standing in line and bring cash. Great oysters, chowder and seafood cocktails.
A must-visit when coming to San Francisco. Fresh seafood. My favorite is the crab plate.
This legendary raw seafood bar is a San Francisco institution that everyone, natives and tourists, should visit once in their life. Plump oysters, succulent shrimp, buttery salmon, hearty chowder, and special sourdough are just a few of the must ear attractions.
Count your change – BE SURE TO COUNT YOUR CHANGE. I used to live down the street fron SOD for 20 years and only been there about 6-10 times. AND 90% OF THE TIME THEY TRY TO RIP YOU OFF.....Here is the test...go in with a 100 dollar bill. Have the oyster's on the half shell and the BROKEN clam chowder.(it has always been broken and when you point it out to them they get all steamed....Iit's funny.... am a 2 time James Beard recipiant)
Okay, pay with the 100 dollar bill and watch their lying face when you call them out on it. Be sure to mark your bill when they try to deny it.
All the son's look like Bobby Deinero clones and it'e intersting to watch who has the heirearchy.
good place to landmark
Where the locals told us to eat, and they were right – My business partner and I had only 24 hours in SF for a meeting, so we asked around and, without fail, this was the place recommended for Russian Hill (and beyond). It's a diner-y place, not at all fancy, and my legs did not fit under the counter quite right. So what. We had the crab salad and told the counter guy to make it the best way, not how we thought we'd like it. It was truly ideal, and we both ate way too fast. The guys there were friendly and kept up some steady banter between themselves and the guests, but they never stopped moving. Every once and a while one of them would cut off a couple of pieces of fresh smoked salmon or some other fish, and give it to us to try. We couldn't have made a better choice, and we got free sponges! Woot! As a tip, we arrived mid-afternoon, after the lunch hour rush and before dinner, so we did not have to wait to be seated at all -- I'd recommend this timing too.
A must see/do for a visit to San Francisco. A S.F. treasure! – This is a classic S.F. seafood lunch spot. Be sure you know what it is...it is a casual lunch counter (a 5-star one at that). It has the freshest and highest quality of any place in the city. You sit at a long counter and get clam chowder, shrimp and seafood cocktails, lobster, crab...you name it. Grab an Anchor Steam and choose from the wide assortment of seafood specialities. It is run by a family of brother and cousins, just like their grandfathers and fathers ran it 50+ years ago. It is worth the wait, the staff is very friendly and helpful. You can also order ahead and serve it at home for a dinner party and/or snack for the Big Game. You can also walk up and get an order to go. Don't expect a gourmet atmosphere, but the food is as good and fresh as anyplace in the world. Enjoy!!
A must on any Top Ten list! – It was one of the most incredible seafood experiences I've ever had! Delectable! Fresh, tasty, comfortable, fun! Service was awesome! It's a place I will visit everytime I go into the City for sure!
I only wish it was bigger, but I love the intimacy of the place!
Try it out once. – If you've ever walked along Polk St. around lunchtime and seen a long line of people outside of a restaurant, then you've definitely come across Swan's. I've seen this sight quite a few times and decided to give it a try one day with two other friends. After about a 20 minute wait, we were lucky enough to grab 3 stools next to each other. I ordered a seafood salad and a dozen assorted oysters. If there's one thing they do right, its their super-fresh seafood. It was all very tasty. But after satisfying my curiosity about the place, I gotta say that I don't think I'll be coming back here. The dining arrangement is one long, wet counter-top with only a few rickety stools to sit on, hence the long line of people waiting outside the door. At 6' tall, I couldn't get comfortable while eating my meal. Also, while they seem like nice guys, the family running the business can use some customer service training. They were more inclined to hold conversations with each other and regulars stopping by to say hello than they were paying attention to the actual customers who wanted to order. Also, while the seafood is of very good quality, the prices were still pretty steep. Give it a try once and see if you think its worth coming back to.
Worth the wait! – My wife and I HAD to visit Swan on a weekend trip back "home" from Utah. Having been there before, we knew about the wait and figured middle of the day on a Saturday wouldn't be that bad...(apparently not an original idea) OK, so an hour may be bad elsewhere, but not here! I'd wait even longer for the amazing Louie salads and the freshest oysters I had ever tasted, washed down with a good white wine. The extremely helpful and friendly staff definitely make up for any "inconvenience" there may have been by waiting, but the people you meet while in line are just as much a fun part of the experience that is Swan.
Highly recommended – You get such great, friendly service at this place. There is a refreshingly different feel to this place as if you are no longer in SF. We got there at 11:40am for lunch and did not have to wait since we just beat the crowd on that day. I don't mind the cash only policy because it adds to the "homey", personal and authentic feel. The food is not cheap, but no seafood is. For your money, you get fresh and substantial portions that you can bite into. No small bits here and there as in many other places.
Fresh Seafood, long lines & pricey – Swan's offers fresh seafood and generous size portions. The shrimp salad with Louie dressing is fantastic as well as the shrimp cocktail. Service is always quick and friendly and your seat allows you to watch all the food preparation. Warning: the difficult part of dining at Swans is the long line and the limited seating which makes it difficult to dine at lunch time. Plan on a minimum 90 minute wait and dining experience. In addtion, this is a cash only restaurant so go to the ATM prior as the dining experience is always a few dollars more than expected.
A must! Definitely worth the wait! – We stood in line for an hour (it was lunchtime on a saturday) - and the hour-long wait was definitely well worth it. The seafood was fresh, the service was good, and the atmospere was quite unique. We had the sampler oysters (quite delicious!), crab louie salad (delicious as well) and their clam chowder. Overall, this is a MUST go if you're in San Francisco and love seafood! We'll definitely keep coming back!
Worth the while – This place was awesome. Yes the wait takes forever and remember not to block the door to the neighboring See's candies, but if you have a friend and a cup of joe, it doesn?t matter. The food is well priced and it is delicious. I went and ate 12 different oysters, an assorted seafood cocktail and a bowl of clam chowder. The chowder was very soupy. But don't be alarmed! Best chowder since my trip to Vancouver three years back. What makes this place the best is the service. The staff treated us like a regular and it was our first time going. For fun, drop them a few oyster questions, their knowledge of those shelled buggers is extensive! The atmosphere is also enjoyable. I hear alot about their seating being uncomfortable but i never felt that way. If you can sit at a bar and drink you can sit at Swans and eat for an hour....
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