What are the best local dishes in San Francisco?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Marianne Wong
  • Marianne Wong

  • Concierge, Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco

  • San Francisco, California

Dungeness crab is a favorite local delicacy, the season begins in November.  I know friends that serve Dungeness crab for Thanksgiving instead of turkey because the start of the season finds this crustacean at its meatiest.  Steamed and cracked, boiled, sauteed, baked or any way you like it, it's truly the San Francisco treat.  Some of my favorite destinations to enjoy this is Swan Oyster Depot for the chilled, cracked version, Anchor Oyster Bar in the Castro for their amazing Cioppino which is a tomato based seafood stew, R&G Lounge in Chinatown for their salt baked version and Crustacean's roasted crab with garlic butter.

Dungeness crab is traditionally enjoyed with another San Francisco specialty; sourdough bread.  The bread is generally served with a pat of butter but I prefer it with extra virgin olive oil and a little salt.  Something about the water and atmosphere in this region makes a perfect sourdough bread, some of the "mother" doughs go back a hundred years.  So a true San Francisco meal is cracked crab with drawn butter and lemon, a hunk of hearty sourdough bread and of course a delicious glass of California Pinot Blanc (for me anyway).

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