If you've never been to Fisherman's Wharf the most popular area there is Pier 39 which has a nice string of booths filled with crab, clam chowder, shrimp cocktails, and all kinds of wonderful fresh seafood. The problem that most people have with said booths are the price.. its really not that cheap. You're looking at a sourdough bread bowl of clam chowder for about $6, a steamed crab at $10 a pound, and a $7 shrimp cocktail. Of course, the attraction is that since the food is so close to the bay its going to be fresher. The crab is definitely going to be fresh before you eat it.. the crab is still very much moving before you heartless wenches snuff out its life in a giant vat of boiling water
How will Mr. Crab provide for his family if he's dead? *sigh* what a cruel world we live in. But since I am Chinese, I've helped with the genocide of the crab population. =P
If you've ever been to the strip of booths you would notice that every booth has a restaurant right next to it. Almost every booth (could be every) is actually just a small food outlet for quick eats that is owned by the enjoining restaurant.
So for our dining enjoyment we picked Nick's Lighthouse. What did we base our decision on?
- Is there an amazing clam chowder?
- Does their crab crack readily beneath your fingertips?
- Do they validate 3 hours of parking so you don't have to pay any money for this tourist trap we call Fisherman's Wharf Pier 39 parking?
You walk past all the boiling vats of water, glasses of shrimp and into a bustling restaurant with tables/seats packed closely together. A table of four is expected to sit at a booth meant for 2 large sized people. With Ryan and I there we already met the requirement so it was a pretty tight squeeze. We quickly ordered because by this time, I haven't had a bite to eat for a good 7 hours (which is an atrocity that always should be immediately rectified).
Kathy's main goal in coming to Fisherman's Wharf was to eat clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl (speaking of which has anyone seen the new Bourdin Sourdough Bakery store? WOWSERS! that thing is gigantic!) so she ordered... clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl. I asked her if it'd be enough and she nodded yes. (Later we would learn.. it was not enough due to the dent in my entree).
I'm not sure how much Kathy liked the clam chowder but I loved it from the spoonful I took. If you like Monterey Style thin soupy clam chowder this is the chowder for you. I've never been a fan of the thick ultra creamy clam chowder (which Kathy is, but she said she liked it). I like mine thin with a little bit of cream but just packed with clam and potatoes. Luckily this soup met all my expectations! Its the perfect type of clam chowder to put crackers in because the crackers just absorb right in. Usually when its nice and thick the crackers still have their crunch because it can't absorb all that heavy cream.
A+++++ clam chowder! Reminds me of when I was a little boy buying a quart of Monterey Clam Chowder on the Monterey Boardwalk warming up from the steaming goodness.
Next we have a seafood pasta with spinach linguine.
Tons and tons of seafood piled in here. Giant Tiger Shrimp, clams, mussels, and diced tomatoes. Just a really great crustacean mix in the pasta. I didn't have the opportunity to try any but it sure did look tasty!
Finally, my dish, something I affectionately call the Heart Attack. A giant heaping serving of cholesterol and death. AKA: Fried Crab Legs, Scallops, Prawns, Oysters, Calamari, and Fish.
This was heaven on a plate. The crab legs were so moist under the fried batter, when you bite into it and with a lil tug with your teeth, the crab parts like the Red Sea. Just giant chunks of crab legs fried. You don't have to deal with cracking the shell or anything!
Great pieces of Calamari, the perfect thickness where you can pop it in your mouth, chew a few times and swallow. The scallops were great, the fish was super moist like the crab, and the prawns were giant giant fried shrimp.
I mean .. you really can't go wrong with fried food. The only bad fried seafood is when the meat is just too stringy and disgusting. But its so incredibly hard to mess it up, you really have to go out of your way to buy 1 week old seafood to make it taste bad. The only odd thing was the fried oyster. Its kinda weird when its a little bit crunchy on the outside and then gooey on the inside. *shivers*. Decent quality oysters but the two and two just don't match for me.
The home made tartar sauce was also A+! Just the right amount of zing to it!
So if you're ever in the neighborhood and you need your parking validated, give Nick's a try!
#5 Fisherman's Wharf
2815 Taylor @ Jefferson
San Francisco, CA, 9413
p.s. check it out! the worker out front gave me a live crab to play with! FEAR ME CRABS FEAR ME!~!~!