Destinations, Restaurants

Swan Oyster Depot Features the Best Seafood

December 12, 2013 by

Swan Oyster Depot

The Swan Oyster Depot is known for its line.

The Swan Oyster Depot in San Francisco is a combination fish market and oyster bar with counter seating. On most days, you’ll spot it by the line waiting outside for a chance to sit in one of the 12 stools at the counter.

This classic seafood diner has been named a James Beard Foundation America’s Classic. It’s a delightful place to stop for lunch with a pristine seafood menu that includes items like clam chowder, oysters, shrimp salad, smoked salmon or trout, and whole steamed lobster, accompanied with fresh, crusty sourdough bread and Anchor Steam Beer.

It’s considered one of the best seafood places in San Francisco and in some circles one of the best in the United States.

Swan Oyster Depot

Opened Since 1912

The Swan Oyster Depot has the distinction of being in its present location since 1912. It was started by four Danish brothers who used horse-drawn carriages to deliver fresh seafood throughout San Francisco. They sold the business in 1946 to Sal Sancimino and cousins. In 1970, Sal’s kids took over the business and still run it today.

Today, this tiny diner offers unmatched charm with its 12 bar stools and six cooks behind the counter. It features fantastic seafood dishes served up with a touch of old-world style. The walls are decorated with old photos and souvenirs that showcase its rich history making this diner an ideal stop for history buffs and seafood lovers alike.

Combination Seafood Salad

Combination seafood salad

The Line

The line waiting to get into the Swan Oyster Depot can be quite long. Depending on when you arrive, you can expect to wait for 2 hours or more. The fact that people are willing to wait that long for one of the coveted seats tells you it’s worth the wait.

If you want to stand in line for the least amount of time, the best time to arrive is right before the restaurant opens – around 10:15. They open at 10:30. Timing is everything if you want to avoid the rush, because the line can easily build to 20 people by 10:45.

If you don’t want to wait to sit at the bar, you can always order take out.

Photo credits: Paul Lowry, Guttorm Flatabø, Paul Lowry

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