Yes, Scoma’s on Fisherman’s Wharf is a tried-and-true seafood classic, but Sotto Mare is divier, more rambunctious, and ultimately feels more like a party we want to be invited back to, again and again. Tickets fly across the restaurant on a clothesline while staff grill scallops and plate humongous portions of linguine with clams from behind the bar. And life-sized swordfish, photos of past guests and city scenes, and other maritime-themed paraphernalia cover every square inch of the wall, in case you forgot this place is all about seafood. Ordering the cioppino (and wearing the plastic bib that comes with it) is non-negotiable here—it’s loaded with everything that swims, from crab legs and shrimp to mussels and squid, and so big you could practically fall in.
photo credit: Carly Hackbarth