photo credit: Remy Galvan-Hale

Swan Oyster Depot image

Swan Oyster Depot

SeafoodRaw Bar

Nob HillPolk Gulch

$$$$Perfect For:Day DrinkingGluten-Free OptionsImpressing Out of TownersLunchWalk-Ins
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We’re pretty sure this has been made absolutely clear by now, but for the purpose of this review, it’s worth reiterating. We f*cking love oysters. Dare to dream, but someday we hope this website paves the way for us to go on our own “Oysters Across The World” tour, where we traverse the globe and document the greatest, most ridiculous oyster and beer crawl of all time. Until that happens, we’re going on weekend trips to hunt down the best oysters we can find. Swan is high up on the list.

When trekking to Swan, you gotta keep in mind its mostly-refreshing, sometimes-annoying old-school quirkiness. For instance, you’re going to wait for at least anhour outside at normal lunchtime. The people in front of us brought bottles of wine to drink in line. You should do that too. Once you get inside, you’ll see that the place is bar seating only, but know that when you finally do get a seat, you won’t be rushed. The guys behind the counter take their sweet time and make sure each guest leaves feeling properly taken care of and satisfied.

Swan is the rare old timey restaurant that doesn’t suck. It is, in fact, our favorite seafood joint in town. When the sun is shining and you’ve got a hankering for Dungeness, accept no substitute.

Food Rundown

Swan Oyster Depot image

Scallop Sashimi

This wasn’t in our initial order, but after seeing it in front of the people sitting next to us, we rectified that situation immediately. This is basically just thinly sliced raw scallops that have been drizzled in olive oil and topped with capers and onions. It’s simplicity at its most delicious. This is one of the best things here.
Swan Oyster Depot image

Smoked Salmon

The flavor on this salmon is right on. It’s not fishy, the texture is firm yet silky, and the fish has just the right amount of smoke. This is another absolute must order. But instead of ordering it with seafood salad, get the sampler where you can try some of the equally enjoyable smoked white fish and smoked trout. The trout is slammin’ too.
Swan Oyster Depot image

Boston Clam Chowder

The only thing we weren’t impressed with here was the chowder. Some people love it, but it’s too thin for our tastes.
Swan Oyster Depot image

Twice Cracked Crab

Sure, oysters are the namesake, but crab is really the main reason you’re coming here. The dungeness crab is Swan’s most famous specialty, and there’s good reasonfor that. You can’t beat a bite of fresh, ice cold crab claw meat dunked in aspecial sauce that people purchase by the gallon.
Swan Oyster Depot image


The bivalve options at Swan rotate daily with a fine selection of both East and West coasters. Not surprisingly, they’re all fresh and delicious. You can’t go wrong.

Seafood Salad

The mixed seafood salad option is popular here, but we’d suggest skipping it and doubling down on sashimi or crab or oysters or something else that’s absolutely incredible. They toss a bunch of big ass prawns, small shrimp and crab onto a bed of lettuce. Not bad, but you can do better.

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Suggested Reading

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House Of Prime Rib

House of Prime Rib in Nob Hill is where to go when you want a lot of meat and large bottles of wine.

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Leo’s Oyster Bar involves pricey, but tasty seafood in an ’80s power yacht come to life. Obviously it’s in the Financial District.

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Flour + Water is a Cal-Ital legend in the Mission with creative pastas and a laidback space.

An overhead view of the dining room at Nopa

Nopa is a San Francisco staple that works for just about any occasion. The seasonally changing dishes are excellent as ever.

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