Recently, on a gorgeous sunny day, I visited PIER 39 with two of my grandsons while their parents were away. Learning that Aquarium of the Bay recently welcomed Fog Harbor Fish House as Fisherman’s Wharf’s first “San Francisco Seafood Watch Alliance Partner” restaurant, at PIER 39 , we decided to have lunch there. (More about PIER 39)
This being a very busy restaurant, we needed a reservation. When our reservation time arrived we dragged ourselves from the Aquarium of the Bay located across the courtyard, went upstairs and checked in at the restaurant’s reception desk, which is located in a charming outdoor space with benches and a fire place.
Our group (two adults and two boys, Francois 17 and Hugo, 8) was seated at a table with a wonderful view of the San Francisco Bay. Our server, Ron soon brought warm baked in-house sour dough bread, which was probably the best any of us had tasted. Looking over the menu we noted fresh seafood, steaks and pasta along with an extensive, well priced wine list with an emphasis on California wines and many choices of wine by the glass.
After our orders had been taken, Assistant General Manager, Michael Taylor stopped by on his rounds checking to see that guests were taken care of and talked a bit about the fact that he is proud to be working at the first 100% sustainable seafood restaurant on the pier. He told us about a large chalkboard in the kitchen used to keep track of which fish are OK to use at a given time. In addition, he told us that Vice President of Operations, Bob Partrite was the person who had the dream of a sustainable fish restaurant and worked to make it happen.
From the Starters section of the menu:
Francois ordered Crispy Lemon Calamari, seasoned with lemon and served with lemon aioli. Comments: This was light, crispy and decadently tender. The flavor was enhanced by the wonderful lemony flavor that was distinctive but not sour. It was a great starter to enjoy “in the moment” but left room for more.
Betsy chose Dungeness Crab, Mango and Avocado Salad, fresh limejuice and Dijon citrus vinaigrette. Comments: Light and flavorful, lots of fish and great flavor from the green pepper, red onion and lettuce and the dressing was wonderful.
From the Seafood Cocktails & Shellfish:
Francois could not resist the “Award Winning Clam Chowder” – the best in San Francisco and he selected a bowl. Comments: It melts in my mouth, so thick you can eat it with a fork and there are clams in every bite. Wonderful.
And- "because we know the fish is not overfished, it doesn’t hurt your conscience to eat it".
We skipped the Salads and moved to the Fresh Fish & Seafood:
Betsy was interested in the Mixed Grill, Grilled Salmon, Swordfish and Shrimp, citrus buerre blanc (she requested this not be added), sautéed vegetables, wild rice or mashed potatoes. Comments: A great selection of fish, shrimps were small but very tasty, and the vegetables were al dente and the rice perfectly seasoned. And a comment about the bread – “I don’t usually eat bread but this is outstanding”.
Barbara selected the Fish & Chips, Hand dipped in “Anchor Steam” beer batter with cole slaw and French fries. Comments: Light and crispy with a pleasant, mellow flavor. Coleslaw was crispy and pleasantly flavored and felt “clean”. The fries were great.
Hugo wanted the Chicken Penne, Sun dried tomatoes (request to leave these off), garlic, olive oil and fresh basil. Comments: The chicken had a great smoky flavor and a very nice sauce, tastes very good.
We skipped over the Meat & Poultry and Sandwiches sections and moved to the dessert tray.
The table ordered:
Crème Brulee- Crunchy outside and creamy custard inside. It disappeared.
Chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream -Unbelievable THE WINNER. This was indescribably delicious. It had just the right amount of dark chocolate, open the cake and hot fudge comes out. The whipped cream was as thick as ice cream and delicious and the vanilla ice cream tasted so good. It is worth a trip for this alone.
Fog Harbor Fish House
Pier 39, No. 213
San Francisco, CA 94133
Photos: B. Keer