San Francisco’s seafood is modern and chic, with innovative flavors and a natural flair that can only come from the Pacific coast.

California is known as the Golden State, but it might also be known as the Seafood State, although some east coast states could rival it for that title. Regardless, this Pacific coastal state has a reputation for its healthy food kicks, and we’ve all heard the lingering jokes about avocados and sprouts, but seafood is also an important part of its food culture. In San Francisco in particular, the seafood culture is exceptionally good, and anyone who has gazed at the ocean while enjoying lobster can attest.

Related: If you’re a seafood fanatic, try a helpful beginner’s guide this summer

The Bay Area is arguably home to some of the best seafood you can find in the state, along with some superb views you won’t get anywhere else in the country. The best thing about the seafood menus in San Francisco is the fact that each dish has been carefully crafted to reflect both the restaurant’s style and modernity. Instead of finding a classic fish dish, you’re more likely to find something like an oyster bar or a sushi burrito. So if you are looking for a modern and chic atmosphere and fresh seafood then San Fran is for you. Still don’t believe us? Try these dishes by size.

Oyster sticks

There’s no shortage of oyster bars in California, and San Francisco happens to have some of the best. While it can take some effort to get a reservation, these freshly cracked oysters are well worth the wait. According to California.com, Hog Island Oyster Co. is where oysters are served in seven different locations across California. For those looking for a scenic drive and scenic view while dining, the Boat Oyster Bar in Marshall offers the perfect balance between the two.

Pig island oysters

via Hog Island Oyster Co.

Visiting the Boat Oyster Bar is a unique experience as the restaurant is also right next to the bay where the oysters are grown before they are served. Oyster cultivation has a long history in the area and is so part of the culture of San Francisco and the surrounding seaside cities that eating at an oyster bar is practically a rite of passage for locals.

Clam soup in a bread bowl

It wouldn’t be uncommon to read this and think, “Isn’t clam chowder a New England specialty?” And to a certain extent that thinking would be correct. New England already has a good reputation for clam soup – both in Manhattan and New England – but San Francisco serves it in a special way that is different from the region.

Boudin Bakery Clam Soup

via Eater SF

In particular, a freshly baked loaf of sourdough bread is needed to serve a bowl of real San Fran clam soup. A bread bowl might not sound like much (especially if Panera offers it on a regular basis), but Boudin Bakery, known for its fresh bread among other things, has a long history with the Bay Area, dating back to its opening in 1849. The best clam soup can still be found in Fisherman’s Wharf, where the flagship bakery opened.

Sushi burrito

The only place you have to go to try a sushi burrito is Sushiritto, which California.com calls “life changing”. Many have tried to imitate and recreate the original sushi burrito, but Sushiritto remains the best place to have one to this day. There’s just one thing about all of the ingredients you might love about sushi wrapped in a rice nori tortilla.

a sushiritto

via Sushiritto

It was here that the world first saw the rise of the sushi burrito, so visitors are not only spoiled with delicious sushi, but also in the presence of food history. Sushiritto calls their style “modern Japanese with a Latin American twist” and not only is it accurate, but it also stands for some lovely sushi-inspired dishes.

Prawns on site

We’re going to Santa Barbara because it’s worth it. It may be the beaches that visitors to this coastal paradise look forward to, but it is the shrimp that everyone should be on the lookout for, too. Once these are on a fish lover’s radar, there’s no going back.

Company fish co

via postmates

Spot shrimp are only found in the North Pacific, which makes them an icon on the California coast. Both Santa Barbara and Santa Monica serve them best through Enterprise Fish Co, which has locations in both cities. If you haven’t had shrimp in general, let these big babies be the first.

Next: Traditional Greenlandic cuisine is a festival of local seafood

How to get to Lima from Machu Picchu and all the incredible stops you can make along the way

About the author

Katie Machado
(1439 articles published)

Katie is originally from New York and is used to a fast-paced lifestyle. She personally began writing in second grade and carried that passion with her until she won a spot in her high school’s published poetry book – but not before becoming a news editor and columnist for the high school newspaper. In college she studied English literature with a major in political science and absorbed most of the creativity and method from one of the last professors to study with the famous beat poet Allen Ginsberg. The more she wrote, the more she learned about the world and above all about herself. She writes professionally and has been published since she was 19. She has been involved in topics such as entertainment, lifestyle, music news, video game reviews, and food culture for nearly a decade and is now privileged to write and edit for TheTravel. Katie strongly believes that every word written is a journey within yourself and your own thoughts, and when people understand this, they can begin to understand one another. Through her voice, she brings personality, research, and a bit of friendly sarcasm to every piece she writes and edits.

More from Katie Machado