Swan Oyster Depot

With classes done and work winding down, I took some vacation time and we went to San Francisco last week.

Settled at the bottom of Nob Hill is a fairly nondescript restaurant. Decorated in various fish paraphernalia reminiscent of an old-school barber shop, its more bar than restaurant. At the entrance is a window full of fresh fish, shrimp, prawns, and other sea life, enticing passersby to stand in the line and wait for an open seat. Over the counter is a faded black and white photograph depicting the restaurant some time in the past — one thing that struck me about the picture is that the stools are the exact same as back then, though a little battered with time.

Once two spots cleared, we took our seats and ordered a combination salad and a cup of clam chowder. Construction of the combination salad started with a bed of fresh lettuce on top of which rested a row of coin sized shrimp. Next came the Louie sauce, and the prawns on top of that. They were unfortunately out of crab that day, so instead we were given a little smoked salmon and tuna. It’s such a simple dish, yet the freshness of the seafood combined with the the rich and creamy Louie sauce and the slight crunch of the lettuce just blew me away. Amazing. Then there was the clam chowder, which was honestly the best I’ve ever had. The clam flavor was always present, but never overpowering and made it quite delicious.

If you ever find yourself in San Francisco, do yourself a favor and check this place out.