Where Do You Go on the Wharf? Ask a Concierge

Categories: Local Flavor
Scoma's is the concierges' number-one choice for Wharf dining.
SF Weekly aims to be more of an insider's newspaper than a national guide to all things San Francisco, so I don't get to Fisherman's Wharf often. Locals don't dine there as often as they did in the 1960s and 1970s. But ocasionally, visitors to town ask me where they can go eat seafood on the Wharf.

So I figured I'd call some of the other professional critics in town: hotel concierges. Concierges wield a lot of power in this tourist-friendly city, and they spend a lot of nights eating out -- often on the restaurant's dime -- to figure out where to steer guests. A few days ago, I polled 10 hotel concierges from both swank and midrange hotels. Where do you send visitors? I asked. More importantly, where would you eat yourself? The No. 1 recommendation? Scoma's, recommended by seven out of 10 people I spoke to, and usually at the top of their rankings. Dan Callahan, of the Marriott Marquis, told me, "You don't go to the Wharf looking for deconstructed dishes and fusion food. If I want old-world San Franciscan food, you can't beat Scoma's. Earlier this year, my wife and I made a point of going to six restaurants on the Wharf to prepare for the summer crowds. They were all good, but Scoma's stood out to us." The other high-scoring restaurant was McCormick & Kuleto's, also with seven out of 10 votes. Cy Manis, from the Hilton, said, "The view's the best on the Wharf, and they're really personable," she says.

Our concierges mentioned Alioto's, and Neptune's Palace on Pier 39 received three votes. But those three were vociferous in their praise for the restaurant's new commitment to sustainable seafood. Among them was Peter Nasatir, chief concierge at the Donatello. "You won't find Chilean sea bass there, they use all local ingredients for their vegetables, and the fish they catch are from local fishermen," he said. "It's rare to find a touristy restaurant that hasn't sacrificed quality." (I called up the restaurant to confirm, and the person I spoke to said that 80 percent of their seafood comes from sustainable sources.)

Another three concierges say they'd rather send guests slightly off the Wharf, to the Waterfront Restaurant on Pier 7. The Hotel Nikko's Ernesto Cerrillos commented, "It has gorgeous views, and I love the menu -- it's mainly seafood. Plus, they offer town car services for the same cost as a taxi, which is always nice."

Runners up: Cioppino's, Fog Harbor, the Franciscan, Ana Mandara, the Crown & Crumpet, and the Crab House all received one vote. "And you can't go to the Wharf without stopping at the Buena Vista for an Irish Coffee," Manis added. Indeed.

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Location Info



Scoma's Fisherman's Wharf

Pier 47, San Francisco, CA

Category: Restaurant

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Ask a concierge? For real? You don't know that concierges get kickbacks from every place they send you to or any service they recommended? Ask a concierge, or anyone at a hotel if you want to get royally screwed. Otherwise ask someone who is local and not in a tourist area.


Visualize guests coming back from a restaurant that the concierge recommended and not being happy with their experience or being happy with that restaurant that they recommended.That's how concierges chooses whether to recommend a place. They don't want to send someone somewhere that isn't any good and then have to hear about it.Kickback or not.


Not really. The food might be good and if it's a high end restaurant it will likely be a good experience but that doesn't mean that the guest got the best experience for the dollar. The typical vacationer is going to be fleeced by the hotel staff whenever it's possible.

HooBee DooBee
HooBee DooBee

You're showing a picture of Scoma's in Sausalito, not the Wharf.


Heh. Like I said, it has been a while since I've been there. Will change pronto.

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