Fog Harbor Fish House: Sustainable seafood with a Bay view
Fog Harbor is Fisherman’s Wharf’s first sustainable seafood restaurant and the Wharf’s first “San Francisco Seafood Watch Alliance Partner” restaurant. With a menu that features 100% sustainable seafood including wild caught salmon, Dungeness crab, pacific cod and other delectable from the sea, they serve over 220,000 visitors every year at PIER 39.
On my recent trip to SF, we spent many hours at the pier’s attractions – getting our first-timers’ fix of the “touristy sites” and views of the open water. For dinner, we decided to check out Fog Harbor as I noticed the windows overlooked the PIER when we boarded for our Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise earlier in the trip. I arrived at the restaurant at least half an hour before my reservation with intent to sit at the bar and enjoy a cold beverage (the local Anchor Steam brew) until it became time to eat.
The staff was incredibly friendly and didn’t seem bothered in the least that I was so early. In fact, after just a short wait, we were seated before our reservation time at a lovely booth overlooking the water. It was a particularly foggy day in San Francisco, but had it not been, we would have had a clear view of the bay.
White tablecloths dress the tables giving the lighthouse-themed restaurant an upscale feel. Its light-colored walls lined with panels of dark woods accented the art of San Francisco scenes adorning the walls. Though the space was sophisticated and wait staff dressed to impress, they won’t raise an eyebrow if you arrive in your tennis shoes and comfy clothes like we did (after all, you’ve got to be comfortable if you are choosing to spend the day at the Wharf!).
While we browsed the menu, we snacked on the restaurant’s complimentary hot, fresh sourdough bread – incomparable to the others I tasted at local restaurants during my trip. An amuse bouche quickly appeared at our table (I absolutely love when restaurant’s give you a little ‘teaser’ at the beginning of a meal) – a dainty bite of smoked salmon and crème fraiche on a crisp slice of cucumber.
I had the opportunity to meet two managers on duty, Ryan and Seth, and spoke with them several times throughout the evening as they oversaw dining service. Ryan offered his favorite suggestions off the menu and was such a delight as he welcomed us to San Francisco and really made us feel at home in the restaurant. After he raved of his favorite appetizer, the Red Chile Garlic Prawns, I knew I couldn’t pass it up.
The prawns were outstanding – one of the best dishes I had the opportunity to enjoy on this trip. A generous portion of rich, buttery prawns curled themselves in a spicy broth I couldn’t seem to get enough of. Garlicky and delicious, the sauce had enough spice to make you sit up a little taller and breathe a bit easier, but was packed full of incredible flavor. The grilled crostini rested on the side of the dish was a lovely vehicle for scooping up the prawns and colorful peppers; but after it was gone, we didn’t hesitate to reach back into our breadbasket for more sourdough to sop up that delicious both. As it coated my mouth, the heat grew more intense and left me wanting more… and more and more and more. An absolute must-order!
In between the appetizer and entrée course, we enjoyed soup and a salad – the generously-sized Caesar dressed leaves of Romaine with shaved parmesan and garlic croutons, and a cup of their award-winning velvety-smooth Clam Chowder.
For entrees, I selected the California White Sea Bass since my first choice – the Halibut dish – had already sold out for the day. Fog Harbor’s California White Sea Bass is grilled and served with sautéed spinach, wild rice and a mango salsa that brightened the plate nicely; truly a light dish for those choosing to bypass heavier dishes for dinner.
My companion ordered the Mixed Grill to get a little sampling of everything. With grilled salmon, skewered jumbo shrimp, a filet of sea bass, and sautéed veggies and garlic mashed potatoes lounging on the side, the dish is sure to fill you up.
After the entrees, I was almost uncomfortably full but I found just enough room to allow for dessert. The staff brought out a platter of desserts for us to choose from and I ended up with the Chocolate Lava Cake with Ice Cream.
I cannot say enough good things about this cake. It arrived hot with a side of vanilla bean ice cream and fresh whipped cream… and OMG it was delicious. Though it looked so innocent on the plate, be warned – that cake is deviously sinful. The texture is what got me most; rather than an all-liquid center and unmoistened cake rimming the outside, the chocolate “lava” had absorbed into the entire cake giving it an almost fudge-like texture. Its dark chocolate goodness was incredibly rich, but not too sweet. I’m sure I let out a slow ‘Mmm…’ after my first bite and worried while I ate that there wouldn’t be enough since I was sharing. The play on temperatures pushed it over the top; a bite of the piping hot cake with a cold scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream equaled heaven. It almost pains me to look back at the photo I took only because I know I can’t get this cake in Phoenix. This treat is worthy of a trip to SF all on its own!
By far, our welcome at the Fog Harbor Fish House was the warmest of all restaurants we visited. I’ll definitely be making a trip back here the next time I’m in town – and you should too.
For more information about the restaurant, visit fogharbor.com.
Fog Harbor Fish House at PIER 39 | San Francisco, CA | 94133 | 415-421-2442
Recap by Amy Martin, PhoenixBites Editor in Chief