Sotto Mare – the brainchild of chef Gigi Fiorucci – is one of San Francisco’s most popular restaurants. The casual dining establishment is so famous that it has been long regarded as a gourmet institution amongst San Franciscans.
The speciality seafood restaurant is notorious for its incredibly long queues but the wait clearly has not deterred avid foodies from returning.
The restaurant takes immense pride in serving the “best damn crab cioppino” and if you look around, you would soon realise that is exactly what everyone came for. For the uninitiated, the cioppino is a classic San Francisco seafood stew invented and subsequently popularised by the Italian fishermen who worked at Fisherman’s wharf in the 1930s.
First thing first, do note that Sotto Mare only accepts reservations for parties of three and more, so if you are dining solo or as a couple, you will have to try their luck by walking in.
We waited for more than an hour for a table for two and another 30 minutes before the signature Crab Cioppino (US$41) was served to us.
What can we say? Good things are worth waiting for!
Sotto Mare’s Crab Cioppino is essentially a gigantic pot of piping hot aromatic seafood stew that can feed up to three customers.
Rummage through the savoury dish and you will find generous amounts of clams, crabs, mussels, scallops, shrimps and penne pasta submerged in an addictive tomato-based broth.
Put on a bib, take a whiff and dig in like there’s no tomorrow.
Cioppino aside, Sotto Mare’s one-page menu too features an impressive selection of oysters, salads, pasta and other scrumptious seafood delicacies. Their oysters are superbly fresh (West Coast – US$1.50 each, East Coast – US$2.50 each) and we devoured them effortlessly instantly.
Read our latest travel guide: 15 Reasons to Visit San Francisco.
552 Green Street
San Francisco, CA 94133, United States
Tel: +1 415-398-3181
Closed on Sundays
Mon to Sat: 11.30am – 9.30pm
About the writer:
Hui Jun Ng is a staff writer for ladyironchef. She previously worked in the food and marketing industry. She loves traveling and enjoys exploring underrated destinations. In her free time, you will find her indulging in coffee and her all time favourite local dish – bak chor mee.