The Bay Area's Best Restaurants For The Freshest Seafood

Meghan Tucker

There is no shortage of seafood in the Bay Area but some are a cut above the others. Be sure to check out these best seafood restaurants if you are looking for an amazing meal.

Clams at Sam’s

1. Sam’s Chowder House, Half Moon Bay

Sam’s Chowder House, Half Moon Bay

With breathtaking views of the Princeton Harbor in Half Moon Bay, Sam’s Chowder House is at the top of many Bay Area lists for top seafood and waterfront dining. Famous for their lobster roll —over a pound of fresh lobster meat tossed in butter and celery served on a freshly baked brioche roll— and other ocean fare, Sam’s offers more than just delicious food. With a daily Happy Hour live music every weekend, and dollar oysters every Tuesday, Sam’s knows how to please. Whether it’s classic East Coast chowder or traditional Spanish paella, this nautical eatery delights in all things under the sea.
Sam’s Chowder House, 4210 Cabrillo Hwy, Half Moon Bay, CA, USA, +1 650-712-0245

Fresh Lobster l © New England LobsterFresh Lobster | Courtesy New England Lobster

2. New England Lobster, Burlingame

Market, Restaurant, Seafood

Fresh Fish
Courtesy Waterfront Restaurant and Cafe
New England Lobster serves everything East Coast, including lobster rolls and lobster corn chowder. With appetizers ranging from lobster claws to oysters on the half shell, they have our friends in the East covered. Although they fancy themselves quite the East Coast eatery, New England Lobster offers plenty of West Coast favorites, including tacos and Dungeness crab nachos. They provide guests with a full fish market adjacently located for a cozy clam bake at home.

3. Waterfront Restaurant and Cafe, San Francisco

Cafe, Restaurant, Seafood

Fresh Array of Oysters
Courtesy Hog Island Oyster Co.
There’s nothing like that enchanting evening in San Francisco, especially if it includes a stroll down the Embarcadero. What better way to immerse yourself in complete Bayside city indulgence than to stop by a seaside restaurant and enjoy a glass of a chardonnay with a chilled prawn cocktail? Waterfront Restaurant and Cafe was well aware of this perfect night-out scenario, and produced a mouthwatering menu nestled in a romanticized atmosphere. Surrounded by great views of the bay on one side and the twinkling city skyline on the other, Waterfront has a classy ambiance and serves classic seafare. With menu items including lobster mac and cheese, tuna tartare, and Dungeness crab cakes, there’s no wrong way to order a meal here.

4. Hog Island Oyster Co., San Francisco

Bar, Restaurant, Market, Seafood

Hog Island Oyster Co
© T.Tseng/Flickr
Hog Island Oyster Co. is more than just an oyster depot, it’s an experience. With the bustling of servers, bartenders, and oyster shuckers all around, this restaurant is not for the faint hearted. A loud and boisterous room with views of the piers and docked ferries, guests at Hog Island not only taste the crisp cold freshness of the oysters, they feel it. Sit at the oyster bar, and watch your plate being prepared. With a wide selection of oysters not found at many other restaurants, Hog Island is the go-to for those pearly sea gems. Don’t stop there: try one of their eclectic salads, like the chicory and persimmon salad featuring pistachios and local chevre.

5. Barbara’s Fishtrap, Half Moon Bay

Restaurant, Diner, American

Located on the edge of the Princeton Harbor, this little sea shack claims to have some of the best fish and chips around. With each fillet battered and fried to a perfect crunchy golden brown, there’s no arguing that Barbara knows how to fry a fish. Accompany any fish dish with a cup of their dairy-free New England clam chowder —a must for all those who are lactose intolerant, as it is as creamy and thick as a traditional chowder— or a basket of fried calamari. With every traditional sea meal on the menu, Barbara’s provides that Pacific comfort food every Californian craves and every tourist comes here to try. Another amazing location for crystal blue views, make sure you keep your pirate booty handy, as this mermaid-adorned diner only accepts cash.

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