Seared Scallops (credit: Thinkstock)
With a mild flavor usually enhanced with creative sauces, scallops are on many menus throughout San Francisco. They are most commonly pan seared, and chefs will often draw on other ingredients, such as risotto, to complement the dish. Great scallops can be found in seafood restaurants throughout the city, although you should always check to make sure the fish you want will be on the menu that day. Restaurants featuring Asian foods also offer versions of the popular dish, and the good news is that you don’t always have to pay huge amounts of money to enjoy this treasure of the sea.
240 California St.
San Francisco, CA 94111
The Tadich Grill is billed as California’s oldest restaurant, and at 166 years and counting, it’s hard to argue the claim. This venerable institution has been serving fresh seafood for a long time and customers continue to line up for tables. Scallop fans have plenty of options here, ranging from deep fried scallops to a scallop sauté, which is usually served with saffron rice and steamed vegetables. You’ll find more scallops in the restaurant’s signature dish – cioppino – which also has clams, prawns, bay shrimp, mussels, crabmeat and white fish in a tomato and wine broth.
1230 Grant Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94133
The simple name of this North Beach restaurant belies the innovative and sometimes complex cuisine that has been served here for over 20 years. Sauces and seafood are the specialties at this Asian fusion establishment, blended together with a high degree of consistency at a very reasonable price. Their scallops are usually carmelized and served with a light mango sauce. Seared Hokkaido scallops with lemon ponzu and micro greens will also appear occasionally on the lunch menu.
1965 Al Scoma Way
San Francisco, CA 94133
It’s hard to mention good scallop dishes and not include at least one restaurant from Fisherman’s Wharf, the center of all things seafood in San Francisco. Scoma’s on Pier 47 is one of the area’s mainstays, serving excellent meals to tourists and locals alike since 1965. Their signature dish is prawns and scallops alla gannon, seared in olive oil, drizzled in butter, and usually served with vegetables and mashed potatoes. Scoma’s also includes scallops in their shellfish sauté and a pasta dish with lobster, shrimp and clams in a delicious cream sauce.
560 Central Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94117
This restaurant in the city’s Panhandle area near Golden Gate Park offers a classic bistro menu in the style of a Parisian café. The cooking here is straightforward and word of mouth has spread the word about Bistro Central Parc’s well-prepared French dishes since it opened six years ago. The scallops are some of the best in the city, usually served with a tasty risotto and a creamy lobster sauce. You will also find scallops included in the restaurant’s popular bouillabaisse.
126 Clement St.
San Francisco, CA 94118
Chapeau means “hat” in French, but it also is used to pay a compliment which is fitting because this Richmond district restaurant has earned praise from diners since 1996. The sauces are rich and the pastry is deliciously flaky at this bistro, which expanded to accommodate more customers four years ago. One large scallop is pan seared and served on a bed of pesto risotto. Many diners will order this as part of Chapeau’s popular and reasonably priced multicourse prix fixe menu.