There is never a day where Swan Oyster Depot is not busy. There is always a line snaking down the block. Tourists and locals pile on each day to grab a bite at the long counter that runs down the length of the restaurant. It's messy, crowded and there is barely enough room behind you.
So why do people go?
For the seafood and the nostalgia. Sure you can go to Hogs Island in the Ferry building and be surrounded by Uniqlo vest wearing yuppies. The Oyster Depot is all about being jammed together with your buddies at the counter like you would at the neighborhood bar. It is fun.
The team at Swan are all locals who love their seafood. They have a full selection of clams and oysters from across North America. But, don't just try the clams and oysters. Have some smoked trout or any of the fresh fillets they have on stock. They will happily tell what's their favorite oyster variety, who the best suppliers for clams are, or why you have to be a Giants fan even if you are a transplant from Boston.
If you are going to go, make sure you go early. Otherwise, expect an hour-long wait at a minimum.
Swan Oyster Depot
1517 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109
Kent is a management consultant who has spent years traveling for work. His refuge is looking for the perfect meal so that he can reproduce it at home with his wife and friends.