You cannot miss Castagnola’s. The corner seafood and steak restaurant with a deck and windows overlooking the bay easily has the best location on Fisherman’s Wharf. The story of how Castagnola’s got that enviable spot is an interesting one. And, of course, they were there first.
Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco -- The year was 1914. Down at the water’s edge, the crabbing industry was booming. A century ago, a local Italian-born fisherman not yet 20 years old, Tomaso Castagnola, prepared a dish in anticipation of crowds that would converge for the Panama Pacific International Exposition to mark the city’s recovery from the great earthquake and fire. He called it the Dungeness Crab Cocktail and ended up serving it up from a waterfront market stall that still exists today. Together with Castagnola’s Seafood & Chophouse, the oldest restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf carries on that tradition of fresh food and friendly service in a gorgeous San Francisco Bay setting with superb views.
All in the Family
Besides the 100 year-old traditional Genovese recipe destined to become world famous as synonymous with San Francisco, Castagnola’s is proud of several more that 21st century diners enjoy.
French loaves of sourdough bread come from Wedemeyer Bakery, made locally by hand in the traditional style in a European oven since 1936. Gracing the menu are Napa Valley’s Trinchero Family Estates wines, a Castagnola partner since 1947. Coffee, anyone? At the close of a meal, the restaurant serves America’s Best Coffee Roasting Company’s product, certified Fair Trade and USDA Organic and delivered fresh from right across the bay in Oakland.
As appealing as catch of the day is, when a Captain’s cut herbed prime rib with mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables sounds just right, head for Castagnola’s on a Friday or Saturday night when chef prepares medium-rare cuts from the chophouse. If you just cannot choose, have both; add prawns to any steak dish, go all in with grilled filet mignon served with Australian lobster tail, or come for the seafood and steak brunch. Bring the kids, too, as the children’s menu has eight popular choices.
Stop in after a visit to Alcatraz. Come for chowder after biking across the Golden Gate Bridge. Visit after Madame Tussauds. Lunch and dinner are served daily and happy hour with small plates served is from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. There’s live music with no cover charge on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings during happy hour and live jazz on Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.