If the delicious signature dish at Cioppino’s were not the best in San Francisco, the name of the restaurant would need to change. However, no worries whatsoever. This destination Italian seafood restaurant called Cioppino’s on Fisherman’s Wharf is a fourth generation native San Franciscan operation named after the “lusty and flavorful” seafood soup that’s been a San Francisco tradition since the start of the 1900s.
A Fisherman’s Tale
The story of how Cioppino got its name is one of our favorites. Told best by the folks who know best, it goes like this:
“The origin of both the dish and the name came from the Italian fishermen in the early 1900's, when Fisherman's Wharf was still called Meigg's Wharf. Someone would make the rounds of the moored fishing boats, calling out for for contributions to a common, festive stew. One fisherman would toss a nice, fat fish into the bucket, another would drop in a succulent Dungeness crab, another some herbs and vegetables. The cry that prompted each contribution was ‘Chip In!, Chip In!’ But coming from an Italian throat, this American slang had to end in a vowel. And the ‘in’ was, of course ‘een.’ So ‘Chip-een-o’ was born.
Soups of the World
Paris has its onion soup gratinée, Hong Kong its wonton, Hungary loves goulash and Granada goes for gazpacho.
When it comes to creamy clam chowder, New England must share its crown with San Francisco. Try the interpretation served throughout the City by the Bay. The best examples are served in a locally-made fresh sourdough bread bowl for a San Francisco treat that natives adore. It’s a Fisherman’s Wharf staple and Cioppino’s version is award-winning.
Cioppino’s is open 365 days a year. And, since nobody ever claimed that happy hour must last only one hour, the daily happy hour takes place Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Those in the know ask for the housemade Sangria while they watch the world go by from an outdoor table under a generous shade umbrella on the patio.
Not all roads lead to Fisherman’s Wharf, but lots of them do. It’s fun to ride the vintage F-line streetcars or the famous cable cars on the Powell-Hyde line. City buses numbered 8X, 39 or 47 bus stop right nearby as well. Or, use the handy Hop-On, Hop-Off sightseeing bus tour. Look for the Italian flag colored red, white and green striped awnings at Cioppino’s when the bus arrives at the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf. Driving? There’s validated parking within steps from Cioppino’s front door, right near the landmark Fisherman’s Wharf sign.