Swan Oyster Depot

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 Part seafood market and part restaurant, this famous seafood spot is always crowded.  It's even more popular thanks to Anthony Bourdain's Layover mention.  They don't take reservations and there are only a handful of counter seats available for dining in so the line can be little bit long.  Also, Swan opens at 8a (M-Sat), but they actually don't start service food until around 10a.  Even if you get there at 10a, it's full.  I can vouch for that.

Their site doesn't have a menu, but you can see from the wall they have everything from oysters to smoked salmon.

The window display of fresh seafood.

When you sit down they ask if you want bread, which is a nice accompaniment to all the seafood.  FYI - the bread isnt free, its a dollar.
A lot of people love the clam chowder here.  Supposedly, Swan Oyster clam chowder is actually Campbell's canned clam chowder with more fresh clams thrown in.  I prefer mine thicker and with chunky potatoes.  This one is ok, but its nice to sop your bread into. 

The mixed dozen oysters.  It depends on the day, but it usually has kumamotos, miyagis, bluepoints.  They are freshly shucked upon order. 
In addition to the usual Mignonette sauce, they have a Thai chili sauce.  The Thai chili sauce was pretty good, but I think it was a little overpowering for the oysters.

 Cocktail sauce is another option.  I usually alternate between cocktail, mignonette and raw (with lemon).

#96- Cracked Dungeness Crab at Swan Oyster Depot - 7x7's 2012 Top 100
The half cracked crab was a little smaller portion that I was hoping for, but the fresh, sweet flavor made up for it.  I love how the shell was cracked perfectly so the meat came out in nice whole chunks.  I didn't have to do my usual gnawing on the shell, like I do in Chinese restaurants.  You can ask for the crab butter (head) here and eat it with bread. 

 I don't usually get Louis dressing with my seafood unless I'm ordering a salad, but I decided to try it out with the crab this time around.  It goes quite nice with the sweetness of the crab, but I stuck to just eating the crab plain.  I'd be a waste to cover the taste of the crab with the Louis dressing.

 The combination cocktail was a last minute choice because I wasn't ready to end my seafood feast.  The combination comes with shrimp, crab, mussels, and oysters.  Its so fresh and sweet.  I just wish they didn't put the cocktail sauce on top and offered it on the side.

Address:                        Swan Oyster Depot
                                             1517 Polk St.
                                             San Francisco, CA 

Type:                                seafood/casual

Popular chomps:   cracked dungeness crab
                                              seafood salad
                                              clam chowder

Chomp worthy:      cracked dungeness crab
                                              seafood salad

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