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“Very Good Except for Odd-Tasting Oil” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Anchor Oyster Bar & Seafood Market

Anchor Oyster Bar & Seafood Market
579 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114-2511 (The Castro)
415-552-7584
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Ranked #34 of 4,523 Restaurants in San Francisco
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $21 - $30
Cuisines: American, Chowder, Seafood, Oyster Bar
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Restaurant details
Good for: Entertaining clients, Families with children, Romantic, Local cuisine, Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Late Night
Neighborhood: The Castro
San Francisco
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
55 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
“Very Good Except for Odd-Tasting Oil”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2013

This restaurant is VERY popular and doesn't take reservations. Not difficult to get a bar stool, but there can be a long wait for a table. Food here is very good--I hadn't been to Anchor Oyster Bar for a few years, so was eager to try it again.

I started with a half Caesar Salad which was quite generously sized and more than enough. Order the half salad if you're also having a main course--you won't go hungry.

Two of us each had Ahi Tuna which was prepared perfectly--about as good a tuna gets and served on a bed of fresh veggies. But there was one flaw: it was flavored with an off-tasting oil that I did NOT like at all. My dinner companion didn't have the same reaction, so it might be just the way I taste things.

I like the flavor of extra-virgin olive oil when it tastes like olives; "earthy" tasting or infused olive oils with some herbs can ruin a good thing. I asked what the oil on the main course was and was told it was lemon, but it tasted more like cilantro (which I dislike) or some other herb. In any case, I think my dinner would have been nearly perfect if the oil drizzled thereon had been good olive oil without any cloying infusions that nearly wrecked the excellent fresh veggies under the tuna.

Service was very friendly and efficient, and aside from being jammed into a small space, it was generally comfortable. I'd go back, but would insist that the chef use extra-virgin olive oil that tasted like olives and nothing else.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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196 reviews from our community

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    130
    49
    15
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    2
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
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Ireland
Top Contributor
86 reviews 86 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 51 cities Reviews in 51 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
“Seafood excellence.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2013 via mobile

After a 15 hour flight to San Francisco my girlfriend and I found this gem in the Castro District. It's small and they deal with you on a first come first serve basis. No reservations. You arrive and write your name on a board outside and are seated in order. This was nice as it encourages social interaction with your fellow customers who await the call.

The seafood here is exceptional. Reasonable priced for seafood. We had prawns with roasted vegetables and it was very clear that the prawns were caught that day. They were fantastic. If you like seafood and a good atmosphere and don't mind a short wait then this is the place for you.

Visited December 2013
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Bloomington, Indiana
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
46 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Good seafood, casual dining”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2013

Anchor is a nice neighborhood seafood counter type of place. Nothing fancy in the décor or atmosphere, just good food, drink, service and experience. Had some of the first Dungeness crab of the season quick fried with garlic and other herbs so it was a messy crab cracking experience, but was very good. The clam chowder was OK, a little thinner than I had hoped, but a good inclusion. The service was good and attentive, and I enjoyed eating at the diner counter. I saw a wait here at many times I passed, but I got in right away at 6pm this day. Most of their specials are north of $20, so it's a little pricey but not absurdly so.

  • Visited November 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Dublin, Ireland
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Delicious food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2013

Went with a group of three. Had to wait 30 minutes which is ok for the great food we got served. I recommend all the pasta to try as it is to die for. I have been to Italy many times, but have never had this taste. Strong flavours, lots for garlic, fresh tomatoes, parsley, amazing mix of seafood and al denote pasta. Don't expect a fancy restaurant, but the atmosphere was perfect for us.

The reason why I don't rate 5 stars is value for money as it is very pricy

  • Visited November 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
“The best”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 23, 2013

Their cioppino will change your life. I don't think it was on the menu, but ask the likeable staff. A great little place in SF. We paid about 60 dollars per person (all inclusive) and that was less than other less remarkable dinners in the city. Highly recommended!

  • Visited November 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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