We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Eat, drink and be merry...but get there early.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Swan Oyster Depot

Swan Oyster Depot
1517 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109-3606 (Nob Hill)
415-673-1101
Website
Menu
Improve this listing
Ranked #123 of 5,005 Restaurants in San Francisco
Price range: $21 - $30
Cuisines: Seafood, Chowder
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Delivery
Neighborhood: Nob Hill
Ottawa, ON
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
“Eat, drink and be merry...but get there early.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2013

This place is old-school. It's simple and unapologetic. There is a little hair on it, admittedly. In fact, there is a little hair on everyone working there. Worn, tired, menus on the wall, old photos, curios of all kinds. Nice guys in well-worn aprons who keep things moving. Two hungover bartenders (clients) stumble in beside me, nod to the bartender and are presented with two-dozen oysters. Got it. You're a visitor here, a welcomed one sitting beside stalwart regulars. Don't bumble over the menu. Pick something and go for it. I started with a cup of clam chowder and a cold lager at 10:45am. Got there in the nick of time. The lineup began around 11:00 and continued out the door. As this little raw bar filled I was asked to shuffle down a stool or two and I happily obliged. Half dozen of mixed oysters. No frou-frou explanations. Another half dozen. Ordered crab cocktail. Lots of crab and a pretty simple (but tasty) duo of sauces. All-in-all, it was 52$ before tip. I left full, happy. I would definitely return, if only to introduce someone else to this place.

  • Visited June 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

371 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    209
    103
    39
    11
    9
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
St. Joseph, Missouri
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Food Poisoning!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2013

We had wanted to go to Swan Oyster Depot for some time because of all the hype. So I was very excited to go. We found that it was highly over priced for what you get. But to make matters worse I got food poisoning from some crab. The others in our party were fortunate to have not ordered the smae thing I did. I had to fly home that afternoon and was throwing up for 3 hrs. on the plane, then went directly to the hospital upon landing and was told that I had food poisoning. This lasted for 3 days. I know for a fact it was the crab because I was not sick prior to that and it came on fast, within an hour and a half after we ate our late lunch and headed to the airport. Would not recomend to anyone unless you want to take the chance of getting sick!

  • Visited June 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
36 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“Good but over-hyped”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2013

San Francisco has lots of great seafood restaurants so it's never been clear why Swan Oyster Depot is always so busy - but it's been around, has a certain character and ambiance, and is always decent.

  • Visited July 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Not sure what all the hype is about”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2013

This was the main restaurant I was excited about going to on my trip to San Fran and I was disappointed. We only had to wait for around 15 minutes, but it is literally bar seating. That is all. 15-20 people can sit at a time max. Seafood was fresh, but cold. The seafood salad is literally iceberg lettuce and cold seafood. Clam Chowder was good. Service was good. I guess I was expecting a little more for the price of the food.

  • Visited June 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tampa, Florida, United States
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
37 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
“Spectaular Experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 14, 2013

It's a small hole in the wall, first come first served kind of place. If you plan on having a meal here, I recommend an off peak meal time. We arrived around 3 PM and had to wait about 15 minutes to be seated. Luckily it was just my husband and I, so it wasn't that difficult to find seats together at the bar. The oysters were fresh, and the smoke salmon was AMAZING. I did order a shrimp cocktail and was disappointed when I realized that I should have ordered a prawn cocktail instead, but that was my fault more than anything. The personalities behind the bar are big plus as well. It was a good time!

  • Visited April 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Swan Oyster Depot also viewed

 
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco, CA
 

Been to Swan Oyster Depot? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Swan Oyster Depot, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.