pier market.

11:30 PM sians 0 Comments

one of the things that i think is missing in the midwest is the abundance of fresh seafood. even if you find some, it would probably be quite expensive. since i was in san francisco last weekend, fresh seafood was definitely in my agenda and fisherman's wharf was our destination of choice.

although we are well aware that pier 39 was a tourist trap, we have had food at pier market last year and was blown away by the cioppino we had. hence, we had to return for a second time to satiate the cravings i've had since the last time we were there. i've been dreaming to have that awesome cioppino again and this was the perfect opportunity to get some. :)

pier market is located within pier 39 and it was hard to miss. there was a crowd waiting outside the restaurant as we approached it so we thought it might be a long wait before we could get a table... we were told by the maitre'd that it would only be about a 15 minute wait which we were extremely happy about since we were starving. we were drawn to the menu right outside and thought it might be perfect to just decide what we wanted before hand so we could order as soon as we get seated.

what is great is that if you wanted a piece of pier market goodness without having to be seated in the restaurant, you could get some small bites from their crab stand which serves to-go food such as chowders, sandwiches and crab cakes. i've read some yelp reviews that the salmon burger which they freshly grill for you as you order is definitely a must try. it is also said that the food at the pier market's crab stand is fast, cheap and good. definitely something to bear in mind the next time we head out here.

after about a ten to fiften minute wait, we were shown to our table in the restaurant where the decor is pretty old school. the back of the restaurant are lined with windows to have the sunlight stream in to illuminate the space and also allow one to enjoy the pier while enjoying their meal. 

they also have outdoor seating which was what i would have preferred since it was such a nice sunny day out but i have to admit we didn't ask the maitre'd for one. definitely something to request for the next time, assuming the temperature is ideal for outdoor dining.

it was difficult to decide on what i want since i wanted everything... but we decided on getting an entree and two appetizers instead of just two entree dishes. this way we can try the variety of dishes. :)

they started us with some sourdough french bread and guess where it's from? boudin! hehe. what intrigues me is why do everyone go with "extra sour" sourdough bread. i had a slice just to try it and it was definitely extra crunchy but it was too sour for my liking.

crab cakehouse specialty, served with a cajun rémoulade ($10.95)

as the dish was served, it looked appetizing and i couldn't wait to get a bite of it. warm and crispy outside, it was moist on the inside. however, i couldn't really see any distinct crab meat pieces hence i could only taste the subtle crab flavor.. i love to see the colors of the red pepper that gives the slight sweetness to the crab cake and the cilantro for the slight freshness. the rémoulade has a light flavor that pairs well with the dish since it doesn't overpower the crab cakes. it is definitely not as heavy as the traditional louisiana ones that we have tried before.

although it has good textures and moistness, i wasn't too keen on this dish. i am still looking for a crab cake that i can call amazing..the ideal crab cake that i am searching for should have big chunks of crab meat with minimal filling because the additional ingredients should enhance the natural sweetness of the crab and not mask it. 

steamed clams | steamed in garlic, butter and white wine (half order for $8.95, full order for $11.95)

i love clams especially when it's very fresh. i just wanted to eat up all the clams when this dish came and its aroma was garlicky and lemony which was exactly how the dish tasted like. ryan accidentally squeezed too much lemon into the dish so it was tad too lemony but pier market cooked it right. they treated these fresh clams right - succulent and not overcooked.


cioppino a classic san francisco dish. a tomato based seafood stew with fresh fish, mussels, clams, shrimp and crab served over pasta ($21.95)

a definite must have when you are in san francisco. a classic dish.

we ordered the lazy man's cioppino where the crab in the shell is substituted by picked crab meat for an additional $3.95. essentially it is as the name suggests, its for people who are too lazy to pick the crab meat from the shell and it's all done for you.  the dish arrived all steamy and i was uber excited since this was our main aim for coming here.

with lovely flavors all around, it packs a punch with the slight spiciness that builds over time (well, it isn't like that spicy but has a slight kick). the tomato broth is flavorful accented by the spices, slices of celery and onions in addition to the seafood flavor from the mussels, clams, crab meat, tilapia, salmon, shrimp. the bed of pasta was cooked al dente but unfortunately it wasn't flavored enough and plus the broth didn't really adhere to the pasta itself. the onions and celery add the sweetness and i like the different textures it contributes.

the salmon fillets were very fresh and delicious, not overcooked and the flavors just melts in my mouth. ryan, on the other hand, was looking for the butteriness that he usually expects from salmon which wasn't present in this dish. the tilapia didn't really stand out and was a tad fishy for my liking but it did impart some good flavors into the broth. mussels might have been overcooked just a lil and it was almost dry that makes me question its freshness. the crab meat was a disappointment because it was dry and almost flavorless that even ryan thinks that he would rather order the regular dish and pick the crab from shell despite how much he dislikes the extra work. and plus, i think it would add more flavor to the stew.

the biggest highlight of the whole meal was the fresh clam. each dish comes with two clams so we get one each and we both agree is the best thing of the day. love love loveeeeeeeeee. the clam is soo very fresh and cooked on point..just perfect. i saved the best for last and it took me a minute to savor the clam to the fullest. when i put the clam in my mouth, the first bite burst with clam flavor. it was like tasting the sea just with that one tiny morsel. ryan thought it was like an everlasting gobstopper of clam flavor.

this single clam would be enough to tempt me to return to this place for their cioppino again.  hehe. :) their crab cake not so much..

disclaimer this is written based on my personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others

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