Saturday, April 18, 2015

Award winning Clam Chowder at Fog Harbor

Fog Harbor Fish House on Urbanspoon In early April-2015 when I was in San Francisco, my first experience of the local clam chowder was Boudin on Market Street. I was fortunate not to have started with one that set the standard too high or low because it would have complicated my experience of all others.

My second was Fog Harbor at Pier 39. This is a big and lovely beautifully maintained restaurant. I was dressed casually (and probably with "tourist" painted all over me) and underdressed for their fine dining establishment, but the hostess and server were still very friendly and helpful. Going in right at 10:30 AM when they opened, I was basically the first one in and had the run of the place.
I highly recommend going early and having a relaxing, quiet, meal, upstairs and away from the throng belong. Also, you are guaranteed a window seat if you like beautiful water/harbour views.

I was just there for the clam chowder and nothing else -- I had aimed to chowder my way down Fisherman's Wharf, or at least as much as my appetite would allow.
Fog Harbor had an "award winning" chowder, or so their menu claimed. But when I asked my server, she had no clue. She did come back after asking the manager to convey that they won #2 place as the People's Choice. After my visit to San Francisco, I did some digging online and came up with the 2014 winners of the Fisherman's Wharf clam chowder cookoff:

People's Choice
1. Blue Mermaid Chowder House
2. Fog Harbor Fish House
3. Pier Market
Judges' Choice
1. Blue Mermaid Chowder House
2. Pier Market
3. Lou's Fish Shack

It was strange that throughout my trip I hadn't seen this chowder cookoff advertised more, especially by the winners.

Clam Chowder ($8 bowl, no bread)
  • Fog Harbor does make a really tasty clam chowder.
  • Compared to Boudin's, this is thicker, creamier, and felt richer.
  • Price is also good at Pier 39 at just $8, though you will probably end up paying $10 after tax, tip, and employer mandate.
  • The under-$7 price of Boudin on Market Street still can't be beat, but at Fisherman's Wharf, the Boudin outlets charge over $8 for their clam chowder.
I should have been more diligent about finding out the winners of the clam chowder cookoff, but at the east end of Fisherman's Wharf, you can't go wrong with Fog Harbor for clam chowder.
If your opportunities to eat in San Francisco are limited, go early and just have the chowder.

Dining at Fog Harbor also gets you 30% off coffee at Biscoff Coffee Corner, right at the entrance of Pier 39 -- look at the bottom of your bill.

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