San Francisco Crab Season

Start those pots of water and chill that Chardonnay! Crab season in San Francisco is one of the most anticipated citywide events where restaurants everywhere showcase our crustacean friend for foodies young and old. To separate the meat from the shell, follow this guide to the best local San Francisco crab restaurants, crab markets and crab festivals.

San Francisco Dungeness Crab

From Alaska to Santa Cruz, the frigid Pacific is an ideal habitat for San Francisco's famous delicacy, Dungeness Crab. Firm and sweet, the Dungeness Crab meat has played an important part in defining San Francisco's culture, from the crab boat docks of Fisherman's Wharf to the diverse Italian, Vietnamese and Chinese recipes for Dungeness Crab.

Where to buy San Francisco Crab


Grant Ave. at Bush St., San Francisco CA 94108

The streets of San Francisco's Chinatown are filled with curios from the Far East, as well as a plethora of small grocery stores selling live fish. Come San Francisco crab season, tanks filled with fresh crabs caught the same day off San Francisco's coast fill the saltwater tanks. With an ethnic ethic that prizes live fish as the tastiest, Chinatown is an ideal location for shopping for fresh San Francisco crab.

Fisherman's Wharf

Embarcadero and Powell Sts., San Francisco CA 94133

Take your family and friends who are visiting San Francisco to Fisherman's Warf. Fresh crab can be found at a number of establishments and while it may be a little more pricey, the Warf is a perfect for your next staycation.

Clement Street

Clement and Arguello Sts., San Francisco CA 94122

Clement Street is the heart of Chinatown for San Francisco locals; a wonderful thoroughfare of shops, bars and restaurants that spans the Inner and Outer Richmond districts. If you want to avoid the crowds of Fisherman's Wharf and Chinatown head to Clement Street for live crab and fresh seafood.

San Francisco Crab Festivals

North Beach Crab Crawl

San Francisco's famous Dungeness crab gets an Italian flavor at the annual North Beach Crab Crawl held every February.

Fisherman's Wharf Crab Festival

Fisherman's Wharf holds it own month-long repertoire of festivities, including exhibitions at the Aquarium by the Bay and discounted Bay Cruises.

Union Square Crab Fest

Union Square, known for high end shopping and world-class restaurants, hosts it own Union Square Crab Festival. Celebrities crack crabs prepared fresh at local Union Square restaurants and tickets to sample the crustacean creations run a mere $5.

San Francisco Crab Restaurants

For some of the most delectable crab in San Francisco, these varied San Francisco crab restaurants—from the Sunset to Fisherman's Wharf to downtown—have reputations as the best in San Francisco.

Crab House San Francisco

203 C Pier 39, San Francisco California 94133

Seafood. The Crab House has a traditional, maritime feel in the heart of Pier 35's kitschy environs. Overlooking the water in a wood building perched on stilts, the window seats (with views of crab boats and barking sea lions) is a picturesque and popular place for cracking a bottle of chardonnay and a whole-roasted Dungeness Crab.

Book a Table

Crustacean San Francisco

1475 Polk St., San Francisco California 94109

Fusion. Euro-Asian décor and a kitschy, but upscale, décor characterize this San Francisco restaurant dedicated to everything exoskeleton. Crack away at the whole roasted garlic crab, or the Vietnamese-style "Drunken Crab" (fresh Dungeness in a broth of white wine, cracked black pepper and scallions), for a price.

Franciscan Crab Restaurant

Pier 43 1/2, Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco, CA 94133; Tel. + 1 866.476.0558

Italian. An extensive renovation has revitalized the Franciscan, a Fisherman's Wharf institution since 1957. Signature dishes include whole roasted Dungeness crab, seafood cioppino and fresh fish prepared in a variety of styles. The Franciscan Crab Restaurant's logo features a mermaid riding a local Dungeness crab.

Book a Table

Joe's Crab Shack San Francisco

245 Jefferson St., San Francisco California 94133

Seafood. Joe's Crab Shack is (gasp!) a chain San Francisco restaurant, with locations all over the Bay Area, but its Gulf Coast version of Dungeness crab, be it BBQ or Cajun, is the only one of its kind in San Francisco. A family-friendly restaurant, Joe's Crab Shack is a touch of the Gulf in the West.

Thanh Long

4101 Judah St., San Francisco California 94122

Vietnamese. A Vietnamese delicacy, "Drunken Crab" (and especially Thanh Long's secret family recipe) is a standout dish at this small, always-packed Sunset neighborhood Vietnamese restaurant. When San Francisco's crab season begins, locals flock.

R + G Lounge

631 Kearny St., San Francisco California 94108

Chinese. One of the best Chinese restaurants in San Francisco and something of a cult favorite San Francisco Chinese restaurant, R + G serves a phenomenal deep-fried Dungeness crab. The freshness is top notch for a reason – just around the corner are Chinatown's famed live seafood tanks, filled in San Francisco's crab season, with live Dungeness crabs.

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