Tadich Cioppino

The Tadich Grill is a San Francisco institution, however, growing up in San Francisco, I had never been there. After asking my fellow long time San Franciscans, they too had never been there. Was this like Alcatraz, where locals know of the place but doesn’t bother going since it is a tourist destination? I guess if you don’t work in the financial district you wouldn’t really wouldn’t bother. Don’t be fooled. This place has been around for a reason, and it took me several years to finally realize it.

After hearing from a reliable friend about the cioppino, I had the occasion to meet him for lunch. Boy was I happy I did. If you have never had cioppino, then don’t bother with the Pier 49 places that advertise it, because I have found the one and only place to get it. I tomatoey based broth with garlic and all the seafood you can fit, this was a soup and a meal all in one. It was like an Italian fish gumbo without the roux mixed with French bouillabaisse and San Francisco seafood.


Now to take a break from the food, I must mention the decor. It is literally like walking into the past, with the long bar, the hustle and bustle of the working people trying to grab a quick business lunch. You now have iPhones and Blackberries with the power lunchers, but that is the only evidence of modernity. If you are in a rush, walk past the throne of people waiting for a table and continue along the wall midway through the bar to grab the next available seat. Sitting at the bar is also much more enjoyable since you get to interact with the servers.

Now back to the food. All the seafood in the cioppino was fresh. The scallops were light in texture. The fish was buttery. The clams were not rubbery but had the perfect amount of bounce when bitten into. The garlic bread served as the perfect spoon to sop up whatever broth remained after all the seafood was gone. It is not a cheap lunch but taking to account all the seafood, it is definitely worth it.

On a side note, Courtney and I stopped by for a drink in the evening. Don’t expect those oversized martini glasses, but the perfect old-school proportioned glass. The drinks were well concocted and fit perfectly with the atmosphere.

Go to The Tadich Grill. Although it is open for dinner, it is probably one of the best lunches around.


You can read about the history more at this SF gate article.