Hog Island Oyster Bar San Francisco Ferry Building


"It hit 103 degrees in Central Park in today!" my husband exclaimed.  My skin started to curl as I let out a deep groan, just thinking about the sweltering heat was giving me hot flashes.  I am so grateful to be shrouded in San Francisco's gray fog, where it has been a cool and breezy 65 F. It's the type of weather when you can stay comfortably snuggled in bed and sip on hot chocolate all day long. 


It humors me whenever I return to San Francisco because no matter what time of year, the view of the bay looks the same: foggy. If it wasn't for a calendar, I'd never be able to tell summer from winter.


As you can imagine in this cold weather what always hits the spot is a steaming bowl of soup. After a long day at work, I stopped by at the Ferry Building to visit an old favorite, Hog Island Oyster Bar, thinking that I would enjoy a relaxing ice cold pilsner with a half dozen of the bay area's finest Sweet water oysters and a bowl of San Francisco clam chowder. 


If you've not had Hog Island's clam chowder, it is slightly different from the traditional creamy and rich New England chowder. The broth is lighter and flavored by chunks of smoky pancetta. A generous amount of sweet, plump and juicy manila clams in-shell fill the bowl with only a sparse hand full of tender buttery yukon potatoes accompanying the medley. The chowder is finished with fresh parsley finely chopped.  It is at once sophisticated, satisfying and comforting. $14


If clam chowder is not your thing, perhaps a big bowl of steamers will do. Manila clams cooked in a light broth with fresh green herbs and oyster mushrooms is simple and good. This is a dish for those who enjoy the purity of flavors. $14

If I had to choose between the two clam dishes, I preferred the clam chowder for the complexity and richness of flavors. 


Hog Island sweetwater oysters, among its other fabulous raw offerings, always takes the starring role on the menu. Each of the oysters has a deep briny flavor of the cold Pacific Ocean with a firm sweetness of  flesh and a long creamy finish. These strong contrasting flavors are brought together beautifully with a vinergary mignonette sauce. Although, these oysters are so good own their own that you may not want to interfere with perfection.


Hog Island Oyster Bar is a great venue for raw seafood lovers. Visit on Mondays and Thursdays between 5-7pm when there is a great happy hour special of $1 Hog Island sweet water oysters and discount on select beers. 

1 Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 391-7117

48 comments:

Joanne said...

I am definitely jealous of you for missing out on this hot humid obscene weather we are having! SF definitely has ideal temperatures right now.

This entire meal looks fantastic! Glad to see you are making the most of your trip.

Trix said...

I would give my eye teeth to be in 65 degree weather right about now!! That clam chowder dish is really interesting ... I'd definitely give that a try.

Angie's Recipes said...

How cool! Love that clam chowder a lot...looks so fresh! And I want to have a glass of chilled white!

TKW said...

You're in the ferry building! One of my favorite places! I'm jealous! That chowder looks amazing.

HT said...

Yummy! Te pictures are mouthwatering. I will definitely put this on "my places to go" when visiting San Francisco.

Pam said...

Oh, I'm definitely envious of you as San Fransisco is a favorite city of mine! It's great that you are enjoying the cool weather!

My first visit to SF, it was in the low 80's, sunny and NO fog for a week until the day we left. It never was like that with later visits but I love it any way!

The food here looks delicious and those steamers are heavenly!

kat said...

Oh, how I love the Ferry Building! We've had that hot, humid weather in Minneapolis & its really had us missing SF summers

Belinda @zomppa said...

I would love a day of cool gray cloudy skies right now with this bowl of chowder and oysters!

alison said...

a fabulous meal and amazing pics!thanks!

El said...

The dish you photographed looks beautiful. How wonderful to be back in SF to enjoy the fresh air, sights and tastes. Enjoy!

Barbara said...

I love the seafood in SF! And this looks delicious, Christine.
(I also love the weather...same temps nearly all year long.) Your hubby is really getting big heat right now! Good time to be away!

mysimplefood said...

The Clam Chowder looks absolutely delicious. you have great photos on your blog!!

Liren said...

Oh, I have a special place in my heart for Hog Island. No other place compares when it comes to excellent oysters! This is definitely the perfect meal! Beautifully photographed!

Chow and Chatter said...

cool place have fun, check out my interview with Liren on blog talk radio you have a lot in common with her!

baking.serendipity said...

Yuck, 103 plus humidity? I couldn't deal. San Fran looks beautiful!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Those oysters are a vision. Actually, given the heat, I'd like to be sitting on top of that pile of ice myself!

lisaiscooking said...

65 degrees sounds like a dream! So does your meal. The oysters and clams look amazing.

Margot said...

I wish I could dine with you everywhere you go ESPECIALLY when oysters are involved.

Stella said...

Nice review, Christine. Your'e making me want to visit San Fransisco-sounds so romantic and beautiful in a way...

Cathy said...

San Francisco is one of my favorite cities, and I love the seafood restaurants along the waterfront. I have to say I would go for the steamer clams, and the cool weather as well. It's going to hit 100 degrees here today, too hot for this girl.

Chef E said...

I used to hear about them, and hubby ate them the last time he was there- One day, one day my little sweets, I will hold you in my hand and toss you to the taste buds- not good for them, but for me, lol

Pierce said...

The temperatures sure have been severe and I envy you being in SF. Would love to visit there one day and enjoy the weather and good foods available!

Carolyn Jung said...

I LOVE this place. The BEST oysters ever. Their oysters are the only ones I eat without a drop of sauce or horseradish. They don't need them. They are so good on their own, you don't want to spoil perfection.

Kim said...

It is nice to know that you are able to enjoy some cooler temperatures! It is just downright unbearable here in KY.
Can you believe that I've never had an oyster? I'm ashamed to admit that I'm scared to try them, but I know that I would most likely love them. Looks like a great place!

Enjoy your time in SF. It is such a wonderful city.

Elizabeth in SLO said...

Lovely pictures--as always! The use of pancetta in the clam chowder is intriguing!

Esme said...

I am so envious that you are in SF-what are you doing there?

bellini valli said...

Hey I have eaten here when I was in SF in November:D

Lori said...

I'm still mad at myself that I didn't try these oysters when I was out in SF! They look delicious and I could definitely go for some of that weather about now. Although we are getting summer rain today in KY and I am loving it!

OysterCulture said...

Is this where you ended up for dinner? Love Hog Island, and does it get much better with the view of the Bay. What a treat!

Diana Bauman said...

How fun to be back in SF Christine! Next time I've ever in the bay area I'll have to try this place, it's definitely up my ally. The big bowl of steamers is what I'm thinking :D Have a great time!

Debi (Table Talk) said...

When we moved away from San Francisco I definitely left my heart there...and also left a piece in Tomales Bay where the Hog Island Oyster Co has its farm. We paid them a visit in April while out there. Sure do miss them.
Glad you got to enjoy some while in CA!

Joy said...

You are so lucky you are not dealing with the nasty summer weather everyone else seems to be having. It is so incredibly hot and humid here, the minute I saw that frosty glass of pilsner with the huge bowl of oysters it seemed like the perfect meal! Beautiful pictures Cristine :) h

Patty said...

Hello!

I have to admit that clams and oysters have always made me a little nervous (although I will eat them in a stew, just as long as I don't have to take them out of their shell), but your descriptions and photographs make me want to woof some serious seafood down! I haven't been to SF in a long while, but will most definitely try this place when I get there!

Foodessa said...

I'd love to devour a clam chowder by that view any day. San Francisco was visited by me so many years ago that I had forgotten how special it is...fog and all.

Thanks for sharing your outing.
Have a great weekend.
Ciao for now, Claudia

Magic of Spice said...

Great post and pics...The food looks fantastic!

Sook said...

I love SF for the same reason. It's cool all year round! :) The soup looks fabulous! Yum!

theUngourmet said...

Can you believe I've never been to SF! Your photos are insanely terrific!! I loved the first one especially! Oh, and the one with the ship is fantastic too! Glad you were able to escape the heat for a bit!

Debinhawaii said...

OK, I am drooling over the chowder! Glad you are having such a great time. ;-)

nancy at good food matters said...

Stunning pictures that capture the essence of the dishes and the place.....needless to say, we are caught in Nashville style summer, thick, stifling heat----making your essay all the more appealing.

It's been too many years since I've been enveloped in the fog of San Francisco....sigh....

Sara said...

I love love love oysters. These look amazing! And those clams...yum. I'm kicking myself that I've never been to San Francisco. I'm adding it to my list of must visit soon places. I'm going to have to remember to pick your brain for all the best places to eat while I'm there!

Roberta Wennik said...

Being born in San Francisco and having lived there my first thirty years, I have to say that July is one of the foggier months. It makes sense when you realize that the valley over the mountains (I now live in Seattle and really should call those hills NOT mountains) heats up in the summer, pulling marine air in. With that marine air comes fog. It's unfortunate that many people travel to San Francisco in July when Spring or late summer would be a better time.

One of my favorite restaurants for seafood was Scoma's. Is it still there? They had THE best Cioppino I"ve ever had. Along with a slice of San Francisco sourdough bread and sweet butter, the meal was complete. Darn, I'm drooling already.

BTW, your pictures are fantastic. Makes me a little homesick.

Lori Lynn said...

I am a fan! And would definitely take the non-creamy version.

We visited the Hog Island oyster farm years ago, learned how to make Hog wash, great with those sweetwaters!

The photo of the ship is awesome!
LL

Roberta Wennik said...

So, Christine, the next time you have Cioppino at Scoma's, have a spoonful for me. I make a version that is pretty close and have to let that suffice until my next trip to San Francisco.

BTW, when did Scoma's move to Sausalito? They used to be on the pier in San Francisco.

Kitchen M said...

I love their oysters! though I've never been to the one at ferry terminal. I must try their clam chowder. It looks wonderful!

A Canadian Foodie said...

What a gorgeous post! I was there last August, but it wasn't opened, and then, there was a huge lineup just before 11 am, or so - when it opened on that Saturday... or I would have definitely eaten at it. I am crazy over oysters and these look small and delicate. Great photos, too!
I have a few extra wireless minutes here while I wait for my husband in Bijeljina, Bosnia and just posted a lunch in Paris. I am so glad to start catching up on my reading... we just made Serbian Kubassa Sausage this morning with real pig intestines. I love new experiences, and can't wait to peek at the photos. There is just not enough time in the day... but have your unread posts to read, one by one, as I get to them, like now... which is always a pleasure!
:)
Valerie
xo
Valerie

Danielle said...

I have yet to make my way to the restaurant at the Ferry Building although we drove up to their farm in Tomales Bay earlier this year and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Looks like you had a great meal, and pity we didn't get a chance to meet while you were here!

heather said...

now this is positively gorgeous. i'm stuffed with [appropriately] fish chowder and my mouth is still watering for this.

cheers,

*heather*

Ravenous Couple said...

sorry it's been a while since we stopped by..your photos have been insanely gorgeous! can't wait to go back to SF for foodbuzz conference...are you going?