Thursday, March 25, 2010

Anchor and Hope - San Francisco

Anchor and Hope for lunch - San Francisco 2.10
A good seafood house - the kind with lots of wood, a big long bar with beer taps, free oyster crackers and big bowls of chowder - is just about my favorite kind of restaurant, so I had high hopes for Anchor & Hope going in. I tried to go with a friend when I was in town for the BlogHer Food convention a few months ago, but they aren't open for lunch on weekends. On this visit we needed a place to meet pescetarian friends for lunch downtown (other than the all you can eat curry buffet they suggested) and I thought it would fit the bill nicely.
Anchor and Hope - San Francisco
Located on a tucked-away alley just south of Market, the restaurant is central enough to be convenient for the working crowd, but far away enough not to feel like just another business lunch spot. The dining room is airy and spacious, with lots of natural light pouring through huge skylights. Service is on the ball but unpretentious, and the whole place has a nice feel to it - with a good bit of style added to the classic seafood-house style decor. Lots of ropes, vintage lighting, varnished wood - but no cutesiness or stuffiness to speak of.
Anchor and Hope - SOMA, San Francisco
The menu offers a nice mixture of seafood-house standards and more inventive dishes. Prices are not inexpensive, but certainly not exorbitant for a sit down meal with a cloth napkin, and a beer or two if you choose. Main dishes range from $15. to $25. and appetizers are right around $10. I opted for my favorite seafood house classics - a crab louis, with a bowl of clam chowder on the side.
Crab Louis at Anchor and Hope
The crab louis featured a generous portion of perfectly seasoned lump crab meat accompanied by a gem-like baby green salad with cherry tomatoes, heirloom beans and a tiny quail egg, and a ramekin of rich remoulade dressing. The chowder was fine too, but I probably wouldn't order it again. If you're craving chowder, you're better off at Hog Island Oyster Co. in the Ferry Building. I was also mightily tempted by the Vietnamese-style shrimp fritter sandwich with pickled carrot slaw and jalapeno aioli, and the lobster roll.
Clam Chowder at Anchor and Hope
The lobster roll is served in one of those lovely split-top brioche rolls, with lots of potato chips and slaw.
Lobster Roll at Anchor and Hope
James had the burger, which he said was very good, and the fish and chips was a classic presentation. I did notice they served both of these with thick potato wedges, but they also had fries on the menu as a side. They seem to offer a plethora of potato options: chips, thick wedges and thin fries.

I wasn't taken with their dessert offerings, and if you can't tempt me, that's saying something. There were only three, a chocolate blackout cake, a gingerbread with apple and squash compote, and a Bailey's malted milkshake with oatmeal cookies. They all sounded a little, I don't know, brown - but maybe as the weather warms they'll add some new options. At dinner they offer the classic shellfish "plateaux" - a tiered cold seafood presentation at the ominous "Market Price," and appetizers in the low teens. Entrees are in the high twenties. It may actually be a better bargain at dinner than lunch, now that I think about it.

The best bargain of all though, is undoubtedly their happy hour - available between 4:30 and 6. It features one dollar oysters and inexpensive snacks such as shrimp fritters, braised bacon and fries ($4 - $12) along with wines by the glass for $5. and beers for $4. With deals like these and their lovely light-filled atmosphere, it would not surprise me at all to learn that seats at their bar are in very high demand on late Spring weekday afternoons.

Anchor and Hope
83 Minna Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 501-9100
reservations available on OpenTable and are highly recommended - even for lunch.


  1. That crab meat and salad looks delicious!

  2. Hmmm, I sometimes park in the lot right next to that place... I'm known to dream of a perfect lobster roll, so I really should get off my duff and go eat at Anchor.

  3. Thank you for sharing. I feel that salad is amazing. The price is reasonable as well.

  4. Hey, Alice. I have to tell you, I really rely on your blog. I trust your taste, and you've never done us wrong. Since moving to SD, we've really learned our way around. And travel to Palm Springs was perfect--thanks to your recommendations-- we stayed at The Ace. Ate at Jake's. On our way to San Francisco next week, any hotel recommendations? I've made my list of restaurants. Thanks!