It's the most wonderful time of the year. No, not the holidays.
It's Dungeness season, y'all! And there's no time like this frenzied first month to bask in the delicious glory of tender, sweet crab meat plucked from the freezing waters of our coastline.
We love it in all forms, from simply boiled and cracked, to dressed up and roasted, to smoked to perfection in a wood-fired oven. Discover our top nine spots for Dungeness indulgence.
Salt & Pepper Crab at R&G Lounge, Chinatown
The live Dungeness crab (M.P.) at R&G Lounge is a true local legend. Whole crab is battered and deep-fried to a shatter-crisp, then generously doused in salt and pepper.
Chervil Tajarin with Dungeness Crab at flour + water, the Mission
If there is a Dungeness pasta available at flour + water, do not think twice about ordering it. Right now, there's a chervil-studded tajarin (think thinner tagliatelle) tossed with green cauliflower, chile, Meyer lemon and, of course, crab ($20)—it's spicy, tangy and fresh in one bowl.
Photo courtesy of flour + water
Whole Crab at Woodhouse Fish Co., Castro
Get your Dungeness (whole or half, A.Q.) just how you like it at Woodhouse—chilled or hot, served plain with butter or steamed in white wine, lemon and garlic butter. Our pick? Go with friends and try it all.
Roast Crab Dinner for Two at PPQ Dungeness Island, Outer Richmond
The name alone is reason to get your crab on at PPQ. The well-priced dinner for two ($56) will have you coming back on the regular. It includes a whole roast Dungeness crab (doused in garlic and butter), deliciously addictive garlic noodles, appetizers and dessert. That said, PPQ does Dungeness five ways (M.P.), including spicy, curry and peppercorn, so we wouldn't fault you from deviating.
The Best Damn Crab Cioppino at Sotto Mare, North Beach
The cioppino for two ($41) is worth ordering all year, but it's particularly special during Dungeness season. The garlic-rich tomato broth is bursting with seafood, including massive hunks of Dungeness. Pick up a cracker and tie on that bib—things are gonna get messy.
Crab Louie at Tadich Grill, Financial District
A good crab Louie is a staple in San Francisco, and Tadich's ($30) is a true classic done right. Iceberg lettuce is topped with a massive pile of Dungeness crab, along with a Louie dressing that manages to be sweet, creamy and just spicy enough all at once.
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Boiled Crab To Go at Swan Oyster Depot, Nob Hill
Braving the line at Swan Oyster may be a San Francisco right of passage, but when it comes to Dungeness, we don't have that kind of patience. Instead, pick up a pile of boiled crabs (M.P.) to go. Then take them home, melt some butter and crack them for an amazing DIY-seafood feast.
Dungeness Crab Roll at Fish., Sausalito
There's something about eating Dungeness right on the water, especially at this spot tucked into the Sausalito harbor. Do it right with the crab roll ($25), laden with flaky crab meat and spread with butter and chives. It all tastes even better with the briny sea breeze.
Wood-Oven Crab at Pizzaiolo, Oakland
Anything that comes out of the wood-fired oven at Pizzaiolo is bound to be amazing, and a recent special of Dungeness crab ($12 to $15), served with chicories and aioli, is no exception. Keep an eye on the restaurant's Instagram feed to catch this special (and other Dungeness-centric ones!) again.
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