Franciscan Crab Restaurant: Check, Please! Bay Area Review


(funky jazz music) – Fisherman’s Wharf has been
a magical place for Tammi Yee since she was a child. Fond family memories and fresh
crab are what brings her back to a San Francisco mainstay
of more than 60 years. Located at Pier 43 1/2 it’s Franciscan Crab Restaurant. (funky jazz music) – [Narrator] I love
walking into the restaurant and seeing the amazing view. Everyday it’s something different. You never know if the fog
is going to show up or not. I am Stephanie Etienne and
I am the General Manager of the Franciscan Crab Restaurant. We have three tiers in our restaurant. There is really not a bad
seat in our house at all. No matter where you sit, there’s an angle of San
Francisco that you’ll see. (sizzling) – My name is Juan Carlos Becerra. I’m the Executive Chef here
at Franciscan Crab Restaurant. In San Fransisco, California. All of our seafood comes
from local suppliers that are around the area
here in Fisherman’s Wharf. Dungeness crab is the best tasting crab. It’s more meat than others
and the meat is sweeter. We always get the largest
one’s for our restaurant, because it has more meat. The crab is served with
a special crab cracker and little forks to pick out the meat. It’s fun when you get
your hands dirty too. We have a lot of combinations on there. Our cast iron skillets, people really enjoy it
when they come to the table sizzling, you know. People around at other
tables are looking like, “What is that, what is that?” Sometime they just order by pointing. (jazz music) – Alright Tammi, you
check out all the hottest, latest restaurants, but
this is kind of an iconic, classic San Franciscan spot. – Well I love this place. So, historically, it’s kind of the big
deal in San Francisco. Was formed in 1957 I think, it brings back a lot of memories. I grew up in Fremont. I’m a Bay Area native. So, my family would take me to the Wharf and we’d walk around the Pier. And have this delicious Dungeness
crab at this restaurant. So, I think they have some
really solid seafood dishes. A lot of versatility in the menu. A lot of different options. Love the 50’s vibe! But really unpretentious. I think it’s just a perfect spot to take people who aren’t
from San Francisco. – The whole restaurant
is made out of glass. From the side of the water. So the views are unbelievable. – [Leslie] Right, and it really is. It screams San Francisco, doesn’t it? – Yeah. – It really is a fun ambience. They’ve got pictures
that they’ve been taking for years and years and
years of celebrities. I mean, there’s hundreds
of pictures everywhere. And it’s just kind of
fun to wander around. – I always get this,
sizzling platter of seafood. A combo of mussels, crab, and shrimp. I’m a huge seafood connoisseur. I think my friends know
me as that crab lady. Like, I love seafood. Sometimes I’ll go by myself and just have this giant sizzling platter of seafood served to me. And then it’s kind of sizzling
in this garlic buttery sauce. Really, really, good. – [Leslie] What is your favorite? – [Tammi] Crab, hands down. – [Leslie] Okay. – [Tammi] Yeah, it’s so good. – [Bob] For me the mussels
knocked it out of the park. Fat, juicy, perfectly cooked. All by themselves, they were excellent. I didn’t want to put any
of the dipping sauces in. But I didn’t like the roasted crab. You know, it was dry, really dried out. I thought that maybe
it was too imbued with, I don’t ever think that you
can have too much garlic but there was something about
it that didn’t do it for me. – Um hmm. – The abalone was sort of a mixed bag. The dore coating overpowered
the beauty of the abalone. But the dore itself, that
coating, was very good. It was delicious. We took the dore off and
then we ate the abalone. It was perfectly cooked. Tender, flavorful, but the two
together didn’t work for me. – [Leslie] Okay, what about you Steve? – I definitely crabbed out. So, I started with crab cakes. And I did crab chowder. And I did a crab louis salad. (laughing) So, I had crab! – The crab trifecta. – Yeah, the crab trifecta. I had very low expectations of this place. – Now, why is that? Because it’s on the Wharf
and your thinking touristy? – The name sounds like a tourist trap and I just didn’t expect a lot. I think that if you’re going for what you typically go for, it’s perfect. It is touristy. It’s from the photos. And they don’t show them there, they’re just pictures of
celebrities as you walk up. And the menus are laminated, like you would expect
from a tourist restaurant. But the seafood is fresh. The service was great. The views, as I said, are unbelievable. So the crab cakes were triple fried. They were very crispy. With some chopped vegetables. The chowder had a huge
hunk of dungeness crab, which was the best part of the chowder. The actually chowder itself
was a potato based chowder. Very bland, I put a heavy
douse of Tabasco on it, which made it taste better. And the crab louie salad was
huge and very fresh crab. But the louie dressing was reminding me of the dressing I grew up
with from the grocery store with Kraft Thousand Island dressing. – Thousand Island, man, come on! (laughing) – We had the same experience, we got the Caesar salad with crab. And the crab was lovely
and fresh and tasty. And the Caesar was as
bland as bland could be. It was just, it was a disappointment. – You know it’s touristy. But, I think it’s always
been a solid choice. Everyone that I’ve brought has been like, “honestly, this was a good spot.” It did the job. – Well, as you said, it’s
go with expectations, right? This is, you’re going for crab. – And a beer probably. I would definitely go back to this place. – I’ve also had the crab fondue
which is also really good. As an appetizer. It’s really thick and rich
and it’s super cheesy. It’s got plenty of lumps
of crab meat, which I love. I hate it when they skimp
out on the crab meat. And they definitely don’t do this here. With a couple of pieces of bread and it’s served pipping hot,
really, really delicious. – And what did you feel about value? Because, you know, crab is expensive. Seafood is expensive. – It’s not an inexpensive place. So again, I would go with the expectations that you are going to spend some money, have a good time, and enjoy the view. – Alright, Tammi, your
spot, wrap it up for us. – For solid seafood dishes
take your out of towner friends to Franciscan Crab. – [Leslie] Alright, and Bob. – I don’t think I’ll be back. They have some very good dishes. A great spot for tourists. – [Leslie] Okay, and Steve. – [Steve] Fun, amazing
views, go at sunset. – If you would like to try
Franciscan Crab Restaurant it’s on Fisherman’s Wharf at Pier 43 1/2 in San Francisco. The telephone number is (415) 362-7733. It’s open every day for lunch and dinner. 365 days a year! Reservations are recommended. And the average dinner tab per person without drinks is around $30. – [Announcer] Check Please
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