Sotto Mare in San Francisco boasts of having the “best cioppino in town”. Located in the heart of the North Beach area of the city, the interior restaurant makes you feel like you just stepped into the cabin of a fishing boat!
We started a meal with a glass of house wine, which was actually not too bad and only $6 a glass.
Next came their grilled sea bass with lemon caper butter and veggies.
The fish seemed to have been pan fried and then grilled, creating a depth of flavor and textures. It was served alongside some plain spinach and carrots, which offered a great balance to the fish. The lemon caper butter was divine and went beautifully with both the fish and the veggies.
And then THE “best damn crab ciopinno”:
The bowl was HUGE. It was full of muscles, clams, shrimp, AND crab with some penne pasta and the most delicious tomato based broth. The flavors were intense and the seafood was all perfectly cooked to the right amount of tenderness. The pasta kept its al dente form and really soaked up a lot of the broth for flavor. I had to resist licking the bowl – it is THAT good!!
They don’t take reservations for parties less than 6. We got there around 6:30 pm on a Monday and, while there were many empty seats, we weren’t seated until about 45 minutes later for reasons unknown. You could have taken a pager from them, allowing you to walk around as you waited, but you have to give them your credit card number in exchange. That’s a little bogus to me, so we just stood outside and waited. The service otherwise was ok.
Was it worth it? I’d say so – the food was fantastic.