Long before it was a tourist mecca filled with souvenir shops and selfie sticks, Fisherman’s Wharf was the industrial hub of San Francisco, crisscrossed by railroad tracks and home to lumberyards and a booming fishing industry. Nunzio Alioto arrived in 1898 from Sicily and set up a fish stall at No. 8 Fisherman's Wharf, where he sold cracked crab and shrimp to other Italian workers. He also met and married a local girl named Rose. When Nunzio died at the age of 49, Rose rolled up her sleeves and took over her husband's business, laying the foundation for what is now one of San Francisco's oldest family-run restaurants. Rose was one of the first restaurateurs to create a fish stew called cioppino, one of San Francisco's signature dishes. No surprise, Alioto's menu is seafood- and Italian cuisine–focused, and peppered with a number of Alioto family recipes, such as the Risotto Alioto with prawns and scallops, and the Rigatoni Bolognese. The most popular dish, and rightfully so, is Nonna Rose’s Famous Crab Cioppino, a heaping bowl of local Dungeness crab, mussels, clams, and prawns in a perfectly seasoned broth. Don't forget to wear the bib—you'll need it.
San Francisco's Best Cioppino: Alioto's
One of the oldest restaurants on Fisherman’s Wharf, Alioto’s still serves “Nonna Rose’s Famous Cioppino.” Dungeness crab from the restaurant’s tanks is cracked live and then immediately cooked in a buttery sauce. You’ll want the metal pliers and bib provided for this version. #8 Fisherman’s Wharf This appeared in the November/December 2015 issue.
By Serena Renner, AFAR Contributor
8 Fishermans Wharf, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
Sun - Thur 11am - 10pm
Fri, Sat 11am - 11pm