Since I can remember, my parents have taken my sister and I to Scoma's for dinner nearly every time we would visit San Francisco. We're all big seafood lovers, and the fish at Scoma's is always fresh, and much of it is caught locally on their fishing boat.
Because I've been going to Scoma's for so many years, it's probably my favorite restaurant in San Francisco. I know, that's a bold statement when you're living in a city brimming with five star restaurants, but the old San Francisco charm, and nostalgia I associate with the restaurant, keeps me coming back. The only downside to Scoma's is that it's hidden among the souvenir shops near Ghirardelli Square. But as soon as you turn down Al Scoma Way, the rows of rusted fishing boats and old San Francisco charm quiets the cacophony created by tourists and cable cars.
When my parents were here last weekend, they took Andrew and I to dinner at Scoma's for an early birthday celebration. You can always expect a long wait, unless you plan far enough in advance to snag a reservation. So we arrived early, hoping the wait wouldn't be quite as long. Luckily, the setting is quite picturesque and we were there a dusk when the lighting was beautiful, so I walked around the pier and snapped some pictures. Forty minutes later, we were seated near a window with a view of the boats and Coit Tower in the distance. Perfect.
I didn't even need to open the menu, as I always order the same thing. But I browsed the wine list while my parents and Andrew decided on their entrees. As always, I ordered a large bowl of steamed clams. The local petrale sole always sounds delicious, but I can't say no to fresh steamed clams. My mom ordered the seared Ahi, and my Dad went with the halibut special, while Andrew ordered a steak. Everything was delicious as always, and the service was impeccable. The staff is always very friendly and knowledgeable without being too attentive (it always bothers me when you feel like they might as well join you at the table)!
At dinner, my parents reminded me of a story from a family visit to Scoma's when I was about 5 years old. We had an uncharacteristically grumpy waiter, who hadn't so much as smiled during our meal. When he left the bill, my Dad placed his credit card on the table for him to take. Without anyone noticing, I took the card and slid it under the tablecloth, so when our waiter came back, it was no where to be found. While they were discussing the whereabouts of said credit card, 5 year old Theresa ever so slyly lifted up the table cloth to present the missing card. Well, Mr. Grumpy thought this was hysterical. When he came back with our receipt, he tossed handfuls of mints across the table in my direction and applauded me for the entertainment! Part of what makes this story so amusing is that I was (and still am) incredibly shy, so it was uncharacteristic of me to joke like that with a stranger. Since I was so young, I have no memory of this, but it was fun to hear my parents tell the story again while we were there. Just a few tables away from the original "credit card stunt" as my Dad called it.
If you ever find yourself in San Francisco near Ghirardelli Square and Pier 39, I highly suggest you stop in to enjoy a meal at Scoma's. The fresh seafood and old San Francisco charm promises an unforgettable meal, but keep an eye on your credit card! ;) And for a perfect ending to a San Francisco day, walk up to The Buena Vista for an Irish Coffee, like we did!