Savory seafood stew surpasses its humble origins

Destination Dining

February 2, 2020

Story By: Elima Pangorang |

Cioppino, also known as fisherman’s stew, originated in San Francisco as a composition of leftover seafood from a fisherman’s daily catch — see what they did there? It is a rich and soul-soothing tomato-based stew that combines any type of seafood its maker chooses. However, common ingredients include mussels, clams, crab and fish fillet. In honor of this City By The Bay, here are a few popular stops to satiate a cioppino fix.

1. Alioto’s Restaurant
Alioto’s Restaurant Fisherman’s Wharf, No. 8,
San Francisco
(415) 673-0183

Boasting spectacular bay views, Alioto’s Restaurant also prides itself on its winning cioppino. The family that owns the restaurant credits the first serving of cioppino in a San Francisco restaurant to Grandma Rose Alioto — this is also a widely accepted theory among San Franciscans. Grandma Rose took over the restaurant — what was once a food stand in the early 1900s — following her husband’s passing and would eventually perfect the cioppino recipe, setting the trend for the West Coast city and beyond. Be sure to stop by Alioto’s and sample it for yourselves!


2. Tadich Grill 240 California St.,
San Francisco
(415) 391-1849

Known as San Francisco’s old-school favorite, Tadich Grill is a longtime resident of the city having opened in 1849. Fun fact: It is the third oldest restaurant in the United States. Its signature cioppino dish is a lovely concoction of clams, prawns, scallops, Bay shrimp, crab meat, mussels and white fish. It is all carefully simmered in a tomato-based sauce and served with garlic toast. The folks at Tadich note that the eatery served 22,000 orders of it in 2019 alone.


3. Scoma’s Restaurant 1965 Al Scoma Way,
San Francisco
(415) 771-4383

Happily boasting a pier-toplate concept, Scoma’s Restaurant is a beloved waterfront eatery favored by locals and visitors alike for its fresh seafood dishes. The cioppino here is a fun mix of crab, prawns, sea scallops, clams, mussels, fresh fish and calamari, all steeped in “Mama” Scoma’s rich tomato broth.


4. Woodhouse Fish Co. 2073 Market St.,
San Francisco (Also at 1914 Fillmore St.)
(415) 437-CRAB (2722)

Woodhouse Fish Co. is among one of the newer kids in town, however, it has been around since 2006. It is owned by brother-and-sister duo Dylan and Rowan. Woodhouse Fish Co. is known for producing sustainable and delicious seafood eats to people of The Bay Area and is especially popular for its $1 oyster deal every Tuesday. A stop in to this restaurant, and diners will find themselves ordering much more than its colorful cioppino — try tacking on an order of the lobster roll, too!


Ilima Awards
Hawaii's Best