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Waterbar

Fodorite Reviews

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Waterbar Review

When you walk in the door of Waterbar, there's no mistaking what's on the menu. The sprawling dining room is dominated by sky-high aquariums filled with candidates—or some of the candidates (the kitchen has its own aquariums)—for your dinner plate. Every fin and shell is sustainably sourced, so there's no guilt in sitting down to a plate of chili-roasted Dungeness crab, pan-seared scallops, or grilled Pacific swordfish. Waterbar, like its next-door neighbor, Epic Roasthouse, is part of the empire of high-energy architect-restaurateur Pat Kuleto. Chef Parke Ulrich, who spent a decade at the city's celebrated seafood palace Farallon, dishes up the catch raw, cured, and cooked in dozens of ways, while nationally acclaimed pastry chef Emily Luchetti handles the sweet end of the menu. If you want to experience this splashy, watery world and can't afford the spendy seafood, grab a seat in at the raw bar, where you can snack off the bar menu and take in the drop-dead bay view (there's also a $1 oyster happy hour daily 11:30 am–6 pm); weekend brunch on the patio is glorious on a sunny day.

    Contact Information

  • Address: 399 Embarcadero, between Folsom and Harrison Sts. Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105 | Map It
  • Phone: 415/284–9922
  • Website:
  • Location: Embarcadero
Updated: 04-30-2013

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  
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    Pre-SFO (SQ) Flight Dining Delight

    Rather recently (late June, 2013), this Singapore-based business traveller had the honour of dining again at this sentimental waterside locale with a colleague and two cherished friends. Particularly special this round, due to bidding adieu to a Waterbar friend moving on to a new adventure.

    Over time (and time permitting) this property has become an enjoyable end of work week locale, before departing directly from the restaurant to SFO and the Singapore Airlines night flight to Hong Kong (SQ1) for additional meetings. (At present, I am averaging 6-8 yearly SQ flights from Asia to the SF Bay Area for meetings and checking on the residence; always a pleasure to be back in the City by the Bay for a week or so.)

    Attentive and most knowledgable Waterbar service with fine, friendly waitstaff and gracious hostesses. (Probably helps I am friends with a few; one going back to the day when I lived and worked in San Francisco and she was with another venue.)

    Weather and private parties permitting, do try for outdoor seating. (I am most partial to the alfresco setting, particularly with the long SQ1 non-stop to HKG looming later that evening.) If available, I have always enjoyed the preparation of the John Dory.

    Must confess, this is not my favourite San Francisco restaurant for cuisine and truly special occasions (I did get rather spoilt for choice, living in SF for several years), but for dining with colleagues and old friends, it's the perfect send-off for my Singapore Airlines night flight to Hong Kong.

    Many thanks, fine Waterbar friends and staff. Savour your waterside times in San Francisco.

    by AskOksena, 7/8/13
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    Waterbar Review

    It's the city by the bay. Somehow, you know there has to be great seafood here. Let me tell you, Waterbar doesn't disappoint. You know the moment you enter the door this place has to be good. You know because it is absolutely packed with locals. Your senses are quickly overwhelmed. From the sight of almost ceiling high tanks filled with exotic fish inside to a picturesque view of the Bay Bridge out the windows that form the back wall of the place, the wow factor just hits you. The dinners are great of course but the bar menu satisfies all on it's own. If you love oysters, they have them here. And what a selection . . . from West Coast to East. I've never had better or fresher. One of our party ordered the wood oven pizzetta. It was almost a sacrilegious thing to do with all this fish around. And yet everyone had to admit it was one really terrific little pizza. We should have been surpirsed but it was just one more wow of many during our visit.

    by Jack_K, 4/2/10

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