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Cioppino, Clambake Special, Oysters on the Half Shell
Occupation: Mother and Paralegal
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: The Old Clam House
Reviewed The Old Clam House: Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I first started going to the Old Clam House when I was pregnant with my twin boys, about four years ago. I had heard about the restaurant and had a craving for fish and chips, so we rolled on down from Bernal Heights to check it out. Parking is easy, and I often find a spot in front or to the side of the restaurant. When you walk in, you can either step up into the bar area or you can have a seat in the dining room. I always eat in the bar area, because it is lively, bright, and the same servers have been there since my first time, and we've become friendly with them.
Once you sit down, you are promptly provided a small cup of warm clam broth and fresh, crunchy sourdough bread. My boys like to dip the bread in the broth. I'm not a fan of the warm clam broth, but the kids sure love it. After I had the twins, I stopped ordering the fried fish platter (a heaping combination of fish, oysters, shrimp, scallops, and calamari) and switched to the Lazy Man Cioppino, which is served in a huge bowl and is filled with clams, mussels, fish, crab, scallops, and is absolutely delicious! I always start my dinner or lunch with the house salad, which is big enough to split. The salad is not your average house salad. It starts with romaine lettuce, then is surrounded by a sliced egg, olives, tomato, croutons, and topped with shaved raw beet and carrot.
The Old Clam House is very family friendly, which keeps bringing us back. All three of my boys and my husband have their favorite dishes: the twins share a burger or a big plate of pasta with marinara sauce, and my oldest son usually has the pesto clams and linguini, the seafood ravioli, or the fish and chips. My husband will often order the special, which changes nightly. Most recently, he ordered the prawns and scallop kabob and was served a huge plate of rice, fresh steamed vegetables, topped with a skewer of three large prawns and three large scallops. When dining with friends, I like to order appetizers for the table. The steamed clams are a must, and the calamari is always perfect. We've tried the chicken wings, raw oysters, and stuffed mushrooms with crab, and all are quite good.