The clam chowder had a nice tasting broth but lacked a lot of clams -- not one in every bite, but still it was quite a good soup. The salad came already tossed with the dressing, which isn’t usual for a lot of the casual San Fran old school restaurants. The sea bass was simply grilled because I asked for it that way with a side of perfectly done zucchini and some fingerling potatoes. The fish was done well bordering on overcooked. That’s unusual from past experiences. The fisherman’s stew was really nice. Served super hot and the garlicky tomato broth was really tasty with a ton of seafood in it, which included: jumbo shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels (although I had not a one), calamari and white fish.
All in all, I feel it’s not quite as good as it used to be but sometimes you are just looking for a clean, fresh meal that is good for you, well-prepared, and doesn’t break the calorie bubble for the day with hidden restaurant calories.
Occupation: Food Photographer
Location: San Jose
Favorite Restaurant: Lillie Mae's House of Soul Food
Reviewed Pompei's Grotto: Sunday, February 24, 2013
I wouldn't ordinarily head towards Fisherman's Wharf, the most touristy area in San Francisco, for anything... let alone a meal. My first impression of Pompei's Grotto was that the decor was very “tchotchke” with the plastic flowers that adored the gingham table clothes and the Spanish music playing in the background. The menu was very typical this area; pasta, sandwiches, salads, seafood.
The sole in the Sole Sandwich seemed fresh... thankfully the coating on the fish was minimal, however, very bland. The fries were not what I know to be 'shoe string' rather very typical of frozen french fries. The hot crab sandwich... thankfully the crab was fresh tasting but the 'Mornay sauce' which was a typical alfredo sauce, was a great disservice to the crab drowning out its fresh flavor. The Italian coleslaw was over dressed with a mayonnaise dressing that had hues of typical Italian seasoning.
The clam chowder was typical tasting for wharf chowder, I prefer my clam chowder more on the thick creamy side which could be easily accomplished by pureeing some of the potato within the chowder.
You can't go wrong with Gelato, can you? The Gelato Truffles were fun, I liked the zabaglione the best.
The Arnold Palmer, water logged and bland. It would have been nice to taste a fresh brewed tea and fresh lemonade. The fresh bread at the table, which was from the bakery down the street, was one of the best things I ate at Pompei's Grotto.
I would never go back to Pompei's Grotto or even suggest anyone eat there. You want fresh pasta? Head to Flower & Water in the Mission. There are WAY too many amazing restaurants in San Francisco to ever need to go near Fisherman's Wharf. Fisherman's Wharf restaurants are for people who don't know the city and don't care to get to know the city. Fisherman's Wharf is for tourists.
Occupation: Stay-at-home Mom
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: SPQR
Reviewed Pompei's Grotto: Thursday, February 21, 2013
I really wanted to love this place because the family and staff were so warm and friendly and they seated us immediately. However, the food was underwhelming, and the total bill was a bit pricey for the quality. I started with crab cakes (and I love crab cakes) and was very disappointed in what was served.
On the positive side, there was a lot of lump crab meat, but on the negative side the consistency was wet and mushy -- sort of like there was melted mayonnaise inside; plus there was not much flavor. Next, I had the wedge salad and did enjoy it; it was very tasty with fresh tomatoes and crispy pieces of bacon. For my main entrée I had the Fisherman’s stew and was disappointed again. Some of the seafood was overcooked, some undercooked and the sauce had no flavor. I was waiting for a burst of fresh tomato and garlic and never got it. The Sauvignon Blanc we had was good, very crisp, refreshing and the best value for the price out of everything we ordered.
The staff was very nice and checked on us a few times, but there were a few things that could have been improved. One item ordered seemed to have been forgotten and then, when they did finally bring it out, it was not how we ordered it. They did remedy the situation immediately though and were very apologetic. They only refilled our wine once, which seemed odd because it wasn’t busy in the restaurant. Lastly, for a family-friendly restaurant, I thought they would have paid better attention when putting food down on the table and taking it away so that they would steer clear of the infant at the table. The restaurant itself has a charming, family owned vibe with light music and views of the wharf area.