Sherman's Food Adventures: Sotto Mare

Sotto Mare

While we were in the Bay Area, we mostly stayed with relatives in Fremont.  However, we did plan one day out in San Francisco.  I was a bit worried about my car though as break-ins have been commonplace in Downtown (watch some of the Youtube vids).  I did end up parking at this awesome monitored lot at 721 Filbert Street.  This was a central spot to hit up Chinatown, North Beach and also the Embarcadero (we were visiting Alcatraz as well).  So it was also close by to our lunch destination - Sotto Mare.

Now the thing to get here (and also their claim to fame) is the "Best Damn Crab Cioppino" with seafood.  It is advertised that it is enough for 2 and that is no exaggeration.  In fact, it would be fine for 3 people.  Now underneath all that seafood, there was penne, but the plethora of seafood was enough to justify the $49.95 price tag.  We found the dungeness crab to be fresh and perfectly prepared being sweet and fluffy.  The bevy of mussels, clams, bay scallops, calamari, shrimp and prawns was also beautifully cooked and fresh.  Hence, the broth was aromatic and briny from all of the seafood.  I took another picture of it plated to show what was in it.  Can you believe that this barely made a dent into it?  We really enjoyed this and would totally have it again if we were in town.

For no other reason than my daughter loving Clam Chowder that we actually ordered it.  No rhyme or reason to get it here otherwise.  It was okay being thick and creamy.  They proudly state there is bacon in it and we could definitely taste the smoky-saltiness as well as the fattiness.  I would've liked to see more clam brininess but it was definitely there as well as plenty of clam meat.  The little cubes of potato were tender and soft.

For some reason or another, we ended up ordering 2 pastas that were essentially the same except for the protein.  The first was the Fettuccine with Bay Scallops and the second was Fettuccine with Smoked Salmon, both with white wine cream sauce.  The pasta was al dente, but the sauce was only creamy in viscosity and taste.  Yet, the smoked salmon did add saltiness.  The tender bay scallops couldn't add enough flavor on its own.  Honestly, the rest of the food didn't matter to me because the Cioppino was everything I wanted it to be and more.  Good value for the price and best when shared.  I would come back just to have that dish alone.

The Good:
- That cioppino
- Good service
- Simple menu

The Bad:
- Other dishes are only "okay"



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