Time is already running out to take advantage of the Bay Area’s Dungeness crab season — from many local restaurants at least.
Historically, the local crabbing season runs from mid-November until June. But it got an unusually late start this winter due to heated price negotiations between fishers and wholesale buyers, with most local seafood shops and restaurants not snagging Dungeness until this past weekend.
While home cooks should have access to crab from stores for months, some restaurants say they only expect to carry local Dungeness for another week or two — or even as just one or two more one-off specials — because intense demand and low supply are making prices too high to turn a profit.
That also means you shouldn’t expect all Bay Area restaurants serving crab dishes to be using local Dungeness. Call and ask to make sure.
These 19 Bay Area restaurants, however, are offering specials highlighting the local delicacy. Since the price of crab has been rising, the price of these dishes at restaurants might change, too. Act fast before they’re gone.
Choose your sauce, spice level and extras like andouille sausage from Oakland seafood boil favorite Alamar Kitchen, which will continue offering local Dungeness this week. The price has already gone up — to $60 for one whole crab — so it’s definitely worth going sooner than later.
Takeout and delivery. 100 Grand Ave., Oakland. https://www.alamaroakland.com/
Alley & Vine
Assuming suppliers don’t run out of crab before the weekend, Alley & Vine will offer a seafood stew special Saturday and Sunday that pairs half a crab with Spanish-style chorizo, potatoes, broccolini and a buttery saffron broth ($39). Dungeness will also go into a white cheddar mac ‘n’ cheese alongside bacon ($15).
Takeout and delivery. 1332 Park St., Alameda. https://www.alleyandvine.com/
Noe Valley’s new seafood counter and oyster bar just got local Dungeness in, which means you can buy whole crabs to-go as well as the restaurant’s Dungeness crab salad with grapefruit on blackened brioche ($24).
Takeout. 3859 24th St., San Francisco. https://www.fourstarseafood.com/pages/billingsgate
For a classic San Francisco crab feed, check out Boudin’s special spread of steamed crab with drawn butter, cocktail sauce, sourdough, Caesar salad and linguine in marinara ($99 for two, $198 for four). Advance pre-orders are required for pick up Jan. 22-23, Jan. 29-30 and Feb. 6-7.
Takeout. Locations in San Francisco, Corte Madera, Cupertino, Fremont, San Jose, Santa Rosa, Sunnyvale and Walnut Creek. https://boudinbakery.com
While this beloved Oakland creole pop-up serves Dungeness year-round, chef Edward Wooley confirmed he’s currently using local crab in favorites like buttery Dungeness with prawns and garlic noodles ($45 for half crab, $70 for whole) and creole cheesy fries loaded with crab ($30).
Takeout. 2430 Broadway, Oakland. https://www.instagram.com/chefsmelly/
This Indonesian outfit is preparing Dungeness crab in a padang sauce, aromatic with turmeric, oyster sauce and chile. A two-person spread also comes with garlic noodles, crab rangoon, spicy cornbread and salad for $85. Email [email protected] to schedule a pick up or delivery in San Francisco.
Takeout or delivery. 1355 Market St., San Francisco. https://www.chilicali.com/
Berkeley lunch counter Fava’s crab special last weekend was a hit, so the chefs are bringing it back Saturday. Prepare to pre-order Friday if you want a half a roasted Dungeness with lime, chile and cilantro on top of gingery rice and crunchy claw ($21).
Takeout. 2114 Vine St., Berkeley. https://www.favaonvine.com/
Jesse Cool’s Silicon Valley favorite is placing whole cracked Dungeness atop saffron fettuccine, tossed with garlic, white wine, lemon and butter ($60). For a true feast, start out the meal with a Dungeness crab cake ($26), served with caper-studded roasted cauliflower.
Takeout. 3607 Alameda de las Pulgas, Menlo Park. https://www.cooleatz.com/
The local burger chain is once again offering two specials with California Dungeness: crab sandwiches with lemon mayo on brioche, and a crab and shrimp louie, loaded with boiled eggs, avocado and romaine. Both options cost $21.99 and will be available until Jan. 27.
Takeout and delivery. Locations in San Francisco, Greenbrae, Napa, Palo Alto, St. Helena and Walnut Creek. https://www.gotts.com/
Harborview Restaurant & Bar
Classic stir-fried salt and pepper crab ($56) is a constant draw at this waterfront dim sum restaurant, and now it’s available with local Dungeness. Harborview also offers a Signapore-style chili crab ($56), tossed in a sweet-hot tomato-based sauce. In addition to ordering takeout from the Embarcadero restaurant, you can pick up orders once a week from locations in Berkeley, San Mateo, Saratoga and the Outer Sunset in San Francisco.
Takeout. 4 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco. https://www.harborviewsf.com/
Hog Island Oyster Co.
All of Hog Island’s restaurants — including Tony’s Seafood Restaurant in Marshall — are flush with Dungeness. The exact offerings and prices vary slightly by location, but you might find roasted whole crab with garlic herb butter ($40-$54), chilled cracked crab with lemon aioli ($52-$54) or plump crab tucked into a buttery roll ($24-$27).
Takeout and delivery, except for Tony’s, which is takeout-only. Locations in San Francisco, Larkspur, Marshall and Napa. https://hogislandoysters.com/
New England Lobster Market and Eatery
At this Peninsula seafood spot, you can pick up a simple crab platter ($24.95), with cracked Dungeness, chips, slaw and a roll — plus live crabs to cook at home later from the restaurant’s market.
Takeout and delivery. 824 Cowan Road, Burlingame. https://www.newenglandlobster.net/
This elegant San Francisco izakaya is offering half a Dungeness crab and crab miso for $20 as a luxurious add-on to its kaisen nabeyaki udon kit ($40 for two). The meal kit comes with udon, shrimp, tempura, a runny egg and more. Rintaro expects to also include a crab add-on option to its chirashi bento ($65) soon, with both options likely running through next week. If you’re looking to cook some crab at home, Rintaro will also be a pick-up point next week for crabs from Monterey Fish Market on Wednesday.
Takeout and delivery within 3 miles. 82 14th St., San Francisco. https://www.toasttab.com/rintaro/v3/
Oakland’s Cal-Italian Sister just added a Dungeness special ($40) featuring half a cold, cracked crab in a smoky citrus marinade. The crustacean will come with a mini loaf of nori bread to round out the meal.
Takeout. 3308 Grand Ave., Oakland. https://www.sisteroakland.com/
Spud Point Crab Co.
This Bodega Bay seafood shack just reopened after a brief hibernation in time for Dungeness crab season, with fresh whole cooked and live crab ($11.99/pound) available from the restaurant owners’ own fishing boats, plus meaty crab sandwiches ($12).
Takeout. 1910 Westshore Road, Bodega Bay. https://www.spudpointcrabco.com/
Swan Oyster Depot
San Francisco’s most famous seafood counter is once again selling cracked Dungeness, crab backs and its semi-secret menu item, crabsanthemum, crab leg meat arranged in a flower-like pattern. The guys behind the counter warn the price of crab is changing daily, but on Wednesday cracked crab was going for $14 per pound. Expect to pay about $8 for a crab back, that amber fat prime for swiping with sourdough, and $30-$40 for crabsanthemum.
Takeout. 1517 Polk St., San Francisco. https://www.instagram.com/swan.oyster.official
Oakland Vietnamese restaurant Tay Ho is serving two variations on crab with garlic noodles. One version sees salt and pepper crab tossed with shallots, garlic, scallions and chile, while the other is a more tangy caramelized tamarind crab with fish sauce. Either way, it’ll cost $46 to celebrate the 46th presidential inauguration on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The restaurant recommends calling 510-836-6388 in advance to secure your crab.
Takeout. 344 12th St., Oakland. http://www.tayho-oakland.com/
Keep an eye on the Morris’ Instagram for word on when the San Francisco wine bar’s Dungeness crab porridge ($18) will return — but it is expected to return. The creamy rice porridge gets more flavor from lemongrass and carrots.
Takeout and delivery. 2501 Mariposa St., San Francisco. https://themorris-sf.com/
Woodhouse Fish Co.
This San Francisco seafood destination offers a few options for Dungeness: chilled or hot cracked crab, served straight-up with melted butter, or crab steamed in white wine, lemon and garlic butter ($24 for half or $45 for whole). Classic Dungeness crab rolls ($24-$38) are also on offer.
Takeout. 2703 Market St., San Francisco and 1914 Fillmore St., San Francisco. http://woodhousefish.com/