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Michael White is definitely a pasta extraordinaire. Of course there are definitely other pasta geniuses out there, like the ones at Da Romano in Venice. But White is a formidable force in his own right, what with the likes of Convivio (now closed), Osteria Morini, Ai Fiori and Marea in New York.

Marea is the seafood themed pasta restaurant in nondescript ground floor outfit of an apartment building in Columbus Circle. My favorite dishes: The bone marrow and octopus fusilli (which I don’t have a picture of). The squid ink and shrimp gramigna. But of course, if you’re a fan of uni, The crab and uni spaghetti.

Michael White never disappoints with his pasta.

240 Central Park S,
New York 10019
(212) 582-5100


Swan Oyster Depot

After living in Sydney, every other city doesn’t come close to the quality of seafood that I’ve found there (except maybe Malaysia). At the recommendation of Gan, I thought I should give Swan’s a chance to score some points for the port city of San Francisco.

As with the places that have been reviewed by CitySearch, Urbanspoon and appeared on multiple travel guide books, there’s bound to be large number of tourists flocking to it at all times of the year. I was dumb enough not to do research on the best time to begin my oyster quest so I ended up in a line with 21 people ahead of me all fighting for a spot at a place with ~20 seats.

The wait ended up to be about an hour long, in the (strangely) cold SF afternoon, but we managed to squeeze into a seat just as they were about to close for the day (their official closing time is 5.30pm, but since there’s always a line around that time, they cut the line off in between 4.30-5pm).

The wait staff are incredibly nice and helpful and are more than willing to help you make choices if you don’t know which kind of oyster to get.

We went for a combination of 3 types of oysters, crab salad and clam chowder. A shoutout goes to the crab salad for being so fresh and delicious.

Don’t forget that they also serve Anchor Steam on tap. Swan definitely rocks it old school, and lesson learned for next time is to come when they open at 8am, though apparently they don’t get really busy till about 10.30/11am. Important note: If you don’t need to sit at the bar, the smartest thing to do is to call and place and order and then you can skip the line entirely when you come and pick up your food.

Swan Oyster Depot
1517 Polk St
(between California St & Sacramento St)
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 673-1101