How to Eat Lobster in San Francisco

Lobster is one of the most sought after seafood dishes that is often saved for special occasions. This delicacy is one of the tastiest crustaceans in the ocean, however, we know that learning how to eat whole lobster can be intimidating. That is why we have put together an essential instruction guide teaching you the best way to eat lobster. Not only can eating lobster be daunting, it can also be quite messy. By the end of this guide, we’ll have you lobster eating like a pro, embracing the mess, and even teaching those around you the best way to break down these treats. Whether you’re cooking lobster at home or lobster San Francisco style at a restaurant, get ready to learn how to eat a whole lobster!


Essential Tools

Let’s start at the beginning, what tools will you need to learn how to eat lobster? To make sure you are prepared to break down the lobster you’ll want to have the following tools on hand. None of these are absolutely necessary, but they definitely make eating lobster easier! If you’re looking for a more complete lobster toolkit guide – this resource is perfect for you!


Nutcracker/shellfish scissors

This tool will help you break into the tough outer shell of the lobster. You can use your hands, but a nutcracker will give you more ease in cracking open the lobster. These tools are typically given to you if you order lobster or crab at a restaurant.

A Seafood Pick

These thin picks will help you get all of the lobster meat out of the shell, even in the hard to reach tricky areas. These picks are thin enough to make sure you’re getting the most out of your lobster.

Bib or Lots of Napkins

Lobster eating is a messy business. You will want a bib on hand to protect your clothing from all the succulent juices that will more than likely come out of the lobster as you break it open. If you don’t have a bib on hand that’s ok, just put on some clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. One thing is for certain, you will be using your hands to break open a lobster. Having napkins on hand is always a good idea. 


How to pick a lobster to eat:

Picking the type of lobster to eat is just as important as having the right tools for lobster eating. There are generally two types of lobster that will affect how to eat a lobster, New shell lobsters and Hard shell lobsters. When buying lobster we recommend finding the new shell lobsters, they have softer shells and are easier to break down. New shell lobsters are in season from June to November. If you have any questions on the type of lobster you are purchasing make sure to talk to the fishmonger at your local grocery store or fish market.

How to eat cooked Lobster

There are many ways to cook lobster from steaming and boiling to broiling or grilling. If you want a complete breakdown on how to cook lobster, don’t miss our comprehensive guide. It covers all the best ways to cook lobster! This section will answer how to eat steamed lobster, but the answers in this section are also true for when you’re asking how to eat a boiled lobster or how to eat broiled lobster. This guide will cover all the bases! Regardless of how the lobster is cooked we always recommend eating lobster by dipping it in melted butter. 


How to eat lobster claws

It’s a common question that we often get, can you eat lobster claws? Lobster claws can look intimidating, BUT the answer is a resounding YES! We love the juicy claw meat from lobster and not to worry, we’ve got you covered on the best way to break open lobster claws. We not only encourage eating lobster claws, it’s actually where we recommend you start when learning how to eat a whole lobster. The easiest way to eat lobster claws is to use your nutcracker or hands. Break the entire claw away from the lobster body so you are holding the lobster arm. At this point, twist off the bottom half of the arm, also known as the knuckle. Pull apart the claw or crack the claw at the bend. This should produce a crack where you can pull out the lobster meat either with your hands or seafood pick. And viola, you’ve broken down a lobster claw! 

How to eat lobster tail

Lobster tail has some of the best and juiciest meat, and is also the easiest part of the lobster to eat. If you’re looking for the best lobster tail in San Francisco, Pier Market is the place. Our menu has a number of lobster tail dishes that are perfect for locals and our Fisherman Wharf guests alike. Now let’s make sure that you are advanced at breaking down lobster tail so you feel like an expert when you come to visit us!


First, hold the body and either twist or pull the tail until the tail separates. It should come right off. Once the lobster tail is separated, squeeze the shell with hands or nutcracker until the shell cracks open. Pull the lobster tail meat out with your seafood pick or with your hands, dip in butter, and enjoy.


What else to eat and not to eat on a lobster

The tail and claw meat on a lobster tend to be the most sought after for lobster eating. There are some other delicious pieces that may be trickier to get, but are just as tasty. The legs of the lobster contain small tasty bits of meat, break each leg off the body by twisting and suck out the delicious meat. The knuckles also contain some juicy meat that you can pick out of with your seafood pick after you break open the claws. The general area we tend to avoid is the head, which is host to something that is known as tomalley


We hope that after this comprehensive guide you feel like you can conquer any lobster that comes your way. We know that learning how to eat lobster is not an easy task. However, it’s well worth the effort when you get to the delicious meat. Next time you’re in San Francisco, make sure to stop by Pier Market at Pier 39. Show off your brand new lobster eating skills and enjoy  eating lobster with a view! 


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