One of my favorite places for soft-shell crab, chef-owner Jon Hearnsberger has a buttermilk-soaking technique that makes for one very juicy crustacean. You can enjoy a dinner special of fried soft-shell Maryland crab with roasted corn, heirloom tomato, and arugula in a jalapeño vinaigrette and spicy roasted red bell pepper aioli. Or come by for weekend brunch, when you can get the CBLT (yup, it’s a crab BLT) or their version of eggs Benedict with a softie (whether you add pork belly or not is entirely up to you). 558 Castro St.
This classic SF restaurant known for its quality and sustainable seafood is getting Chesapeake Bay soft-shell crabs in, serving them pan-fried à la meunière (dredged in milk and flour, and then fried in brown butter), along with watercress and their famously good French fries. 320 Hayes St.
For the soft-shell appetizer of your dreams, come to Boulevard for their semolina- and cornmeal-crusted Maryland soft-shell crab, served with Japanese shishito peppers with crunchy ginger and garlic, snap and snow peas, and koji aioli. 1 Mission St.
Chef Luke Knox is offering soft-shell crab as a shared plate (hence the $45 price tag)—the crab is breaded twice in panko and then fried, served with chickpea cakes and assorted peas and shoots, plus there’s a lobe of uni and a base of uni butter (meant to be reminiscent of Russian dressing). If you want to torture yourself, you can watch it being plated here. 417 Stockton St.
The kitchen here makes soft-shell crab specials that are all worth crossing the Bay for (and it’s an easy BART ride, promise!). They've recently served a fried softie as its own plate and in a donburi, and – here's the one everyone is waiting for – in their spicy miso ramen (it was a big hit last year). Follow along on theirInstagram for updates. 5812 College Ave., Oakland.