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Place of origin United States
Region or state San Francisco
Creator(s) Achille Paladini
Main ingredient(s) Seafood (dungeness crab, clams, shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels), fish, tomatoes, wine

Cioppino is a fish stew originating in San Francisco. It is considered an Italian-American dish, and is related to various regional fish soups and stews of Italian cuisine.[1]


Cioppino is traditionally made from the catch of the day, which in the dish's place of origin is typically a combination of dungeness crab, clams, shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels and fish. The seafood is then combined with fresh tomatoes in a wine sauce, and served with toasted bread, either sourdough or baguette. The dish is comparable to cacciucco and brodetto from Italy, as well as other fish dishes from the Mediterranean region[2] such as bouillabaisse, buridda, and bourride of the French Provence, and suquet de peix from Catalan speaking regions of coastal Spain.[1]


Cioppino was developed in San Francisco, California in the late 1800s by the famed Italian fish wholesaler Achille Paladini, (later titled "The Fish King") who settled in the North Beach section of the city, he came from the seaport town of Ancona, Italy in 1865.[2][3] He originally made it when the boats came back from sea and the 'left overs' were used to make a fish stew, a few Dungeness Crabs were also added. It eventually became a staple as Italian restaurants proliferated in San Francisco.

The name comes from ciuppin, a word in the Ligurian dialect of the port city of Genoa, meaning "to chop" or "chopped" which described the process of making the stew by chopping up various 'left overs' of the day's catch.[1] Ciuppin is also a classic soup of Genoa, similar in flavor to cioppino, with less tomato, and the seafood cooked to the point that it falls apart.


Generally the seafood is cooked in broth and served in the shell, including the crab (if any) that is often served halved or quartered. It therefore requires special utensils, typically a crab fork and cracker. Depending on the restaurant, it may be accompanied by a bib to prevent food stains on clothing (sometimes encouraged by restaurants for patrons to use as a sign to attract attention to the restaurant's food), a damp napkin, or a second bowl for the shells. A variation, the "lazy man's" cioppino, is served with seafood shelled and crab legs cracked.[4]


Gianni's North Beach (video plus text): Cook presents the dish as a Christmas Eve stew.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Riely, Elizabeth (1988-04-24). "Cioppino: Fish Stew From the Pacific". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-09-26. 
  2. ^ a b Oseland, James (November 11, 2011). "Local Favorite: Cioppino". Saveur. Retrieved 2013-08-14. 
  3. ^ Smith, James R. (2004). San Francisco's Lost Landmarks. Sanger, CA: Linden Pub. ISBN 978-1-6103-5191-1. Retrieved 2013-08-16. 
  4. ^ 1001 Foods to Die For. Kansas City, Mo.: Andrews McMeel. 2007. p. 143. ISBN 0-7407-7043-8.