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San Francisco Restaurants That Stand the Test of Time

San Francisco Restaurants That Stand the Test of Time

San Francisco is world-renowned for its cuisine, with a higher per capita concentraion of Michelin-starred restaurants than even New York City can muster and many visitors include one of the city's fine dining establishments in their travel plans. However, the air is thin at the top: chefs get new jobs or open places of their own and sometimes, they're simply unable to maintain such a high standard over the long haul - all of which makes keeping up a list of the current stars a nearly-impossible task. 

 

During San Francisco's long history as a good place to eat, a few restaurants have had real staying power, and those are the ones we focus on here: the top 4 oldest culinary establishments that capture the history and flavor of the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

The Cliff House 

Built in 1863 and renovated in 2004, today's Cliff House offers a selection of dining options including the Bistro Restaurant's casual fare, formal dining at Sutro's,and a Sunday brunch buffet in the Terrace Room. American and Seafood dishes are featured.  The Pacific Ocean views from the historic Cliff House at Ocean Beach are unparalled. Many folks enjoy the experience, but others say the food doesn't always  equal the surroundings. The Cliff House is part of the Sutro Historic Landscape District. Location: 1090 Point Lobos Avenue; (415) 386-3330.

 

John’s Grill

Opened since 1908, John's Grill his known for its steaks and fresh seafood. Located in Union Square, it is a favorite of local and national celebrities who enjoy the ambiance of old San Francisco with dark,  wood-paneled walls, antiques, white table linens, and vintage photographs of the city. John's Grill was chosen as one of the 10 best in S.F. by Esquire magazine. This landmark was the setting for The Maltese Falcon novel whose author Dashiell Hammett was a regular. Location: 63 Ellis Street; (415) 986-0069.

 

Swan Oyster Depot

A true San Francisco classic, Swan Oyster Depot is a 100-year-old lunch counter and fish market dating back to 1912. With only 20 or so stools available, it offers a unique, no-frills dining experience with a limited yet tasty menu of fresh Dungeness crab, shrimp, oyster, clam cocktails, smoked fish, Maine lobster, and Boston-style clam chowder. Location: 1517 Polk Street; (415) 673-2757.

 

Tadich Grill 

Beginning as a coffee stand in 1849, the Tadich Grill is the oldest-running restaurant in San Francisco. Located in the Financial District, this historic seafood establishment lends an old San Francisco feel with dark wood, period detail and a long dining counter. It is the first restaurant to grill food over mesquite charcoal, and serve sole, Hangtown fry and oysters Rockefeller, classics that still appear on the menu today. Location: 240 California St; (415) 391-1849.

 


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