My best friend and I took a foodie road trip to San Francisco this past July, and the first stop was to Tadich Grill. We'd seen the restaurant featured on The Originals with Emeril a few weeks earlier and were left salivated at images of the cioppino and oyster and bacon frittata. When we stepped into the restaurant, we were smack in the middle of the dinner rush. So after ordering a drink from the bartender, we found a place along the wall to hang out until a table opened up. Narrow walkway there, but we made do. In the end, we found two spots vacated at the counter, so we sat down there. For dinner, my friend went with the cioppino and I chose the frittata. I have to say, I don't eat much seafood, but the frittata was excellent! If I ever go there again (which I probably won't - see below), I'd certainly get that. I can see why prisoners at Alcatraz ordered that as their last meal!
Anyways, on to why I won't be going back to Tadich... my friend got food poisoning! Half our weekend was spent with him in bed, recovering from the cioppino! We think maybe the sole wasn't quite as fresh as it should have been. When we got back home, my friend mentioned to another friend about the cioppino, and THIS FRIEND also had a food poisoning experience with the cioppino at Tadich!
Favorite Dish: The bacon and oyster frittata is absolutely amazing! I have to say, I really don't eat seafood, but I decided to branch out a little of my comfort zone when I saw the dish cooked on tv. It was absolutely the perfect portion!
When we go on trips, I probably tend to exert more of my will on where we will eat out on vacation and sometimes that hasn't gone over well with Sue. Although she may not say so while we are on the trip, sometimes she will mention that she really wanted to try such and such place and she wished we had gone there. This when we are back home and I can't do anything about that. This time around I told her to pick the restaurants she wanted to go to and I would only veto, if I really thought it wasn't a good idea.
After we finished our very good Financial District Walking Tour with Rick Evans (tip is already written here) at about 1:15 p.m. we had a few hours until we were going to take the Alcatraz Evening Tour. This was one of the restaurants Sue had picked and since it was in the Financial District a couple of blocks from where we were this was our afternoon choice.
Favorite Dish: As the title of this tip says, it is San Francisco's oldest restaurant, having existed in some form or fashion since 1849. Now if you remember your California history that year should ring a bell. The California Gold Rush started in 1849 and the local American football team in the area is named the 49ers.
As you can see from the first and third pictures (come on in and take a look) here this is a more button down area of San Francisco. The clientele is from the financial district for the most part with a number of tourist (like us) stopping in. The wait staff is entirely male which is very old style and similar to a restaurant in Chicago called Berghoff's.
We both ordered tea and each of us ordered a sea food dish (pictures 4 and 5). Picture 2 is the chef preparing an order. Sue had the grilled Mediteranian Sea Bass complete with head and bones (normally everything we have fish is fillet, so Sue had to work some for her lunch). I had the fresh turbot stuffed with crab and bay shrimp a la newburg. Each dish came with brussel sprouts and a bowl of cut fresh lemons.
I debated whether to give this a 3 or 4 star rating (I reserve my 5 stars for places I would repeatedly go back to) finally deciding it was closer to a 3 (satisfied) then a 4 (very satisfied). The primary reason was the value for the meal served. The food was very good but the price was a little steep.
By the time we finished our meal it was getting close to 3:00 p.m. Having a late lunch turned out to be a blessing in disguise. By the time we finished our Alcatraz Tour, we were getting kind of exhausted so we decided to just go back to our hotel, up to the concierage lounge and just have snacks and desserts for dinner.
I'd like to add something to one of acprincess' recommendations: Tadich Grill is not only a locals' spot with excellent food (especially seafood), but it is also the oldest restaurant in the West. It's been operating in one form or another (it started out as a coffee stand) since the Gold Rush in 1849. I'd say, "Go, just to be able to say you've been there" and enjoy a great meal at the same time.
Also, just for fun, there's Forbes Island, which is a floating restaurant that looks like an island with bar and dining rooms under the water. You'll be transported to the island via pontoon boat and the food is pretty good classic French. Another place it's fun to tell everyone about when you get back home!
Hope this helps!
During a wonderful visit to San Francisco mid-February '08, this restaurant was recommended by a 20+ year resident as "a great place to eat" I was totally taken by this dining experience. It is in downtown SF, has been there literally since 1849 in continuous operation I'm thinking. The decor speaks of this, beautifully carved woodwork on the walls, etc. give this place a great ambiance. It is very "busy" you walk into this restaurant and its like "you are on your own".... you line up along the wall behind this very long bar where people are dining and then if you want a table, you wait for a table. The minute you find a seat at the bar, the service is great (at least for me it was). The waiter (I saw no waitresses, only waiters, very fast paced and fun) is right there one-on-one to serve you. I asked which seafood was local, he gladly told me "Petrale sole" and I said that is what I want. : ) It was so delicious, FRESH, it was amazing. the Petrale Sole was served on this large platter with perfectly done crisply cooked vegetable medley of green beans, carrots, and teeny bit of fresh asparagus, and "French fried potatoes" that were just golden, few, and absolutely delicious. The tartar sauce was the best I've tasted. I can't say enough about that fresh petrale sole that I was served! : ) A gentleman to the left of me at the bar had a seafood medley that looked heavenly and the aroma was indescribable. Its just a great restaurant. You'll be glad that you waited. Love, Texas Lady.com
Favorite Dish: Please read what I just wrote in #4. : )
Since you will be touring the City by District, you will need to know the top restaurant choices in each neighborhood.
Downtown you will find 2 San Franciscans favoritea:
Tadich Grill, 240 California Street (415) 391-1849
Sam's Grill, 374 Bush (415) 421-0594
Check out "Bargain Bites" below:
For more research, do a google.com search on:
"restaurant name" +"san francisco"
For example, here's how to search on: "north beach pizza" + "san francisco"
CLICK HERE: "north beach pizza" +"san francisco"
This will take you to the restaurant's web site (if available). Use this search strategy to find anything in the world!
Favorite Dish: For a few discount dining coupons:
Just click on 'California' and follow the links to 'San Francisco'.
A couple of good coupons are for:
Lori's Diner and North Beach Pizza.
They also have coupons for hotels & bike rentals.
Most people will run to any of the touristy eateries at Fisherman's Wharf - but if you want the real McCoy, then you'll make it a point to eat at the Tadich Grill.
It's a true seafood institution, having been in continuous operation since 1849 (during the California Gold Rush days), and is still family owned. It's amazing to think that what was once first established as a small coffee stand by three Croatian immigrants, is now one of San Francisco's landmark restaurants.
Besides your standard (and very delicious) sourdough bread, you'll find a varied menu offering specials and a large selection of fresh seafood, prepared practically any way you want.
Open for lunch and dinner, Monday through Saturdays.
I'm sure dinner is wonderful too, but we always end up after financial district site walks eating delicious business lunches at Tadich.
Great place to go in SF.
Favorite Dish: Everyone always gets seafood / daily special, and it is consistently outstanding,
but my favorite is when they have corned beef & cabbage with french bread.
You may have to wait as reservations are not accepted, but it is well worth it. The good and bad of the wait is that the customers line up along a long bar where diners are enjoying the cuisine. SO...you are overwhelmed with so many visual and sensual choices that making one choice once you are seated is a challenge. My suggestion.....share! :D
Favorite Dish: The CIOPPINO! I'm sure the rest is spectacular. Seafood saled was fresher than fresh too. Wente Chardonnay was delightful and the Drake Blonde on tap.....very nice indeed.
Tadich's has an old restaurant ambience. A big bar dominates inside. The clientele is chatty and friendly. Informal and warm.
Favorite Dish: Clam chowder and seafood pasta. Really good! But watch out for the portions because they're huge.
TRENDY:Fifth Floor Restaurant at Palomar Hotel,12-4th St.,Chef Geo. Morrone(formerly of Aqua's),$25-39main course,$75chef tasting menu.TRADITIONAL FAVORITE:Tadich Grill,240 California.BEST MEXICAN:La Rondalla on Valencia.BEST ITALIAN:Original Joe's on Taylor in Union Square.BEST ITALIAN BAKERY:Stella on Columbus.BEST DELI:Molinari's on Columbus.BEST CHINESE:The Empress of China,838 Grant Ave.,Yan's Kitchen,57 Columbus.BEST SEAFOOD:Tarantino's and A. Sabella's SF Wharf.