HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >


Thoughts on Carnelian Room?

  • 9

My parents are in town, and we'd like to take them out on Sunday to a restaurant that is quintessential San Francisco. In the past, we've done Yank Sing and Ferry Building. We couldn't get a table at House of Prime Rib, but we did score reservations at Carnelian Room and Harris' Steak House. Is Carnelian worth it at night - in other words, can you see the view? I wasn't pleased with the attitude of the hostess, so I'd hate to drop a bunch of cash for a snooty place with average food.

Any other thoughts? A friend suggested Sam's Grill.

Oh - and it doesn't have to be expensive or fancy either.

And is there dining at Top of the Mark, or just drinks (embarassed to say I live here and have never been).


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. i have found the service at the Carnelian Room to be uniformly horrible -enough to ruin even the most gorgeous view. The food is average at best. Why not have dinner at The Big 4 at the Huntington, and then cocktails with a view at the Top of the Mark - just a few moments away by foot?

    1. Sam's Grill or Tadich Grill would both be more quintessentially SF than the Carnelian room, where the only thing SF is the view (the view is probably gorgeous at night, with all the lights, especially this time of year, but if it's cloudy, you might not have a view at all!).

      1. Sam's Grill is open Mon-Fri ONLY. I know -- it seems really weird to me too.

        How about Hyde St. Bistro? The cable car runs right past it.

        1. I've been there for Christmas dinner. It was daytime but I remember the view being nice. The food and service were both average -- you can do better. Coincidentally, I went afterwards for a drink at the Top of the Mark, which seemed like a bit more festive scene with gorgeous views. Didn't try the food, but I seem to recall a big buffet...

          1 Reply
          1. re: a_and_w

            The big buffet at the Top of the Mark got a good report here recently.

          2. I was there for a company party last night. The view was fantastic. The service staff was less than stellar and the food was very average at best.

            1. I would agree that the Carnelian Room is average at best. On a night like tonight the view would be awesome, but who knows what it will be like on Sunday. I was thinking Sam's and Tadich's as well, but suspect they are both closed. If a clanging cable car could make it quintessential SF, give some thought to Luella. It is on top of Russian Hill (Hyde just down from Union) - the restaurant is very pretty and the food was excellent. We were there a couple of nights ago - I had the scallops and they were so flavorful and cooked perfectly. I don't know where you will be coming from, but maybe you could take the cable car there! I'd make the argument that excellent food is quintessentially SF and therefore you could consider a number of places - sadly, just no views! What about Aziza, won't find many places like that elsewhere!

              1 Reply
              1. re: dinnerout

                Thanks to all who replied. I have cancelled Carnelian. We will start our evening with cocktails in the late afternoon at Top of the Mark. I will consider that our SF experience, then just go somewhere for good food. Good point dinnerout - SF is about dining, so no need to travel to a tired has-been for average food when delicious dining can be found elsewhere. And there is nothing I hate more than paying a lot of money for really average food!

                Happy Holidays!

              2. Today's Chron reports it's closing after New Year's Eve.


                Carnelian Room
                555 California St., San Francisco, CA 94104