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the search for the ultimate steak

whats the best steak in town (within san francisco preferably)?

i am looking for a good restaurant for groups serving up a great steak for a moderate price. ideally, the restaurant will offer several types of steak and have a rib eye priced around 30-35 dollars...i looked through a bunch of restaurants on yelp and harris' offered the best looking menu but its too expensive. the best steak i ever had was actually not in a steakhouse at all. it was at batali's B&B in las vegas. I actually liked the idea of it not being a steakhouse as it didn't overcharge for steak and had a good selection of appitizers and desserts. If you happen to recall a great steak meal that fits my criteria, please tell me the name of the restaurant. thanks!

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  1. At $35 dollars with some a local steakhouse selling dinner by the ounce you will not find the ultimate steak. However, here is a recent thread about non-steakhouse choices.

    1 Reply
    1. re: wolfe

      The mosharisia brizola - charcoal grilled ribeye - at Kokkari is by far my favorite steak in the city and another non-steakhouse choice that wasn't mentioned on that thread. Always cooked to spec, comes with velvety braised greens and these delicious greek potatoes that I've been trying to replicate forever. Very long and diverse list of mezethes/appetizers. I particularly like the soutzoukakia and the grilled calamari.


      Kokkari Estiatorio
      200 Jackson St., San Francisco, CA 94111

    2. I had a superior steak at Izzy's in Corte Madera. The Izzy's in SF should be just as good. Price was right around 30 bucks.

      1 Reply
      1. re: essvee

        While my San Francisco Izzy's sides were ok and the steak was certainly tasty, it was way too chewy.

      2. Try El Raigon


        El Raigon
        510 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94133

        1. Alfreds is the most fun to me and great deal:
          "S c h o o l N i g h t D i n n e r $ 4 1 . 0 0
          (Offered Only Tuesday through Thursday nights)
          Choice of
          Mixed Greens, Caesar, Wedge Salad, or Split Pea Soup
          Choice of
          Filet Mignon 8oz, New York Cut Steak 16oz,
          Boneless Ribeye 16oz or Rack of New Zealand Lamb
          With Choice of Side
          Choice of Dessert"
          You cant beat the old school ambiance and Merchant St location.

          Alfred's Steak House
          659 Merchant St., San Francisco, CA 94111

          1 Reply
          1. re: mmerino

            I like Alfred's, too. I like that they don't adorn their steaks. . . they want you to really taste the meat! A wedge salad and a medium rare rib eye is all I need. The other food is hit or miss but you can't go wrong with their steaks.

          2. Well... was going to say Harris'... Honestly, nothing beat a Brian Flannery 40 day rib cap roll but I assume that is not in the cards.

            I've had wonderful steaks at Ame -- but it is not always on the menu.

            Izzy's is good, but not at all 'ultimate'. El Raigon is good...

            1. thank you everyone for the helpful information. after looking at the recommendations on this page as well as the thread mentioned by "wolfe", my top choices now are el raigon, south park cafe, florio, and L'ardoise

              2 Replies
              1. re: evolnomis

                If you want to go to L'ardoise, call and ask if they can serve a group of your size. The restaurant is very small, and fairly balkanized in layout so there really isn't a place to push together a bunch of tables for a sizable group.

                1. re: evolnomis

                  El Raigon is the only place I've had grass-fed beef I liked as much as the usual grain-finished.

                  For a party of two, it's hard to beat Globe's ribeye, which comes with a potato gratin and grilled onions. The price was $61.60 the other night.


                2. Apparently Alfred's Stimulus Plan now allows the School Night Dinner every night because I recently enjoyed it on a Saturday. They have four private rooms and other areas for groups. The web site suggests that you should call to arrange menu and pricing for large groups.

                  1. I like the Leatherneck Steakhouse in Marines Memorial. It's all about the beef with them - they buy it, store it, age it and cook it all just right.

                    The sides make it a classic steak dinner experience, although I often "go wild" and order the truffled tator tots.


                    4 Replies
                    1. re: larochelle

                      Thanks, glad to hear more about Leatherneck. What cut do you prefer there?

                      Yesterday I had a glorious Snake River "Kobe" bavette at Boulevard with the 2005 Ch. La Louviere Pessac-Leognan. Here's the photo,

                      Boulevard Restaurant
                      1 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94105

                      Leatherneck Steakhouse & Lounge
                      609 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                      1. re: Melanie Wong


                        In general I look for cuts with bone and/or fat since that's where the flavor is, baby! I'm always a little bummed if, for some reason, I'm "forced" to order the filet mignon. And I almost never order my steak with a sauce - if I want "sauce", I'll have pasta.

                      2. re: larochelle

                        Are you sure they age their own beef there?

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          Hmmm, the last time we were there we had a conversation about dry-aging that makes me believe they do but since I didn't hear it from the chef or owner, I'm not going to declare "sure" status.

                      3. I've eaten 30 steaks around town in the past few months -- I'm a meat blogger -- and here's my input.

                        I agree with previous posters that Kokkari & Alfred's make great steaks. Kokkari has more engaging atmosphere (esp. if you get table 11 by the fireplace), but as a primarily Greek-Mediterranean restaurant, you may not find the steak side dishes ideal and they won't have a wide selection for your krewe. They're really better for lamb. Alfred's is old-school, no fuss, as a prior poster noted; but you can get that in Brooklyn, New Orleans, etc.

                        El Raigon is very very good, and a beautiful space to have friends, feel warm, and not feel rushed or crowded. (Get the Melipal Malbec; they don't offer O. Fournier which would be the best Malbec anywhere). The rib dish was more tender than the steak, though. The meats are simply prepared as in Argentina with just a bit of salt a rotated over an ancient, hot grill.

                        However, I've not had better steaks in the past year than:
                        1. The ribeye at Town Hall - the best rendition of a Niman Ranch steak; it is awesome in simplicity and taste (photo 1)

                        2. The morel creme sauce and truffle butter drenched filet mignon at Chez Spencer (if you're going over the top; photo 2)

                        3. The filet mignons at RNM on Haight St. (photo 3) and Colibri (photo 4) a great, upscale Mexican restaurant in the Theatre District near downtown/Union Square.

                        While I've not had the steaks yet at Lark Creek Steak, I must tell you they make not only (by far) the best burgers in SF, but the best burger I've eaten in the Western USA. Put LCS on your list for a business lunch.

                        See my blog for more juicy details on best steaks and other meaty dishes: http://meatmeister.wordpress.com/


                        Chez Spencer
                        82 14th St., San Francisco, CA 94103

                        Town Hall Restaurant
                        342 Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94105

                        El Raigon
                        510 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                        Colibri Mexican Bistro
                        438 Geary St., San Francisco, CA 94102

                        RNM Restaurant
                        598 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

                        9 Replies
                          1. re: wolfe

                            Thanks; will probably post more in here but very busy developing the meat blog. (We're launching HD video series in July).

                            I did just remember the other place that I would launch to the top of the steak list, even with a limited number of steaks on the menu: Spruce.

                            Lush, dark, rich interior (ostrich or faux-ostrich leather chairs, sleepytime booths); great service; fantastic wine list.

                            One of the standards (recently), the beef bavette, is fantastic. I'll have reviews of their steak, sweetbreads, and Moroccan chicken up within a week (http://meatmeister.wordrpress.com).

                            We'd love to hear what you decided and how you fared. Good group dinner ideas are not easy to wrangle.


                            3640 Sacramento St, San Francisco, CA 94118

                          2. re: jarrellish

                            I've had the filet mignon at Chez Spencer and agree it is rich was the sauce but I prefer the filet mignon rossini with foie gras and black truffle cabernet sauce; and it comes with a side for about $46. http://www.flickr.com/photos/bonnibel...

                            The best ribeye I've had was at bacar about 5 years ago and had it recently and it's doesn't even beat Outback's quality.

                            1. re: cocochanelella

                              You went to OutbacK? Was that before or after A5A?

                            2. re: jarrellish

                              thanks a lot for all the great info. LCS, town hall and el raigon all seem perfect...can't wait to try them...good luck with your blog.

                              1. re: jarrellish

                                I had a fantastic steak at Lark Creek Steak during DAT a few years ago...might be worth checking out. I'm also a big fan of El Raigon, see attached pic.

                                1. re: tvham

                                  thanks for the info and photo. i hear so many great things so far from this site about el raigon but the reviews on yelp are so mixed...makes me wonder why so many people disliked it on yelp...only 3 or 3.5 stars

                                  1. re: evolnomis

                                    It's not what some people expect from a steak house. Compare the reviews of people who gave it 4 or 5 with the ones who gave it 1 or 2.

                                2. re: jarrellish

                                  Wow, now that's one blog I am bookmarking! Nice!

                                3. The steak for 2 at Globe use to be pretty good. Haven't had it in quite a while but I remember it.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: ML8000

                                    It was great as usual Monday night.

                                    The one odd thing was that some woman brought out the potato gratin, served it onto our plates, and immediately walked off with the gratin dish that still had all the best crispy bits stuck to it. I complained about that to our waiter (who was very good) and he later brought out a half order of gratin with lots of crispy bits. Monday night "B" team, maybe.

                                    We also sent back a dish of cardoons. They were slightly scorched but still pretty much raw and inedibly fibrous. The waiter apologized and said that that's the way the chef liked them. That preparation probably worked great earlier in the year with the kind of tender baby cardoons you can eat raw with bagna cauda.

                                    Globe Restaurant
                                    290 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94111

                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      I was wondering if Globe was still doing that - it's not listed on their sample menu. Glad to hear they are.

                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                          Ah. The years ago when I had it, I think it was labeled "porterhouse for two". What I loved about their prep was they didn't stint on the fat, which gave it such taste.

                                  2. One more thing to add, since it's Dine about Town from June 1-15 I would recommend going to Ruth chris for the $35 prix fixe. The ribeye is not bad especially at that price

                                    2 Replies
                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                        I don't think not dry-aged is bad -- just not as good =). Now Ruth's Chris for DAT -- THAT'S BAD! Turned me off the restaurant in general for good.

                                    1. I think Joe DiMaggio's Steak and Chop House might also work (yeah, it's a chain, but a steak-o-phile friend says their bone-in rib eye was the best she'd ever had). And their au gratin potates are addictive. Also other good meats -- lamb chops, etc.


                                      Joe DiMaggio's Italian Chophouse
                                      601 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: waldrons

                                        It's not exactly a chain. It's a product of Dudum Sports & Entertainment, which also created Bing Crosby's, McCovey's, Carlos Santana's, and the Maria Maria chain.