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Downtown SF "Meat and Potatoes"?

A dear friend who can't help that he's an Iowa boy through and through is headed to SF next week for a meeting...and asked for restaurant recommendations. He prefers within easy walking or transit distance of Union Square, and, well, he doesn't want seafood. He's not really into ethnic, although he'd certainly go for a good Italian place and possibly Chinese...mid-price level is probably best....Hounds?

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  1. How about Tadich Grill or Sam's Grill. You can get a decent steak at either place and a few other things. Each has its charm. Even safer would be Kuleto's, it's Italian but you can also get a steak. I ate there 5 years ago and nothing was bad, no one was offended but I don't recall what I had.

    Tadich Grill
    240 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

    221 Powell St., San Francisco, CA 94102

    1. Chez Papa Resto is reasonably close to Union Square. Good steak and fries French bistro style. Best Italian in the Financial District: Perbacco. Both are really good. Neither is over-the-top expensive.

      230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

      Chez Papa Resto
      4 Mint Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94103

      1 Reply
      1. re: nocharge

        Here is one more thought: Scala's Bistro. It's not as good as Chez Papa Resto or Perbacco, but it's really close to Union Square and it's open late. Could do in a pinch. The chef of Perbacco used to be the chef there.

        230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

        Scala's Bistro
        432 Powell St., San Francisco, CA 94102

        Chez Papa Resto
        4 Mint Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94103

      2. Try Fino, a small Italian restaurant in the Andrews Hotel, 2 blocks west of Union Square on Post Street.


        1. John's Grill... the meat version of Sam's and Tadich. Old-school atmosphere, grilled steaks, lamb chops, etc. Plus the association with the Maltese Falcon and Dashiell Hammett.


          John's Grill
          63 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

            1. re: saffrongold

              This was my first thought too. He'd really get a kick out of this place, I think.

            2. I think some of these suggestions perhaps emphasize the 'safe' rather than the best chow. Meat and potatoes can be delicious, after all.

              I would choose LarkCreekSteak over Tadich or John's Grill for a steak (and if he is travelling alone, tell him to request a seat at the counter: very entertaining). Scala's Bistro is only ok, in my opinion, and not cheap. Perbacco is a great suggestion if he would want Italian (much better than Kuleto's or Scala's). Other options would include Fish and Farm (just off of Union Square, tell him not to let the Fish in the title scare him off, they have several very nice meat dishes, including a burger and fries) or even Zuni Cafe (a short cab ride away, and a great Ceasar salad.)

              1. Yeah, Perbecco was going to be my first recommendation. Great Italian, a lot of meat on the menu, maybe a fancy kind of menu but the food is really good. He could also try Bix, which has gotten a lot of good reports recently (especially for the burger). And Town Hall would be a great place for him -- if he's solo, he can eat at the bar, the food is good, and there's a lot that appeals to the meat and potatoes lover: good burger, chicken friend pork chop on the current menu, cornbread. All of these recommendations are not quite meat and potatoes, though -- he might be put off by the menus with lots of very SF menu descriptions, but the food is good and hearty.

                1. No love for House of Prime Rib? I've never been there but was considering a visit later this year. Should I reconsider?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: steve h.

                    Go. Reports from 2008 and 2009.

                    House of Prime Rib
                    1906 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA 94109

                    1. re: wolfe

                      Yes, Go. We've been going there for over 30 years and, yes it's changed some and maybe not quite as good as in the 70's and 80,s but, for what it is, we love it. We love the beef, of course, but also like the salad, bread, baked potato with everything and the Yorkshire pudding. I like creamed spinach but am not so fond of theirs. You can ask for seconds if you want, but I can barely eat my first serving.

                  2. Nice suggestions, but for a a really enjoyable meal at a fine SF tradition, got Harris's. Sit at the bar.