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Best steakhouse in San Francisco

TeacherFoodie Jan 22, 2012 02:08 PM

What would you consider to be the best steakhouse in San Francisco? My husband and I will be visiting from Toronto in March and are looking for a great steak dinner. Price range $150-200. We prefer to go to a non-chain steakhouse.

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  1. d
    DavidT RE: TeacherFoodie Jan 22, 2012 02:33 PM

    This subject gets discussed here several times a year. It would be worth your while to go the upper right-hand corner of this page and search for "steak" or "steakhouse." You should be able to retrieve many of the past discussions on this subject.

    Harris' and Alfred's are two of the old-school steakhouse favorites. The fact of the matter is there are no truly great steakhouses in the SF and the Bay Area.

    5 Replies
    1. re: DavidT
      DavidT RE: DavidT Jan 22, 2012 02:38 PM

      Harris' was reviewed just a couple of days ago in the SF Chronicle:


      1. re: DavidT
        bronwen RE: DavidT Jan 30, 2012 10:07 AM

        House of Prime Rib is good.

        1. re: bronwen
          Robert Lauriston RE: bronwen Jan 30, 2012 10:09 AM

          House of Prime Rib is good if you want prime rib roast, but they don't serve steak.

        2. re: DavidT
          artemis RE: DavidT Mar 14, 2012 09:30 AM

          We went to Harris' last night for my SO's birthday. He got the steak with foie, another friend the fillet, and another friend the porterhouse. They loved their steaks. The green beans that came with my DH's steak were lovely, not overcooked at all. I don't eat cows (don't care for them, not an Ethical Thing), so I ordered the house cured salmon and the crab cakes as my dinner. They were both pretty lousy. The salmon was nice enough I guess, but nothing special, and the crisp bread slices served with it were oily. The crab cakes were very, very disappointing - totally smooth texture (no lump meat) with lots of strands of fairly tasteless crab, the breaded outside was bland and slightly oily, they weren't served hot, and the brunoise of bell peppers scattered on the plate reminded me of something from the 80's. The bell peppers ended up being the only source of texture on the plate though. We shared a baked alaska for dessert- the ice cream was rock hard and the cake dry as a bone. The waiter didn't tell us the specials until I asked (cream of asparagus soup, some special salad, and steamed mussels). My DH and friends absolutely adored their steaks but the rest of the food was far below par. I'm not going back there, but it does seem like a great place if you stick to the steaks only.

        3. re: DavidT
          DavidT RE: DavidT Jan 22, 2012 02:40 PM

          Here is a recent thread on SF & Bay Area steakhouses:


        4. m
          ML8000 RE: TeacherFoodie Jan 22, 2012 02:34 PM

          SF isn't a big steak city. That said, Harris' Restaurant, Boboquivari, Alfred's Steakhouse and Leatherneck Steakhouse (part of the Marine's building). All non-chains, cross-reference for details.

          7 Replies
          1. re: ML8000
            calumin RE: ML8000 Jan 22, 2012 05:36 PM

            Alexander's Steakhouse is the best.

            Harris is pretty close though.

            1. re: ML8000
              ecoppel RE: ML8000 Feb 17, 2012 08:34 AM

              The bone-in filet at Boboquivari was one of the best steaks I've ever eaten.

              1. re: ecoppel
                Robert Lauriston RE: ecoppel Feb 17, 2012 08:53 AM

                What made it so good? Filet is the tenderest but least flavorful cut.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  rubadubgdub RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 17, 2012 05:27 PM

                  I have to agree that it's the best cut at Bobo's. I ordered a ribeye and was surprised that the filet was much tastier. They dry age all of their meat 4-6 wks so that probably accounts for a better taste than most places. Ecoppel, when was the last time you went? We took our sister's bf there for his bd in Oct because he is obsessed with Bobo's, and I think we all came away from the meal thinking it was not as good or special as we wanted it to be. The steaks were fine to very good but not transformative as we were hoping for. And I have to say the settting is . . .odd.

                  1. re: rubadubgdub
                    ecoppel RE: rubadubgdub Feb 20, 2012 02:38 PM

                    I was there about a month ago. The steak was terrific but I didn't find the rest of the meal that memorable. I remember the crab being especially disappointing. I agree that the setting is a little odd!

                    1. re: ecoppel
                      elliora RE: ecoppel Apr 8, 2012 09:54 PM

                      We went in January and it was by far the best steak of my life and I never like the filet. I do not know what they do to that steak but we now have a new saying in our family if we are upset about something, just mutter the words, was that steak not so amazing and it brings us to a happy place! Surprised it does not get more love on this board.

                  2. re: Robert Lauriston
                    Saxby RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 9, 2012 07:27 AM

                    RL- I have been touting Bobo's so here is the deal:

                    They do a great job of: dry-aging I think, 28 days and in preparation........ in a searing skillet with a hint of garlic, rosemary, salt (sometimes too much) and pepper.

                    Then they deglazed the pan I think with a little butter to make a very tasty but modest sauce. That is how it is done and it is a very consistent

                    Also, the filet is bone-in and this is a pretty rare (no pun intended) cut. However, I have recently seen more of them on the menus in various steakhouses across the country. The nutty flavor of the dry age beef really comes through in a Bobo's steak. I have tried several dry aged steak in several steakhouses but while they taste ok, Bobo's dry age steak has the most pronounced dry age flavor of them all.

                    So when it comes to dry age steak, Bobo's is the best that I have had. However, the sides and apps can be hit and miss.

              2. s
                scullymika RE: TeacherFoodie Jan 22, 2012 03:11 PM

                One word : izzys.

                5 Replies
                1. re: scullymika
                  wolfe RE: scullymika Jan 22, 2012 04:45 PM

                  My last visit to Izzy's.
                  One word translation, tough.

                  1. re: wolfe
                    mariacarmen RE: wolfe Feb 17, 2012 05:04 PM

                    which steak did you get? our fave is ribeye. we saw a Check Please Bay Area episode featuring Izzy's and now the BF wants to go. We already know it's not top-notch, but if there's one good steak, at Izzy prices, we're game to try it. (Our last steakhouse splurge was Ruth's Chris a couple years ago - i know, a chain - and we found it overpriced for steaks drowning in butter (albeit good steaks.)

                    1. re: mariacarmen
                      Robert Lauriston RE: mariacarmen Feb 18, 2012 01:05 PM

                      Corso in Berkeley charges $38 for a 24-ounce T-bone, sides are $6-7. Slightly more expensive than Izzy's, maybe, but the food's a lot better.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                        mariacarmen RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 18, 2012 11:48 PM

                        good to know, thx.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                          cfroldan1 RE: Robert Lauriston Feb 20, 2012 02:29 PM


                  2. d
                    Dieppe RE: TeacherFoodie Jan 28, 2012 09:48 AM

                    A vote for Alfred's. Not only is the meat well aged but the sides are luscious. Add some Old World (unironic retro) ambiance, and it's an evening to remember.

                    1. Robert Lauriston RE: TeacherFoodie Jan 30, 2012 10:19 AM

                      I'm skeptical that you can get a better steak dinner in SF than you can in Toronto.


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                        calumin RE: Robert Lauriston Jan 30, 2012 12:43 PM

                        If you keep wagyu as a separate category from other steak, then you might be right.

                      2. t
                        TeacherFoodie RE: TeacherFoodie Jan 30, 2012 03:42 PM

                        Thank you everyone for your suggestions. It seems steak may not be the best call in San Francisco. What other meats are must-eats in San Francisco?

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: TeacherFoodie
                          Rapini RE: TeacherFoodie Jan 30, 2012 04:04 PM

                          I'd say the issue is steak vs. steakhouse. We don't have very many steakhouses here, but many restaurants serve a good steak. Some of the Italian places cook up a tasty steak florentine, for instance. If you have some restaurants in mind, you might check the menu on their websites to see what's cooking.

                          Having said that, there is lots of really good, non-steak eating to be done here. Italian, certainly (e.g., Delfina, Acquerello); seafood (Sam's, Tadich, Hayes Street Grill, Plouf [for mussels]); Indian, Asian and Southeast Asian; and various other places such as Aziza (Mediterranean) or Piperade (Basque influenced).

                          1. re: Rapini
                            Frosty Melon RE: Rapini Jan 30, 2012 04:36 PM

                            Interestingly enough, Delfina's steak is one of my favorite things there.

                            1. re: Rapini
                              juriijj RE: Rapini Apr 7, 2012 04:54 PM

                              yes, but please, don't say Acquerello is an Italian restaurant because it's not

                              1. re: juriijj
                                wolfe RE: juriijj Apr 7, 2012 05:06 PM

                                Ok now I'm confused.
                                "Co-owners Giancarlo Paterlini and Suzette Gresham-Tognetti work together to provide an unparallel Italian dining experience."

                                1. re: juriijj
                                  Rapini RE: juriijj Apr 7, 2012 05:13 PM

                                  How do you mean, jjjjj? It seemed pretty Italian to me.

                                  1. re: juriijj
                                    hyperbowler RE: juriijj Apr 8, 2012 09:59 AM

                                    The menu looks mostly Italian in spirit, but I'm seeing a few French-influenced dishes. Some of the more French sounding items on their current menu include: Lobster consommé, truffled torchon of foie gras, ridged pasta with foie gras.

                                    1. re: juriijj
                                      Robert Lauriston RE: juriijj Apr 8, 2012 10:24 AM

                                      To me, Acquerello is French-Italian fusion. So is Quince, but they're frank about it. You can find the same sort of thing in some high-end restaurants in Italy, so in that sense they're within the Italian tradition.

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                        juriijj RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 9, 2012 05:49 PM

                                        I mean that I'm italian and 70% of the food they prepare it's not italian..

                                    2. re: Rapini
                                      bbulkow RE: Rapini Apr 8, 2012 12:04 PM

                                      The same is true of fish. Few fish restaurants, lots of great fish on menus. The dominant "local" style is a one page menu with one or two of each protein represented - a beef, a pork, a fish, a chicken, a duck --- and sometimes the steak is the best thing on the menu. I loved the Globe's steak, and they were known for it (not a steakhouse).

                                      1. re: bbulkow
                                        Robert Lauriston RE: bbulkow Apr 8, 2012 12:10 PM

                                        I agree, and typically the variety comes from changing the menu daily rather than from a big selection on any given day.

                                        When it started, Hayes Street Grill was one of the few places in town that had good dry-aged steaks cooked properly.

                                    3. re: TeacherFoodie
                                      Robert Lauriston RE: TeacherFoodie Jan 30, 2012 04:39 PM

                                      Local meat specialties, the main thing would be house-made salumi. Adesso's the acme of that trend, they have about 45 kinds (basically it's a salumi bar). Perbacco / Barbacco doesn't have as big a selection but they're really good. Incanto's salumi program turned into a separate business, Boccalone.

                                      4505 chicharrones.

                                      1. re: TeacherFoodie
                                        rubadubgdub RE: TeacherFoodie Feb 17, 2012 05:45 PM

                                        If you eat prime rib, House of Prime Rib really does offer an outstanding meal for a pittance ($35-40 for a complete meal, including seconds). It's where I go if I want to focus on red meat. As others have said, you can get great steak at places that aren't steakhouses. I've quite enjoyed the bistecca alla Fiorentina at Corso in Berkeley. I would agree with Robert's suggestion on salumi. Practically every good Cal-Ital place in town is doing their own. Or you might like some of the much talked about hamburgers in town such as the ones at Zuni or Marlowe.

                                      2. j
                                        JellyDoughnut RE: TeacherFoodie Jan 30, 2012 05:33 PM

                                        IF you just get the steak and a baked potato, tell them to hold the carrot, it can be delicious...All of the meats are prime and deeelish!
                                        the other stuff tastes processed to me, like base is used to make the spinach and peppercorn sauce...
                                        I recommend the bone in rib eye...

                                        Bob's Steak & Chophouse
                                        500 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94104

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: JellyDoughnut
                                          Robert Lauriston RE: JellyDoughnut Jan 30, 2012 05:40 PM

                                          Bob's is a branch of a Texas-based chain. Not the place to go if you like your steak dry-aged.

                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                            rworange RE: Robert Lauriston Jan 30, 2012 10:51 PM

                                            No one's mentioned Tad's Steakhouse ... steak, baked potato, salad and garlic bread for under $15

                                            Seriously though, San Francisco is a chicken town meat-wise. Go to Zuni. Get the roast chicken.

                                        2. j
                                          JENNYBEEAY RE: TeacherFoodie Mar 14, 2012 11:55 AM

                                          Check out the steak at Epic Roasthouse. We ate there 2 weeks ago and it was outstanding. It was cooked just like a steakhouse would cook it...charred on the outside and juicy/pink on the inside. Delicious!

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: JENNYBEEAY
                                            Robert Lauriston RE: JENNYBEEAY Mar 14, 2012 12:37 PM

                                            For a first-rate steak and other choices that are equally good, Epic would be hard to beat.


                                            Though if everybody's into steak I'd go to Alfred's:


                                            1. re: JENNYBEEAY
                                              nocharge RE: JENNYBEEAY Aug 28, 2013 04:10 PM

                                              Looks like the Chronicle's Inside "Scoop" finally caught up with the chef change at Epic about a month after it happened.

                                              What the article fails to mention is that Parke from Waterbar took over Epic and is running both kitchens. Supposedly, he is working on significant food changes for Epic.

                                            2. t
                                              tywn31 RE: TeacherFoodie Mar 14, 2012 01:12 PM

                                              This isn't in San Francisco proper, but the classic Marin County restaurant El Paseo was recently reopened as a steakhouse by Tyler Florence. It's a short drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, and everything I've tried there has been excellent. The menu is a good balance of classic steakhouse, and fresh local ingredients - the bacon wrapped filet with truffle butter was amazing, and they have a great wine list as well.


                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: tywn31
                                                Robert Lauriston RE: tywn31 Mar 14, 2012 01:37 PM

                                                El Paseo House of Chops has a few steaks on the menu, but none sound like classic steakhouse fare except the 28-oz. Creekstone ribeye. I guess the special 35-day-dry-aged Holstein steaks he had on the menu at first didn't sell.

                                              2. s
                                                Saxby RE: TeacherFoodie Apr 6, 2012 07:23 AM

                                                where did you end up going to and what was your experience?

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: Saxby
                                                  Robert Lauriston RE: Saxby Apr 6, 2012 08:29 AM

                                                  Here are her reports: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/840126

                                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                    Saxby RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 6, 2012 09:04 PM

                                                    thanks, but no steakhouse?

                                                    1. re: Saxby
                                                      Robert Lauriston RE: Saxby Apr 7, 2012 11:33 AM

                                                      Apparently not.

                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                                        Saxby RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 7, 2012 05:10 PM

                                                        : (((((

                                                      2. re: Saxby
                                                        TeacherFoodie RE: Saxby Apr 8, 2012 10:31 AM

                                                        Hi - I decided not to include a steakhouse in our itinierary as there seemed to be lots of other things that were better to try in SF. Great city!

                                                        1. re: TeacherFoodie
                                                          Saxby RE: TeacherFoodie Apr 9, 2012 07:31 AM


                                                  2. ChowFun_derek RE: TeacherFoodie Apr 6, 2012 02:18 PM

                                                    We do have a Brazilian Churascaria (sp) all you can eat meat brought out on long skewers...

                                                    here's a link...


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