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Best steakhouse in San Francisco

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. 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

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

      http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

        1. re: bronwen

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

        2. re: DavidT

          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. 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

            Alexander's Steakhouse is the best.

            Harris is pretty close though.

            1. re: ML8000

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

              1. re: ecoppel

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

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  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

                    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

                      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

                    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.

                  1. re: wolfe

                    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

                      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.

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

                      http://www.jacobssteakhouse.com

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

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

                      2. 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

                          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

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

                            1. re: Rapini

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

                              1. re: juriijj

                                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

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

                                  1. re: juriijj

                                    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

                                      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

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

                                    2. re: Rapini

                                      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

                                        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

                                      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

                                        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. 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

                                          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

                                            No one's mentioned Tad's Steakhouse ... steak, baked potato, salad and garlic bread for under $15
                                            http://www.tadssteaks-sf.com/

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

                                        2. 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

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

                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5223...

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

                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8117...

                                            1. re: JENNYBEEAY

                                              Looks like the Chronicle's Inside "Scoop" finally caught up with the chef change at Epic about a month after it happened.
                                              http://insidescoopsf.sfgate.com/blog/...

                                              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. 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.

                                              http://elpaseomillvalley.com/

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: tywn31

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

                                                6 Replies
                                                      1. re: Saxby

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

                                                    here's a link...

                                                    http://www.espetus.com/