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Original Joe's in North Beach [San Francisco]

Ate at their Tenderloin location back in the 1980's and really enjoyed it, though I was much younger and hungrier in those days. How is the food at the North Beach location? I admit to being a sucker for old school kind of places like Tadich, Sam's and John's Grill. My wife and I ate at Ristorante Milano which we liked on our last couple of visits, so thought we might give Joe's a try. Thoughts?

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    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Thanks Robert, hope others with more recent visits will chime in. I remember having their veal scallopini which was very good and enviously watching others enjoying steaks and lamb chops with pasta.

    2. I've been there a number of times since it reopened at its new location a year or two ago. (or however long it has been.)

      Overall, the food is good, not great.

      I think the best things to order are their italian tossed salad, and hamburger. Maybe lasagne.

      Their fish is okay, as are their lamb chops, but there are definitely better places to get both of these (my choice for each of these would probably be tadich and bob's, respectively)

      1. Agree with the good but not great review. However the french fries are great. Probably twice fried in rice- bran oil with crisp outsides and tender insides. Still good when they are cold. Frito misto was memorable too.

        5 Replies
        1. re: little big al

          Agreed. The new location also has a more modern and less old school vibe than the previous location. If the OP is looking for something closer to the past then I would suggest Westlake Joe's in DC.

          1. re: Civil Bear

            The owners of Original Joe's bought Westlake Joe's and it's closed for renovation / remodeling.

            I think Marin Joe's is still unreconstructed old-school.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              There's always Capp's Corner, the last remaining old school family-style Italian joint in North Beach.

              1. re: soupçon

                True, but a traditional North Beach family-style meal is quite different from the traditional Joe's meal.

          2. re: little big al

            Hamburger steak is the best I've ever had as mentioned.

            Italian chopped salad is killer.

            Joe's Special is just that.

            Charbroiled rare burger between two wedges of sourdough is also exceptionally juicy and flavorful.

            Yes it's not the best steakhouse in town, but that's not why you visit. It's an institution and you go for the atmosphere, the good (sometimes great within boundaries) classic dishes, perfectly made and generously poured cocktails, and for me personally - the Thursday night jazz trio in the lounge!

            Their steaks and chops are perfectly servicable. I think thei porterhouse is very good. I wouldn't rate it on a top anything list, but it's flavorful, cooked just right (black and blue) and some of their sides, like the french fries, are outstanding.

            The rest is just good simple fare in a unqiue setting (I'm well aware of the history of the building and Joe's franchise but it's still rich with civic heritage and the interior is really well done and looks timeless) - hard to go wrong imo.

            I'd go back anytime for that charbroiled hamburger steak and a couple of manhattans though!

          3. Be aware that the new Original Joe's is a bit more polished and more expensive than the old Original Joe's. The food is as good, if not better, than it used to be.

            1. Thanks everyone. I think we may give it a try, albeit in North Beach. I still remember walking to the Tenderloin location and asking my friend, "Man, where the hell are you taking me for dinner?" LOL!

              1 Reply
              1. re: curiousgeo

                For a contemporary "where the hell are you taking me" experience, head south down Mason to Mikkeller Bar.