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Which restaurants have a pleasant old SF interior?

Littleton, Colorado
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Which restaurants have a pleasant old SF interior?

We're looking for breakfast , lunch and dinner, especially in Union Square and Fisherman's Wharf. And good food too of course.



Dublin, California
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1. Re: Which restaurants have a pleasant old SF interior?

What constitutes a "pleasant old SF interior"? There are some old time Chinese restaurants in Chinatown. John's Grill and Tadich Grill are two old time SF restaurants. Top of the Mark is a favorite watering place.

San Francisco...
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2. Re: Which restaurants have a pleasant old SF interior?

Harris' steakhouse is very old school - and one of the better steak houses in the city. http://harrisrestaurant.com/

And don't overlook the Garden Court at the Palace Hotel.


Bloomington, Indiana
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3. Re: Which restaurants have a pleasant old SF interior?

Okay, let's see what I can come up with here . . . well, mainly a few comments:

First, generally speaking Fisherman's Wharf restaurants are not recommended by forum regulars. They tend to cater to tourist trade and thus don't focus on repeat business. The end result is that (generally speaking) the meals are considered overpriced & underperforming. If I had to suggest one, the first one that comes to mind is Scoma's. I think most would call it "old school" and there are those who swear by it; however, others think it is overrated and/or doesn't do well from a price/performance standpoint (that's me). I think it's okay to good and have gone more than once on someone else's dime. If I'm paying, however, doubt it would be my short list of seafood restaurants.

Second, the very first restaurant for "old school" that came to mind is Tadich Grill. It's not in the areas you've mentioned, but is only a few minutes away from Union Square (and, a Cable Car ride is an easy way to get there from the Union Square area - can't get any more SF than riding a Cable Car to dinner). This is a true old school seafood place; in fact it's the oldest restaurant in SF (and all of California?). I can think of a few others off the top of my head that would fit the bill, but they aren't in the Union Square area (see next topic).

Third, SF is compact (only ~7 miles by 7 miles) and has a good public transit. Because of this I don't think you should limit yourself to just the areas you've mentioned. I'd at least consider North Beach, Chinatown and the Embarcadero area (all downtown & close to Union Square/Fisherman's Wharf), if not other neighborhoods too. For lots of reasons, some of the better price/performance restaurants are out in the neighborhood & not downtown. You can cover a whole lot of the city for a (reasonably) short/cheap cab ride and/or an even cheaper MUNI fare and a little bit more time. if you're willing to include a 15 - 20, maybe 30, minute MUNI ride from Union Square you'll have a much larger (and arguably better) set of restaurants to choose from.

Fourth, you might give some additional information. You've ask for a certain ambiance & locations (but remember my location comment), but are there any other considerations? Any cuisines you like/dislike, budget figures, etc. There are literally *hundreds* (if not thousands) of restaurants in SF - not all would meet your existing criteria, but there would be a lot. If you give some additional information, it will enable us to narrow our suggestions.

Beyond that, I'm going to punt (at least for right now).

Hope it gets things started,


San Francisco
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4. Re: Which restaurants have a pleasant old SF interior?

Sam's is another "old school" -- a lot like Tadich's but it's a bit closer to Union Square.

Agree with hlo on dining options at the Wharf. Pier 23 isn't far from FW and it's a funky old place.

The Big Four is at the Huntington Hotel on Nob Hill. Definitely has an "old school" feel. Food is good, but I love the bar!

Corona del Mar, CA
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5. Re: Which restaurants have a pleasant old SF interior?

Harris is faux old school for steak, Alfred's is real old school SF and got a glowing review from the SF Chronicle last year (see below). Tadich Grill is the oldest restaurant in the state, Sam's Grill is just a few years behind it. John's Grill was made famous by Dashell Hammett. I just love their website.



The Garden Court at The Palace and The Big 4 Restaurant being in the Huntington makes it old SF.

I'll also throw in Alioto's at Fisherman's Wharf. Yes the food is average. Yes it is more expensive than it ought to be, but it is a San Francisco classic and having survived since 1925 it does deserve some props. We eat there on occasion for reasons of nostalgia.

Santa Cruz...
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6. Re: Which restaurants have a pleasant old SF interior?

Tadich Grill or Sam's Grill. period.

I don't like John''s Grill. They don't use Louis dressing on their Louis salads. I want to scream when they say..."thousand island, blue cheese, or oil and vinegar."

Edited: 10 January 2012, 20:11
San Francisco
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7. Re: Which restaurants have a pleasant old SF interior?

Sotto Mare has the feel that it's been around for ages, even though it hasn't really. Agreed on Tadich and Sam's. Swan Oyster Depot too. House of Prime Rib.

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8. Re: Which restaurants have a pleasant old SF interior?

Agree about Tadich Grill, the Garden Court at the Palace, and the Big Four at the Huntington (move on this one -- the Huntington got bought last fall and it seems unlikely that the new owners will retain its old-school styling forever). Even though Alfreds' has only occupied their current location for about 15 years (they used to be on Broadway), they definitely managed to transplant the old-school decor and feeling -- maybe inheriting the old Blue Fox space did it.

John's Grill is riding the Maltese Falcon fame and that's about it, making themselves a shrine over a brief mention. Pier 23 is a pleasant dump, but really doesn't have much of an "old SF" feel, it's more roadhouse on the Bay.

Sodini's Green Valley and/or Capp's Corner?

Edited: 11 January 2012, 00:14
9. Re: Which restaurants have a pleasant old SF interior?

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