The old made new again

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by VanessaK on August 25, 2011

I was so excited to be in San Francisco and with my best friend Jennifer. Whenever we are together we always have fun. One thing Jen and I like to do is to try out restaurants. Jennifer is also a nurse and had been living in SF for the past few months. She wanted me to see the Cliff House Restaurant and enjoy it as much as she had. When we first arrived I was in awe of the beauty of the rocks against the ocean. There is something about waves crashing against jagged rocks that have a sort of sadness to it. This restaurant was so wonderful. It sits majestically atop a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This restaurant building is the third Cliff House that has been in that location. The other two were destroyed by fire. The first was built in 1863 and was destroyed by fire on Christmas Day 1894. The second Cliff House restaurant was opened during the turn of the century in 1909 and was the epitome of Victorian culture and splendor. The restaurant had 8 stories with a tower, ballrooms, and dining rooms. It was used by the wealthy for dining and dancing. During the Victorian times, going to a "bath house" was used as a spa of sorts. Somewhere for the rich and famous to go and relax as well as go for the healing waters the baths were thought to have provided. The ruins of the "baths" still sit today. Throughout the restaurant you will find old photos of the two previous restaurants and the baths. The restaurant today boasts a modern decor with soft, sea colors such as white, aqua and tan. The tables are arranged in a tier fashion as to have an excellent view of the ocean no matter where you sit. The entire west wall of the eating areas is lined with windows just for that purpose.

Jennifer and I sat by the window overlooking the bay during out meal. Make your reservation early to ensure a window seat, you will not be disappointed. Watching the waves hit the rocks was peaceful. You may even see a whale or dolphins which they say are seen often. It was rainy the day we visited, so we were not blessed to catch a glimpse. The menu seemed to have focused on seafood, which would be normal since we were in San Francisco, but they do have steak, lamb and chicken. The appetizers were priced anywhere from $12-55. Yes I said $55 for an appetizer, there are two. One is a seafood platter serving prawns, crab and scallops and the other is smoked sturgeon. Needless to say we did not indulge in either of those. We were there for lunch, so we chose the chef's choice which was $25. This was a preselected menu including soup, entree, and dessert. The soup was an artichoke puree with fried artichokes and truffle oil. It was very creamy and delicious. Our entree was a tender steak grilled to medium with a red wine reduction sauce served with mixed greens and fingerling potatoes. The dessert was a decadent crème brûlée with a piece of almond brittle. It was a beautiful meal in a beautiful setting.

The service was first class with a waiter in eyes’ view at all times. Our glass was never empty and the plates were removed promptly. I love when you are well taken care of and they make you feel very special. We arrived for lunch early, around 11:30, so the service and food preparation was quick. I would highly recommend this restaurant for a romantic evening out or just for a nice meal. After your meal browse their gift shop where you will find souvenirs of San Francisco and many postcards and the like of the old Victorian Cliff House. You can also learn more about the special place at their website
Cliff House Restaurant
1090 Point Lobos Avenue
San Francisco, California, 94121
(415) 386-3330

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