Can the NYC Steakhouse Survive?
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Yes, this São Paulo-born churrascaria is a chain with outposts in Scottsdale, Kansas City, and Miami, but it’s international, Brazilian, and fancy. From the second you sit down, you’re in the middle of a delicious never-ending meat feast served by gaucho chefs who also butchered and cooked the 18 different fire-roasted meats that are carved table-side. Dinner is $60 and includes as much meat as you can eat (just flip your card to green when you’re ready for more), side dishes, as well as the market table and feijoada bar -- complete with salads, soups, cheeses, charcuterie, and more. Pro tip: The warm, cheesy bread rolls are delicious, but limit yourself to one otherwise you won’t be hungry for maximum meat intake.
The oldest continuously operating restaurant in San Francisco also serves up some of the best steaks in a vintage, old-school setting. Opened in 1849, Tadich Grill has been a favorite of everyone from bankers and businessmen to politicians and movie stars. Sure, they’re known for the seafood, but this classic joint serves up some serious charcoal-broiled steaks. Pair a martini with a fresh seafood cocktail or oysters Rockefeller, before digging into a juicy filet mignon or black Angus NY cut steak.
San Francisco’s only steak lounge, 5A5 blends the vibe of a cocktail lounge with a traditional steakhouse. That means mood lighting, a domed dining room, faux snakeskin wallpaper, cream-colored banquettes, and live music. You’ll find some killer steaks here, but be warned: they come with hefty price tags. Before your meal begins, the staff will present you with a cutting board full of different cuts of A5 Wagyu, which cost about $27-$29 an ounce. The menu includes Asian and American appetizers and sides, so go for lobster tempura with wagyu, or Caesar salad with a NY strip steak (or mix and match -- nobody’s watching).
With plush leather booths, dramatic chandeliers, and white tablecloths, this place is a quintessential steakhouse. It's where we imagine Don Draper meeting with clients, polishing off a 16oz boneless New York steak, and pounding Old Fashioneds (cigarette not included). You’ll get all the classic sides and fixin’s and will be treated like a well-dressed businessman, no matter what you show up in.
There’s something about a chain that originated in Dallas... it just makes us feel more confident that they’re on top of their steak game. Big slabs of meat are a Texas standby, and Bob’s does them right. Plus, it’s not one of those massive corporate chains -- Bob’s only has 12 locations across the country. Despite its nation-wide success, you’ll still be greeted with San Francisco sourdough at the start of your meal, then you can move on to the crab cakes before the pièce de résistance: one of seven prime steaks served with glazed carrots and your choice of baked potato, smashed potatoes, or skillet fried potatoes topped with sautéed onions and peppercorn gravy.
If you want to skip the stuffy white table-clothed steakhouses you’re used to, head to Bobo’s, where quality steaks meet circus-like decor. Sure, it’s a little tacky, but we love the red-painted walls, playfully askew photographs, and vibrant leather banquettes. Plus, the steaks here are dry-aged for four to six weeks and perfectly cooked. Plus, they've got roasted and butter-glazed Dungeness crab, rich lobster soup, and basil martinis on offer. Done.
Here’s a different take on the steakhouse: Lolinda is an Argentinian steakhouse, which offers an endless array of hot and cold small plates and ten (yes, ten) different kinds of grilled meats, ranging from blood sausage to a giant, 72oz bone-in ribeye steak. The dark restaurant is perfect for wooing a date with sumptuous steaks and cocktails that hail from the Beretta team. It’s got more character than your standard steakhouse, with a sexy Argentinian vibe and dark corners perfect for stealing kisses.
The Marina/Cow Hollow
The Marina is home to a dizzying array of bottomless mimosa brunch spots and beer pong-filled bars, but don’t write off the neighborhood without a visit to Brazen Head, a time capsule located just out of the range of the brunch-fueled crowds. Step inside the dimly lit space into a horseshoe bar, burgundy carpets, and stained glass windows. Order a Manhattan, then dig into the signature New York strip pepper steak served with garlic mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables. It’s not a traditional steakhouse, but The Brazen Head offers some steak that's definitely worth checking out.
Alfred’s has been one of San Francisco’s favorite steakhouses since it opened in 1928, and with the Daniel Patterson Group taking the reins in 2016, things have only gotten better. The decor is updated retro and will literally have you seeing red. The leather booths, chairs, walls, and curtains? All red and off-set with white tablecloths that you’ll get dirty pretty much immediately. The dry-aged steaks are cooked over a mesquite grill, just like always, only now those steaks are grass-fed and the sides and vegetarian entrees (why they even bother with those is beyond us) are inspired by seasonal produce. Many dishes are prepared table-side by servers in black vests and bow ties, who also bring your martini to the table in the shaker... and, our favorite part, leave it when they leave, with almost enough inside for a full refill.
The name says it all: EPIC Steak serves epic filet mignon, Wagyu, ribeye, and surf & turf with epic views and epic cocktails. Plus, the steaks have been locally raised and selected by EPIC's very own personal butcher. The industrial-chic space offers iconic views of the Bay Bridge and Treasure Island that are sure to impress your date. So you can enjoy your sustainably raised meat in one of the most awe-inspiring restaurants in the city. Wins all around.
Alexander’s stands out on this list for its Japanese spin on the classic American steakhouse. You’ll get edamame and sashimi instead of creamed spinach and shrimp cocktail, plus wagyu beef sourced straight from Japan. Sure, you can still order your standard Niman Ranch strip steak, but then you’d be missing out on some really unique Japanese cuts you can’t get everywhere else (but be warned -- these can get pretty pricey). There’s also a decadent prix-fixe "Study of Beef" which will swarm you with seven-courses of Japanese-inspired seafood, steak, and sides.
Let’s be clear... House of Prime Rib is one of those polarizing restaurants that not everybody loves (and it serves prime rib, which isn’t technically steak), but it’s one of my favorite places to dine in San Francisco, and beef is beef, right? This truly old-school establishment is like a time capsule back to the 1950s, complete with carvers in tall chef’s hats, red leather banquettes, and martinis served with their shaker so you can keep the extra. Your creamy salad is spun table-side, your warm bread comes with butter (none of this olive oil business), your prime rib is served with creamed corn or creamed spinach, and your baked potato is topped with the fixin's (or served mashed). Oh yeah, and the whole thing comes with pillowy Yorkshire pudding. Whether or not you’re a fan, this place has the vibe and the '50s menu down.
A Brazilian steakhouse is a singular beast. You won’t be shelling out monstrous prices for one measly chop that doesn’t even come with sides. No, at Espetus you’ll pay a flat fee for unlimited meats that are paraded around the restaurant on skewers. Plus, you’ll get access to the salad bar that’s so, so much more than iceberg (think ceviches, mango salad, and traditional Brazilian sides). Try all 14 prime cuts and meat skewers (and grilled pineapple), which are carved table-side until you just can’t eat any more. Pro tip: skip lunch.
Tucked inside the Marines’ Memorial Club, high up on the top floor, you’ll find an unassuming steakhouse with glorious views of the bay below and a live pianist serenading diners. Sure, the clientele is on the grey-haired side of the spectrum, but you don’t need a hot young crowd to enjoy a dirty martini, a classic iceberg wedge smothered in blue cheese dressing, a perfectly cooked medium rare New York strip, and truffle oil tater tots. This is old-school San Francisco at its finest -- complete with a strict dress code and a quirkily military-themed decor.
Not all SF steakhouses have been around for 20-plus years. Perched high atop Nob Hill, Osso Steakhouse is a new steakhouse with an old feel. The Art Deco space serves up giant cuts of quality beef (aged 21 days) that they claim is "the best steak you’ve ever tasted." Add crab to your filet or ribeye for a take on surf and turf, or just go for a whole crab to share with the table. Bigger really is better here: you can find one of the largest ribeyes in the city, clocking in at a whopping 40oz.
It’s easy to be distracted by all the fancy chain steakhouses in the Bay, but don’t overlook classics like Izzy’s. Thanks the space's wooden tables and floors, cozy leather booths, stone walls, and indoor fireplace, you’ll feel as if you’re dining at a lodge in the mountains. Plus, the portions are massive. This spot may not exactly be a place to bring a first date, but it is packed every night of the week and for good reason. For over 25 years, Izzy’s has been serving up classic American steakhouse fare (you know, a colossal steak with sides like creamed spinach and a baked potato) and service that’ll make you feel like a regular.
Although the beloved Michael Mina restaurant shuttered its Union Square doors, you can still find the same great steaks in, believe it or not, Levi’s Stadium. You’ll never guess you’re dining adjacent to the field with cozy velvet booths, dark wood walls, and seating for 124 guests. You’ll get signature table-side presentation of dishes like ahi tuna tartare and Maine lobster pot pie, plus a selection of sumptuous wood-grilled steaks and innovative seafood.