Seafood >John's Grill
63 Ellis St, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9410237.785543 -122.407116
Neighborhoods: Downtown, Northeast
John's Grill, a San Francisco tradition since 1908 is a must on a visit to San Francisco. This landmark was the setting for the Maltese Falcon novel whose author Dashiell Hammett was a regular and mentioned John's Grill in his novel.
It is a gathering spot for local and national celebrities where one enjoys excellent service and great seafood and steaks at honest prices in a traditional San Francisco atmosphere. Dark panel walls, antiques, white table linens, pictures of old San Francisco, photos of celebrities who frequent the restaurant are all a part of the excitement at this famous grill which was featured in Gourmet and chosen as one of the 10 best in S.F. by Esquire. Dress is casual. We have a full bar as well as an extensive wine list featuring wines from Napa Valley.
Great service. – We really enjoyed being introduced to Johns Grill.
It is a treat to see this kind of service still exists
in such a classic restaurant!
CL & Samantha Robinson
Great little steakhouse – We were, I admit, attracted to the Maltese Falcon connection, and expected only so so food, but were were pleasantly surprised. The steaks were excellent and side vegetables and potato came with the entree. We were seated in the Jazz room upstairs with a lot of people. This not a large restaurant and they fill every inch of space with a table, so if you are good at eating in a crowd this is the place! Overall - better than average food, good prices, cool decor with movie still pictures on walls, quaint setting, liked it.
Went for lunch - OUTSTANDING! – I've only been the one time, so take my review as you will... Was up in SF to watch the Emerald bowl in 2007. Stopped in on a whim for lunch with the wife and kids. The seating is VERY TIGHT, and probably not the best place for kids... but I tell you, the frutti di mari was OUTSTANDING. the price was great as well, i believe it came in around $13 and change. I'd come back without hesitation.
john's "not so great" grill – The experience here was not so pleasant as sounded by locals. We were first sat a small small small table near the kitchen where the waiters frequently pass and patrons going to the second floor which we never saw but am sure would have been a more of a better experience. My wife and I both ordered steaks my wife the filet myself the ribeye both cooked as ordered but we found nothing special here. Our waiter seemed to careless of our time being spent here and at the end no dessert offered only coffee we were not pleased and wanted to leave right away. Our entire dining stay here from entrance to exit was a suprising 45 min. However we could not let that sour taste and waste of time ruin the night we left right away to Morton's (two blocks away) for their sigature hot lava cake that quickly turned the night back around to a pleasant night thank you Morton's for saving the day or night.
"City" charm and history to be cherished . – We visit The City from our home on the central coast whenever possible. A dinner at John's is always included. I lived in Burlingame as a child, so this resturant is part of my childhood. One can find a great steak in many newer places, but the service, great food and atmosphere all make the prices here acceptable. If you want to take in the charm of the City then John's is an important destination. For those who live in SF it is familiar and welcoming. Perhaps not the greatest place for economy minded tourists.
Most Excellent – My wife and I dinned there in June 2008. The seafood and the service was outstanding. My wife had the Seafood Cannelloni and I had the Seafood Cioppino A La Marinara. The first floor dining is compact and semi-private. Wine list was very adequate with good choices. All and all a great place.
Editorial Review by Citysearch Editors – Historic downtown joint serves steak and seafood specialties like handmade lobster ravioli; full bar and extensive, Napa Valley-focused wine list.
Great Experience – Dined here while taking in the new Westfield Mall. Having lived here in the past and just returned from the east coast this is the next best find without going to NY for a clubby restaurant. Our reservation was honored the moment we walked in and the service was professional. Our steaks were big enough for 2. The lobster ravioli was to die for and they make big old fashion martini's. I notice other reviewers find the prices high; they really were not for the quality. It is still probably 30% less than Mortons or Ruth Chris and let's not forget we are dining in a place full of rich history.
Obscenely Overpriced – I do not understand the popularity of this restaurant. Yes, they have the historical charm of having been mentioned in The Maltese Falcon. However, as a dining establishment, John's Grill falls terribly short. I suppose that if 25%-35% were shaved from the bill I'd feel that the menu prices fit the value, but this is not the case. Do yourself a favour, if the John's Grill of the Maltese Falcon is an experience which you must have, have a drink at the bar but avoid the "tourist trap" menu at all costs.
Step back in time – John's Grill is one of a few genuine historical restaurants in San Francisco. By stepping inside the well-reserved decor, you felt like you went back in the 1950's. The food was yet simple but scrumptious. The staffs were very attentive and friendly which was perfect for the casually dinner with my group of friends. Highly recommmended for people who looking for authentic food in the distinctive place.
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