374 Bush St, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9410437.790938 -122.403571
Neighborhoods: Downtown, Northeast
Great OLD San Francisco establishment. Become a regular. – As a fourth generation San Franciscan and a 50 year customer of Sam's, I can say that it is one unique San Francisco experience and brings back the days of old. Fantastic fish dishes - Petrale Sole; great meat - veal chops, sweetbreads, liver outstanding; drinks are short but strong and the waiters are not out to win personality contests. This is San Francisco as it was -- no PC BS here; just a solid menu with old charm atmosphere. To truly get a superb experience,one has to be a "regular". Restaurants and bars like Sam's have to grow on you...and are a dying breed. Expect non-presumptuous service and you will be rewarded. Savor the experience. If you like 'going to the mall" forget Sam's; if you want to see life as it was (and should be) without the liberal pretentiousness, experience Sam's. Bon Appetit. Ask for Christy.
good portion sizes – I came here on a Tuesday evening while visiting from out of town for work. The ambiance was a little lacking--it felt more like a diner. The food was good. I had the petrole fish which was very good and. I also tried the shrimp cocktail which was also a generous portion and tasted good, but they mix the cocktail sauce in with the shrimp and there was just too much sauce for my liking. The calamari was very good. Service was okay but not very attentive in keeping the beverages flowing.
Wood-paneled elegance and simple seafood tempts diners to this longtime corner restaurant. – The Scene
This landmark grill has an old-time atmosphere with white tablecloths, lots of private booths and waiters who may have been around since the saloon first opened its doors. The crowd is all business during the day; tourists and old-time locals at night.
The timeless menu of traditional seafood fare is beautifully executed. An Olympia oyster cocktail is packed with tiny, exquisitely sweet morsels in a delicate, spicy broth. A juicy shrimp cocktail offers a generous portion of delicate, meaty shrimp. Charcoal-broiled halibut is a thick, juicy steak tasty enough not to need its side of old-fashioned tartar sauce. The sauteed shellfish special blends huge, marshmallow-soft scallops with delectable shrimp and crab, all basking in an exceptional herb-rich sauce. For dessert, try fresh strawberries or sherbet.
Worst dining experience ever. Ever. – I don't even know where to start. Easily the worst dining experience I have ever had. The waiter was snotty, condescending and forgetful. The bread, (which I had to wait a half hour for), was so hard that I had a hard time choking it down. The sauce that came on my dinner was bland and smelled like dog food. NO JOKE. I only made it about 5 bites in before I called it quits.
Not bad, but not impressive – My girlfriend and I saw the good reviews and tried this place out for dinner. We made a reservation on a Friday night (recently) and were seated promptly when we arrived. We were a little suprised at the place- I couldn't tell whether we were in a diner or an upscale seafood place. The waiter was nice, but somewhat inattentive (we had to bug him a few times for drinks, and he never brought us any bread, even after we asked for it). We both had grilled fish (tuna and swordfish)... and we could definitely tell it was grilled, because that was about the only flavor we could taste. The table wine was adequate, though a little disappointing compared to other places. I probably wouldn't recommend this to anyone visiting SF.
Old school – My husband and I eat out a lot, and we value someplace unique with great food and service. This place had great seafood - I recommend the scallops in the "most popular" preparation - and good strong drinks. We did not like the steak, it seemed like a lesser quality cut, nor did we like the green beans that came with it. The waiter was very attentive, and let us get 1/2 order of their calamari so we could try it - and it was excellent! The wait staff is totally old school (not a waiter looked to be under 50), and the decor made me feel like we'd stepped back in time... waaay back in time. The private alcoves in back looked like fun, and on Valentine's Day they were all full.
Ask for Stefano – I was shocked when I saw that some visitors to Sam's Grill actually hated the place. I've been there several times and I've always been more than satisfied with both the food and the service. The decor is old time San Francisco -- not fancy, but homey. Beware of Friday nights, though -- the place can get very cramped.
The fried calamari alone is worth the visit. I've had the Ahi Tuna, the Ivory Salmon and the Lobster Newburg and they've all been first rate. The seafood salad and the clam chowder are great starters.
As far as the service, some of the waiters can be sort of brusque as some other reviewers have mentioned. However, to solve that problem, ask for Stefano who has a terrifically gregarious attitude towards his job.
Please ignore the negative reviews and give Sam's a chance -- especially for dinner. You won't be disappointed.
charred food – Went here for lunch on a friday afternoon. Ceaser salad was subpar and the halibut was completely charred. My friend ordered the steak, medium well. It came completely charred on the outside and raw on the inside. The waiter never asked how the meal was so we didn't complain about the food; rather left the steak half uneaten with the rawest part of it face up on the plate. Waiter never even noticed. I was disapointed in this restaurant and would not return. I could make better steak and fish at my own house.
short on seafood – Sam's Grill was short on the seafood. My prawns curry was tough and overcooked. The waiter was surly and uncommunicative. Perhaps we woke him up during his break before the dinner rush?
Good Sam's – Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and step back in time at Sam's Grill. You'll find classic, starightforward food well prepared where the food presentation consists of a white plate, a lemon and maybe a sprig of parsley. No odd shaped colored plates or squeeze bottled designs...Our waiter, Calverly, was attentive and gracious.
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