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John's Grill

$$$
Neighborhood:
Union Square
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63 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA 94102-2207 (Powell Street)
+1 415-986-0069
Website
Today
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Open now
See all hours
Hours:
Sun 12:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Mon - Sat 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night
Description: John's Grill has been a San Francisco tradition since 1908. This historic...
John's Grill has been a San Francisco tradition since 1908. This historic restaurant is one of the city's oldest and most famous and is a favorite of celebrities who enjoy great steaks, expertly prepared fresh seafood with excellent service and a one of a kind atmosphere. John's Grill was a setting in author Dashiell Hammetts, The Maltese Falcon. The restaurant has earned many tributes: it has been chosen as one of the 10 best by Esquire and featured in Gourmet Magazine. Live jazz nightly in the upper level dining room. ZAGAT RATED: Food 26 / Decor 24 / Service 25 / Cost $44 "Step back in time" at this circa-1908 Downtown "landmark", where "solid steakhouse fare" and "strong drinks" draw "tourists and locals alike"; "one of the last old-style SF eateries", it's also renowned as a "Dashiell Hammett hangout" (and a setting in The Maltese Falcon.)"
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Good for:
Casual Elegant

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 893 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 288
    Excellent
  • 321
    Very good
  • 153
    Average
  • 81
    Poor
  • 50
    Terrible
Rating summary
  • Food
    4 of 5 stars
    Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
    Atmosphere
    4 of 5 stars
Classic San Francisco near the Convention Center

John's Grill may be the best place for lunch near Union Square and the convention center. It is a classic SF grill with fresh local seafood. The petrale sole is excellent and the portion is large enough to share. The atmosphere is literally right out of The Maltese Falcon! Not to be missed for a... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed March 27, 2015
Carl J
,
Columbia, South Carolina
Good for:
  • Casual Elegant
  • Breakfast/Brunch
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Reservations
  • Late Night
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893 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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English first
Columbia, South Carolina
Top Contributor
106 reviews 106 reviews
86 restaurant reviews
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2015 NEW

John's Grill may be the best place for lunch near Union Square and the convention center. It is a classic SF grill with fresh local seafood. The petrale sole is excellent and the portion is large enough to share. The atmosphere is literally right out of The Maltese Falcon! Not to be missed for a SF lunch.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Chicago, Illinois
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2015

I came here for a dinner with my colleagues, being in town for a conference. Everyone's meal looked fantastic. I had the broiled salmon, which was so tender and yet had a nice crisp on the top. I also split a dinner salad with a coworker, and it was very nice! Lovely little mini shrimp and a spicy vinaigrette dressing... More 

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Houston
Top Contributor
113 reviews 113 reviews
58 restaurant reviews
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2015

Disappointing this time. First floor was loud, service was intrusive....including the waitress who poured red wine from a bottle into an existing white wine glass. She barely apologized and only when asked, brought a new glass of wine to replace it. The red snapper was not quite cooked enough or hot enough. Was still eating my salad when the entrees... More 

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Melbourne, Australia
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2015

On our first night in San Francisco on a recent trip we had dinner at John’s Grill. My wife and I had the NY steak with vegetables and a baked Idaho Potatoes. The steak was delicious and we loved the sour dough! At around $30 the main meal represented very good value and the service couldn't have been friendlier. Our... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Santa Clarita, California
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2015

I'm pretty sure everything is delicious here! Best clam chowder I've ever had! Then some shrimp and halibut that was fresh fresh! The dirty martini is something special!

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2015 via mobile

For our last evening meal in San Francisco, we decided to try John's Grill, after having seen a great recommendation online. We were not disappointed in the slightest! We were greeted and looked after by a very lovely, smiley waitress who made sure we were well looked after. I had a delicious pear cocktail and my husband had a very... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Tiburon
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2015

Have been to John's a number of times (including my retirement party a few years ago), and this lunch visit was excellent, as usual. Veggie raviolis fantastic. Martinis as only John's makes them--totally yummy! Really, they have the best gin martinis anywhere. Server was completely excellent in every way. She (sorry I don't remember her name) was sensitive that I... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Headley, United Kingdom
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2015

I dined alone on a Friday night, arriving at around 6pm, but the restaurant was at least 2/3 full - a good sign. Food was good if a little pricey $77 for two courses and two beers. I did feel as if I was on a conveyer belt, all wrapped up in an hour, with a definite high level of... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2015 via mobile

John's has maintained the feel of an old time steak and chops place, which is all to the good. Also good is their drinks pour, which is appropriately generous, given the stuff, $13-14 tab for a shot of name brand scotch or vodka. The servers handle orders in the busy dining room without seeming effort. The food itself is somewhat... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2015

We arrived here at ~9pm on a Thursday night with no reservation. Got a table for 3 straight away despite the whole place looking like it was packed. It was which is a good thing. All three of us had spent a long day and work had not finished until 8:30pm - we wanted a STEAK! This was the right... More 

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Restaurant Details

Location and Contact Information

  • Address: 63 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA 94102-2207
    (Powell Street)
  • Location: United States  >  California (CA)  >  San Francisco>  > Union Square
  • Neighborhood: Union Square
  • Phone Number: +1 415-986-0069

Price and Cuisine

  • Average Prices: USD 30 - 40
  • Cuisine: American, Steakhouse, Seafood

Restaurant Characteristics

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant

Description

John's Grill has been a San Francisco tradition since 1908. This historic restaurant is one of the city's oldest and most famous and is a favorite of celebrities who enjoy great steaks, expertly prepared fresh seafood with excellent service and a one of a kind atmosphere. John's Grill was a setting in author Dashiell Hammetts, The Maltese Falcon. The restaurant has earned many tributes: it has been chosen as one of the 10 best by Esquire and featured in Gourmet Magazine. Live jazz nightly in the upper level dining room. ZAGAT RATED: Food 26 / Decor 24 / Service 25 / Cost $44 "Step back in time" at this circa-1908 Downtown "landmark", where "solid steakhouse fare" and "strong drinks" draw "tourists and locals alike"; "one of the last old-style SF eateries", it's also renowned as a "Dashiell Hammett hangout" (and a setting in The Maltese Falcon.)"
Open Hours
Sunday
12:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Monday
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Tuesday
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Wednesday
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Thursday
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Friday
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Saturday
11:00 am - 10:00 pm

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of John's Grill and other visitors
1 question
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San Jose, California
2 months ago

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Questions? Get answers from John's Grill staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do you have gluten-free options?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • Do you allow dogs on the outdoor patio?

Staying in Union Square

Neighborhood Profile
Union Square
Originally home to rallies supporting the Union Army in the Civil War, this grand square has become the city's premier shopping and entertainment district containing the largest number of upscale department stores, chic boutiques, art galleries and theaters in the city. It's a large open area where tourists and locals gather, watch cable cars and crowds go by, enjoy a snack, or plan their day of shopping and sightseeing, If feeling the pulsating energy of the city is on your agenda, Union Square is the place to soak it in.
Explore this neighborhood