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John's Grill

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2
Mon, 9/26
8:00 PM

Ratings and reviews

RATINGS
Food
Service
Value
Atmosphere

Mentioned in

Food and ambience

Local cuisine, Steakhouse, American, Seafood, Vegetarian Friendly

Location and contact

Union Square
0.0 miles from Market Street
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Travel safe during COVID-19
Visit our Travel Safe hub to see how we're helping you make more informed travel decisions during COVID-19.
What you can expect during your visit
  • Face masks required for staff in public areas
  • Hand sanitizer available to guests & staff
  • Daily temperature and symptom checks for staff
  • Socially distanced dining tables
  • Staff required to regularly wash hands
  • Tables disinfected between guests
Read more
Updated 10/03/20 Safety precautions are provided by the property and are not checked by Tripadvisor for accuracy.
Updated 10/03/20 Safety precautions are provided by the property and are not checked by Tripadvisor for accuracy.
About
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. 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
PRICE RANGE
$20 - $50
Special Diets
Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options
Meals
Lunch, Dinner
CUISINES
Steakhouse, American, Seafood
FEATURES
Takeout, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Gift Cards Available, Reservations, Seating, Wine and Beer, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Accepts Discover, Accepts Credit Cards, Table Service
Reviews (2,561)
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2,014 results
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663
316
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79
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LanguageEnglish
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Traveler rating
822
663
316
134
79
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All reviews baked potato steak red snapper roquefort salad seafood prawns clam chowder bread cheesecake maltese falcon sam spade dashiell hammett union square old school sat at the bar sf martini
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Reviewed 1 week ago

Thought this place would be a hidden gem, but its NOT, it was not a good meal at all. NOT RECOMMENDED. From the exterior Johns looks like Gallaghers in NYC or other vintage American steakhouses. But inside, its tiny & cramped with too small tables...and highly uncomfortable chairs. We had New York steaks, not good, just basic. There was nothing that stood out, all was just so-so.. Yes it does have a vintage vibe, but its old & dusty and in need of a refresh. I do not recommend Johns, look elsewhere.More

Date of visit: September 2022
Helpful?
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
johnsgrillSF, Owner at John's Grill, responded to this reviewResponded 1 week ago

Thank you for your recent visit to John's Grill. We pride ourselves on delivering a memorable food dining experience with exceptional food and service. We're so sorry to hear your experience fell short of expectations and hope you will give us another chance to impress...More

Reviewed 2 weeks ago

The ambiance was amazing, The food, delicious, and the service was great. It may have been one of the best steaks I've had in my 5 decades on this planet.

Date of visit: July 2022
Helpful?
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
johnsgrillSF, Owner at John's Grill, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

Hello! Thank you for visiting John's Grill. We're so glad you had an amazing experience and appreciate the 5-star review. Please come back and visit us soon.

Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Went for evening meal with my wife on last evening of a stay in SF. Greeting was very friendly and we were taken to a cosy pre booked table for two. Waitress very attentive and polite and we were quickly provided with bread and drinks....Food was lovely- red snapper for me prawns for my wife. Managed to squeeze in a delicious cheesecake and Irish coffee. Really enjoyable.More

Date of visit: August 2022
Helpful?
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
John Konstin, Owner at John's Grill, responded to this reviewResponded 4 weeks ago

Hello. Thank you for including John's Grill as part of your trip to San Francisco. Our team will be happy to hear that you enjoyed your experience. Take Care!

Reviewed August 4, 2022

Really good food with super helpful staff. It is a busy place so the atmosphere was buzzing - regular movement of tables and people in and out. You felt the history in the place. Went with family - 2 adults and 2 kids (9/12) and...enjoyed by all.More

Date of visit: July 2022
Helpful?
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
John Konstin, Owner at John's Grill, responded to this reviewResponded August 4, 2022

Thank you for giving us such high marks. We are constantly hard at work to deliver the best possible experience. Please visit us again on your next trip to San Francisco.

Reviewed July 20, 2022 via mobile

We stayed at the grand Hyatt on stockston and found this place by chance. Not in our hotel recommendations or our travel guides, etc but we enjoyed a great place with good American entrees and the atmosphere of a small restaurant with seafood, lamb chops,...etc Totally different from the big steakhouses or seafood restaurants from the embarcadero. We definitely enjoyed the placeMore

Date of visit: July 2022
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Reviewed July 20, 2022

Wow! What a find! We thought it might be a bit of a tourist trap - but, nope! It's the real deal. The food was simple, but amazingly so good! And, we all agreed to get a New York Steak cooked to perfection outside of...NY is pretty special! Def worth a visit. Be prepared for huge plates though!More

Date of visit: July 2022
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Reviewed July 16, 2022

The food was amazing. Beautiful atmosphere within Union Square. The staff seated me immediately the food was fresh well seasoned and you can’t beat the price.

Date of visit: July 2022
Helpful?1  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed July 9, 2022

There is construction covering the sidewalk in front of the building that houses John's Grill. It truly is old school as it fills the 3-story building that looks like it could very well be a 1908 building. Inside it looks much like 1908 as well....It looks like the elevator is the last remodel. It takes you from the back of the street level dining room and bar to the second-floor dining room and bathrooms. The walls are covered with old San Francisco movers and shakers, many politicians, firemen and police with some celebrity too. I couldn't recognize most even though I lived here for some years. I loved the dark wood, the small, confined space, the bar tucked into the back corner, it space was like a movie set. A step back in time. We were seated in the front window at a 4 top even though we were two. They would get three turns from out table. The vibe was perfect. Service was more modern and relaxed in style than say Tadich Grill, another old-time restaurant in town. I ordered a cocktail while perusing the menu, then we ordered a beet salad and a Caesar salad to start, then we each had the Sam Spade lamb chops, one order of 3 fried shrimp, and one side of spinach. The lamb also came with 2-3 stalks of broccolini and a tasty nicely prepared carrot that was not mentioned on the menu and was appreciated. To be gluttonous we added a lobster ravioli to share as well. Dessert was impossible. The Caesar was large hand shredded pieces of romaine, and the cheese was a larger grate than one usually encountered. It was a good and satisfying Caeser. The beets were perfectly roasted and lent their sweet and earthy bass note to their composition. The ravioli was delicious, but the lobster was lost in it for me, too much herb in the creamy red sauce for the lobster to shine through. The lamb chops were very tender and were a tad over the medium I like. I thought they were double chops, but they were sliced as singles. I recommend medium rare, and I will do that if I have these again on the next visit. The creamed spinach was very garlicy, perfect in my book as compared to my mother's. It was less creamy than most. I didn't need to add salt to them, and with spinach I usually feel I need to. The wine list and beverage program were a nice blend of traditional and more modern selections. I thought it was well selected for its size. Bottom line - when I need a traditional steak house in San Francisco, I finally have one that has the personality and taste and location I want. So I can't get over that I have never been here before. Follow their recommended parking directions, they do not validate. Ambience 5 stars Food 4.5 stars Service 4.5 stars Call it $125 each for dinnerMore

Date of visit: July 2022
Helpful?1  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed July 9, 2022

Been here a few times over the years and very much enjoy it every time. For some reason I prefer to sit downstairs, maybe it feels a little cramped upstairs? At any rate, the food and service are excellent no matter where you are seated.

Date of visit: June 2022
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Reviewed July 6, 2022

Great lunch, service, location, near Union Square. Old style restaurant. Perfect choice near Union Square.

Date of visit: June 2022
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Reviewed July 1, 2022 via mobile

This is a classic San Francisco restaurant made famous by Dashiell Hammett, and The Maltese Falcon. The service is always impeccable here and very efficient . But the Heirloom tomatoes and Burrata fell short this day . The heirloom tomatoes were nothing more then quarters...of barely ripened store bought tomatoes with little to no flavor. But the Burrata was decent enough and the shredded basil did not help . I will skip this next time …. The fish and chips were good ( wild pollack ) we shared them and the server had the kitchen split our order into two..which was very nice . Thanks ! This restaurant always serves good food , and the steaks are wonderful and the tiny bar can get very busy . It is a small restaurant so it can also get very loud if a patron decides to elevate their voices . I have been going here off and on for 30 years at least .More

Date of visit: June 2022
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Reviewed June 29, 2022 via mobile

Tried John’s for a business dinner. Excellent experience from the time we were welcomed at the door through the time we left. The service was impeccable, the server very attentive, polite, professional, and took great care of us throughout the meal. The food was phenomenal!...I had the lamb chops, perhaps in the top 3 that I have ever had in the US and Europe. Al of the sides were perfectly prepared as well. I can find no fault with anything. A slice of a wonderfully delicious pecan pie was the perfect finish to a perfect meal. John’s Grill is a MUST try restaurant when in SF!More

Date of visit: June 2022
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Reviewed June 24, 2022 via mobile

Our first night in San Fransisco and what better way to start. We both had the clam chowder which was delicious. I had red snapper and my wife had the soul, both cooked to perfection and delicious

Date of visit: June 2022
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Reviewed June 22, 2022 via mobile

This place has a familiar old school American steakhouse style about it . It has low level lighting , which sets the ambiance very accurately and the filet steaks we tried were comparable with the best in the world .. not just in SF ....To last this long in a competitive market in a big city takes something special . If you like steak , recognise Peter Lugers in Brooklyn as a benchmark steakhouse , and appreciate history , this place is for you .. it’s very similar to the Luger’s vibe .. In almost every big city now you can get a good to great steak in Ruth’s Chris , Morton’s or Mastro’s .. all are very consistent in quality and all are fashioned to be reassuringly familiar as franchise operators are .. We tried all of them quite a few times again on this years holiday .. Johns Grill , like very few others these days is an original .. these places are where the cues and design signatures for all the modern steakhouses were drawn from .. And to keep people coming back , they have to serve great steak .. and they certainly do .. highly recommendedMore

Date of visit: June 2022
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Reviewed June 13, 2022 via mobile

Great location, great food, great drinks, great service. We had a group of 7 and would definitely eat there again. I highly recommend this place.

Date of visit: June 2022
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Questions & Answers
Ask a question
Frances S
February 15, 2022|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from johnsgrillSF | Property representative |
We accept Visa, Mastercard, Amex, & Discover.
0
Votes
Georgia D
September 7, 2019|
AnswerShow all 6 answers
Response from troyb292 | Reviewed this property |
Unsure, as we had dinner downstairs in the main restaurant
0
Votes
Kent Z
September 11, 2018|
AnswerShow all 7 answers
Response from sallyn313 | Reviewed this property |
I'm not sure I can give you a 100% accurate answer. I'm sure the wait staff would be friendly. I am not sure if they have a children's menu, because we did not need one, so I never inquired. We ate lunch there, and I did... More
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Frequently Asked Questions about John's Grill

Yes, John's Grill offers takeout services.

Yes, John's Grill is taking precautions against COVID-19. A full list is available within the "safety precautions" section of this page.

John's Grill is rated accordingly in the following categories by Tripadvisor travelers:
  • Food: 4
  • Service: 4
  • Value: 3.5
  • Atmosphere: 4