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“Iconic SF Institution - Great Booths - Consistently Disappointing Food”
Review of Sam's Grill

Sam's Grill
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Ranked #501 of 5,939 Restaurants in San Francisco
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $1 - $40
Cuisines: American, Seafood
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Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Special occasions, Romantic, Business meetings
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations
Neighborhood: Financial District
Reviewed February 25, 2013

Supposedly in existince since 1860 (at current location c. 1930s), Sam's Grill is an old downtown San Francisco institution. Most of the tables are in small wooden booths with curtained doors - fun and intimate. It's not hard to picture all of the business and romantic relationships that have occurred behind the curtains over the years. Unfortunately, the food --including the seafood they specialize in -- is mediocre. The swordfish was dry and tasteless, the stewed tomatoes were literally out of the can and heated (with the juice), the creamed spinach was OK, and the Sole Meuniere was so-so.

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2  Thank Kate B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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184 - 188 of 291 reviews

Reviewed February 10, 2013

I was a little hesitant about going to Sam's as I was just looking for a sandwich but my colleague likes trying local places which have history so we gave it a go. There was a business crowd for lunch - mostly in suits. The waiters are in suits/tuxes. I had the casear salad with shrimp which was very filling and very good.

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1  Thank Woodstock1968
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 8, 2013

When here for dinner with my girlfriend after work as I was down the street. Old school seafood place with wooden booths and curtains that close. (what are they doing behind those curtains)

I had the swordfish grilled and she had the seafood salad. It was ok but not up to par with other place we go. Blue cheese dressing was watery and the steamed artichokes came out of a jar.

Going back to Joe's of Westlake in Daly City. Better value.

They have a small bar but no stools. Stand up?

Service was great.

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Thank mark w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2013

If you’re into “avant-garde” restaurants that serve “steaks” the size of potato chips, pass this place by. My wife and I have been regular visitors to The City for nearly 20 years, but haven’t tried Sam’s until this trip—we went by it a million times but never stopped in. Too bad, because we were missing a great place! We got there early for dinner and were immediately seated by a very nice waiter in a tux. He was formal in the old-fashioned way that makes you feel like they want you there, but he was also very friendly and took a few minutes to explain the specials. He also spent some time bantering with a table of locals who must be regulars, but that just made us feel all the more welcome.

My wife ordered the halibut steak and it was a real steak! Nothing fancy, but grilled to perfection. I ordered the linguine with scallops and got a hearty helping in a wonderful sauce. The service was attentive without being overbearing. The interior isn’t trendy and the menu isn’t nuveau, but sometimes you want to be treated like going to dinner is a special occasion. And, after all, it’s supposed to be about the food anyway. This is a classy place, and I was glad to see to start to fill up as it got later in the evening; there isn’t enough of these kinds of places left!

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1  Thank mstimc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 27, 2013

Our concierge recommended this restaurant, it was very close to our motel, and upon reading the Trip Advisor posts we thought we'd give it a try. It was ok but I wouldn't recommend it to others - there are so many better restaurants. The loaves of sourdough bread are plentiful but are not warm or delicious - just ok. Each table already had a loaf of bread set out when we arrived. When we ran out of bread our server just grabbed a cold one from another table. I had fish, my hubby had the fried seafood platter, we both had soup (clam chowder & 'mock' turtle) - food was good but nothing fabulous. We just had water to drink. Service was ok. Total ticket was under $85 including tax & tip.

1  Thank LovesNMDesert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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