We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Horrible food that is expensive! I would rate it Zero if I could”
Review of Buena Vista Cafe

Buena Vista Cafe
Ranked #48 of 5,839 Restaurants in San Francisco
Certificate of Excellence
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Breakfast, Lunch
Neighborhood: Fisherman’s Wharf
Reviewed April 12, 2013

We were meeting our SF friend for breakfast, and decided to try buena vista close to our hotel. This place busts the myth that all restaurants in SF serve good food. We ordered crab Benedict which sounds great but which were onion patties with a bit of crab. Tasted terrible and looked like cat food. Our daughters crab omelette gave her a stomach ache. Side of potatoes were average--- needed seasoning. Setting is nice, service fine--- but you are better off taking in the view and walking somewhere else to eat. AVOID eating here.

    • Atmosphere
    • Service
2  Thank Georgiapeach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (2,010)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language
  • More languages

1,421 - 1,425 of 2,011 reviews

Reviewed April 12, 2013

Great location and ambiance but unfortunately the food was terrible. Went for breakfast and every dish was bad. Crab cake Benedict was awful. Crab cakes with too many onions...wonder if it was frozen. Eggs were way overlooked and potatoes were rather tasteless. Service was good and sour dough toast was the best thing we had. Left with indigestion. Overpriced as well considering the poor food quality. Might want to get an Irish Coffee but avoid the food.

2  Thank HMBATL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 10, 2013

The birthplace of Irish Coffee in the US. Great location at the end of the cable car line. The food was okay. Nothing particularly memorable.

Thank Greg S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 9, 2013

I first went to the Buena Vista in the mid 1980's with my dad; I was maybe 13-14 years old. Every time we would go to the city for his work he had to fit in a visit.. and why not? Great place with fantastic views! Right across the street from the cable car turnaround at the wharf.. the piers within walking distance.. all while looking out at the bay towards Alcatraz. We visited San Francisco every year until I left for college..

My second year in college my dad called me to see if I wanted to do the 'Bay to Breakers'; I really had no knowledge of this event but thought San Fran with my dad for an event he says is not to be missed.. Didn't have to think but a minute and absolutely came out of my mouth.. I won't get into 'Bay to Breakers' in this review as it is an event of its own (great fun, wonderful people from all walks of life, primarily ages on average between 18-60 with some 10 year olds and 85 year olds sprinkled in.. This trip was the first time I had one.. or two.. or ?? Irish Whiskeys at the Buena Vista (before this I had only had food and water or soda.. Now I was understanding -- this place is wonderful :)))

In 1997, I got a job in Marin just across the Golden Gate Bridge but lived in S.F. My dad loved any excuse to come to the Bay Area and now I lived there!! From 1997-2000 he probably visited 10 times and every trip out involved a stop at B.V. We knew the bartenders, the steep staircase that even if you've only had one Irish Whiskey be careful because those steps to the restrooms in basement are steepest I've ever seen!! We had the routine down.. come in and scout a seat at the bar.. Usually extremely hard (the place is always packed!).. Next find two chairs as ALL tables are community tables (if your not into community tables I gotta say here its different and lots of fun.. if all tables are full there is a back room with character of its own..). Every time I have been there with my dad were some of the greatest times I can remember.. Always good food a few drinks and we always seemed to have some of our best talks there:). *also the place is a mix of locals and travelers ..not to mention business people at lunch who stop by for their famous Irish Whiskeys!!*

In 2006 I had my first son and in 2009 my dad met my family and I out in S.F. So we had three generations of men in our family there; which was interesting and wonderful with a side of goosebumps :)))) a memory to I will never forget!!

Last November my dad passed away and it was like my world was not the same nor would it be again. It's been a tough five months and I've gotten to a place where the sadness has lifted a bit and I think of him everyday and smile!! I have a new job now and have lived in Colorado since 2000 but had to make a business trip to S.F last month; I called a old friend and we met at the Buena Vista for what ended up being hours of drinking, catching up, sharing stories of my dad, meeting strangers.. basically going with the energy of the B.V. When we left I was thinking of all the good times I had with my dad and how much I loved/missed him but it was my fondest memories of him since he had passed.

I know this review is a bit different than I normally review places on TripAdvisor but I wanted to share what the place means to me. Even without all then years of experiences and memories I have there you can NOT go wrong stopping in.. I'd be shocked if you didn't feel something of your own with this place within 10 minutes of being in there.. it really is a part of the city everyone should experience at least once.. Thanks for reading my story/review(?) and make sure to stop by for one Irish Coffee if for nothing else.. You won't regret it!!

Thank coloradojohnsons
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013

I don't even know how to start this review. I think I'm still in shock that a person this deplorable could be working in customer service. Even just thinking about telling all of what she did makes me feel like im regressing back to a high school bathroom with my girlfriends. I sat.at the bar. I ordered.My server Heidi comes near with 2 coffees looking exasperated and not knowing why she has two in her hand in the first place.Huffing and looking around trying to figure it out, she is spilling one of them, the one she hands to me. With the other still in her hand I ask if I can have that one instead of the one with the cream covering the outside of the glass. She doesnt look at me and she pretends she doesnt hear me. I ask again. She repeats the same. I say "so basically youre ignoring my request for a beverage that comes in a glass not covered in sticky milk?" Still not looking at me, she replies "no I heard you" and simply walks away. I asked for the check She returns and slams my card down on the table and says Im so sorry youre having a bad day. SLAMS, people. I am not embellishing here. I then asked a waitress to speak to the manager; a lovely woman named Dee who was great and kind and embarrassed that it happened. The man next to me unexpectedly chimed in and confirmed the horror. She offered a drink and said she would speak to the girl, but just before she got a chance to do so, "Heidi" comes back and starts retelling the tale to another group of customers, right in front of me! Referring to me as "she". I don't know why "she"...blah, blah, blah, blah. Are you kidding me? You're gonna come back to incite more trouble and bring other customers into it? It was just awful. I came to San Fran a year ago and had their signature coffee and it was (and is still) so amazing that I couldn't wait to get back here. The experience was so lovely the last time and the bar staff so entertaining... Then I get this wretched girl. It just ruined it for me. You know?

    • Atmosphere
    • Service
Thank carissa t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Buena Vista Cafe also viewed

San Francisco, CA
 

Been to Buena Vista Cafe? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing