Steakhouses in Pacific Heights

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The Elite Cafe: A User’s Guide

New Orleans Flair | Historic 1928 Building | Dinner, Brunch, or Cocktails | Extensive Wine List

Sample Menu

  • Cocktail: bacon bloody mary—Skyy vodka infused with applewood-smoked bacon, garnished with a slice of bacon
  • Appetizer: deviled eggs
  • Entree: ham-hock gumbo stewed with smoked chicken and roasted jalapeño
  • Dessert: beignets plated with espresso ice cream and fudge sauce

When to Go: The chef’s fried chicken is available exclusively on Monday nights, paired with live blues between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Where to Sit

  • Bring some friends for brunch or dinner and snag an intimate booth, furnished in dark woods and brass fixtures.
  • The mahogany bar makes for a great perch if you’re stopping in for a cocktail.
  • Those who care for fresh air can find a place in the heated outdoor seating area.


  • On a 2011 episode of Check, Please! Bay Area, reviewers raved about the California seafood gumbo, fried okra, and mussels, as well as the restaurant’s energetic vibe.
  • Made Zagat’s lists for Best Down-Home Cajun/Creole Dishes and Inventive Bloody Marys in San Francisco

Vocab Lesson
Étouffée: translates literally to “smothered.” This spicy, Cajun seafood stew is thickened with a roux and served over rice.

While You’re in the Neighborhood

After brunch: Check out the well-curated selection of women’s clothing and jewelry at De Novo (2413 California Street).

After dinner: Catch a classic film at Clay Theatre (2261 Fillmore Street), a cinema built in 1910.

2049 Fillmore Street
San Francisco,

The Brazen Head: A User’s Guide

Upscale American Cuisine | Steaks and Seafood | Full Bar | Intimate, Old-School Atmosphere

Sample Menu

  • Appetizer: dungeness crab cakes
  • Soup: french onion with aged gruyère and mozzarella
  • Entree: new york strip pepper steak with veal demi-glace

The Vibe: The Brazen Head looks like it exists in a different time and place—say, Manchester in the 1960s. Old news clippings and portraits line the walls, and dark woods stretch back as far as the eye can see, which isn’t that far thanks to the dim lighting and heavy drapes that block out excess sunlight.

Inside Tips

  • Leave the credit cards at home. The restaurant only accepts cash and debit cards.
  • It’s pretty easy to accidentally pass up this unassuming eatery, especially since there’s no sign out front. Just look for the green awning.

If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Swing by The Brazen Head’s sister restaurant, Liverpool Lil’s (2942 Lyon Street), for classic British pub grub such as shepherd’s pie and fish and chips.

3166 Buchanan St
San Francisco,

In 1947, owners Mel Weiss and Harold Dobbs assembled a staff of 14 carhops to serve passing motorists at the first Mel's Drive-In. For the next two decades, customers partial to automobile dining flocked to the chain’s 11 California locations, eager to wash down grass-fed half-pound burgers with thick milk shakes. As fast-food outlets outpaced the drive-in's once-speedy service, its popularity declined, and it was eventually scheduled for demolition. The building got a temporary reprieve, however, when filmmaker George Lucas decided to use the drive-in's original location on Lombard Street as the colorful backdrop for his film American Graffiti. As bulldozers destroyed the last remnants of the historic drive-in, American Graffiti opened in theaters.

A decade later, though, Mel's son Steven reopened Mel's Drive-In in an attempt to carry on his father's dream. Steven restored the drive-in's multiple locations to mirror their original motif by stocking each with midcentury must-haves such as illuminated marquees, jukeboxes, and Elvis-themed WiFi passwords. The drive-in’s menu, meanwhile, balances period-appropriate fare, such as hot dogs and burgers, with healthy options, such as the Haven’s Famous vegetarian sandwich, two slices of nine-grain bread topped with avocado, sprouts, and tomatoes.

2165 Lombard St
San Francisco,

In Focus: Bay Watch Restaurant

  • When to go: breakfast or brunch
  • Number of types of pancakes: eight, ranging from classic blueberry to wheatgerm
  • Most popular dish: Turkey Supreme sandwich with sliced turkey, bacon, tomato, avocado, scrambled eggs, melted cheese, sour cream, and chives
  • Best place to see the work of budding Picassos: Check out the wall of kids’ art, a collection that began more than 10 years ago.
  • Walking distance from this: The Presidio is just 12 minutes away.

2150 Lombard St
San Francisco,

Jake’s Steaks: A User’s Guide

Authentic Cheesesteaks | Amoroso Rolls From Philly | Lively Sports Bar | Award-winning Menu

Sample Menu

  • Sandwich: mushroom cheesesteak with onions and Cheez Whiz, the owner’s favorite
  • Side: garlic waffle fries
  • Dessert: a peanut butter Tastykake
  • Drink: Henry Weinhard’s root beer or one of the beers on tap

Who’s in Charge: Jake Gillis, who was born and raised in Philly. Needless to say, he doesn’t skimp on authenticity. He even imports Amoroso rolls straight from his hometown.

While You’re Waiting

  • Gaze at the mural on the wall, which depicts Philadelphia’s famous boathouse row on the Schuylkill River.
  • Watch the game. The restaurant’s satellite package guarantees that guests can tune into virtually any sports game available, even the World Cup and, yes, the Puppy Bowl.

Inside Tips

  • Though the restaurant is tiny and on a quiet residential block, it can get crowded, especially during big sports games.
  • “Whiz with” in Philadelphia parlance means you’d like your cheesesteak with Cheez Whiz and with onions, as in “I’ll have one Whiz with.”

While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Work up an appetite on the putting greens at Moscone Recreation Center

After: Burn off the Whiz with a workout at Perfect Fit

3301 Buchanan St
San Francisco,

In 2012, Izzy?s Steaks & Chops celebrated its 25th anniversary, giving guests an excuse to reminisce about the technologies, events, and classical-music feuds that made 1987 twice as popular as 1983. Throughout the past two and a half decades, the folks in Izzy?s kitchens have been grilling up the steaks and chops that they see as an integral part of Americana, along with freshly caught local seafood that?s never frozen. All of their corn-fed Black Angus beef is humanely raised at Creekstone Farms, which is dedicated to beef free of hormones and antibiotics. The chefs transform those premium meats into their signature new york sirloin steaks, aged a minimum of 21 days, as well as cuts of slow-roasted prime rib and filet mignon medallions au poivre with pepper cream sauce. Double-cut pork also gets a boost from spiced pear. Each meal comes with a choice of two sides, such as creamed spinach, the chefs? signature potatoes au gratin, and french fries cut in the kitchen.

House desserts such as new york cheesecake and key-lime pie conclude meals or quiet whining choruses of sweet teeth. Wine, cocktails, and draft beers encourage diners to linger in the cozy space, and during brunch?served only at the San Francisco location?the bartenders mix up cocktails such as peach bellinis or gaelic coffee with irish whiskey.

3345 Steiner St.
San Francisco,