Two words sum up my Mel's Drive In experience; comfort food. Whether you're craving a burger and fries, or a meal fit to be served for Sunday dinner, it's likely that Mel's has it on the menu. On a recent stay in San Francisco, I wanted a good option for take-out that I could bring up to my nearby hotel room and enjoy at my leisure. The attendant at the hotel front desk said Mel's was a short walk away and mentioned that it was something of an institution in San Francisco. I ordered a patty melt with fries to go from a friendly guy at the counter, and waited less than 10 minutes for my to-go meal, which was packaged with extra condiments, napkins and utensils. I'd intended to get back to Mel's for a sit-down meal but never had the chance. You can bet I'll be stopping in on my next visit to San Francisco to sample more of what Mel's has to offer.
I was out in San Francisco a couple months back and ate breakfast here because it was walking distance from the hotel I was staying at for a conference. The place is a retro diner so when you step in, it's like going back in time. I was seated at a table after less than a minute of waiting. The place was pretty busy but my order was served pretty quickly. I got bacon, eggs over easy, hash browns and a side of toast. The food was okay--maybe a bit better than like Denny's, but nothing exceptional. The price was higher than what I normally would pay at a diner in Chicago, but I'm not sure if it's just this diner or if all things in San Francisco are more expensive.
I have never had a bad, mediocre or even a just o.k. meal here. The fish is the best. Always fresh, good-sized portions and a good value for the prices. The meat dishes have also been great, but I have a hard time not (re)ordering the fish every time I go. The service is gracious and efficient. I never feel rushed, even though because of the quality of the food and the small space, there are always people waiting.