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General Info
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. Live jazz nightly in the upper level dining room. 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 SF eateries", it's also renowned as a "Dashiell Hammett hangout" (and a setting in The Maltese Falcon.)"

Regular Hours

Extra Phones

Phone: (415) 989-7766

Phone: (415) 986-3274

Fax: (415) 989-7766

Payment method
travelers checks, all major credit cards, amex, diners club, discover, master card, visa
Price Range
Northeast San Francisco, Downtown San Francisco-Union Square
Other Email

Seafood Restaurants, American Restaurants, Steak Houses, Bar & Grills, Restaurants
Other Information

Parking: Garage, Street

Wi-Fi: No

Bike Parking: No

Attire: Casual

Wheelchair Accessible: No

Cuisines: American, Steakhouse, Seafood, Bar & Grills

Alcohol: Full Bar

Takes Reservations: Yes

Outdoor Seating: No


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robinson ltd


Provided by Citysearch - 
Great service.

We really enjoyed being introduced to Johns Grill.
It is a treat to see this kind of service still exists
in such a classic restaurant!

CL & Samantha Robinson



Provided by Citysearch - 
Great little steakhouse

We were, I admit, attracted to the Maltese Falcon connection, and expected only so so food, but were were pleasantly surprised. The steaks were excellent and side vegetables and potato came with the entree. We were seated in the Jazz room upstairs with a lot of people. This not a large restaurant and they fill every inch of space with a table, so if you are good at eating in a crowd this is the place! Overall - better than average food, good prices, cool decor with movie still pictures on walls, quaint setting, liked it.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Went for lunch - OUTSTANDING!

I've only been the one time, so take my review as you will... Was up in SF to watch the Emerald bowl in 2007. Stopped in on a whim for lunch with the wife and kids. The seating is VERY TIGHT, and probably not the best place for kids... but I tell you, the frutti di mari was OUTSTANDING. the price was great as well, i believe it came in around $13 and change. I'd come back without hesitation.



Provided by Citysearch - 
john's ""not so great"" grill

The experience here was not so pleasant as sounded by locals. We were first sat a small small small table near the kitchen where the waiters frequently pass and patrons going to the second floor which we never saw but am sure would have been a more of a better experience. My wife and I both ordered steaks my wife the filet myself the ribeye both cooked as ordered but we found nothing special here. Our waiter seemed to careless of our time being spent here and at the end no dessert offered only coffee we were not pleased and wanted to leave right away. Our entire dining stay here from entrance to exit was a suprising 45 min. However we could not let that sour taste and waste of time ruin the night we left right away to Morton's (two blocks away) for their sigature hot lava cake that quickly turned the night back around to a pleasant night thank you Morton's for saving the day or night.



Provided by Citysearch - 
""City"" charm and history to be cherished .

We visit The City from our home on the central coast whenever possible. A dinner at John's is always included. I lived in Burlingame as a child, so this resturant is part of my childhood. One can find a great steak in many newer places, but the service, great food and atmosphere all make the prices here acceptable. If you want to take in the charm of the City then John's is an important destination. For those who live in SF it is familiar and welcoming. Perhaps not the greatest place for economy minded tourists.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Most Excellent

My wife and I dinned there in June 2008. The seafood and the service was outstanding. My wife had the Seafood Cannelloni and I had the Seafood Cioppino A La Marinara. The first floor dining is compact and semi-private. Wine list was very adequate with good choices. All and all a great place.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Great Experience

Dined here while taking in the new Westfield Mall. Having lived here in the past and just returned from the east coast this is the next best find without going to NY for a clubby restaurant. Our reservation was honored the moment we walked in and the service was professional. Our steaks were big enough for 2. The lobster ravioli was to die for and they make big old fashion martini's. I notice other reviewers find the prices high; they really were not for the quality. It is still probably 30% less than Mortons or Ruth Chris and let's not forget we are dining in a place full of rich history.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Obscenely Overpriced

I do not understand the popularity of this restaurant. Yes, they have the historical charm of having been mentioned in The Maltese Falcon. However, as a dining establishment, John's Grill falls terribly short. I suppose that if 25%-35% were shaved from the bill I'd feel that the menu prices fit the value, but this is not the case. Do yourself a favour, if the John's Grill of the Maltese Falcon is an experience which you must have, have a drink at the bar but avoid the ""tourist trap"" menu at all costs.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Step back in time

John's Grill is one of a few genuine historical restaurants in San Francisco. By stepping inside the well-reserved decor, you felt like you went back in the 1950's. The food was yet simple but scrumptious. The staffs were very attentive and friendly which was perfect for the casually dinner with my group of friends. Highly recommmended for people who looking for authentic food in the distinctive place.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Tourist Trap, avoid at all costs!

Avoid at all costs! TIGHT seating. Bad service. The people at the tables next to me were closer than my wife across my table. The staff never asked how the meal tasted. They never refilled the water glasses. They never brought more drinks. They were fast at getting us seated and getting us out the door when we were done.



Provided by Citysearch - 
No good

Oh well. I will move on to other venues. There are other well known steak houses in San Francisco - will try them all ""one-by-one"".



Provided by Citysearch - 

I have never had a bad meal at John's grill. the best steaks, chops, and wine. With the old picture's on the wall and the white linen tablecloth's this is the grace kelly of restaurants. If your looking for the ""old"" san francisco when Herb Caen referred to it as ""baghdad by the bay"" this is where it starts and ends. John's grill is as good as ""the stinking rose"" is bad. Bravo for John's grill! Avoid north beach, go to John's grill, have the sam spade special, and ambience you will feel.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Great place and great location!

I just had my boyfriend's surprise birthday party at John's Grill yesterday and we all had a fantastic time. Everyone enjoyed their meal and the staff did a good job even with 16 of us! I had the cioppino and it was very tasty. The red snapper chef's special got good reviews from our table as did the escargot appetizer and the huge jack lalane salad. The live jazz was a nice touch and the location was perfect as we had quite a few choices for after dinner drinks in the area. Definitely worth a visit!



Provided by Citysearch - 
Gotta come here once

Not the first place to dine in S.F but everybody should come here once. The atmosphere is perfect, and that's worth the trip even though the food and drink is barely average. It's a shame - if the owners and head chef would kick the food up several notches, that and the ambiance would make this place a one-in-a-million. Instead, come here once, but a second visit's a disappointment.



Provided by Citysearch - 
A Good Night

A co-worker and I had a great Friday evening here. Without reservations, we were seated upstairs near the jazz music and a window. The service was prompt, the Shrimp Dijonnaise was wonderful, so was my co-workers Sole. We would have liked the bread to come to the table warm, so we did not try it. Also the Cesear Salad had a little too much dressing, but overall OK. We would go back. The main meals were filling and tasty.



Provided by Citysearch - 
User review by mrunderhill9

Went to John's Grill specifically for 2nd anniversary. Steaks (had to send the first one back as it was way to tough) were not that good. My second steak was bland and tasteless. On the other hand, my wife had the lamb chops and they were wonderful. Overall, we are from Las Vegas, and the food there did not come close to the food here.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Old Awsome San Fran Feeling

Went here to celebrate by birthday this week and had a blast. The dinner jazz added a special touch to the professional service and above all the clubby atmosphere. The lamb chops were perfectly done and the Chilean seabass was moist . Everyone at our table enjoyed the California only wines that were priced fairly. The place was crowded with diners that included media types that I recognized from nightly news . The Chalone chardonnay was to die for.



Provided by Citysearch - 

Mediocre would be kind. We were seated at a tiny table next to the bar with barely enough light to read the menus. The clam chowder was straight from a can. Salad was garden-variety (lol). The Chilean sea bass was barely defrosted. John's Steak appeared to be a mediocre bone-in NY strip, but it was difficult to tell. The service was actually decent, but the server appeared quite harried. Don't fall into this tourist trap like we did. The advertised nightly live jazz was nonexistent as well. We would have gotten a better and cheaper meal at Outback.

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