John's Grill
John's Grill

John's Grill

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.johnsgrill.com/
  • Phone: 4159860069x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch: Monday - Saturday: 11:00am -3:30pm; Dinner: Monday - Saturday: 3:30pm - 10:00pm, Sunday: Lunch 12:00pm - 3:30pm Dinner:3:30pm - 10:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Diners Club,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Steak, American
  • Executive Chef: Mauricio Sibrian
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Beer, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Wine
  • Entertainment: There is live jazz nightly in the upper level dining room.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Powell Street
  • Parking: Public Lot
  • Parking Details: There are two public parking lots directly across the street. One is Ellis-O'Farrell garage; see rate here http://sfpark.org/how-it-works/the-garages/ellis-ofarrell/
A word from John's Grill
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.
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John's Grill reviews from OpenTable diners
206 reviews since May 26, 2014
Overall Rating4
  • Food4
    Service4.2
  • Ambiance4
    Noise LevelModerate
90% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (98)special occasion (88)fit for foodies (53)great for lunch (40)good for groups (39)romantic (33)hot spot (26)late-night find (19)notable wine list (18)vibrant bar scene (15)great for brunch (12)kid-friendly (4)scenic view (3)great for outdoor dining (2)Show More
  • Lively Place To Be Seen
    Karen
    Dined on 9/21/2014
    For our short overnight trip to San Francisco, we were seeking a restaurant near our downtown hotel. We read the reviews on John's Grill and liked the quirky atmosphere and it's 103 year log history. It turned out to be one of those quaint old restaurants with dark mahagony walls covered with black and white photos. Food was great and wine list was excellent. The crowd was an entertainment in itself.
    Special Features:
    hot spot, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Too much popular.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    Very good food and service, maybe the tables too closed to neighbor and too much noise.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • A Long-time Favorite
    LJB1
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    Have been to John's Grill a couple dozen time throughout the years I have yet to be letdown. What a fantastic venue - unique, from a different era, yet enjoyed by any age group. This trip we had the signature lamb chops, a standard over the years, and seafood cioppino, both delicious with ample portions. The bartender are skilled at making mixed drinks and the wine list is adequate. ENJOY you visit!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Traditional Steak House
    h20works
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    Scheduled a group of 6. Seated on the top floor which made conversation easier. Mike was our waiter and bartender. he did a great job taking care of us for the night. Steaks were cooked to perfection
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Typical high volume steak place
    Silvi1234
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    I would describe this as a good "pump them through" steak house. Food was good but goal was to keep people moving and tables turning. No "special" experience here. My steak was perfect. Not overly seasoned or cooked, baked potato was good, a little scarce on the side of veggie.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • It's A Classic
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007
    Dined on 9/17/2014
    I don't know how I have missed John's all these years. My wife and I, celebrating our anniversary, had a tremendous experience. The hostess was so gracious and made our wait enjoyable even though a couple were stalling leaving the table we had specifically reserved. Our waiter, Boston Gary, provided us with the best service we have ever experienced. For me, John's is what old San Francisco is all about. I will not miss it again. It is now on my list of can't miss San Francisco favorites. The added history of the Sam Spade novel made it and even more interesting evening. I am so grateful to our friends for turning on to this classic.
    Special Features:
    hot spot, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Group dinner
    Fiki
    Dined on 9/15/2014
    Arranged dinner for a group of 16 on 9/15/14. The event organizer, Sean Kulanet, responded to my email requests and questions. Everything was well organized, staff was professional, and food outstanding. We used the group menu with choice of steak, chicken, or fish. All were excellent. Steaks were amazing. I highly recommend John's Grill.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Don't Go!
    DianaVIP
    Dined on 9/15/2014
    Husband ordered the rib eye. He said it was basic, no flavor/seasoning. I had the chef's fish which was red snapper topped with crab and shrimp, topped with a lemon sauce. Oh my, what a glutinous mess that came instead! The fish was hot - only good thing. The shrimp were those really tiny shrimp, the crab meat totally disappeared in the sauce that barely tasted of lemon. It didn't even look appetizing! Both entrees came with crispy green beans, a couple of pieces of broccoli and ONE tiny carrot. The "baked" potato was baked, but seemed like it was nuked again before it was put on the plate. And for what we paid for these awful meals....
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • good portions
    cshep
    Dined on 9/15/2014
    Dark and quiet at 4:30 in the afternoon. Good portions, reasonable prices. Parking lot across the street. Very small bar. The sole with lemon mushroom sauce was a nice change. The lamb chops were very good and plentiful. The service was timely, pleasant, and unobtrusive.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • anniversary
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    We have been to John's many times and it is consistently good. Our table was ready, our server was able to answer our questions and my filet was cooked perfectly.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent salad!
    Jacki
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    We went to John's Grill for lunch the other day. Once inside I felt like I stepped back in time to another era. It's a nice break from the hustle and bustle of being downtown San Francisco. My favorite thing about the lunch was the excellent salad, Jack LaLaine. It consisted of romaine, huge amounts of fresh crab, fresh baby shrimp, fresh mushrooms, and the most outstanding salad dressing, a blue cheese vinegrette. All of this served with fresh sourdough bread. I'll be back and will order the same salad.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fabulous Dinner
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIP
    Dined on 9/10/2014
    Amazing tender lamb chops. Great classic dining room. Very classy yet casually dressed people feel at home. Celebrity sightings are a bonus.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Wine4MeVIP
    Dined on 9/9/2014
    It was not a bad place. There is nothing wrong with it. But it also didn't stand out. For the price per plate - I expected better everything from the food to the service.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Grandparents
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    In town for a college football game and to enjoy the city. Will come again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, hot spot, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disappointing
    TADD
    Dined on 9/5/2014
    Salad to share was meager and clam chowder was below average.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great Traditional SF Restaurant
    John3
    Dined on 9/3/2014
    We were seated upstairs away from the downstairs walk in crowd, nice musician playing very low level classic lounge music. Food was served as ordered in a good pace, not rushed, great light level, food was presented as ordered and was good. Great neighborhood gem.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for brunch, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Sam Spade
    Tootie
    Dined on 9/2/2014
    The Jack LaLanne salad for two is marvelous. Sam Spade lamb chops are generous, delicious and fulfilling. Five lamb chops for dinner is quite a feast. Love the atmosphere...my date enjoyed the New York steak...was a birthday celebration, and the server brought a creme brulee with candle and all sang happy birthday...including the guitarist who played the Happy Birthday song. He even it when we departed. A really nice experience...feel good night! Server was excellent. Can't remember his name, but he was from Brazil and extremely attentive and helpful.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Overrated!! Loud, cramped
    Marth
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    Would not recommend. Food was marginal, tables are tight and it seems like this places is coasting on past laurels. Hate to sound snarky, but it's the truth.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2001VIP
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    John's Grill never fails...food and service were superb...best lamb chops ever.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, hot spot, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Must try!
    2good2betrue
    Dined on 8/30/2014
    Our neighbor recommended John's Grill as a good outing. My husband and I took BART into the city and it was only a block away. Our reservation put us at the front window. The waiter never missed a beat and our glasses were never empty. We had the Shrimp Cocktail for an appetizer and the cocktail sauce had a little horse radish on the side which was a nice kick. I had a small salad and Clam Chowder. It was thick and hot and awesome! My husband had the Jack LaLane Favorite. It was really great too! No room for dessert!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, scenic view
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good food, great service
    TRIXVIP
    Dined on 8/28/2014
    Entertained a client at John's Grill for lunch. Client loved this San Francisco gem. Food was good and the service better. Recommend!
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, hot spot, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Time!
    Zinty
    Dined on 8/28/2014
    Enjoyed a great lunch at John's Grille with guests from Washington, DC. They loved the history, the decor, and the food, the Dashiell Hammett connection, the 100 year-old history. Steaks and seafood were delicious (Porterhouse and sole stuff with crab and shrimp). Our waiter was terrific! Highly recommend. Plan to come back soon.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • First time dining, really enjoyed!
    sincitydreaming
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    John's Grill is centrally located on Ellis Street, only steps from Union Square. I was impressed from the start. We had reservations and were seated immediately. Wait staff was excellent, extremely attentive. Food came out quickly even though the restaurant was extremely busy. I had the Roquefort salad and maine lobster ravioli (on appetizer list, but I ordered as a meal) and both were delicious. The complimentary bread and vanilla almond martini were also delicious. Loved the upbeat atmosphere and upscale tavern vibe. I would say the only downside to John's is size (pretty tight corners inside) and it seemed to be pretty warm in the restaurant. Overall, a great experience. Recommend and would return!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great Steaks!
    cmor1701d
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    That's why you go to John's. Yes the tables are packed together and the noise level is up there but the steaks are fabulous. This trip I was served last and they brought me the wrong steak. So yes I was a bit annoyed by the time my filet arrived. But it was cooked to a perfect medium, cut like butter and tasted like the best filet should taste! The sauteed onions were done to perfection and the two of us who ordered each received a generous dish filled The waiter could/should have been more attentive, but our party of six was seated on the top floor along with other large groups during a large San Francisco convention. We went there for the steak and everyone came away pleased and sated! So Well Done!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Too Quick and Food Not Fresh
    BayAreaEaterVIP
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    While I would normally never complain about service being too quick, I was a bit suspicious when the fish entrees that we ordered showed up no later than 6 or 7 minutes from when we ordered. The red snapper was supposedly grilled while the halibut was supposed to be broiled. I'm guessing both had previously been cooked and were simply re-heated in a microwave. Both sauces were mostly composed of salt. For entrees costing $30 or more, I would expect food that was a bit more fresh and flavored by more than salt.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Unconfortable restaurant
    kazuyuki
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    Too much tables, so each space is too narrow to have a confortable dinner. Waiters and guests walking by our seats always hit our chairs. Waiters and waitresses should go on a diet or Restaurant should have enough space for dinner! I will never go to this restaurant.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great in the afternoon.
    Hoover
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    John's Grill has been a favorite since 1977. Martini' sand clam chowder are all ways great! I had not ordered the lamb chop for years.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Cramped atmosphere
    BB13VIP
    Dined on 8/20/2014
    The food was good, unfortunately poor service. (appeared to be only 1 waiter and one busboy for up to 12 tables being served lunch) Seating and tables were cramped with too much unwanted chair contact.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Classic marred by tourist predation
    DavidGS
    Dined on 8/18/2014
    John's Grill is a famous spot, and it knows it. It knows it so much that it thinks it can get away with fairly poor service and just okay food. It's worth it to say that you went to the place that Hammett used to drink (and where he had his character Sam Spade eat), but I would not go back for the food, and would actively avoid the prissy, fussy, and mostly-inattentive waiter. It's a problem that is not unique to John's: why try hard when you have a steady stream of tourists?
    Special Features:
    romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great way to end the afternoon!
    Carolyn
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    We walked from the Orpheum Theater to John's Grill. It is historic and a fun place to visit. We had decided to have some kind of seafood until we walked in and smelled the grilled steak! We all had the steak and they were delicious. Also had cocktails which were pretty good we had a liberal pouring bartender. Our waitress was so nice, she made a pleasant time even better. We did eat on the early side. 5:30pm so it was quiet I expect it can get noisy when full but in a place like John's it would only add to the ambience.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not bad for the price in SF
    JustLikesGoodFood
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    This place is like a step back to the 70s in decor and menu. The service was good, and the steak seasoned nicely, but mine was ordered medium rare and was a good solid medium to medium well, and my spouse's ordered rare was a solid medium rare. The potato and vegetables were unremarkable. I guess, for $34, this isn't bad for San Francisco. And to their credit, when I mentioned that mine was over-cooked, they did not charge me for it! The problem was that the server didn't check back until I had eaten half of it or they could have replaced it with one properly cooked. I would have expected a restaurant specializing in steak to be more proficient in cooking them to order. There was only the tiniest trace of pink left in my steak.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • walked a few miles
    walkamileinmyshoes
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    We walked from fisherman warf all the way to your restaurant and it was well worth it we will definitely be back
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, romantic, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food and service
    Sevillachica
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    My husband and I ordered the ribeyes and they were delicious. The service was great too. Our waiter was on top of it and he had a lot of tables to serve.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Date night at John's Grill
    MSPIGGYSF
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    True San Francisco dining at John's Grill makes this a great place to enjoy as you are greeted at the front door with a smile. Excellent Martini's and the Ribeye steak was cooked to perfection. Love the ambiance , service, and menu. Definitely coming back
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • terrific
    katerina
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    add it to your list of places to go. Food was great. Huge portions, nice staff, great buzz and energy in the place. Harkens back to the old days reminds you of a time gone by like Sarde's etc. Highly recommend the fish with crabmeat.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • John's Grill
    merlinVIP
    Dined on 8/13/2014
    A San Francisco tradition and deservedly so. Good service and good food. A favorite.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • historic place
    Karen
    Dined on 8/11/2014
    A nice historic appeal to the place. Food was acceptable but not noteworthy. We ordered the lamb chops and the filet mignon. Filet was slightly overcooked.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Nice experience, would recommend
    BarbaraA
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    Although it was insanely busy, we had a nice experience. We reserved through Open Table at 7.30 pm for a 7.45 reservation, and only had to wait for our table for ten minutes, while walk-ins were being told 40 plus minutes. I had red snapper, my husband had oysters and NY strip steak. All good and simply prepared. Wait staff, though extremely busy, were efficient and polite. We were seated upstairs, and there was live music, a singer doing pleasant standards such as "Wonderful World." He was quite good, and we enjoyed ourselves very much.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Great night
    Specialoccasiondiner
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    I highly recommend John's Grill, but think getting there earlier rather than Later in the evening is better. We had reservations for 7 and it was perfect, by the time we were leaving there were so many people waiting to get a table, it was crazy. The service is very fast, basically trying to accommodate people who need a table later. So, if you think you are going to sit and leisurely chat after dinner, plan on doing it elsewhere.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OK
    CalibriVIP
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    The food was good, not great, especially for the price. I will not be going back.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic