63 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94102Neighborhood:
Downtown / Union Square
AmericanPrice: $30 and under
- 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.
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.Continued
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John's Grill reviews from OpenTable diners
221 reviews since June 3, 2014
- Ambiance4Noise LevelModerate
neighborhood gem (107)special occasion (87)fit for foodies (58)good for groups (44)great for lunch (43)romantic (34)hot spot (28)late-night find (21)notable wine list (21)vibrant bar scene (15)great for brunch (12)kid-friendly (4)scenic view (3)great for outdoor dining (2)Show More
- Stay Clear of the T-bone!OpenTable Diner Since 2005Dined on 9/28/2014Recommended with reservations. What was missing from our meal was the piece de resistance, the tenderloin section of one diner's T-bone, the part you save til last. This one turned out to be a grizzly nub of nothing, and when we called our server's attention to it, she said, incredibly, 'oh, right, our t-bones don't have the tenderloin; if you want tenderloin, you need to order the porterhouse.' Ok, right. This from an establishment known for its beef? Maybe you should warn diners. One of us had the rib eye, which was superb, and another the baked oysters, gooey, globby, fatty lumps a la 1960 -- yuk! Great cocktails -- the French Gimlet out of this world -- Sidecars not bad either. Nice wines by the glass.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- A lot of funpapamangeDined on 9/26/2014Good food and service. Traditional dishes that fit in with ambiance of restaurant. Jazz fitted in as well for the same reasonsSpecial Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Historic GrillCarePersDined on 9/23/2014Invited a group of 8 to this historic place in San Francisco. Food was good, service was excellent. A little loud to have a good dinner conversation. I would recommend a late dinner for conversation. You must check out the Maltese Falcon and academy award located on the second floor.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 9/23/2014Apparently a local landmark. Food was good but expensive, although comparable for San Francisco prices. Nice ambience, good service, not real friendly. Make reservations!!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Service was good, but ...OpenTable Diner Since 2013Dined on 9/23/2014food and service was good, however we felt like we were being rushed to wrap up our dinner fast. Overall positive experience.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Here's looking at you, kid."MikeZDined on 9/22/2014John's Grill cannot be described in any of the above categories. It can only be described as what it is, a warm, inviting, old time San Francisco bar and grill, the kind Hammet wrote about in "The Maltese Falcon," the kind of welcoming hideaway that Sam Spade frequented when meeting with lying, conniving dames like Brigid O'Shaunessy. You know the kind. They go down well with a couple of bourbon and sodas.Special Features:
- SteaksMiracoliDined on 9/21/2014Fantastic steaks, the best we ever had - awesome Very noisy atmosphereSpecial Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Standard and solid, not memorableKritiKareVIPDined on 9/21/2014The service was fast-paced and the production line feel makes sense for Union Square and a touristy spot. The food was good but the frenetic pace and loud (but cozy and historic) space did not engender a relaxed or intimate feel. The wine list was really diverse. The sourdough bread that was served was a bit lackluster and would have been much enhanced by warming.
- Lively Place To Be SeenKarenDined on 9/21/2014For 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Too much popular.OpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 9/20/2014Very good food and service, maybe the tables too closed to neighbor and too much noise.Special Features:
- A Long-time FavoriteLJB1Dined on 9/20/2014Have 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:
- Traditional Steak Househ20worksDined on 9/19/2014Scheduled 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 perfectionSpecial Features:
- Typical high volume steak placeSilvi1234Dined on 9/19/2014I 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:
- It's A ClassicRAGandPattDined on 9/17/2014I 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:
- Group dinnerFikiDined on 9/15/2014Arranged 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Don't Go!DianaVIPDined on 9/15/2014Husband 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 portionscshepDined on 9/15/2014Dark 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Good food & service.MARKfromNHDined on 9/13/2014Want to know more about the whole "Falcon" thing & the Bogart connection.Special Features:
- anniversaryDined on 9/12/2014We 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:
- Excellent salad!JackiDined on 9/12/2014We 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:
- Fabulous DinnerOpenTable Diner Since 2005VIPDined on 9/10/2014Amazing tender lamb chops. Great classic dining room. Very classy yet casually dressed people feel at home. Celebrity sightings are a bonus.Special Features:
- Wine4MeVIPDined on 9/9/2014It 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.
- GrandparentsDined on 9/5/2014In town for a college football game and to enjoy the city. Will come again.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- DisappointingTADDDined on 9/5/2014Salad to share was meager and clam chowder was below average.
- Great Traditional SF RestaurantJohn3VIPDined on 9/3/2014We 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Sam SpadeTootieDined on 9/2/2014The 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Overrated!! Loud, crampedMarthDined on 8/31/2014Would 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.
- OpenTable Diner Since 2001VIPDined on 8/30/2014John's Grill never fails...food and service were superb...best lamb chops ever.Special Features:
- Must try!2good2betrueDined on 8/30/2014Our 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Good food, great serviceTRIXVIPDined on 8/28/2014Entertained 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 Time!ZintyDined on 8/28/2014Enjoyed 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:
- First time dining, really enjoyed!sincitydreamingDined on 8/26/2014John'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:
- Great Steaks!cmor1701dDined on 8/26/2014That'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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Too Quick and Food Not FreshBayAreaEaterVIPDined on 8/23/2014While 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.
- Unconfortable restaurantkazuyukiDined on 8/22/2014Too 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:
- Great in the afternoon.HooverDined on 8/22/2014John'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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Cramped atmosphereBB13VIPDined on 8/20/2014The 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:
- Classic marred by tourist predationDavidGSDined on 8/18/2014John'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:
- Great way to end the afternoon!CarolynDined on 8/17/2014We 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:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Not bad for the price in SFJustLikesGoodFoodDined on 8/16/2014This 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.