Permanently Closed - Alfred's Steakhouse
Hanlin Tea House & Restaurant
Dinner: Friday-Saturday: 5:30pm - 10:00pm
Happy Hour: Monday-Friday: 5:00pm-7:00pm
We have been to Alfred's several times when visiting the San Francisco area. This review is only for the most recent visit. Our prior visits had both outstanding service and food so this could be a one-off occurrence.
Overall, this visit just didn't stack up to what an experience at a steakhouse should be or what our prior experience here was especially when you are paying at minimum $300-400 for drinks and a meal. When we first arrived usually we had a host or hostess that immediately greeted us at a host stand. This time we stood there several minutes looking around until the hostess walked over. She was very friendly and we had a nice chat with her and we were excited that she sat us in a booth toward the bar area so that we could see the end of the hockey game on the TV. From here on out the experience took a bit of a downturn. The hostess ended up having her son at work. Nice that they allow that if he stays in the background, however, when the bar seats cleared out at one point he was allowed to sit at the bar and play with blocks that kept crashing over loudly. They allowed him to continue playing there even when the seats filled up with people having a cocktail after their dinner. She appeared to know several of the people which I guess is fine but there were others you could tell didn't appreciate a kid playing at the bar next to them in this kind of "fine dining" environment. One couple quickly left after their drink. Added to this was slow bar service and the bartender sending us out the wrong drink.
On a positive note...the food was outstanding and Tim our server was the bright spot in the evening. Tim did an amazing job and we had zero complaints there.
The service was fine, the evening was meant to be a rare enjoyable night out. The anticipation for the highly rated steak made the two hour trip worth while.
Expecting an $85 steak to be better than any other ever tasted, we were very unimpressed. The side dishes were fair, again not worth the price. Do not order the spinach, do not spend $85 on a steak. Go to Ruth Chris,
Impeccable service (friendly, knowledgeable, timing aware, ...) Each dish cooked just right. Tasty cocktails. And the proximity many afters adventures make this a wonderful venue
Best steak I have ever had and the side dishes are great. The service is outstanding.
I love Alfred’s but if they want to have a brawl of a private party in the bar, they should close the restaurant or at a minimum advise diners that they are going to be barraged with thunderous noise during their dinner. The noise level spoiled the evening.
Came in immediately meet by matradee very professional, I was early so so sat at the bar until my guest arrived then we decided to stay seated that bar due to his flight time.
Very enjoyable professional experience. I come here often and lie the restaurant and atmosphere.
Absolutely fantastic! My filet was the best filet I’ve ever had. I would recommend this place to everyone!
The employees are very friendly and helpful. The night was busy, so it took our food longer to prepare. Nonetheless, it was delicious and the steak was very tender.
Alfred's is an "old school" steakhouse. Red leather booths, flaming desserts great service. Fairly limited menu, all ala carte and expensive. Lovely service, good cocktails, good wine list.
Medium ribeye was purple. Might recommend medium well. Meat melted like butter. Staff was very friendly.
Twice mistakenly refilled still water with sparkling. I think the organization of bringing utensils as well as moving plates in and away was haphazard; especially, given the price of the food. The organization was closer to a Olive Garden.
The wait staff was super friendly and attention. The seats were of poor quality and positioned poorly for ergonomics.
If you’re looking for a classic steakhouse with red leather booths, stiff drinks and thick, juicy, delicious steaks...this is NOT it.
The drinks were good. And the booths were red. But the steaks were anything but thick, juicy or delicious. In fact, they were pretty awful.
Our table ordered four: a ribeye, a filet and two New York strips. My filet was edible, but stringy and undercooked. The ribeye seemed okay at first, but turned to fat midway through. And then there were the strip steaks. Both were full of fat and grizzle and nearly impossible to cut into. But one was completely inconsumable. We sent it back.
The waiter apologized and offered a replacement, which we refused, based on the poor quality of the other cuts of meat. There was no charge for that steak, but even so, the tab was scandalously high, especially considering the amount of food we left on the table.
To make matters worse, the tab included a mandatory 20% tip - this for a waiter who was mostly MIA. (But what incentive does the wait staff have for good service when they are guaranteed a 20% tip?)
Even with a more attentive server, however, Alfred’s would have been a letdown. You just can’t have a good steakhouse without good steak.
Food overcooked and looked gray. John made his own decision to bring out sides, we did not ask for and don't eat at all. Our sides were cold like just out of the refrigerator. It was a mess all night until the waiter made our Bananas Foster. Everyone was really nice. FOOD WAS HORRIBLE and we actually got only $60 off our bill. By the time we got our entree it was still alive! We laughed and thank goodness we were in great spirits that we tipped the waiter an additional $50 since he seemed so upset about our experience. Laughed especially at how they charge 16% onto the bill and the waiter said this goes to everyone and the tip above that goes to him. NOT RECOMMENDED AT ALL!!!!
Dry-aged porterhouse was perfect, the best I ever tried.
Wonderful steakhouse! The dining area is a traditional red leather booths and dark color. The waitstaff was attentive, but were not hanging over the table too much. Food is good with traditional cuts of steaks and the drinks were strong. We will go back again the future.
Best steakhouse in sf. Great value too. Everythings cheaper for same quality as other sf steakhouses.
Get: prawn cocktail. Alfreds steak - a bone in ribeye big enough for 2. Tableside bananas foster.
Hidden on an alley near chinatown. Worthwhile seeking out.
A very enjoyable experience, but the mesquite flavoring of our very expensive Porterhouse for 2 detracted from our enjoyment of the steak. That literally was our only complaint (we only ate about half the steak because the mesquite flavoring was (1) not something we expect to encounter in an "old school" steakhouse, and (2) simply too much of a flavor distraction which we neither enjoy nor would have ever requested/expected a steak of this type to have as its flavor profile, in a steakhouse of this type. Lesser steakhouses and western/BBQ style joints can get away with that, but not an old school steakhouse. It will probably keep us from returning.
But everything else was great, especially the crew: Deja (Sommelier), Tim (Server #1) and Bo (Server #2). Those 3 people were gems - super friendly and capable. I used to train Somms for a living and also ran large (dry-aged) steakhouses for years, and I would have killed for a trio like this on any of my crews. These guys were the perfect mix of deep knowledge, but not full of themselves, and not being on stage. They very much understand that this is all about the customer, not them. Great job recruiting and coaching folks like these.
Salads were great, so were the side dishes, and the Banana Foster (which Tim asked us if we wanted more sweet or less sweet prior to the table-side preparation - and he delivered on our request with a perfectly prepared dessert).
So all in all, 4 out of 5 stars. Lost a star for the weird/unexpected/undesired mesquite steak flavoring in the wrong type of restaurant for that kind of thing.
Was very disappointed by the experience at Alfred’s. Our food and drinks took forever to come out (two course meal took 3 hours), our steaks were raw when they came out of the kitchen and had to be sent back, our server was missing in action for long stretches and even with ample space throughout the restaurant, we were seated right next to a very loud large party. I am sad to say that after over 15 years of dining at the restaurant, I won’t be going back to Alfred’s.
Had a reservation. Didn't get seated for an additional 45 minutes. This used to be a special get together every 2 months. Will never come back.
Ayla, the floor manager, was the best! The food was simple and the steak cooked to a perfect medium rare! I love the alley entrance and the history behind the restaurant. Thanks Alfred’s!
We're locals, and this was a first time back to Alfred's since the new owners took over a couple years ago. We had the $165 porterhouse for two. Lots of good food. Everything was excellent, except, wouldn't you know, the steak.
The monster steak was served on a huge cutting board, cut off the bone and sliced. It looked great, with a nicely blackened surface. We had ordered medium rare, which we believe means a hot red center. This usually gives a juicy flavorful steak, particularly with nicely marbled meat. Makes your mouth water.
Our steak, once we started putting the cut pieces on our plates had, instead of a red center it was well done at the ends, and barely pink in the center slices. That you can live with if it is still juicy. The killer was you could hardly discern the steak was above room temperature.
Instead of a nice hot juicy treat, it was 2 pounds of cold bland disappointment. It was too late, well after closing at 9 pm by the time we got the steak to do anything about it, so we grinned and ate around it.
The steaks condition reminded me of a trick I use with leftover steak, heat it in the microwave at defrost setting until it gets just warm enough to be appetizing. It takes a bit of time to do it right, but the very slow heating minimizes loss of the juices and the redness in the center. I'm not saying they did that, just it appeared in that condition. We took most of the steak home and will make broth with the bone and use that for stew with the meat. Not a complete loss.
Anyway we enjoyed everything else. Couple notes, wine by the glass are reasonable, wines by the bottle are toward the very high side. We're in some wine clubs, and brought our own. Corkage is $25 and is a full decant. Total service charges of 20% are required. Service charges of 20% are required.
2 hours to have our meal served. It was a disappointing experience at Alfred’s
Was a great experience. I got the butterflied filet medium-well and it was perfectly charred on the outside with very light tender punk on the center. Absolutely loved the sauces and sides! I got fritz and it was a perfect choice. They make bananas foster table side and it smells like Christmas! Definitely going back.
Alfred’s is a really awesome original “old school” steakhouse in the heart of San Francisco. If not for finding this place on Opentable we would have never come across it, but are really glad we did! Service was great, atmosphere could be good for a business dinner or even for a date or special occasion. Prices were reasonable and the steak was delicious - perfectly prepared grassfed local beef! Definitely try the tater tots topped with salmon roe and the Alfred’s cut bone in ribeye. Also the cheesecake - crumbly NY style cheesecake that was spot on!
This is a gem, much like one recovered from a Pharoh's tomb. Well not that old, but a faithful homage to the original Alfred's. And like a modern adaption of an old favorite, the execution, ingredients and twists on the classics speak to the increased sophistication of the dining public. You go for the steak, but the starters and sides are the real stars. There is only so much one can and should do with an excellent piece of beef. Once you give it some age, and cook it perfectly, the steak will more than satisfy. But the Oysters Rockefeller, the Creamed Spinach and even a straightforward Wedge with Blue are standouts. The cocktails are brilliant, the winelist adequate and the service is friendly. And unlike so many restaurants that are crammed with hipsters looking for the next new thing, this place is calm, quiet and easy to get into
Dreadful service and a $65 ribeye that was mediocre at best.
I would not recommend this restaurant to anyone.
Don't waste your money. Overpriced meals. Service is extremely slow. Food was lukewarm to cold. None of the meals were cooked as ordered. Prime rib was literally raw in the middle. I asked for horseradish for the prime rib and the waitress said it didn't come with it. I asked if there was some in the kitchen and she said she would look. It took 45 minutes to get the appetizers and an hour and a half to get our meals. When we complained to the host (maître d), he said that we were next! It took another 10 minutes and four different servers brought out the meals one or two at a time so half of us were almost finished with our meals before the other half even got theirs. When they finally got coffee to us after the meal, the coffee cups were half full. I could go on and on. It was a terrible night. I've eaten there many times over the years -- probably a dozen times since they moved to Merchant Street. Each time was worse than the last. I should have learned my lesson. Oh, by the way, $50 for two martinis and the check has a built in 20% tip that they call a service charge so that you tip them again. (The "tip" line is underneath the service charge fee.) I won't eat there again. Too many good restaurants is the City. (As I re-read my review, I may have been a little hard on the waitress. I think she was trying .. she was just in over her head.)
Outstanding meal and service. Quiet.
The steak was perfect. The vegs was excellent.
Sooo slow service. Been here at least 100 times over the past 30 years and this was the worst dining experience at this place so far.
Bartender and hostess we're fantastic. Wait staff was slow and snotty. The food was prepared well and of good quality but the grass fed steaks tasted weird. Very causal atmosphere and the bar was awesome.
Service was poor. Rest of evening was mediocre. I was embarrassed as I had led my client to believe that this was an excellent restaurant. What happened?
Alfred's is such a classy place. There serve classic dishes so well prepared.
This is the place to go for old school elegant. The red booths and the classy presentation. It is a wonderful reprieve from the casual restaurants with no ambiance, that are noisy, with only wood tables and uncomfortable chairs, being on top of the diners next to you. Alfred's is the opposite of that. You really feel like you have gone out to DINE.
We have never had such good service. Just classy all around.
I would highly recommend it.
It is a hidden gem in an alley. Worth looking for.
Alfred's is a classic. We have enjoyed every so often vacationing in San Francisco (We are from Seattle) over the last 50 years and every time we come to San Francisco we always make it a point to dine at Alfred's. Over 50 years it has maintained a consistent excellent experience for us and our guests. The food is exceptional.
Alfred’s is an “Old School” steak house whose decor includes wonderful large tables in red leather with beautiful chandeliers. The bar is tucked away in the back and includes a wonderful selection of Single Malt Whisky (55 count).
The service was exceptional with the food wonderfully prepared and served. The menu includes other items besides steak that will make it easy to accommodate those who don’t want steak.
Great food and service. Price a little high but it was great to enjoy this well established sf steak house
Food was really good
Horrible meal. 25% surcharge added to bill for two
Everything Wa great
I’ve been coming to Alfreds since a friend turned me on to the place in 2010. One of the things I loved was the long time employees and a sense that they valued working there. Since it’s been in the new owners hands, the commitment to service is gone. Staff seems to be phoning it in. Truly sad, as I loved the spot. It’s also gotten really expensive. There were just two in my party and they tacked on a $51 service charge. The evening ended up running over $300. We kept the alcohol consumption to three glasses of wine and just had a couple of ribeye. Sadly, I’m going to find a new place to enjoy a steak at.