Permanently Closed - Elite Cafe SF

4.1
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200 Reviews
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$30 and under
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Creole / Cajun / Southern

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About

This restaurant is permanently closed. The Elite Cafe is a Southern inspired restaurant serving San Francisco for nearly 40 years.
Dining Style
Casual Dining
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Cuisines
Creole / Cajun / Southern, American, Comfort Food
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Hours of operation
Brunch
Sat, Sun 10:00 am–2:30 pm
Lunch
Fri 11:00 am–2:30 pm
Happy Hour
Tue–Sat 4:00 pm–6:00 pm
Dinner
Tue–Sat 5:00 pm–10:00 pm
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Phone number
(415) 346-8400
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
California
Additional
Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Delivery, Full Bar, Gender Neutral Restroom, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
What 200 People Are SayingWrite a review
Overall ratings and reviews
4.1based on recent ratings
4.0
food
4.0
service
4.3
ambience
3.8
value
Noise · Moderate
72% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
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s
Philadelphia
21 reviews
Dined on April 21, 2019
Overall3food3service2ambience3

We made our reservations a few weeks ahead and the first table they put us at was by the door to the kitchen and across from the service area where all of the wait staff got their set up items.
Very noisy. The table should not be there. Had to ask to be moved. Next table was nice.
Music was thematic of New Orleans but was so loud you could not carry on a conversation.
Food was very good.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on April 20, 2019
Overall3food2service4ambience4

Sad to see it closing but truth be told, the food was always the issue. Very mediocre.

OT
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on April 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

WE WILL MISS YOU!!! Thank you for many wonderful memories!

LV
1 review
Dined on April 19, 2019
Overall3food2service4ambience3

Not really fair to rate since we went for the 1st time 3 days before closing after many years of service. The first time we went, they did not have our reservation and the wait was going to be over 1 hour.Not good with 5 yo. Made reservation online the 2nd time so we had proof. Seated after 15min and given a VERY pared down menu. Our orders were taken, cooked, served and completely finished within 45 minutes. OK, because we knew what we wanted from our partial investment of time the week before. It was so crowded and everyone seemed rushed so we went with the flow. We were celebrating my husbands 50 year survival of being seriously injured in Vietnam. He has a disability that you cannot miss.I had asked for it to be a special acknowledgement celebration but Absolutly NOTHING WAS SAID OR DONE! We left it at that.Chicken was tasty and cooked perfect. Fried okra was the best I have ever had. Gumbo? I wished I had brought my can of Progresso gumbo soup!!! and requested for a warm up. $25 for a thin, watery red grease floating on top, bowl of tasteless....I cannot bring myself to call it gumbo or even soup. I asked for filet, pepper and other seasonings in as effort to make it palatable, but since it had no beginning , it was hopeless. We did not make a fuss. Took it on the chin and deemed it our fault for our desperate last minute efforts to make it before history ended for this restaurant. Happy we make it. Ate when I got home.

VR
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on April 11, 2019
Overall3food3service5ambience5

No vegetarian food

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j
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on April 7, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience1

I know that they are closing but......We made a reservation and showed up for a birthday celebration only to be told after we ordered drinks thatthe kitchen staff had not shown up for work so that there would be no food?
Then they had the nerve to charge us for drinks. I would have just walked out without paying but I did not want to cause a scene in front of the birthday boy.
J.

AJ
New England
1 review
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall2food2service1ambience3

Horrible service! The waitress waited 20 minutes to get our drinks, and couldn't be found to ask where they were. The food came out cold. Not worth the money.

GR
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on April 4, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Such a great institution of a restaurant. Cannot believe it’s closing. Say it ain’t so.

GG
New York Area
1 review
Dined on March 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We were visiting and walked from our hotel. The menu looked good but a little nervous about mixed reviews. My husband is a fabulous cook and rather picky. We had a wonderful experience. Excellent service. Chicken moist and tasty and cooked perfectly. Yummy brussel sprouts. Good Happy Hour too.

JM
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on March 26, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Unique for California; great New Orleans look and food. Wonderful oysters and biscuits. Have been there many times.

R
Las Vegas
12 reviews
Dined on March 24, 2019
Overall5food3service5ambience5

they were very accommodating to us as we started out as a table of 3 and ended up as a table for 5

A
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall3food2service4ambience4

I think the quality of the food has gone down, way down from my many visits over the years. The vegetables in the veggie p[ot pie appeared to be from a can or frozen as was the succotash with the soft shell crab, which was overly breaded and not much crab. The menu also seems to be more limited than it use to be.
Thanks for listening.

NA
San Francisco
25 reviews
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall2food1service2ambience2

Had been to the Elite many times before and liked it, but not very recently. So, decided to give it a try and ended up being very disappointed. Since my last visit they did some remodeling basically by eliminating the old dark wood by painting everything in different shades of gray. Whereas before the atmosphere felt warm, not it feels cold and off-putting. The menu has slimmed down with much fewer choices than before. We started with an order of biscuits with honey butter (these were really good!) and the crispy brussels sprouts (which were tasty, but overly charred), then we had the soft shell crab and the catfish as entrees. The softshell crab was good, but very small, it came on top of a large portion of vegetable succotash which I could not finish. My wife's catfish was a large portion, but the catfish filets were so thin that the breading totally overwhelmed the fish to the point that it could not be tasted. Two deeply fried hushpuppies were inedible - it was impossible tp determine the ingredients that went into them. The kitchen seems to be a bit heavy on the deep fryer - everything was over fried. The service was not very attentive - after taking our order our waiter basically ignored us for the remainder of the dinner. After I asked for the check, he did not bother to clear the dishes from the table before bringing it to us. Needless to say, I'm writing the Elite Café off from any future returns.

JW
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Still a cool place, but it used to be soooo much cooler when it had the raw seafood bar......

JP
Vancouver
5 reviews
Dined on March 10, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

The Elite has been there a long time. It is small and a bit noisy, but the food is good and service is good. They had soft shell crab benedict, which were very good. Any of there sea food is very good and it is in a great location on Fillmore.

RP
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall3food4service2ambience4

Something about this restaurant, under multiple owners, makes good service hard to achieve. My most recent observation is that’s it’s a combination of poor training and the lack of staff support (e.g. bussing for clearing dirty plates). Fundamentally, it appears that the size of the place (small) coupled with the price point (moderate) make it less than desirable for talented, experienced wait staff, so it’s always a bit of amateur hour. That said, it’s a cool place with a cool vibe and if you like southern inspired food, it’s one to visit on occasion.

JE
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall5food3service5ambience4

I had the biscuit sliders and sadly, those biscuits were inedible. Hard and crumbly. Almost as if they were days old. I enjoyed the bacon and eggs though.

CM
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on March 5, 2019
Overall2food1service1ambience3

Perhaps because we went on Mardi Gras night they were overworked/understaffed? Food took a long time, and was cold, dry and inedible. Dessert was included....and we had to take that to go. Waited 20 minutes for a slice of premade cake, but they said they needed time to prepare it. Cut it and put in on plate...and they knew it was included so a shock that we were having it?

AZ
New York Area
1 review
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great brunch! We loved it!

D
1 review
Dined on February 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Lovely little southern spot. The hushpuppies and brussels sprouts as apps were the way to go. Split three dinners between six people: the gumbo, the soft shell crab, and the chicken biscuits. Everything was great and very filling.

w
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on February 24, 2019
Overall3food4service3ambience3

I'd been to Elite a few times before, so I knew how loud it can be, but because I love the food, I'd asked for a quiet table when I made my reservation. I knew about the tables on the side and thought that me and my older friend might be able to have a conversation if we dined at one of those. When we got there, a bit earlier than the 11 AM we reserved for, we were taken to one of the metal-topped tables. When I reminded the hostess that I had asked for a quiet table in my reservation, I was told those were only for parties of 3 even though it was clear to see there were some parties of 2 at some of those tables and at least 2 of those tables remained empty during the entire time we dined at the communal table and were unable to hear each other speak. The service was great from thereon in, the food was terrific, but I may not return since my needs were not met when they could have been. If you're over 50, I'd advise going elsewhere if you like to have a conversation while you dine.

SI
1 review
Dined on February 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Nikki was amazing! Made the night extremely special for my girlfriend and me! We will be returning soon! The appetizers, the sides, and the main courses were amazing! Not a single complaint!

AG
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 18, 2019
Overall1food2service1ambience2

Wow. Rude hostess and waitstaff (except for the buspersons, who were polite, efficient and unobtrusive), poorly cooked food (poached egg cooked all the way through like a hard boiled egg) and - yep, no joke - a meal that never made it to the table notwithstanding assurances from 4 separate employees that "it's coming right out!" while the rest of us pick at our cooling food so as to not be impolite to my hungry husband....I have only two words: Never. Again.

This meal was a birthday celebration, which the staff didn't know - but good restaurant staff should always treat their customers as if their meal some kind of celebration. I mean, we're paying good money here. Jeez, this isn't McDonald's.

Manager came to our table afterwards to apologize, which we appreciated. Took our drinks and the never-delivered meal off our check, also appreciated. (But really, shouldn't the whole meal have been comped....?) Offered a free meal next time, appreciated as well, except for one thing: our time is valuable too. This place isn't worth our time.

OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on February 18, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience4

Went to brunch on President’s Day. The service was incredibly slow. I had to ask for a coffee refill when they finally did bring the food. They also did not have a non-dairy creamer which is odd for SF. The food was nothing special. They gave us the wrong check at the end of the meal. While it does have a nice ambiance and is a hipster hot spot, we won’t be coming back again.

OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on February 18, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience3

Took over an hour for our food to come out, including biscuits and a salad to start. I think the server was uncontrollably high. The staff was pushing drunk brunch on us and all our party wanted was egg scrambled, salads and coffee. We had to send a dish back for being too fishy. Management was extremely nice, comped is a meal and half off our bill. That made me leave on better terms, but I would not return

DI
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on February 17, 2019
Overall3food4service1ambience5

The staff is poorly trained. While nice, they don’t seem to understand the basics of customer service

J
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall3food3service2ambience4

Wished the service was more attentive during the busy Saturday brunch.

TK
1 review
Dined on February 15, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We arrived well before our scheduled reservation time and were welcomed and seated immediately. Our server Heather was extremely nice, attentive and helpful with menu recommendations. The food was excellent; I had the gumbo and my wife had steak. We had beignets for dessert, which were also excellent. Great ambience and private booths. To top it off, we had a gift card that was given to us a few years back. The restaurant ownership had since changed, but they honored the card anyway! Very nice, great customer service and great food; we’ll be going back for sure.

VC
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on February 12, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Nice place to meet up with a friend for a low key dinner on a weeknight.

D
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

wonderful food, service and dinning room. very special restaurant.

OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on February 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We have been celebrating our son’s birthday here for the last 5 years now... we love the food and atmosphere!

j
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Soul food at its best .Come and enjoy wi5h friends and lov ones

c
San Francisco
27 reviews
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall4food2service3ambience4

Overall fun place and great cocktails but food was about 10X more salty than it needed to be. Our mouths were literally burning afterwards.

DI
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall3food2service2ambience5

I have fined at the Elite Cafe for 20 years, through 3 owners. This restaurant is a shadow if it’s former self. The Cajun menu is gone (almost), and the menu choices are down to a tiny list. The staff is junior and poorly trained. The once high end restaurant could now be described as a only one step above “fast casual”. Such a waste of a beautiful space on Fillmore

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great French toast!

j
San Francisco
48 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great brunch!

OT
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall3food2service4ambience4

I went to the previous incarnation of Elite Cafe many times when the food was great. This time to our surprise the brunch food was mediocre at best - the fried potatoes didn’t taste like potatoes, and the omelet lacked flavour. My friend ordered the eggs benedict with crab and she had to push aside what was supposed to be the crab. Even the biscuit was dry. They need to bring in better cooks, something is definitely missing.

TP
1 review
Dined on January 23, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience5

I love Gumbo and Elite Cafe used to have exceptional Gumbo. It's still very good but needs more seafood to reach the level of several years ago

T
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on January 21, 2019
Overall2food2service2ambience4

We had to flag down a server to take our food order. We ordered a carafe of mimosas but my champagne glass had some hard particles stuck to the inside of the glass and the rim was spotty. I had ask for the biscuits I ordered three times and when it came it was hard and crumbly, no thanks. I believe I was given someone else's order but at the rate my experience was going I just ate it paid the bill and left. I believe the food was compromised because it was really busy which is too bad. Sadly I won't be back.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We made a booth reservation because we had a small puppy with us, and the staff were so accommodating, and helped make our puppy’s first brunch a really relaxed, delicious experience. We’ve always loved brunch here; now we’re completely hooked on service, too!

Tweets by Permanently Closed - Elite Cafe SF