The Waterfront Restaurant and Cafe

4.4
2610 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Californian
ZAGAT 2015
"Breathtaking Bay Bridge views from every table, both indoors and from the "tented patio", makes this Embarcadero seafooder a wonderful place to relax and absorb the beautiful setting, while the Californian fare is deemed well executed."
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Private dining
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Californian, Seafood, Contemporary French / American
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Hours of operation
Lunch: Monday - Sunday:
11:30 AM to 4:00 PM. Dinner: Monday - Saturday: 4:00PM to 9:30PM
Sunday: 1130AM to 9:00PM
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Phone number
(415) 391-2696
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Business Casual
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Catering
Full Prix Fix dining menus available, custom-made for your event. Let us help you with all the planning for your special or corporate event. We have Private Rooms available with a Private Bar, a separate kitchen from our Main Dining, Private Restrooms, Expansive views of the Bay, including the Bay Bridge Lights, all accessible via stairs or our private elevator.
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Cross street
Broadway
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Parking details
$14
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Public transit
F- Line stops in front every 15 minutes, daily until midnight.
10 minutes walking distance from Bart.
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Special events & promotions
Happy Hour: Monday-Friday, 3pm-6pm.
Additional
Banquet, Bar/Lounge, Beer, BYO Wine, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Private Room, Takeout, View, Wheelchair Access, Wine
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What 2610 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.3
service
4.5
ambience
3.9
value
Noise · Moderate
88% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
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CG
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

I had not been to the Waterfront in a long time, and I was really looking forward to celebrating my birthday there. While the food was very good, the reception we received was less than warm. We arrived early and were hoping to be able to sit at our table to see the sunset while having a drink. The maitre'd directed us to sit and wait for the rest of our party--who were all late due to traffic. He did not direct us to the bar--We had to ask if we could sit at the bar. His attitude was very impersonal and unwelcoming. We could easily have gone to our table to wait for our party, as the restaurant was basically empty at that time. Instead we sat at the bar where neither the sunset nor the Bay Bridge were visible. The waiter at the bar was sweet and was working hard!

The food was delicious, although there again the service was lacking. Several of us ordered the fish, and it was delectable. My son ordered the short ribs. He thought they were tasty, but the portion was small. On the reservation form I was asked if it was a special occasion. I mentioned that it was my birthday. That was ignored by the restaurant--and that's okay with me! But why ask, if you are not interested in recognizing the special occasion?

I should mention that the view from the top floor of the Bay Bridge at night is lovely.

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e
Oklahoma City
4 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

View is excellent, ambiance elegant but not stuffy, service started well but declined as the meal went on. Long wait between courses, no coffee refill offered and waiter disappeared before check was delivered. It was not a busy night. We were his last table. Kind of bad end to what stsrted as a lovely evening

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on December 4, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Very slow service. It took 35 minutes from we arrived until they took drink orders.

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LG
San Francisco
19 reviews
Dined on December 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had an early dinner at the Waterfront after seeing Cirque Volta. The restaurant was beautifully decorated for the holidays and of course has a great view of the Bay Bridge and the bay. The food was delicious, great cocktail menu and wine list. We thoroughly enjoyed our meals and we all recommend the crab or lobster mashed potatoes. The Brussels sprouts were devine also. Unfortunately we did not save room for dessert. Highly recommend.

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g
Los Angeles
20 reviews
Dined on December 2, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

We arrived on time - but so did quite a lot of others and so service was initially good but then we dropped off the radar for 20 minutes. Picked up again after the first course was served.
Great location with a fine view of the Bay Bridge and shipping. Bit cold out on the covered (glass-section walls, tented roof) but OK while outside is over 55F!

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NG
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 4ambience 3

Big disappointment. 1. crab cocktail: the 2-3 oz of crab was fresh, but the sauce was awful. It tasted like it was pre-made and it was much too spicy, like an extreme V8 flavor. 2. The seafood pasta: It tasted like someone put 1/4 cup of lemon juice right on top, too much concentration of sour. Ugh. 3. The Irish coffee: bad also. The ratio of coffee was too high compared to the whisky and not enough whipped cream on top. 4. The table. I made a reservation far in advance. I arrived early and stated that I would like to be seated on the main floor, but was told that I would have to wait until my friend arrived, even though there were many empty tables on the main floor. The hostess said she had a better table upstairs. It turned out that the view from that table upstairs was completely obstructed for one of us facing the obstruction. Unfortunately the ventilation upstairs was poor and my friend complained that it was much too hot for comfort. I agreed. ALTHOUGH ONE MAY BE INCLINED TO PREFER A RESTAURANT ON THE WATERFRONT, IN MY OPINION, THIS ONE IS A LOSER. N.G., Registered Dietitian

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CM
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I was there for my birthday and I had a wonderful time. Service was great 👍 I will definitely go back again.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 5ambience 1

Food is average, regular American restaurant with a lot of aspirations but overpriced, it was very cold and nobody could accommodate our needs
View is fantastic

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ML
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on November 26, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Always good, consistent quality, great atmosphere

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j
San Francisco
241 reviews
Dined on November 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Excellent service was appreciated! The food was fantastic. We really enjoyed everything.

Only downside was the man & woman with child seated at the corner window table. The parents let their child "plug in" to an iphone and watch kid's music video that was AUDIBLE at our table, as well at another gentleman's table seated next to them (he kept looking over at them.) He was clearly annoyed, as were we. It's called "HEADPHONES" folks. They spoke a foreign language loudly enough to be heard over the child's entertainment too. Ughhh... The other guest left quickly. We skipped dessert & coffee to escape the kiddie zone. You can't say anything in fear of some response that becomes violent the way people are today!

I'm a grandparent of 4; I understand that kids need something to do. But I want a nice, quiet meal to relax and enjoy at a classy restaurant at this price. If I'm with the grand kids, they either have headphones with their entertainment pads, or coloring books and crayons to keep them busy and generally quiet.

My only thought is that the Waterfront Restaurant menu should have a note on it that "use of cellular devices at tables is forbidden" to enhance the atmosphere of tranquility while dining. Some restaurants have this in place and it works.

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OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on November 23, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 3

Very disappointed that the regular menu was not being served. The limited Thanksgiving menu was very overpriced for what was served. Portions were small and the food was served nearly cold. The bartender was the only delight. We enjoyed his cocktails and conversation.

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 23, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 4

Thanksgiving dinner for the family but cold draft next to door made the stay uncomfortable

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M
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Waterfront Restaurant was the perfect place for our family's Thanksgiving celebration. Ambiance was warm and special, and reminded us for all that we are thankful: family, good health, happiness and abundance of good food.

Truly the best place, with the most delicious turkey dinner, for our family to share this special holiday ~ we will definitely be back next Thanksgiving ~ a new tradition for our family: Thanksgiving at the Waterfront Restaurant.

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L
1 review
Dined on November 23, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 1ambience 3

Granted it was thanksgiving but the food, service and price were rather disappointing. We asked for dark meat and they brought white meat slathered in awful gravy and said it was dark meat. Dessert was a very sugary canned pie.

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GB
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 23, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 5

The view of the Bay bridge, especially after having so many days of smog, was just gorgeous! And the service was very good. Wasn’t a huge fan of the food itself but it was fine.. just nothing to write home about

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OT
1 review
Dined on November 23, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 5

Overall good experience. Great restaurant.

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TG
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2018
Overall 3food 1service 2ambience 5

After a few excellent visits, I went with my son for Thanksgiving. I would not return for holiday special menus.
We arrived before the crowds. Yet, service was rushed and haphazard- appetizer came before cocktails and before bread service. Main arrived while we were still eating appetizers and staff simply snatched our appetizer plates and shoved in the mains. Otherwise staff was pleasant.
Food for holiday prix fixe menu was bland but okay.

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T
1 review
Dined on November 23, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 4

Not recommended for a Thanksgiving. Turkey dinner for two was comparable to cafeteria food and still over $100 with no extras - not even drinks or dessert. Was a bit disappointed, but it was a nice location with good service.

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KF
1 review
Dined on November 23, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 4

The view of the Bay Bridge from the dining room is lovely, but the food, unfortunately, was mediocre at best. I was there on Thanksgiving, so the options were limited and the only vegetarian option was penne pasta with vegetables. The pasta was not fresh and was cooked until it had no texture at all. The apple crisp dessert was scorched and overly sweet. There are hundreds of restaurants in SF with incredible food, but this is not one of them. The prices are exorbitant for the quality of the food. If you want the view, come for drinks, but have dinner elsewhere.

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JB
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 23, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 4

We went for thanksgiving, overall the food was okay. We had the prix fix thanksgiving dinner. It was all good except for the cornbread stuffing, it was burnt. I didn’t feel like saying anything being as the portion was so small. We also ordered the crab “cakes” to start. First these are more like crab bites, WAY overpriced at $26. Will I come back, probably not, which is too bad because it’s a beautiful restaurant.

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SF
San Francisco
83 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Lovely traditional Thanksgiving menu. First time at the restaurant in several years. It was as good as ever! Interesting wine list, although a bit pricey. Service was excellent, each course arrived just as needed but not rushed. We will return soon.

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WA
Atlanta
12 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 2ambience 2

We had a very disappointing experience. I had dined here more than a year ago and had a good time. This time, was terrible. We booked for Thanksgiving lunch, and the food and presentation was poor. The kale salad leaves were tough, the turkey was dry and tough, the side of Brussels sprouts came late and was tasteless, the oysters were gritty and smelt bad. The food was piled on the plate boardinghouse style. I had wanted this to be special for our visitor who joined us, but it was disappointing. We decided to pass on dessert as by then we’d had enough.

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MG
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on November 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We took out a recently widowed 92 year old friend. Staff were exceptional, upbeat, and happy on this 2018 Thanksgiving holiday! Food was was, fresh, and delicious with traditional thanksgiving menu items, via pre fix menu or ala carte items. A wonderful time had by all!

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SK
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on November 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a lovely dinner overlooking the Bay Bridge that was bespeckled with thousands of tiny lights. The meal was outstanding and our waiter was attentive.

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WD
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on November 14, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

This is a SF Waterfront oldie but goodie. The staff couldn't have been more attentive and the Bay & Bridge views are phenomenal. The wine list by the glass left a lot to be desired and the menu is pretty traditional. Nothing inventive or a WOW to be seen. Quality and taste were pretty good, except for the Brussel Sprouts, which were flavorless. An older crowd for the most part. If you are seeking a GREAT view with decent food and great service... I'd definitely go.

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BG
1 review
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Ambiance and waterfront backdrop is must see and feel. The food was great, more than expected and the price is worth visiting.

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F
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

I love to bring out of town relatives here. The water view at night is so beautiful. It's also quiet enough to have small group conversations. The seafood is fresh and local. Creatively plated but not so over the top you cant identify your food. It's expensive but worth it and really just a relaxing setting with enough room between the tables that you feel you are only dining with your guests. Loved it. It's a great place to come if you really want to have time together and a great meal

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PM
Chicago
9 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing on all levels. Server Eric was fantastic, food and drinks were outstanding. The waterfront view is worth the trip. We were able to enjoy a firework display at Pier 39 which added to our date night experience on our last night of our Napa Valley and San Francisco vacation. Thank you

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EA
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Special birthday dinner w/family visiting from East Coast...window seating, with unobstructed view of Bay Bridge, had the desired effect and was perfect when the bridge light-show came on. We ordered lots of different starter plates to leisurely have with our wine and found the table too small and cramped for 4, surprising for such an upscale restaurant. Lobster mac a great starter to share; clams were in a nice wine sauce. Of the mains...short ribs really wonderful, but the 4 large scallops were quite disappointingly 'mushy' and consequently overpriced at $32.00; the mixed grill was average as was the chicken dish. Our waiter, from Hungary, was knowledgeable, attentive and helpful.

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JF
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We love the ambiance and the view and the food is wonderful!! Never disappointed at the Waterfront! Also, pretty quiet which we appreciate - service is very attentive - just love the whole presentation of the restaurant.

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J
Toronto
17 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My best meal in San Francisco. My server made me feel welcome. The Cioppino was so delicious and warmed me up on a cool night. I highly recommend!

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JA
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 3

The food was nicely prepared and a good portion size (not too little or too much). The view of the bay and bridge was great. The place is large and probably the indoors is comfortable. However, we were cold by the windows and the restaurant did not offer to change our table. Also, we told the restaurant it was a birthday occasion but we were brought a happy anniversary plate. It was a minor mistake but there was not enough attention to details. The waiters were nice but seemed rushed.

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TS
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent service and great food combined with fabulous view makes for perfect evening out!

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OT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on November 6, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Beautiful view of bay bridge at night

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B
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on November 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Food was amazing. The only comment is the chairs that are in the covered patio are so uncomfortable. For the high end restaurant better chairs than patio ones would be a worthwhile investment

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OT
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Group of 4 pp ate dinner after a matinee theatre performance, starting just before 6pm in late October. Great location under the BAY BRIDGE, starting before sunset. We were on outdoor, glass-enclosed patio. Could see the former Officers Club at Treasure Island, as well as sailboats, before sunset. After sunset, the light art on the Bridge was lit, and could see the lights in the East Bay hills across the Bay. Good dinner. Seafood choices were excellent, and well prepared. Waiters and staff were attentive but not fussy. Wine list has good CA wines at typical restaurant prices, by the glass or bottle. Bar was busy, but not noisy. Guests looked like a mix of tourists and locals.

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OT
Minneapolis
1 review
Dined on October 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great place

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b
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 26, 2018
Overall 2food 4service 1ambience 5

I have been to the Waterfront several times over the years so decided to bring business colleagues to dinner last Thursday night. The service was absolutely awful! We sat for at least 10 minutes before the Waiter attended to us. Then had to ask 3 times for water and bread. Appetizers and dinner took unusually long to arrive. Food was good but very hesitant to return. Disappointing for a a $550 meal.!

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SK
New Orleans
2 reviews
Dined on October 24, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

Slow service!

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RM
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on October 23, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

Overall we had a pretty poor experience. The food quality was simply under par and when we mentioned the poor quality of the oysters to the waiter, he did nothing about it. The meat was OK but nothing to write home about. It felt like they had enough business with a few large parties (groups) and paid little attention to smaller tables. Will avoid in the future.

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