Sam’s Grill & Seafood Restaurant

4.6
icon/ic_reviewCreated with Sketch.
534 Reviews
icon/ic_price_rangeCreated with Sketch.
$31 to $50
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
Seafood
Fresh fish grill featuring classic San Francisco dishes from the gold rush to the 1970s, Sam’s Grill is the fifth-oldest restaurant in the US, opened in 1867, shortly after the California gold rush.

Sam’s takes pride in serving exceptionally fresh and local seafood alongside classic San Francisco dishes from the turn of the century. Boasting old-school curtained booths, and superior traditional formal service by waiters in tuxedos, Sam’s has been a cornerstone of the San Francisco restaurant scene for over 150 years.

Come join us, and take a step back in time to a more civilized time where lunches always start with a cocktail.
Sam's Grill and Seafood Restaurant accepts reservations at lunch and dinner.
avatar copy

Private Dining

Book your next event with us

View details
What 534 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.6
service
4.5
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Quiet
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
Sort by
Filters
MB
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall4food3service4ambience4

This venerable spot still has all its charm, but the food seems rather skimpy. My prawns were just average and my wife’s sole was such a small portion we were very surprised. The service was attentive, but our overall experience was just not so impressive. Sam’s Grill is not shy about charging. That’s for sure

W
Washington DC
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience4

I’ve been coming here for many years and it is great to see the food is still excellent, the waiters, well the waiters (!) great in their way it is still my favorite place.

M
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on November 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Best place in SF

SF
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

One of the classic Old San Francisco restaurants, Sam's has stayed fresh in the kitchen while retaining the fabled ambiance with the combination of enclosed, private spaces and open seating. The fish and shellfish can't be beat and the sides are really tasty. Walking in is like walking back 50-100 years. In my opinion, it's much preferable to that other venerable seafood restaurant, Tadich Grill. They take reservations, they seat you promptly, and service is old-school excellent--no attitude. If I could recommend only one heritage restaurant in the City, it'd be Sam's.

OT
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on November 21, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing experience. Will absolutely recommend and come back when visiting SF.

LM
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on November 21, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience3

But only just. This is a venerable institution so I took 3 Japanese business colleagues there to experience a taste of old SF. Place was packed and we had the worst table in the place, right next to the kitchen entrance, for 4 people this was a 2-person round table and another 2 person square table, jammed together, hardly a table for 4 at all, between waiters squeezing by out of the kitchen, we had to squeeze together to talk. Not good.
On the up side the food is what you're expect and the service was good, motivated a little I think by our precarious position in front of the kitchen. I booked 2 weeks in advance for this? Overall, not very happy. If I give something a '3' star in a '5' star rating that comes across here as 'good'. To me a 3/5 rating should be mediocre, which is what this experience was.

A
Washington DC
10 reviews
Dined on November 15, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Private booths, fresh seafood, attentive waiters, San Francisco classics. What more can you for? Definitely worth a visit!

OT
London
1 review
Dined on November 15, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Old school San Francisco with Waiters in tuxedo! Great seafood and service. Tom was delightful. Will be back soon!

B
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on November 15, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Classic SF restaurant ....one of the most authentic places in town. Love it.

JH
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on November 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A classic and classy restaurant. I went with 9 colleagues and we were brought to a booth - almost a room. Everyone raved about their food (drinks salad entrees and dessert). The Manhattan was superb.

r
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on November 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Sam's is as great as ever. It has become my go to restaurant for dinner with friends.

GF
Orange County
46 reviews
Dined on November 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Sam's is a long time staple of the City and I would highly recommend it. We made a reservation for lunch and I would suggest making one because it can be very busy! The decor is old school and I really enjoyed it. The service was really good and thats all before we talk about the food. The food is really good, if the food wasn't good, nothing else would matter. Sam's consistently has great food with a highlight on seafood!

DR
London
1 review
Dined on November 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great place to visit very warm and welcoming, food was very good and service was friendly

OT
Orlando
6 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great waiter, Tom!
My last opportunity to dine at Sam’s was 1982.....
Just as amazing & delicious as ever!

OT
1 review
Dined on November 6, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Waiter: Michael. Courteous Helpful Efficient Friendly

CH
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on November 6, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Good food, served quickly in a great setting. Very good experience

h
Ottawa
30 reviews
Dined on October 30, 2019
Overall4food3service5ambience4

Great service but the food was only okay. Cute spot.
Not someplace I would recommend

DL
Columbus
38 reviews
Dined on October 30, 2019
Overall3food2service2ambience2

Scrumpy servings with three small potatoes and old squash. Fish was half size as last year!

Y
San Francisco
53 reviews
Dined on October 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

No nice a place like this exists. Always enjoy the food, service, quiet, and atmosphere.

K
San Francisco
69 reviews
Dined on October 29, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Ken, our waiter, was EXCELLENT. His demeanor was so welcoming and accommodating and he was just plain nice...good people! Wouldn't come in our curtained dining room unless we opened the curtain, even though we told him it was absolutely fine if he did. The food and drink were fabulous as always. We can ALWAYS depend on Sam's to provide an excellent meal and a great experience. Thank you!

s
New York Area
76 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Absolutely excellent food and service. Real old-time, historic San Francisco location that still packs a punch. Excellent crab cakes. Outstanding seafood salad. Exceptional veal piccata and spaghetti. If you want an only in San Francisco experience and wonderful food, Sam's Grill is the place.

t
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on October 25, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience2

We had a decent experience. The waiter was professional and personable. The food was said to be good by others...my clam chowder was good, but not great. My head lettuce salad was good. Others mostly had the crab louie salad which they said was good...but looked a little skimpy to me. Two things that were not the greatest...ambiance (we were put in a closed in booth like room...5 of us...out in the open restaurant would have been better....and price ( the crab louies were $38, which seemed excessive) The next night we at at Betty Lou's ...the food was as good or better. The ambiance was much better and it was significantly cheaper.
Go to Sam's for and old SF experience and enjoy, but sit in the main open part.

NM
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on October 24, 2019
Overall4food3service3ambience4

Our meals (fish for four) were very good. Our only problem was dessert; we were told there was no vanilla gelato, and we were served chocolate gelato instead. My hot fudge sundae was OK, but a guest's bananas foster was not very good like that. I regret not sending it back, frankly. Waiter was a t-a-d boisterous, but he was extremely efficient and thorough.

OT
Hawaii
11 reviews
Dined on October 21, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Enjoyable evening in a private booth (3 of us). Excellent meal & service. Only downside was we ordered decaf coffees with dessert but were all up until after midnight - wasn't decaf.

KB
Phoenix
31 reviews
Dined on October 18, 2019
Overall2food2service2ambience2

What an absolute disappointment. Took family from out of town and it just was terrible from beginning to end. Server did not listen-told him we had a gluten allergy at the table and it didn’t register. Fish was good, nothing to write home about. Squash side was cold on every plate. Dessert contained gluten (hot fudge sundae) even though description didn’t list and after we asked again for something without. Even the gelato came with a cookie. Waiter never checked on us during dinner. Trout was not deboned. Water glasses left empty until we got up to get the pitcher ourselves. Could go on...Not the SF experience we hoped to share. $300 later...Won’t be back. Ever.

OT
Atlanta
2 reviews
Dined on October 18, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Get one of the enclosed booths! Perfect for a date

b
Atlanta
73 reviews
Dined on October 18, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

As you enter, you walk into another era of dark paneling, white tablecloths and tuxedoed waiters. You can tell this place has been here for a very long time. I had the largest and most tender scallops ever and my wife had perfect sole. Very competitive prices and a great evening.

M
Greensboro
12 reviews
Dined on October 17, 2019
Overall4food4service2ambience3

While the food was good, the service was incredibly slow.

OT
San Francisco
97 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2019
Overall4food3service5ambience5

Sam’s. Private booths are priceless. Our waiter was very professional and offered great service. The food was so so. I had the halibut. It was perfectly cooked but very boring. Not creative cooking by any means. My friend had the shrimp and raves about it but didn’t care for her COLD zucchini salad accompanying it. Ahi Tuna also perfectly cooked but again no creative sides. Basic but good.

DR
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Woody is fantastic! Seated us a party of 3 in a private booth.

DJ
Miami
21 reviews
Dined on October 14, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Sam's was my favorite place when I came to SF all those trips to visit our radio stations KFRC across the street. Beginning in 1975. And then for decades after. Oh that Petrale sole. We tried for the special tiny and delicious sand dabs but alas none!!!! Shrimp Louis so good. Nice wines. Same old ambience. It has not changed one lick in these 45 years. I am so happy the owners are keeping up the old Sam tradition.

H
San Francisco
19 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We were there for our 33rd anniversary. We booked our reservations a couple of months ago. When we arrived we were seated right away. The service was great, the food was superb and the atmosphere was terrific.

c
London
13 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Arrived early for our reservation and were given our choice of table. Service was great u til dessert, when the restaurant was crowded and we had to wait for freshly made crepes.

MP
London
2 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Excellent menu with beautifully prepared dishes and great service. Would definitely eat here again.

m
Miami
60 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

On vacation in the Bay Area. Went here for dinner. Food was wonderful. Service was great. Our fault but did feel underdressed in shorts and collared shirt. Still no one from the restaurant made a deal out of it. Will definitely return

s
San Francisco
26 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Everything was wonderful except desserts . The crumble frozen had to be warmed and pecan pie not wonderful BUT EVERY Thing else fantastic! s Nelson

F
Los Angeles
51 reviews
Dined on October 3, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I always take clients and have pesto lunches and dinners at Sam’s. The staff and the food are always first rate!
B. Frymire

F
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on October 2, 2019
Overall3food4service5ambience2

Very old school place. Menu is traditional but timeless & prepared well. Waiter was very professional & kind. It feels a bit run down though, a little freshining up of this classic spot wouldn't hurt the old San Francisco feel.

MF
London
4 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Outstanding piece of SF history with marvellous seafood service and sommeliers. Don't miss it!

JG
San Francisco
36 reviews
Dined on September 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Sam's is going on my list of places to go again and again, joining Zuni Cafe, Hayes Street Grill, Greens and Sociale.

The food is good, the service (by experienced waiters) is excellent, the menu is long, and the noise level is low enough so that normal conversation is possible. What more can one ask?