Sam’s Grill & Seafood Restaurant

4.4
432 reviews
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$31 to $50
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Seafood
Serving fresh fish and classic San Francisco dishes from the gold rush to the California food revolution in 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 for parties of six or more at lunch. All party sizes are accepted for online reservations at dinner. Parties with less than six guests will be first come, first served for lunch.
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What 432 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
4.4
food
4.4
service
4.3
ambience
4.1
value
Noise · Quiet
86% of people would recommend it to a friend
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MD
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 4

The menu offers a good selection of meat and seafood dishes. Each of us enjoyed our meal. We had a very nice bottle of local Chardonnay. The seating was comfortable with just enough room between tables. Staff were friendly and attentive. It was quite pricey though ($250 for three people), so I am unlikely to go back.

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KM
Phoenix
8 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 2service 2ambience 2

not our type of restaurant....old school food and atmosphere. The veggies were loaded with garlic that was over cooked and bitter. nothing special about the fish preparation

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OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Great food at an institution.

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LV
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 3

I am hesitant to refer friends only because our waiter was not attentive, didn’t explain the menu, we ordered 3 items that he took 10 mins to tell us were not available (which should have been covered when he greeted us) and then incorrectly told us that one wasn’t available. I had to ask the VERY attentive, knowledgeable and helpful host about the items and he was able to get one of them by asking the kitchen...turns out they did have it. When the other items weren’t available he was dismissive and couldn’t get away fast enough. So I went to the host again who offered alternatives that were very similar to the items my guests wanted but weren’t available. Each time we had a question, we asked the waiter and he gave vague answers that didn’t provide any pertinent information; hence having to ask the host who, each time provided clear, informative and accurate information.

Then comes the noise level and ambiance: usually it is great. But we had people on both sides of us screaming profanities at the top of their lungs. Because we aren’t a prude bunch and that we were done with our meals, we didn’t say anything. But I would expect a nice restaurant like Sam’s to politely decrease their volume as a courtesy to the other guests.

The food we were able to order was very good. But had we known that 4 of the 6 items we ordered were unavailable, we may have opted to go somewhere else entirely...but it was too late. Or if it was handled the way it should have been, we would have been happy to stay and would have had a much better experience.

The disinterested waiter who treated us as a nuisance coupled with the lack of tact and loud profane guests who were were surrounded by made it a very lackluster and disappointing experience from a place I have patronized more times than I can count. Should I decide to give them another chance, and only because of my numerous previous experiences, I will ask what isn’t available and steer clear of the crumudgeon waiter.

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TZ
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on May 14, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Great place for well-prepared, traditional Italian food without all the trendy recipes that try to outdo the others in weirdness.

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PC
1 review
Dined on May 3, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

I usually love this restaurant. Maybe I ordered incorrectly. Vegetables were undercooked and flavorless. fish was over breaded and soggy.

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WO
Chicago
117 reviews
Dined on April 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Sam's Grill & Seafood, this historic restaurant, in many ways a throwback to "old San Francisco," and, in so many others, a great modern gathering place from some really great fish and seafood, with strong drinkl and an excellent wine list, served by true pros. I would stick with the freshest of fish, crab, oysters and clams. A great prawn cocktail, a Seafood Louie (you pick the seafood) salad, or a Hangtown Fry, a SF version of Cioppino -- all standouts, among so many others.

If t's ever Summer, there is patio seating as well.

I try to stop in on every visit since a San Francisco native introduced me to Sam's -- you should as well.

Sam’s Grill & Seafood Restaurant
Responded on April 26, 2019

Thank you for your kind words about Sam's! We're glad to hear that you enjoyed your experience. Hope to see you again soon! Best, David Head Cook and Chief Responder

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on April 18, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

It was busy tonight so everything was a little slow. Still enjoyed the experience.

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OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on April 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Old school San Francisco- possibly oldest school. You simply can’t go wrong for any occasion.

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M
Austin
1 review
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We loved this restaurant and highly recommend it!! It was pricey, but well worth every bite.

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W
Sacramento
111 reviews
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, great service and great ambiance! I had the steak and my wife had the sautéed shrimp, both delicious! The bar next next door (Sam’s Tavern) had a great atmosphere and they made one of the best manhattans we’ve ever had! We’ll be back for sure! Definitely recommend!

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CR
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on April 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The best of old San Francisco.

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DD
Washington DC
4 reviews
Dined on April 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Ate ina snug, had a wonderful meal, with great service. Strongly recommend to anyone and everyone

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IW
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on March 29, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is an old style restaurant with classic dishes and old fashioned attentive service. Loved it.

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OT
Palm Springs
1 review
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Great food great service

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OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on March 21, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

A place like no other in the City. A real treasure we will always return to

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B
Nashville
7 reviews
Dined on March 21, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 2

For the price food is not that great. Food very bland and not much flavor.

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DW
Seattle
5 reviews
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Dinner with my family while on vacation. Great place, friendly, unique if you sit in one of the private booths. Our server, Nicola was the best, friendly and very attentive.

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DW
Tahoe
6 reviews
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

We were very disappointed with the overall experience. We visit the city a couple of times a year for shopping and dining. This time we thought we’d try a new restaurant based off of availability and location. The website pictures depicted a bright and bustling atmosphere; unfortunately, that is not at all what we experienced. We were seated in a booth with a curtain, at the back of the restaurant. This room had no ambiance and was dark and dreary. The food was also disappointing - lacking seasoning, and it was very pricey for its less-than-impressive taste. 😞 Sadly, we do not recommend this restaurant and will not be returning.

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V
San Francisco
112 reviews
Dined on March 14, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

This is great vintage food. So nice to not have the same old thing. Celery Victor appetizer is fantastic. So much to choose from all classically prepared with excellent side dishes. Great food with great service. Good martinis too. Like stepping back in time. A real treasure.

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GY
1 review
Dined on March 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Terrific evening and excellent service and food. Really enjoyed the ambiance and warmth of this wonderful landmark.

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OT
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on March 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

RSA conference with cozy table for 12 - remarkable. Old school charm.

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NY
New York Area
23 reviews
Dined on March 6, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Always nice to return to an old favorite. Waiter was fabulous , attentive doc good sense of humor. Went after Hamilton, nice place for an early dinner. Took friends who had never been, they loved the old classic SF feeling and the food.

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R
San Francisco
48 reviews
Dined on March 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Same reliable service and very fresh seafood. We really enjoyed the dinner.

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MG
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on March 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a great time at Sams. Great food, great service and loved the booth seating.

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OT
1 review
Dined on February 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, service, and atmosphere

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S
San Francisco
27 reviews
Dined on February 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Old San Francisco dining at it’s best! Delicious seafood simply prepared and tastefully presented by an experienced waiter staff. Try the booths for a blast from the past. I couldn’t ask for more. Thank you for being here . An excellent experience

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HA
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We love this place. It's definitely classic SF, with its old wooden vibe and booths. The menu is very diverse and almost everything is great. My wife had the scallops with a mushroom reduction. She was pretty bummed when they came baked in an oyster shell as it was not what she had expected at all. About 5 minutes later she had eaten the entire thing and was trying not to lick the inside of the shell. I ordered the cioppino and it might have been the best I've had (top 3 for sure). It's not cheap, probably average price for a nice SF restaurant, but it's very reliably great.

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TK
Charleston
1 review
Dined on February 21, 2019
Overall 1food 4service 1ambience 4

The food and ambiance are great. Beautiful old restaurant. However, our server added two tips to our bill. One for $75, which was accurate and another one for $95 which belonged to another party. We pointed it out and after several minutes of him reviewing the bill, he said, he had included the tip from the other party because they had "stiffed" him on the tip. We insisted that the $95 inaccurate tip be removed. the manager got involved and we waited 35 minutes for the issue to be resolved. No mention of inconvenience or any kind of compensation; free dessert, etc. while we waited......Will NOT recommend.

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LK
Indiana
6 reviews
Dined on February 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A wonderful evening. Great food, great service, and the ‘booth’ experience was really fun. A memorable night!

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GR
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Valentines Day

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BA
Toronto
2 reviews
Dined on February 13, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

The food and service were great! The only negative point was that our entire party found the tables a little uncomfortable. They were too low for the chairs.

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S
Washington DC
9 reviews
Dined on February 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Noisy table by the kitchen despite reservations. Superb food, reasonable prices, and professional service.

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JM
1 review
Dined on February 12, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, excellent service. A delightful surprise for a quick decision on a rainy evening.

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OT
1 review
Dined on February 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Lucky to find this wonderful place. Had a great meal, our waiter was outstanding.
Next time we are in the city we will be back.

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AA
Charleston
18 reviews
Dined on February 7, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 5ambience 4

Our dinner was disappointing. The quality and taste of our food was way below the average. I had chowder and salmon. My salmon was supposed to be grilled but tasted as pan fried. My wife's fish did not taste good and was greasy. She left almost all the fish on her plate. No one asked if something was not right. We will not come back.

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LZ
Portland
1 review
Dined on February 4, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Best fish house in San Francisco! Oysters were superb and rex sole was wonderful. Kids had a great time too. Fabulous drinks!

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

An 80 th birthday

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SB
San Francisco
28 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love the restaurant’s 1900’s look with rich mahogany wood
railings and partitions! Quiet atmosphere conducive to relaxed dining and conversation with no Muzak or distracting and too loud “club”music.

Menu is classic seafood choices among appetizers and entree and some grilled meats. Side dishes are well balanced. Desserts are light and delicious.

Service was thoughtful and impeccable. Four stars all around
and well deserved !

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IJ
Los Angeles
19 reviews
Dined on February 1, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

As other reviewers have said, this is a very old style restaurant. The private booth was great and quiet for being able to hear each other. We each had the petrole sole prepared different ways, mine which sauteed, was fresh and well prepared, but my husband had the stuffed preparation and it was a small portion and mushy. The brussel sprouts were good, but overall the food is average for the price.

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