Sam’s Grill & Seafood Restaurant

4.6
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593 Reviews
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$31 to $50
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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.

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What 593 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
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
92% of people would recommend it to a friend
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SF
San Francisco
49 reviews
Dined on March 10, 2020
Overall5food4service4ambience5

I love that Sam's has been rescued, refreshed, and remains a San Francisco gem

C
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 10, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a great lunch with friends. food was good. Waiter attentive. We'll be back of course. Contessa Claire and Steve Price

n
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on March 6, 2020
Overall1food1service1ambience3

From the start, it was not a good experience. Our host seated us giving us way too much information about his birthday and his girlfriend's birthday because our birthdays were also this week. Next, our server took our drink orders and was back in a flash. We ordered today' special, Sam's crude which was not available. Side note is that it's not actually "today's special". It's on the menu EVERY DAY. We got to sit in the sweet little private booth with a curtain. The problem was our server gave us zero privacy. Took our order, but kept dropping in. We were celebrating our birthdays - drinks and wine would have been great to order. I would have really loved to order a birthday dessert had we been asked or if there was a chance to have a dessert menu. I paid for my vinegary salad, boyfriend's short ribs, side of soggy spinach, and a couple cocktails. Reservation was at 6:30. We were done and paid at 7:15. No joke. I gave our server slightly less than fifteen percent because he wouldn't leave us alone. I got up to put my jacket on and he came by to take the bill and then turned to me and asked my what the problem was. So, Open Table, you asked for a review. All weekend, I was thinking about this lousy experience. My hope is that this restaurant realizes that people come for good food as well as a good experience when going out on a Friday night. We got neither.

DL
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on March 6, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Tradition that is rare and nice to appreciate including private, curtained off booths.

BU
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on March 5, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

There for birthday celebration. We requested, and were seated in a classic booth. Service was great. Food and drinks too. Checked all boxes, as always.

SM
San Francisco
38 reviews
Dined on March 2, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We love this restaurant, especially the bartender and waiter----first rate service and food in a wonderful old-fashioned quiet atmosphere. A real jewel! WE plan to return very soon.

DD
San Francisco
23 reviews
Dined on February 28, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Great SF place for old fashioned service and god food. A stand out even after all these years.

J
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 21, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Salmon was sold out. Surprising for a 7:30 reservation. WE were told to get our order in pronto, lest the kitchen ran out of other items.

ME
Los Angeles
81 reviews
Dined on February 21, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Tried a private booth for the first time. Fun! The day boat scallops and mushroom risotto are worth going back for.

MM
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on February 21, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience4

My husband and I enjoy Sam’s. My husband loves seafood, and I don’t. That said, non-seafood entrees are always available, and they are very good.

LK
1 review
Dined on February 19, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Dinner at Sam's was the highlight of our vacation. All of the food selections were excellent. My personal favorite, Clams Elizabeth, was as good as i remembered from a dinner here over 40 years ago. The dining room was sufficiently quiet one could have a conversation over dinner without shouting,

SL
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on February 19, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Sam’s Grill is the 5th oldest restaurant in the United States (not just SF) and a classic, woody-goody with curtained booths for those who want privacy. Our waiter, Angelo, took great care of us during our almost 2 hour lunch and the food was amazing! After a vodka martini with sourdough bread, we started with wedge salads, had calamari steak with capers and Rex Sole, then Crepe Suzette’s for dessert. Can’t wait to return soon!

S
London
32 reviews
Dined on February 18, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It has been a number of years since I had been to Sam’s, but I will return soon. A wonderful piece of San Francisco history. The booths are a terrific way to visit with your guests while enjoying a meal and a truly professional waiter.

JB
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall4food5service5ambience4

Sam's is a GEM in the rough that should be experienced by all San Franciscans to retain their namesake!
Reminds me of an authentic Viennese Beisl (Ghasthaus)

JJ
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

We had the best oysters and crab cakes in years! Loved the "old school" restaurant look and feel.

CA
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Just really good with a vintage ambiance. Can’t wait to go back.

SC
San Francisco
25 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience4

A San Francisco treasure, with an Old School ambience. World class Cioppino. Excellent wait staff.

EA
San Francisco
168 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Scallops with Mushroom Risotto and Crispy Calamari were to die for. Cannot wait to go back for the Rainbow Trout

DB
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on February 13, 2020
Overall4food5service4ambience5

Excellent food. Original San Francisco dining- traditional . Great experience.

S
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on February 13, 2020
Overall4food4service3ambience5

Good solid food - seafood- in old school setting. Nothing spectacular in terms of food but solid, fresh seafood. Loved the private booths. Service was a bit off. Waiter was good overall but pushed us a bit and was impatient as we took in menu. He actually said he was quite busy as a way to push us along! When we didn’t order wine he seemed a bit inappropriate in telling us the drinks we ordered were not really drinks at all. So, a bit off putting and rushed from waiter only down side to tge evening. I guess if you’re a sought after cool retro joint - who needs service?

j
San Francisco
71 reviews
Dined on February 10, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fish was perfectly prepared and delicious. My guests enjoyed their food also.

J
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on February 6, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My go-to lunch place...delicious, fun, and healthy

A
Denver
13 reviews
Dined on February 5, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Just perfect from start to finish. Friendly & helpful staff. Great food. We were seated in one of the private booths. So nice

N
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on February 4, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I love Sam's. Their fish is always fresh, and the setting is charming. They also make a first-rate martini.

SK
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on January 31, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Classy and delicious. A great place to have great fresh fish and very good cocktails.

OG
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 30, 2020
Overall4food3service4ambience5

Old SF memories. The charm remains. Private booth is always a plus.

The food not as it was a few decades ago when had business lunches at Sam's in the '80s. The calamari (rings and steak) were quite good. The Osso Buco just average. Tiramasu also good. Bread was not fresh. Definitely a day or two old.

OT
New York Area
24 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Great cioppino! Very classic restaurant, charming in an absurdly old-fashioned way.

RB
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Since 1974 I have been going to Sam’s. The food has always been delicious. The service magnificent. The drinks exceedingly well made. Good wines at decent prices. The exact opposite of snooty restaurants more worried about the bling than solid, get it done, enjoy the company of friends and family meal. I feel over the years it has gotten better. I had a dish called Clams Elizabeth I never tasted until now: terrific. And the oysters - perfectly fresh with all the eloquence of this fabulous simple most tasty feast.
The waiter took care of us with the food delivered on time, wine glasses filled, and the management of the wines perfect. Joy with high professionalism.
Another great time at Sam’s. Yahoo!
And the martini and negroni were pretty damn good too.

JH
San Francisco
17 reviews
Dined on January 22, 2020
Overall5food5service4ambience4

The waiter was friendly. The crab cakes were wonderful and the entrees were excellent.

FF
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on January 17, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience4

The food was really good. The best part of my experience is the service we received. It was outstanding.

WW
Tampa
18 reviews
Dined on January 16, 2020
Overall2food4service1ambience3

First, it took a while for the wine to be served. Second, the wrong food was served to the table. Third, the coffee we ordered was not served. At the end the server noted that he had not served the coffee, and asked if we still wanted it. He didn't apologize, he simply asked if we wanted it. No. We won't be back.

v
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined on January 16, 2020
Overall4food4service3ambience4

Very nice restaurant and very good seafood. Waiter was non chalant and too hurried

RS
1 review
Dined on January 13, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Great venue for a warm, relaxed meal, whether with business associates or with friends. The cozy, old-school booths are simply wonderful and rarely seen in this day and age. Good range of menu options and, though not particularly creative or dazzling in presentation, solidly prepared and very tasty, and served by efficient and unpretentious wait staff. Prices seem reasonable given the downtown SF location and the ability to enjoy a good meal and good company inside an exceptionally private and quiet eating booth.

B
San Francisco
66 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great food, service and fun retro feeling.

SF
San Francisco
126 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience4

One of the best seafood restaurants in SF. My halibut sole was excellent. Crabcakes were large and moist.
And it's so much fun to have a booth.

O
Los Angeles
4 reviews
Dined on January 6, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

After coming through a friend's recommendation, we continue to come back every time we are back in San Francisco. It is iconic and the food scrumptious. The calamari steak melted in my mouth.

a
San Francisco
27 reviews
Dined on January 2, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We keep returning...one of our favorite s.f. restaurants.

VJ
Phoenix
21 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I would never think of coming to San Francisco without dining at Sam’s at least once. A traditionally outstanding restaurant with friendly and highly competent serving staff and great traditional fare. So good we went twice this trip. An experience in great food, outstanding service and a truly fine dining experience. No wonder it has been around since the mid 1800’s!

r
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A San Francisco classic! There are not many left in our great city and this is one of . them.

HC
Dallas
3 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2019
Overall2food2service4ambience3

Our server was nice and the atmosphere was good. The clam chowder was good, too. The French onion was so sweet it was not edible. They ran out of scallops and most fish, including tuna. My wife and daughter tried to order three seafood dishes that they did not have and so two of us had a main meal and two didn’t. Two of us had seafood platters that were more like seafood (small) plates and the bill for 4 soups, a salad, and two entrees with a $40 bottle of wine was about $220. We would not eat there again.