#177 - Tadich Grill, San Francisco CA

A couple weeks ago I was in San Francisco for my annual Association of Luxury Suite Directors conference. I was able to mix sightseeing in with my conference, which was a great combination.  Our AD Coach Holder had told me I had to go to Tadich Grill. He doesn't play around when it comes to food, and neither do I. So I knew it was a must-go. 

My original plan was to go on Sunday evening, my first day in town.  But it's a good thing I looked up the walking directions before I left the hotel, because that's when I found out it's not open on Sundays.  But I wasn't letting that ruin my experience, and I was still determined to go.  My friend Bruce and I decided to go for lunch on Thursday.

This is such a cool restaurant.  It opened in 1895, and is the oldest restaurant in California. They don't take reservations, so we went after the lunch rush. It was still packed when we arrived, and we were going to wait for a table. But then 2 seats at the bar opened up so we sat there. 

One of the things I liked best is that they have preserved all of the old-school coolness. The servers are dressed in white shirt, white coat, long white apron, and tie. I'm sure they've had to upgrade some of the furnishings, but they made sure to retain the classic look. It's a long, narrow building, with a huge center bar that takes up the length of the restaurant, and you can sit at the bar on 3 sides of it.  There are a couple of tables at the front window; 2 rows of seating on the left side of the bar, and then one long row of booth tables.

Photo courtesy of Tadich Grill
I love how they print the history of the restaurant on the front page of the menu

The open kitchen is at the far end of the restaurant, along with a display of their selection of seafood and meats

The bathrooms are upstairs, and on the way back down you see some cool pictures and photo history

Sourdough bread was delivered to the table first

Most restaurants give you way too much butter. Here, it was almost not enough. But that's okay. The bread was delicious

We both decided to start with a small house salad, and I got blue cheese on the side.

The salad was really good, and I think my system went into shock with all the greens. The blue cheese dressing was clearly homemade, and so delicious.  I had to eventually stop myself from adding more to my salad. 

The menu is printed daily so that they can showcase the freshest ingredients. I love restaurants that do that. And especially love restaurants that do it so well. Bruce went with the pan-fried sole

I didn't try any of the fish, but he said it was delicious.  I did try one of the potatoes. It was kind of like steak fries. By the time I ate one they weren't crispy on the outside, but they were soft and fluffy on the inside. And really good.

No big surprise, I had trouble deciding what to get. Our server recommended the seafood cioppino with garlic bread, their best seller

Clams, mussels, prawns, scallops, bay shrimp, crabmeat, and white fish
This was absolutely outstanding. The broth was so rich and flavorful, but not heavy at all. All of the seafood was perfectly cooked, and none of it was overcooked, which can easily happen with this type of dish. And there was a ton of seafood. Many times you get baby shrimp in a dish, but this was just the opposite. And the mussels were huge. Often dishes lose their heat as you eat, but the broth kept everything super hot all the way to the bottom of the bowl. The garlic bread was delicious and matched so well with the broth. I continued to dip it into the broth as I ate it.

As if all this wasn't enough, when our server asked if we wanted dessert we agreed to look at the menu. And then decided to share the bourbon bread pudding.

Oh my, this was amazing. Rich, flavorful, and served warm. I'm glad we shared it though, because it would have been too much for just one person. 

When you order the cioppino you get a bib. Stunningly, I didn't spill anything on it. I mentioned at the end that I was keeping mine, and the server asked if I wanted a clean one. I said nope, this one was better...like a game-worn jersey.  He even offered to sign it to make it authentic.

This is definitely now one of my favorite restaurants. I was so excited when I saw on the website that they're opening one in Washington DC. And Wednesday when Kara and I were doing our DC sightseeing tour, we walked right past where it's going to be!


No question I'll be going there on my next trip to DC next summer!