Tadich Grill, a San Francisco treat

by foodhoe on October 24, 2010

240 California Street, SF, CA  | 415.391.1849 | website | mon – fri 11am – 9:30 pm; sat 11:30 – 9:30

The Tadich Grill is a local treasure that captures the history, ambiance, and flavors of old San Francisco. It’s California’s oldest restaurant, operating in the financial district since 1849 and there’s nothing trendy about the place, which is known for its straightforward seafood dishes and Barbary Coast atmosphere.  As far as landmarks go, the Tadich Grill is older than Coit Tower or even the Golden Gate Bridge!  The waiters all have on white linen jackets that look a bit like lab coats, but they go with the wainscotting, and wood-paneled booths, representing an old-school San Francisco dining experience.

Crossing the threshold feels like you’ve been transported to another era, what I imagine a men’s club would be like with dark polished wood, shining brass fixtures and private booths. There’s room to breath with dining areas separated by partitions, hooks and places to hang your coat and purse, the conveniences of a distant past.

The dark booths are accented by the crisp white tablecloths and linen napkins and each table is equipped with a bowl full of  lemon wedges and a plate full of crusty Boudin sourdough bread slices with tinfoil wrapped butter.  It has a delightful crust, with a soft tender interior full of airy pockets that are perfect to fill with butter.

The menu features hearty seafood and other local specialties, and the Tadich claims to be the first establishment to grill seafood over mesquite charcoal in the 1920s.  In 1998, it was awarded the James Beard Foundation American Classic restaurant award, which honors legendary family-owned restaurants across the country.

I recently came here twice with some friends, and had to order the Seafood Cioppino ($26.25) which is a house specialty. Cioppino is a classic San Francisco dish that is believed to have been invented by the fishermen in North Beach in the late 1800s, a fish stew that’s the equivalent of the French bouillabaisse or the Italian Cacciucco.  It’s a luxurious stew made with generous chunks of crabmeat and fish, prawns, meaty scallops, clams and mussels in a tomato based broth that is the definition of comfort. The clams are steamed separately and the fish sauteed with butter and olive oil for each serving before being combined with the hot soup and the prawns and crab are shelled to make the dining experience less messy.  The cioppino is served with delectable slices of toasted sourdough bread that has been brushed with olive oil and garlic and lightly grilled.

Debbie N had this gorgeous looking Seafood Saute ($26)   a generous pile of scallops, prawns and dungeness crabmeat sauteed with white wine and mushrooms served with rice and vegetable of the day (I just love that old style verbage)!

Both times Libby had the Mesquite Broiled Pacific King Salmon Filet ($25.75) long branch potatoes, roasted brussel sprouts, zucchini and carrots  and tartar sauce.  I have never heard of long branch potatoes and these were basically steak cut fries.  I wonder if that is a type of potato or descriptive of their shape…

The Panfried Calamari Steak ($20.75) was breaded and fried and served with long branch potatoes, vegetable of the day and a rich, zesty tartar sauce full of chopped pickles. The calamari was perfect slathered with tartar with a squeeze of lemon to brighten things up.

Debbie N couldn’t resist the mesquite broiled Ribeye Steak ($23), served with roasted garlic garnish, potato and vegetable of the day.

And I had to have the Chocolate Mousse ($8.25), after hearing my friends Cody and Brennan rave about it for so many years. It was rich and decadent, the perfect thing to split among friends.

The Tadich is known for a stiff drink, great atmosphere, and if you have a hankering for an old fashioned San Francisco dining experience, there’s nowhere better.

Tadich Grill on Urbanspoon

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosa October 25, 2010 at 3:53 am

What a great place! The food looks mouthwatering.

Cheers,

Rosa

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Geri J. October 25, 2010 at 11:08 am

Try the Sand Dabs the next time. Tadich’s is the only place I have had them where the crust and sauce don’t turn to a gluey mess some time during the meal. The best!

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Bonnibella October 26, 2010 at 3:33 am

I still have not made it hear but your description of the Cioppino is delicious! I love how you say it’s “brushed with olive oil”

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Single Guy Ben October 26, 2010 at 10:10 am

I’ve never been here too, but always wanted to try the cioppino there. Now I have to go for that AND the chocolate mousse!

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grace October 26, 2010 at 4:37 pm

speaking of treats, that mousse is enough to fill my weekly quota of decadence–wowza!

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Carolyn Jung October 26, 2010 at 5:56 pm

I have not been here in ages. Thanks for the reminder that while we so often concentrate on the newest and latest, we shouldn’t forget the classic places that have stood the test of time. After all, it takes a lot to be in business that long in finicky San Francisco. ;)

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hungry dog October 27, 2010 at 9:57 am

I feel like an idiot that I have never been here, after living in the Bay Area most of my life and SF for 14 years! I love cioppino…my dad used to make it, and I’ve made it once or twice, but I would love to get it at the Tadich Grill. Talk about a San Francisco institution.

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Cookie October 27, 2010 at 1:31 pm

What a coincidence! I was literally walking by Tadich Grill this morning thinking that I should check it out soon! Now I KNOW I have to and get that yummy Seafood Saute!

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Gastronomer October 27, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Wow! It’s good to know that the oldest resto in CA is still cranking out tasty eats! The “lab coats” offer a dapper touch, wouldn’t you say?

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foodhoe October 28, 2010 at 8:45 am

rosa, it really is a great spot
geri, thanks for visiting – ya know, that is a gripe I have about sand dabs, so thanks so much for the tip
bonnibella, I just love the solid and traditional ways of the place
single guy and grace, omg that mousse…
carolyn, so true!
hungry dog, yep it can’t get any better when you see the cable car go by
cookie, I say it’s hi-time to hi-tail it for that seafood saute
gastronomer, I love those lab coats!

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calamari steaks December 15, 2010 at 9:08 am

Hi,

I just wanted to take a minute to tell you that you have a great site! Keep up the good work. i like this type of post………….

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Melanie February 25, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Okay, so I am confused. Is the Cioppino that you guys are talking about the “Seven Seas soup” that is on the menu or is this something totally different?

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foodhoe February 28, 2011 at 7:01 am

Hmmm, I don’t recall seeing that soup on the menu, and since cioppino is such a san francisco tradition,I’m inclined to say no.

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Adrienne March 9, 2012 at 9:14 am

The Seven Seas soup is not the Cioppino that is regularly on the menu. We have had the seven seas and it is to die for. We returned this past Christmas and asked for it again and were told that it is not a regular menu item and that it nly on there as a specialty item every now and again. Well specialty item it is as it is truly to die for. I wish it would be come a regular menu item as that was one of the reasons we can back to SF for the holidays and the reason we came to eat that night. It is a must have when you see it offered!

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foodhoe March 9, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Adrienne, thanks for visiting! I will look for that on the menu, I love the name, it sounds so intriguing. Is it a chowder?

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