1090 Point Lobos, SF, CA | 415.386.3330 | website
My friend Jaytee who lives in the city, has the knack for discovering grandly decadent brunch spots, although I doubt we’ll ever see one that reaches the level of indulgence as the Carnelian Room, which is sadly now closed. But I digress… Jaytee suggested this magnificent spot for our group of friends to celebrate some birthdays last winter, and we loved it so much that we returned last month to celebrate hers, happy birthday JT and Daisy!
The Cliffhouse is the crown jewel of Land’s End, which is at a windblown westernmost point in the city, perched on rugged cliffs overlooking the shimmering Pacific and offers several dining venues. It was completely renovated ten years ago (a 2 year $19 million remodel) and while it is a tourist destination, it is one of the quintessential spots in the city, mostly because of its location, the vista it offers and its delightfully colorful past (click here for a really cool slideshow and here for an extensive photo gallery). There is Sutro’s Bar and Lounge in the newest wing with floor to ceiling views facing the historic Sutro Baths (pictured above) that has a sleek modern feel, the Bistro which offers American Classics (read about my lunch here), and the grand Terrace Room in the lower level which is available for private events and Sunday brunch buffet.
The dining room is posh and swanky, white table clothed and elegant, although there were plenty of large parties and with the endless mimosas, the atmosphere is quite festive. There’s a harpist softly playing harpy greatest hits of the brandenberg variety.
The views are awesome from every window as Cherie and her son Logan can attest.
They keep your champagne glasses filled and there are small pitchers with orange juice for you to make your own mimosa
The guys all went for the Cliffhouse Bloody Mary ($10), garnished with pickled peppers and made with clamato mix, they liked them
Here are photos of some of the many dishes offered, and I think I only got about half of them! French toast with apple compote.
Fruit: pineapple, canteloup, honeydew melon, strawberry, grapes, watermelon
Cheese plate: gouda, havarti with dill, brie, cheddar
Asparagus with ginger orange vinaigrette topped with sesame seeds
Roasted cauliflower and shiitake mushroom with truffle oil and parsley
Shaved kale salad with cayenne cashews, dates, ricotta salata cheese, burnt orange vinaigrette
Roasted eggplant with lemon dill dressing
A fresh tray of Eggs Benedict, everyone swooned over the perfectly poached eggs.
Seafood paella in the back, popovers and scrambled eggs in the blurry front
Mac and cheese, roasted onions and garlic in the back, which seemed to complement everything. There were so many other dishes that I didn’t try, sliced steak with mushroom sauce, orzo, thai beef salad, a few pasta dishes
Glazed white miso marinated salmon filets
Steamed prawns, so good with the spicy cocktail sauce
Bay shrimp salad made with celery, onion, peppers, fresh dill mayonnaise
I plowed through piles of the luscious smoked salmon, which I liberally garnished with chopped red onion, capers and fresh lemon juice. There were tiny sliced bagels and cream cheese for those who had spare internal real estate…
And it seemed that half of the spread was dedicated to the sweet tooth. Here is a nice sensible tray of delicious looking cookies: palmiers, shortbread, oatmeal raisin, macadamia nut with white chocolate chips, regular chocolate chip, chocolate dipped macaroons.
Platters of tiny pastries: lemon tarts, fruit tarts, tiramisu, chocolate raspberry cream cake, cream puffs
And my favorite was the Butterscotch Pot de Creme.
There were cakes, tarts, cheesecakes to tempt you
Chocolate dipped strawberries
The critic at the Chronicle called it Lost at Sea saying great views can’t makeup for inconsistent food. I am no critic, but I know good food and after two visits, I thought it was pretty consistently kick-ass, although granted this is a buffet and as such the experience is different from a sit down restaurant… But, $49/per person seems pretty reasonable for the atmosphere, view, bottomless mimosas and the selections of the grand buffet. Afterwards, because the Cliffhouse is on a hill, you can work off some of the calories walking around the ruins of the Sutro Baths and then back down to the beach.