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Photograph: Courtesy Niku

The 11 best steakhouses in San Francisco

From locally-sourced, grass-fed beef to imported Japanese wagyu, savor all the meat at the best steakhouses in San Francisco.

By Amy Sherman and Lauren Sheber

San Francisco always puts a fresh spin on dining and the city's steakhouses are no exception. The best steakhouses in San Francisco include old school American restaurants with strong cocktails and luscious creamed spinach, but also temples of Japanese wagyu beef, Argentinian-style steak havens and the ever-popular Brazilian-style restaurant where the steak is brought into the dining room on skewers. Regardless of which style you choose, the best steakhouses offer a romantic restaurant atmopshere, a wide variety of cuts from different breeds and ranches, and some of the best cocktails in SF. 

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Best steakhouses in San Francisco

Photograph: Courtesy Niku

1. Niku

Niku is a Japanese-inspired American steakhouse with a fine dining pedigree. The restaurant is so focused on high quality A5 wagyu beef that they have an inhouse butcher and a butcher shop next door. The sleek dark dining room has a floor-to-ceiling bar lined with Japanese whisky bottles. In the center of the restaurant is a grill station chef’s counter featuring a binchotan charcoal grill and a wood-fired yakiniku grill. Wagyu beef served in four-ounce portions and the imperial wagyu tomahawk are the most popular cuts. Other tasty plates include housemade pasta dishes from Italian-trained chef Dustin Falcon and crispy potatoes with furikake ranch and broccoli with a chili fish sauce caramel. 

Alexander's Steakhouse
Photograph: Courtesy Alexander's Steakhouse

2. Alexander's Steakhouse

Unlike the usual cave-like, wood-paneled steak joints, this bi-level restaurant feels elegant and fresh. Chef Eric Upper whips up luscious stuffed pasta, housemade sausage and delicate seafood congee in addition to the restaurant's top notch caviar service and steak. The beef is highly curated from small farms in the US, Australia and Japan. Choose from Nebraska Prime dry-aged beef, Flannery holstein, or Japanese wagyu which is served in three-ounce portions with a wide variety of salts. A recent addition to the menu is Hitachiwagyu A5 black beef, available in various cuts and preparations. 

Epic Roasthouse
Photographer: Aubrie Pick

3. EPIC Steak

Restaurants Steakhouse South Beach

Come for the steak, stay for the view. This design-savvy waterfront restaurant offers stunning, unobstructed views of the Bay Bridge, best enjoyed from one of the plush leather banquettes or on the patio (weather permitting). Butcher Bryan Flannery curates the beef, sourced from local California farms, as well as those farther afield from Idaho, Japan and Tasmania. The specialty here is the 14-ounce ribeye, a thick, richly marbled slab that’s dry-aged, then grilled to a deep char and served with bernaise sauce, chimichurri, or horseradish and sides include fries, beans and greens and curried cauliflower . A more recent addition is an A5 wagyu tasting with two-ounce cuts of imperial, mizayaki and snow beef.

A steak next to a roasted pepper
Photograph: Flickr/

4. 5A5 Steak Lounge

Restaurants Steakhouse Downtown

This FiDi lounge sources its meat from around the world, serving US certified Angus beef, A5 Japanese wagyu, and Australian Kobe beef alongside an impressive collection of Japanese whiskies. (In particular, the spot is known for Japanese wagyu of the Miyazaki prefecture.) Each cut of steak is prepared to highlight its unique flavor: the filet mignon with a green garlic sauce and roasted garlic; the substantial dry-aged T-bone with bacon jam and a sous vide egg; and the wagyu with truffle cheese. Truffles feature prominently at this upscale joint, rendered in butter, cheese, sauce, and risotto. 

Photograph: Courtesy Lolinda

5. Lolinda

Restaurants Steakhouse Mission

This five-year-old Argentinean steakhouse melds Latin American flavors with an ingredient-focused, farm-to-table NorCal vibe. The meat is all cooked over the wood-fired grill and options include the thinly sliced Entraña (skirt steak), Abuja (an eight-ounce flat-iron steak), the Bife de Chorizo (New York steak), Ojo de Bife (ribeye steak), and the ultimate cut, the Gaucho: a thick, juicy, 26-ounce bone-in ribeye steak. They’re served alongside classic cocktails and vibrant, flavorful sides like papas—potatoes roasted to a crisp and topped with chimichurri butter—and pulpo, Spanish octopus served with potatoes and spicy mojo de ajo. 

Sliced beef on a bamboo mat
Photograph: Flickr/Lou Stejskal/CC

6. Roka Akor

Restaurants Steakhouse Jackson Square

Roka Akor is known for sushi as well as beef so feel free to indulge in both. The centerpiece of the restaurant is the robata grill in the center of the restaurant, where chefs prepare Asian-inspired, decadently dressed cuts of beef. Roka’s A4 and A5 Japanese wagyu beef are truly outstanding, but we also like the six-ounce wagyu sirloin, served with grilled bone marrow and spicy sweet garlic soy, and the wagyu flat-iron steak, complemented by maitake mushrooms and a runny egg yolk. The house wafu dressing, a savory soy vinaigrette, pairs well with any of the cuts, as does the decadent black truffle-infused aioli. 

Harris’, steak
Photograph: Flickr/ Jeffrey Chiang

7. Harris’ Restaurant

Restaurants Steakhouse Nob Hill

This upscale steakhouse has been an elegant standby for more than 30 years. Executive chef Michael Buhagiar works with an in-house butcher to prepare the beef to exacting specifications. You can go two routes: dry-aged Midwestern beef, grilled on the open-rage mesquite grill, or wagyu beef prepared Kobe-style. (Splurge on the 13-ounce authentic Japanese Kobe ribeye.) The former is served laden with rich sauces, including classic bernaise, brandy, or truffle madeira. The sides are equally worthy, particularly the Maine lobster mac and cheese.

Photograph: Flickr/gérard

8. Bobo's

Restaurants Steakhouse Marina District

Chef Andrea Froncillo learned to cook from his nonna in Italy. At Bobo’s he melds those Italian roots with Asian influences. The steakhouse has a Venetian feel, with red banquettes, stained glass light fixtures, festive art, and checkerboard walls. The beef is aged four to six weeks, pan-seared with garlic and rosemary, and de-glazed, resulting in a juicy, tender steak without unnecessary frills. The cuts range from an eight-ounce petit filet mignon to an enormous 49-ounce porterhouse ($150). The latter is separated into its parts—a New York steak and filet mignon—and cooked separately to achieve ideal doneness for each. Bobo’s also specializes in iron skillet roasted seafood and crab. 

A large hunk of meat on a cutting board being served
Photograph: Flickr/star5112/CC

9. Espetus

The first Brazilian steakhouse to open the Bay Area, the Rodizio style restaurant offers a dozen or so different cuts of meat, all served on large skewers. In addition to various cuts of beef, there is also lamb, chicken, pork and seafood all roasted over an open flame and brought directly to the table. Their gourmet salad bar has a variety of salads, cheeses, and charcuterie, but also a hot buffet with dishes such as paella and Moqueca fish stew. Dinner includes unlimited cheese bread, fried plantains and polenta brought to the table upon request.

A plate filled with different kinds of meat
Photograph: Flickr/Brittany Deeann Wages/CC

10. Fogo de Chao

This Brazilian steakhouse chain with a glassed-in kitchen offers fire-roasted meats carved at the table as well as cheesy bread, and a full buffet of seasonal salads, soups, fresh vegetables, charcuterie, seafood and a particularly good feijoada, a traditional black bean stew. The full experience includes feasting on a variety of beef specialities that are paraded into the dining room including tender and juicy picanha, a cut of top sirloin, filet mignon, ribeye and fraldinha, a cut from the bottom sirloin. 


11. Osso Steakhouse

Restaurants Steakhouse Nob Hill

Look no further than Nob Hill for a no-fuss steak: Osso serves top-grade, US-sourced beef, classically prepared. The black-and-white Art Deco decor lends an old-school vibe, and the recipe hasn’t changed. The steaks are aged up to 21 days, seared “Osso style” with rosemary and garlic, and served medium rare. You can choose from a five styles, including porterhouse and ribeye. Sides include Brussels sprout chips and crispy fried onions. The bar is known for classic cocktails, but regulars opt for the Osso nightcap: a generous pour of the special aged anejo tequila.

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