Flanked by lush Napa Valley wineries and sprawling cattle ranches to the north, the Bay Area is rich in high-quality meat and unparalleled wine. Unsurprisingly, there’s no shortage of serious steakhouses in San Francisco. Some of the best restaurants in San Francisco are butchering, dry-aging and searing beef to a juicy, tender finale (and serving it alongside an expertly paired local cabernet, naturally).
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Steakhouses in San Francisco
This beloved mainstay started out as a 14-stool counter in 1937. Following a fire in 2007, the family-owned establishment moved to North Beach and rebuilt with an open kitchen. As the checkerboard floor and red leather booths suggest, the spot is known for classic Italian-American fare. That includes the generously-sized steaks, served alongside your choice of sides. Go for the 10-ounce flank steak or the New York steak—both are dry-aged and seared for a rich, lightly charred flavor.
This domed 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. The sides are a step above the standard, from the cauliflower garnished with guanciale, Meyer lemon, and fried shallots to the creamy spinach flavored with bacon, Boursin cheese, and nutmeg.
With its roaring fireplaces and white tablecloths, this wood-swathed, English-style steakhouse has an air of old-school decadence. The spot’s corn-fed beef is sourced from farms in the Midwest, aged 21 days, and served straight from the grill. The specialty, as the name suggests, is prime rib, which gets ferried around the restaurant in stainless steel serving carts. It’s carved at your table to your specifications, whether the classic House of Prime Rib cut, the English cut (sliced thinly), or the King Henri VIII cut (an extra-generous, thickly-sliced slab). Delve in alongside classic English sides like Yorkshire pudding or creamed spinach.
Forget creamed spinach. This five-year-old Argentinean steakhouse melds Latin American flavors with an ingredient-focused, farm-to-table NorCal vibe. The meat comes in myriad forms, but it’s all cooked over the wood-fired grill to a juicy char. Options include the thinly sliced Entraña (skirt steak), Abuja (an 8-oz 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. If your appetite isn’t satisfied by steak alone, don’t miss the Hueso Asado: rich bone marrow served with jicama, crostini, and chile de arbor jelly.
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 8-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. They’re served together on one plate. Wash it all down with a basil martini or two.
Come for the steak, stay for the view. This design-savvy downtown restaurant offers stunning, unobstructed views of the Bay Bridge Lights, best enjoyed from one of the plush leather banquettes. Local butcher Bryan Flannery curates the beef, sourced from local California farms, as well as those farther afield in Kentucky and Idaho. 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.
This upscale steakhouse has been an elegant standby for over 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. You can’t go wrong with classics like the pepper steak (a boneless New York steak coated in cracked black pepper, grilled, and served with a demi place of cognac and shallots), or the Steak Diane, grilled filet mignon finished with a demi place of cognac and shallots. The sides are equally worthy, particularly the Maine lobster mac and cheese.
Unlike the usual cave-like, wood-paneled steak joints, this bi-level restaurant is bright and airy, with a towering wall of wine doubling as art. Marc Zimmerman has been a guiding presence at Alexander’s since its opening in 2010, rising from chef de cuisine to executive chef. The menu has changed slightly over the years, but the ethos remains the same: an emphasis on sourcing high-end beef from small farms in the US, Australia, and Japan. The Greater Omaha Prime beef is dry-aged for 28 days, while Japanese wagyu is available from nine prefectures. The steaks are expertly prepared to put the meat itself on display, from the local Schmitz Heritage strip steak served with whole-grain mustard, veal place, and cipollini onions, to the California-raised Flannery porterhouse, dry-aged for 45 days and wood-roasted. The bone-in New York steak is simply served with grilled lemon and shallot butter. Add foie gras to any steak for $30.
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, from porterhouse to ribeye. But the specialty here is the juicy bone-in filet mignon. It comes along sides like brussels sprout chips and crispy fried onions. The bar is known for classic cocktails, as well—but regulars opt for the Osso nightcap: a generous pour of the special aged anejo tequila.
Roka Akor is known for sushi, but don’t let that dissuade you. Roka’s A4 and A5 Japanese wagyu beef will make you forswear seafood entirely. The Asian-inspired decor is stylish, but and warm, from the slab wood tables to the moody lighting. The centerpiece is the robata grill in the center of the restaurant, where chef Roman Petry prepares Asian-inspired, decadently dressed cuts of beef. Try the 6-ounce wagyu sirloin, served with grilled bone marrow and spicy sweet garlic soy, or 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. The menu spans various bone-in and dry-aged cuts, as well, sourced both domestically and from Australia and Japan.