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Cliff House, San Francisco

The Cliff House is a restaurant on Point Lobos Avenue perched on the headland above the cliffs just north of Ocean Beach, in the Outer Richmond neighborhood of San Francisco, California. It has had five major incarnations since its beginnings in 1858. It now overlooks the site of the former Sutro Baths and is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, operated by the National Park Service. On the terrace of the Cliff House is a room-sized camera obscura.HistoryCliff House has had five major incarnations since its beginnings in 1858. That year, Samuel Brannan, a prosperous ex-Mormon elder from Maine, bought for $1,500 the lumber salvaged from a ship that foundered on the basalt cliffs below. With this material he built the first Cliff House.The second Cliff House was built in 1863, and leased to Captain Junius G. Foster. It was a long trek from the city and hosted mostly horseback riders, small game hunters or picnickers on day outings. With the opening of the Point Lobos toll road a year later, the Cliff House became successful with the Carriage trade for Sunday travel. Later the builders of the toll road constructed a two-mile speedway beside it where well-to-do San Franciscans raced their horses along the way. On weekends, there was little room at the Cliff House hitching racks for tethering the horses for the thousands of rigs. Soon, omnibus, railways and streetcar lines made it to near Lone Mountain where passengers transferred to stagecoach lines to the beach. The growth of Golden Gate Park attracted beach travellers, in search of meals and a look at the sea lions sunning themselves on Seal Rocks just off the cliffs, to visit the area.
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Cliff House Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
386 reviews
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4.2
TripAdvisor
  • We were a group of 12 people who booked the table in connection with the study tour. Got a table by the Windows with stunning views of the sunset. Nice dining, good atmosphere, and varied menu. Solid wine list and good selection of beer. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Just location and views make the Cliff House worth a visit!
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  • this should be on every ones list to see in San Francisco. Great food, great service and drop dead views.  more »
  • We were here on the basis of a recommendation of our Concierge. The Cliff House is built directly on the cliffs what the name suggests. We had traditional César salad and as main course the Scaollops. These were fried to the point and very very tasty. The espresso is what fantastic events, the dessert, creme Brûlée (with fruit)! Price increased, service good, bottom line again! Tip: Absolutely still during the day to eat so that you have something from the great views.
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Google
  • If you’re looking for a fine Saturday or Sunday brunch with a splendid view. This is the place! The pop up bread they serve complimentary is truly amazing! Nice and warm and goes excellent with the jelly served on the table. The portions were good size and the Eggs San Francisco were simply amazing a definite must have. Excellent location and close to a nice trail if you would like to walk off some calories afterwards.
  • Had an excellent time there. Stayed at the lower level bar restaurant and bar. Prices are high but not astronomic, considering the scenic location. Bottles of wine were half price with the entree (at the time). Excellent bartender service at the bar. View is from the window of the restaurant. Was overcast but still great experience!
  • Perfect place for a delicious dinner with a stunning view onto the sea. If the weather is nice and the sky clear, guests can enjoy the beauty of a colourful sunset which appears even more astonishing because of its reflection on the water surface. The restaurant serves delicious food and drinks for lunch and dinner. The menus often varies according to the season and time of the day. The staff is very friendly and helpful. They are proud of working at this restaurant and also love to give guests some background information about the local area and its sea. In closing, the restaurant is definitely worth visiting during a stay in San Francisco.
  • While waiting over an hour to be seated, we watched dogs frolic on the beach, birds wafting in the sea breeze and marveled at the sheer size of container ships passing by. Visiting from the desert, the view is the main attraction. Inside, there is little seating for those waiting to be served. However, our table provided a panoramic view of the water and the wait was quickly forgotten. Our server was friendly, attentive and we recognized his service with generous tip. The breakfast items we ordered were made better with the generous helpings of Dungeness crab. Overall, tourists looking for a decent meal with a one-of-a-kind, memorable view, need look no further than the iconic Cliff House. Bravo!
  • The food was very good, I had the Caesar salad and clam chowder. For me, It's funny to go to a restaurant just to order the Caesar, but that's what I wanted that day. . . it was very well prepared and delicious. Everything we ate tasted fresh. Added to my list of restaurants to revisit!
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12 days in California BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 52 days in United States BY A USER FROM INDIA September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 38 days in San Francisco BY A USER FROM INDIA May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 60 days in California BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, culture, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: May, culture, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 16 days in San Francisco BY A USER FROM GEORGIA May, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: May, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 60 days in San Francisco BY A USER FROM EGYPT July, culture, historic sites, wildlife, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: July, culture, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 38 days in San Francisco BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 60 days in San Francisco BY A USER FROM AUSTRIA May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 10 days in United States BY A USER FROM HONG KONG May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 26 days in San Francisco BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 37 days in San Francisco BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 31 days in San Francisco BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
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