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Cliff House, San Francisco

Categories: Historic Sites, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
4/5 based on 320+ reviews on the web
The Cliff House is a restaurant perched on the headland above the cliffs just north of Ocean Beach, on the western side of San Francisco, California. It overlooks the site of the former Sutro Baths and is now 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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  • A restaurant near lands End with a nice waterfront view of Ocean Beach. Worth a visit if you have enough time. 
  • We planned an early dinner so we can see the area and amazing views. Well everyone is right. The view is amazing. Everything about our experience was top shelf; view, restaurant, service, quality of f...  read more »
  • AI tried to go by is a beautiful sunset were cloudy, sunset is seen. Found a children's books Illustrator named "This is San Francisco. Miroslav Sussex (Reprint Edition) at the gift shop and bought a San Francisco memories.
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  • The Cliff House has a ton of history, fantastic view, and decent food. It wasn't exceptional food, but it was good. I had the fish and chips and one of my pieces was overcooked and tough, and all the fish had a smokey taste and smell, which made me think that they fryer likely hasn't been cleaned out in a while. It wasn't bad, just not perfect. The fries were quite good and the popovers were tasty. I wouldn't mind eating here again, but I would order something else.
  • You go to the Cliff House for the views. I recommend going around sunset. Do a quick google search for when sunset is for a specific day, subtract 45 minutes to an hour and set a reservation. If you do this well, you should be able to request a view of the sunset. They may tell you they can't guarantee anything. Fair enough, but I did alright and they sat us in a great spot for sunset. The food... it's good, but not great. But you don't go for the food. You go for the view (AND THE AREA). Get in the area early and take in the view from the park nearby (dress warm). This is situated nicely between a large park overlooking the Pacific and just north of Ocean Beach. While it is cloth napkin in the lap... this isn't fancy dining - but you can dress the part and still fit in.
  • Great place to come for lunch and enjoy incredible views with good food. A little pricey but there's a view that's incredible, a restaurant that's a throwback to yesteryear, white shirt and bow tie wait staff, yes this is a great place. Bring the out of town visitors, grandma, your daughter and boy friend, all will be impressed.
  • Gorgeous view at sunset. Food was one of the best, the seafood was fresh, oysters were perfect. Loved their ambiance, the only thing I could say if I had to nitpick would be that this restaurant can be very noisy and loud,.making it hard to hear your own conversation at times...which is a good thing because everyone is enjoying themselves.
  • Fantastic food, service, and view. Definitely a fancy place with expensive food, but it also had delicious and reasonable appetizers. I had the bacon cheese burger with truffle fries and it was great without being too expensive. A nice place to splurge on a visit to San Francisco.
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