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Cliff House, San Francisco

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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Cliff House Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
386 reviews
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4.1
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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  • I loved the ambiance! Dress was causal upstairs and downstairs was for Fine Dining. My Wife heard about the Fish & Chips. So while cruising i asked her to call a friend that lives in the City to meet for Dinner and the rest was Good Times! P.S. did I mention the views! 🤓😲😎
  • Standard brunch menu (no pancakes!) but very little option to customize dishes. More expensive than you'd expect to pay for the same meal in a neighborhood diner. Everything seemed fresh and well prepared, although servings were on the small side. Good service; the waiter was overly chatty. Fantastic views!
  • Historical place with amazing view. Had Eggs Benedict, worked great after a long oversees flight. The service was good but not top notch. You definitely need reservations or be prepared to wait 45 minutes. A must stop if you are in San Francisco.
  • I have dined at the Cliff House twice - once for brunch and once for Thanksgiving dinner. The best advice I can give is to RSVP at least one week ahead of time if you don't want to wait more than fifteen minutes for a table. Both dining experiences were top notch and the food was astounding. The servers were personable and professional. Now, as someone who lives less than ten minutes from here, parking is (and will always be) an issue along Ocean Beach. It's no surprise that you have to keep an eye on your belongings if they're in plain sight within your car. Car break-ins are prevalent, especially among tourists. Be smart and keep all of your belongings within compartments or the trunk.
  • When I was planning to visit SF as a tourist and I was looking for places to visit & eat. This place came up quite often while I was researching places. We decided to go for the Sunday brunch and it was fantastic. The buffet alone was worth it. However the view is the best. We had a window seat and it was breathtaking to watch the ocean while having brunch. The dress code is casual for the elegant restaurant.

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