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Cliff House, San Francisco

4.1
#14 of 35 in Historic Sites in 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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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
362 reviews
Google
4.1
TripAdvisor
  • July 19, 2017
    A visit to San Francisco needs to have the iconic Cliff House on your list. Housing two fabulous restaurants with the freshest of fish & cuisine; morning, noon & sunsets offer stunning views from Ocea...  more »
  • July 10, 2017
    Cliff House is a great place for lunch with a great view, There are several restaurants in cliff house and I enjoy the Bistro and recommend Joe's omelet.  more »
  • July 8, 2017
    Come for the view, not the food! The crab cakes were so heavily breaded you could not taste any crab, the pot stickers were so greasy they were inedible, and the salad filled with limp greens and litt...  more »
Google
  • June 23, 2017
    Last year, we celebrated my birthday here. They have a beautiful view. The food was not impressive as the sunset or seeing the waves. My daughter enjoyed people watching here. And our waiter was extremely friendly. Bathrooms were not great here. But this place is very popular. Perfect for a romantic date here.
  • July 2, 2017
    There are two restaurants here but we didn't eat at either one. Views are amazing right down onto the Pacific. There is a nearby casual dining place that's cash only and beautiful walking trails, and a coffee shop in the visitor center up the hill.
  • June 18, 2017
    Service, atmosphere and view are exceptional. Food won't disappoint but won't excite. Brought my parents here for an unforgettable evening. Extremely kind and considerate to my mother who at that time was in a wheel chair.
  • March 14, 2017
    About $70/person for their "champagne brunch" in which they highly recommend reservations for. The food is definitely very delicious and of fairly high quality. But I can't see myself eating $70 worth of breakfast/lunch foods. I'm guessing the extra premium was for the view and ambiance. The live harp player in the corner was definitely a great touch. And the service was incredible and all the staff was very friendly. I came here for my birthday and there were 2 other birthdays during our time slot (2pm). I'm guessing it's a popular birthday place. I'd recommend this place for a nice date with a great view or if you're really looking for a nice breakfast and you're STARVING. Otherwise, there are plenty of other places you can go for spectacular brunch for less than $50. Also, this place is great if the weather is nice. If it's gloomy or cloudy, it may not be a good choice.
  • June 25, 2017
    The service and the food where good! But I have to give just one Star because my brother in law who was visiting from Panama and paid the bill of our lunch. Got his credit card cloned!!! And this place was the only one where he used his card! He got to Panama with a bunch of bills from SF. Bad!! We are calling management too! Be careful people!

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