If you want to experience the cutting edge of California cuisine with your steak, Lolinda is the best place to capture that avant-garde spirit. Situated in the red-hot Mission district, where new and inventive restaurants seem to pop open overnight, Lolinda combines the rich history of Argentinean steak with the new-wave foodie fanaticism that has grabbed this town by its collar-tucked napkin. That means you can start your meal off with traditional pequeno, an appetizer that can be cold like ceviche or hot like croquetas, and finish with an inventive peanut butter mousse. In between you can delight yourself with tira (crosscut short ribs), matambra (flank steak), or ojo de bife (ribeye steak).
Recommended for Steakhouses because: Lolinda is a good option for those who want a more international flair to their steak.
Tom's expert tip: Hot Argentinean-style steakhouse in the smoldering heart of San Francisco's Mission District.
If you need your steak in an elegant setting, pick Harris' the San Francisco Steakhouse. Brass chandeliers and leather booths create a private and romantic atmosphere for your meals, which feature meat raised primarily in Kansas and Nebraska. Award-winning dry-aged beef is what keeps Bay Area steak enthusiasts coming back to Harris' Restaurant. Cooked on an open range mesquite grill, Harris' beef is prepared by an in-house butcher and served in a variety of cuts. Diners enjoy everything from thick, bone-in New York steak to petite filet mignon and roast prime rib. Other top picks include the lamb chops, pan-roasted chicken breast and Atlantic salmon. The lounge features live jazz music nightly.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: Harris is a good choice for those who want a more upscale steak experience.
Tom's expert tip: If the main lounge of Harris' feels too stuffy, try the adjoining bar lounge that features nightly jazz.
We don't make it a habit of recommending franchises, but Ruth's Chris Steakhouse has earned its place on this list. Although the corporate headquarters is in Florida, the San Francisco steakhouse has along tradition here, reflected in its thoughtful California wine selection that includes Mondavi, Beringer and Stag's Leap. This is traditional steaks at its finest and biggest, including the tablespoon of butter added to the meat just before it leaves the kitchen to add that signature sizzle. If you're feeling homesick on your trip, and a good steak tastes like home to you, then substitute Mission burritos or NorthBeach Italian or Chinese dim sun for the tried and true familiarity of a sizzling steak.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: If you want a San Francisco steak that has been proven over time, you can't go wrong with Ruth's.
Tom's expert tip: The au gratin potatoes include a bechamel sauce that make them especially tasty.
If you're not ready for a California new-wave type of steak, but you don't want to sit down at a steakhouse that just feels like one of the chains from back home, then Izzy's Steaks and Chops might be your best bet. Although the latest incarnation of Izzy's in 1987 on Steiner Street is relatively recent, it's namesake, Izzy, is a much beloved local figure from early 20th century San Francisco. Izzy was kind and welcoming to everyone who entered his North Beach saloon, and that generous and affable spirit pervades Izzy's Steaks and Chops. This steakhouse doesn't just rest on its popular history, though; like all the restaurants on this list, Izzy's earned its place because of the top-notch meat. Izzy's steaks, humanely raised USDA certified corn fed Black Angus beef from locally owned and operated Creekstone Farms, makes Izzy's a top San Francisco steakhouse.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: Izzy has a small town feel but makes big city quality steaks.
Tom's expert tip: Izzy's own potatoes au gratin is a great side to their perfectly-aged cut of meat.
If you need a side of Marines with your steak, you can get both in the heart of San Francisco at Leatherneck Steakhouse. Don't worry, though - the name comes from the slang term for members of the US Marine Corps, not for the taste of their beef. Hidden away on the top floor of the Marine Club in San Francisco's iconic Union Square, Executive Chef Paul Lozito's dinner menu includes Prime Rib, Filet Mignon, Petite Filt Oscar and NY Strip. If you're eating out on a weekend night, be prepared for a dining hall full of patrons preparing to attend a show at the Marines Memorial Theatre. The restaurant is formally decorated with military memorabilia, and most nights also feature live piano music during dinner hours.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: The name says it all - this place is serious about its steak.
Tom's expert tip: Be sure to sample the truffled tater tots.
If you want to the international feel of San Francisco, but also yearn for the warm fuzzy of comfort food that only a good steak can offer, you're sure to go home satisfied after a decadent meal at this stylish steakhouse. Located in the financial district, 5A5 Steak Lounge presents an upscale, contemporary take on the traditional steakhouse atmosphere and fare. Choose from entrees featuring top quality US Certified Angus Beef, American and Australian Kobe, and 100% Japanese Wagyu. The restaurant takes its name from this signature A5 Japanese meat, which is the highest rated meat in the world. Or, spring for other menu musts like Colorado lamb, fresh-caught salmon and the vegetarian special.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: 5A% steakhouse mixes traditional and contemporary approaches to stake to create something altogether delicious.
Tom's expert tip: The Happy Hour $5 menu, which includes truffle fries and Malay filet skewers, is a fun way to get a taste of this stylish restaurant.
If you're done with the stuffy, white-starched formal atmosphere of most steakhouses and just want to have fun, head to Boboquivari's. Renowned for its delightful crab dishes and distinguished dry-aged steaks, "Bobo's" comes highly recommended by locals and out-of-towners alike. The crispy crab cakes are a favorite starter for seafood enthusiasts, and the divine Dungeness crab roasted in garlic sauce is an equally popular main course. Other top picks include the bone-in filet mignon and the Surf & Turf: half crab, half petit filet mignon. Be sure to try a signature martini, too. The atmosphere may be colorful and playful, best rest-assured that culinary-trained and Italian born Executive Chef Andrea Froncillo takes his meat very seriously.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: Bobo's takes it steaks seriouslyThe steaks are taken seriously at Bobo's, but not much else.
Tom's expert tip: The baked yam with brown sugar-butter is that perfect lip-smackin' sweet to your savory steak.
If you feel more comfortable leaving your steak preparation to a Texan rather than a Californian, then head to Bob's Steak and Chop House. Founded in 1993 in Dallas, Texas, this steakhouse follows the Texas tradition of the bigger the better. The cuts of meat are big, the glasses of wine are fish bowls, and the jumbo shrimp in the enormous salads could pass as lobsters. Even the atmosphere is as big and robust as a ten gallon hat. And, if you still have room, then order their Marbled Chocolate Amaretto Cheesecake to complete the shift of all your blood flow to your stomach. If your dinner happens to be your only meal of the day, make it a Bob's night out.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: Bob's Steak and Chop House keeps the tradition of good steak simple and successful.
Tom's expert tip: The menu describes the onion rings as huge. That's an understatement.
Only in San Francisco could a Brazilian restaurant top a list of best steakhouses. California cuisine started in the Bay Area, a mixture of the finest foods from all different cultures, and Espetus reflects California cuisine at its best: imaginative, daring, breaking barriers but never, ever, forsaking experimentation for true quality. Experience those flavors of Brazil at Espetus Churrascaria, the area's premier Rodizio-style restaurant. Here, dedicated Gaucho Chefs serve premium cuts of beef, lamb, chicken, pork and seafood, all slowly roasted over open flame. The all-you-can-eat, prix fixe menu includes a salad bar and side dishes, and patrons control the pace of the meal via green ("yes, please") and red ("no, thank you") service chips.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: Espetus Churrascaria offers quality steaks for that San Francisco traveler who wants a taste of Brazil.
Tom's expert tip: If you're interested in the fascinating history of "gaucho" chefs, this is the place to go.
Although Bay Area cuisine is all about the latest "foodie" craze, if you're not all that much into someone messing around with your steak, then tuck a white linen napkin into your collar at the House of Prime Rib. The iconic House of Prime Rib serves potentially the highest quality corn-fed beef in the Bay Area. Their meticulously prepared meat is aged for 21 days, making it especially tender, juicy and flavorful. Diners enjoy well-marbled prime rib, carved tableside to their exact specifications, along with sides like fluffy mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. The dessert cart offers a decadent array of sinful sweets, and assorted wines promise the perfect pairing.
Recommended for Steakhouses because: House of Prime Rib is a delightful San Francisco tradition for both residents and those coming from out-of-town.
Tom's expert tip: The traditional Yorkshire pudding is a house specialty.