When you are in San Francisco, you have to plan a meal at the legendary Tadich Grill. Located in the financial district, this restaurant was established in 1849 in a tent on Long Wharf. Through a series of ups and downs the restaurant was built in 1912. This is the oldest continuously run restaurant in San Francisco and the third oldest restaurant in the USA.
A veritable slew of celebrities have visited this iconic restaurant from Emeril Lagasse who said that “no matter what religion your are, you are not truly baptized until you have lunch or dinner at the Tadich Grill”. R.I.P. Anthony Bourdain featured this restaurant on his show No Reservations San Francisco. The New York Times stated, “few restaurants last 50 years, let alone 162. In a city known for cutting edge restaurants, Tadich’s in old fashioned, a nostalgic shrine to local piscine tradition.” Forbes magazine said that Tadich Grill is one of the great classic restaurants well worth visiting. And this list goes on and on.
So of course, I had to at least try this highly venerated establishment. I’ve since visited this restaurant twice.
I’ve never actually gotten a table here. When you walk in, there’s a long bar all the way to the kitchen. Behind the bar stools is a coat rack. The majority of people stand around and just grab an empty bar stool when one opens while enjoying a cocktail. I usually end up speaking to at least one person on either side of me. People are friendly here but it’s not necessarily a place you have to talk.
The waiters and bartenders are mostly older gentlemen over 50 wearing white jackets. They have this old school bravado. They are friendly but gruff. I’ve been there solo, so I have quite enjoyed them!
Once seated the menu is old fashioned and classic, yet still give you a ton of options. I’ve had a traditional cocktail. Margarita as well as a few different glasses of wine. The staff is well prepared to answer any questions about pairings. They know the food in and out.
They start out with the traditional San Francisco sourdough bread and butter. Always good. Order a side of Blue Cheese dressing. Homemade classic and really good. Both times I’ve been, I ordered the cioppino. The classic dish and staple at the Tadich Grill. It’s a seafood dish with fresh white fish, mussels, scallops, shrimp in a savory red sauce served with garlic bread. It’s insane. They give you a bib and I advise using it, as it can splash when you eat. I wish the shrimp didn’t have tails or the mussels came out if shell. It would be a lot less messy but hey, it’s still worth ordering, the portion is huge. Definitely enough for two people.
Overall, I would recommend coming to this place. It’s definitely worth the 150 plus years of hype.