Old School Italian, Chinese or Classic Steakhouse

I will be in San Francisco for the first time ever this week for four days. I’ve been trolling Yelp, SF Eater among others. I noticed a lot of seafood places which I am sure are all delish. I am looking to vary my food consumption and am looking for a solid classic Italian, steakhouse and chinese place. Class, character and great food is what I’m aiming for.

If by “old school” you mean Italian-American, Original Joe’s or Green Valley, or maybe Gold Mirror. Italian-Italian, Perbacco. Modern Cal-Italian, Cotogna.

Alfred’s for steak.

Chinese, Yank Sing for dim sum (lunch only). For dinner, take BART to Berkeley and go to Great China.

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For Chinese try either Jai Yun or Mister Jiu’s.

Have you been to Mister Jiu’s yet? I’m curious to try it but thought I’d wait a month or so.

Was there a week after it opened.

It’s interesting that, while most Chinese restaurants will have set banquet-type menus, few if any offer only such a menu, and then provide options within each course.

Some of our choices were good, others not so much. For the first course, we had the daikon cakes, which were neither crispy nor tasty. The black olives mixed in, while perhaps good in theory, were a major fail in reality, and perhaps even in execution.

The hot and sour soup was good and interesting. Fish cakes and tomatoes may not seem like a good mix for hot and sour soup, but the acidity of the tomatoes worked well with the oiliness of the fish cakes. Good overall balance of flavors and textures.

Our next selection was sweet potato noodles with crab and sesame paste. This dish, after all said and done, tasted as good as a $5 plate of cold sesame noodles you can find any where in any Chinese food enclave in Richmond or SGV. Was it tasty? Yes. Was it noteworthy? No.

Our vegetable selection was Chinese broccoli (or gai lan), which came with proscuitto. I guess that’s cool, and it wasn’t bad, but not something I really want with my gai lan.

We also added a supplement, the trout dish. We wanted to do smoke duck, but there were only two of us. Trout was well prepared (salt baked), but again tasted nothing like Chinese, or fish, or anything. Neither did our other fish dish, steamed halibut, which was completely overpowered by the oyster sauce.

It’s an interesting place, and I plan to go back after a few months.

Unfortunately that sounds a lot like the pop-up I went to a while back. Problems in both conception and execution.

Does this rec for Alfred’s still hold? Any thoughts on Harris Steakhouse?

Alfred’s is temporarily closed according to the following article (and their website), and permanently closed according to Opentable.

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Thanks. Any suggestions for where to go for steak in SF?

That’s a shame if Alfred’s is closed. I preferred it to Harris’ and Epic.

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This is where we eat when we want old-school Italian, especially with first-time visitors. It’s on the wharf, and after dinner you can go for a nice walk along the bay. It’s very pretty on a summer night.


Great chicken Parmesan and garlic bread; most of the menu is solid.


Mister Jiu’s doesn’t sound classic or old-school. Interesting, though. I would try it.

It’s weird but I really don’t consider SF a good steakhouse city.

That said, I do like the skirt steak and bone-in ribeye at Lolinda.

And the bone-in filet at Bobo’s is pretty good.

But neither are really old school, per se.

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Mr. Jiu’s menu is mostly modern twists on classic old-school Chinese-American dishes, e.g. by far the best shrimp toast I’ve ever had.

Cioppino’s is owned by Art Hoppe’s son. The menu’s not really old-school, it’s a mashup of dishes tourists will recognize.

Yeah, with Alfred’s closed, the only old-school steakhouse left is Harris’.

Did not know that. It’s still fun for people visiting the first time. If you live in or visit a city often, then it’s easy to forget not everyone is bored with the usual.

Is OP looking for special food experiences and an idea of what locals eat, or would he and his family like more historical places, where the food is not cutting edge, but is unique to the city? Because you can get basic red-sauce Italian or steakhouse food anywhere.

Olld-school North Beach Italian and Joe’s-style Italian are distinctive styles different from generic Italian-American found elsewhere.

It doesn’t make much sense to me for a foodie tourist to eat steak in SF.

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I do like the North Beach Italian.

It gets confusing when you don’t really know what a person is aiming at. Asking for recommendations for old-school food makes me assume a person is a bit more conservative, and not really visiting the city for the food alone. Maybe they simply want the best places to get good and normal local food. In which case, my recommendation stands! :slight_smile:

Not steak, but House of Prime Rib is old-school. Knockoff of Lawry’s.

With Alfred’s closed, my favorite old-school place in SF is Sam’s Grill. I haven’t been since Phil Lyons retired and it was purchased and spruced up by a group of customers.


If you do, definitely don’t leave without trying the Dutch crunch BBQ pork bun

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