Sutro's (Cliff House)

1090 Point Lobos, SF 94121
phone: 415-386-3330
hours: Daily 11:30-3:30, 5-9:30
American, Seafood

Overlooking Seal Rock in the turbulent Pacific, the oceanfront Cliff House is a venerable SF institution. Its troubled history and continual metamorphosis is well documented online, but it is currently home to 3 restaurants, 2 bars and an impressive view.

The Ambience:
The ceilings are two spacious, arching stories high, and walls of windows overlooking a swirling ocean make for an elegant atmosphere. Subtle instrumental jazz music is pumped through the speakers, and the back, blue-lit wall holds the bar. The room's acoustics carry everyone's conversation further than intended, so it's worth nestling up to your dinner companion.

The daytime view ensures that every table is a good table, and though I've never caught one there, it can be assumed the sunsets are spectacular. At night, however, the sprawling darkness of the ocean makes the restaurant feel that much cozier.

The Menu:
Lots of fresh fish dishes and many creative pairings make the inventive cuisine somewhat unclassifiable. Extensive wine list. $20-$30 an entree.

The Food:
Overall, it's pretty tasty. The crab cakes were well prepared, though not terribly exciting, as was the Caesar salad. I had a bacon-crusted salmon that was served on potatoes with a rich cream sauce. The fish was flaky and delicious, though I found the combination a little overwhelming. A few slices of apple saved the dish, taking some of the heaviness from every bite. My dinner partner enjoyed a flavorful and perfectly cooked pan-seared tuna.

The Service:
Not the friendliest, but very professional and attentive.

Reservations: Suggested. Required on holidays.

Overall: B+
Enjoy the food, love the view.

Reviewed : Oct 2005

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