Everything You Need to Know About San Francisco's Historic Tadich Grill
Are you looking for a dining experience that embodies classic San Francisco? Well, look no further than the Tadich Grill, which Forbes Magazine calls one of the "World’s 10 Great Classic Restaurants."
History of the Tadich Grill
The Tadich Grill has the honor of being the oldest restaurant in San Francisco; but what's more, it is the oldest restaurant in the entire state of California. The seed was planted for the restaurant back in 1849, when three immigrants from Croatia— Nikola Budrovich, Frano Kosta and Antonio Gasparich — set up a tent on Long Wharf selling coffee and grilled fish to sailors and merchants.
In 1871, 16-year-old John Tadich arrived in San Francisco from his home in Dalmatia on the Adriatic coast of Croatia. The original coffee tent had set up a permanent shop, and Tadich was hired as a bartender. In 1877, the establishment moved to 221 Leidesdorff St. (named for African American businessman William A. Leidesdorff). Tadich went along and, ultimately, bought the business.
To the great dismay of Tadich, the 1906 earthquake and fire destroyed the premises, leading him to join forces with fellow immigrant John Sutich. Eventually, the restaurant found its permanent home on California Street, where it remains to this day.
Like San Francisco herself, The Tadich Grill has weathered a lot over the years. From Prohibition to the food shortages during World War II to the 1989 earthquake, Tadich has kept its doors open, and grateful customers keep coming back.
The Tadich Grill in the 21st Century
Today, the Tadich Grill remains true to its turn-of-the-century roots. Keeping the traditions of Old San Francisco alive, the focus is on top-quality ingredients and good service.
The atmosphere of the Tadich Grill is much the same as it always was. Visitors will still find white-jacketed waiters serving generous platters of fresh food in an art deco interior.
The Tadich Grill does not take reservations, so expect a wait at peak times. Despite this, diners don't seem to complain and many customers are content to take a seat at the bar and eat their meal there as an option. After all, how often do you get to enjoy a made-to-order meal with centuries of history behind it?
Popular Menu Items
It's hard to go wrong when ordering any dish at the Tadich Grill. You won't find anything exotic here; just good old-fashioned seafood and steaks. These elegant dishes have been pleasing palates for more than 100 years, and the restaurant isn't planning on changing that now.
Some menu items are consistent, but the selection varies depending on the time of your visit. Every morning, the chef consults with seafood suppliers to determine the day's menu. Only the freshest catch will do for diners at Tadich.
If you would like to sample a little bit of everything, go for the ever-popular Tadich Platter. This stunning arrangement features a smorgasbord of seafood, including salmon, trout, anchovies, oysters, calamari and crab legs. It serves two people!
On the lighter side, the Cosmopolitan salad is sure to please. It includes Dungeness crab and chilled prawns on a bed of mixed greens, complete with tomato and avocado.
A favorite dessert is the Tadich Grill's rice custard pudding. This delicious recipe has not changed in a century, making it a true San Francisco treasure.You can also bring home a souvenir from your visit to Tadich Grill; their signature Bloody Mary drink mix is bottled and available for sale.
Getting to the Grill
Finding the Tadich Grill is easy; just follow the glow of the antique neon sign. Seriously though, located in the heart of the Financial District, this hotspot is simple to get to. The restaurant is just a few blocks from the Embarcadero BART and Muni Station, serving all BART lines and all Muni lines.
If you prefer to arrive in classic style, hop a cable car heading toward the corner of California Street and Front Street. You will arrive literally steps from the front door.
The Embarcadero has so much to offer visitors. After your meal, take a stroll down to Pier 3 and enjoy the views of the Bay. Even better: get your sea legs aboard a harbor cruise. Hornblower Cruises and Events has boats departing from Pier 3 several times daily. If you want to make a night of it, consider booking a cocktail cruise, where you and your pals can boogie down on this floating dance floor.
Also in the area is the San Francisco Railway Museum. A great stop for families, this small museum is bursting with history. The highlight is a fully restored vintage streetcar.
With everything to do nearby, it's easy to make a day of your trip to the Tadich Grill. Arrive early for dinner and enjoy an evening stroll through the historic neighborhood afterward. Or, if you prefer, linger over your seafood lunch and beat the nighttime rush. No matter when you visit, the Tadich Grill is one San Francisco treasure not to be missed.