Picture an elegant classy dinner overlooking towering cliffs and a huge crystal blue ocean. Delicious food, a spot for relaxation, and a beautiful view is undoubtedly the idea of a perfect getaway for most of us. I’m no different, so Cliff House was definitely a spot I had to check out on my recent San Fran adventure.
Renovated into a restaurant and national park, San Francisco’s Cliff House was originally a bath house founded by Adolph Sutro in 1896. This old bathhouse has definitely come a long way since then and is now one of San Fran’s most scenic tourist attractions overlooking the city’s beautiful Ocean Beach. I have to admit, I was indeed a bit speechless when I first laid eyes on the view; the high cliffs, the winding green trails, and the massive blue ocean surrounding Cliff House was simply beautiful. Mother Nature was definitely showing off and succeeded.
After feeding my camera with hundreds of snapshots, it was time to head up the cliff to feed my stomach.
Cliff House offers two differently styled restaurants. If you’re in the mood for a more elegant and formal dining experience, make your way down to Sutro’s Restaurant sitting on the lower level. With high ceilings, a neutral clean décor, and candlelit tables, it’s definitely a sophisticated spot for fine dining. Just make sure to make those reservations beforehand, the beautiful view attracts many visitors daily.
And now to the highlights of our menu exploring:
Maine Lobster Bisque
A steamy hot coconut and seafood flavored soup, topped with a dollop of crème fraiche and panna cotta. Simply put, this bisque appetizer is rich in taste and flavor, and makes for a delish way to start off your meal.
Quinoa Crusted Riverdog Farm Butternut Squash
To the vegetarians out there, this may be the dish for you. Served with rainbow chard, mushrooms, and fregola, this vegetarian squash is definitely light in taste and will suit the taste buds of the health conscious. The bitterness of the spinach, chewy texture of
the fregola, and the slight sweetness of the squash creates a unique spectrum of flavors and textures. Although each one is subtle and light on its own, mixing them together makes for an interesting combination.
Dungoness Crab and Artichoke Raviolli
Delicate pieces of spinach ravioli stuffed with cilantro and crab, topped with lemon buerre blanc, and served with artichoke chips. Although the artichokes was a bit overly salty for my taste, the smooth chewy texture of the spinach ravioli wrap paired with the flavor of the crab filling definitely made up for it.
Duo of Maple Leaf Duck
Out of all the dishes, this Maple Duck has definitely won my love in terms of presentation. Pieces of sliced roasted duck laid out in a curve, topped with colorful sweet potatoes, kumquat, and scallions, then drizzled with a golden honey gastrique sauce to finish it off. The presentation was definitely a beautiful work of art. As for the taste, the fragrance of the maple sauce was my favorite and made a sweet pair with the tenderness of the duck.
Seaweed Payboat Scallops
Saving the best for last, say hello the winner of the night and the highlight of our meal, Payboat Scallops. Crispy on the outside, tenderly soft on the inside, and flavored with a handful of delicious spices, these savory scallops became the definition of our Cliff House experience. Delicately layered on top of vegetable risotto, rock shrimp, and asparagus, these Seaweed Scallops are beautiful both inside and out.
Although the scallops were delicious, I still haven’t gotten to the point of ranking Cliff House as a delicious food heaven. Don’t get me wrong, their food was enjoyable and their presentations were impeccable, but it’s not the type of food that still has you dreaming about it even weeks after you’ve taken the last bite.
However, their beautiful scenic views are sure to leave a lasting impression, which is why Cliff House is such a well-loved spot in San Fran. And don’t deny it, the whole idea of eating on top of a cliff is pretty awesome and enough to conjure up your curiosity. Fine dining is all about the experience afterall, so if you’re looking for a place with elegant ambiance, a stroll on the beach, and some California sunshine, then Cliff House will do you well.
Cliff House Sutro’s Restaurant
1090 Point Labos
San Francisco, CA.