240 California Street
San Francisco, CA 94111 | Map
San Francisco always has cultivated what it honors – and it surely honors its dining-out tradition, which began with Tadich Grill, the city’s oldest restaurant.
Starting as a coffee stand in 1849, the Tadich of today still has a gold rush era feel to it, with its old floors, wood booth interior, long bar and lunch counter and white-jacketed waiters.
The instant you enter, you know this no-frills dining hall embodies the essence of San Francisco.
Tadich boasts of being the first to broil seafood over mesquite charcoal back in the early 1920s. Then, as now, seafood dominates the menu. The classic sourdough bread, Dungeness crab cocktails and Pacific oysters start many a meal.
Most of the fish comes charcoal broiled, pan-fried or sautéed. Their cioppino speaks of San Francisco tradition.
I had a fried seafood platter – perfectly breaded, fresh and tasty. It whisked me back to the 1960’s and old Spenger’s restaurant in Berkeley. That’s where I first had shrimp and scallops done right and discovered that not all seafood comes from frozen fish sticks boxes or jars of Manischewitz gefilte fish.
Fabled San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen once wrote that while eating Hangtown Fry (an oyster and bacon omelet dating back to the gold rush) he felt as if time stood still at Tadich Grill.
For sure, Tadich speaks of what San Francisco must have been like at the turn of the 20th century when miners were miners and fish was fish.