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20 Must-Visit Old-School Steakhouses Around the U.S.

Enjoy the country's finest slabs of meat with a side of time travel
June 13, 2017
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by Zagat Staff

The traditions of old-school steakhouses — from tableside dishes to dry martinis — are always a surefire crowd-pleaser. We've put together a list of our favorites around the U.S. Choose any of the below, and you won't go wrong. (Oh, and if new-school steakhouses are more your thing, we've got a list for that too.) 

Peter Luger, NYC
Consistently ranked at the top of NYC’s steakhouse list, this Brooklyn icon has been serving juicy, flavorful cuts since 1887. With stately dark wood, red leather chairs and down-to-business — if not surly, at times — service, a visit to Luger is a bit like stepping back in time, in a good way. Make sure to bring a wad of cash, if not only to feel like a high roller, then simply because credit cards are still not accepted.

178 Broadway, Brooklyn; 718-387-7400

Musso & Frank Grill, Los Angeles, CA
Opened in 1919, this Hollywood restaurant was made famous by its French-leaning menu, which is mostly unchanged today (where else can you get jellied consommé, avocado cocktail and flannel cakes on any given day?). Its history is lengthy: In the 1930s, it was where studio execs recruited authors to the Hollywood sets. One step in either of its rooms, and you feel the ghosts of Faulkner, Fitzgerald and Steinbeck hanging around. The bar is still one of the best places for a martini in town, where red-jacketed servers, some who’ve been there for more than 50 years, shake and serve them up with olives (and a little extra on the side). This was a favorite spot for Mad Men location scouts.

6667 Hollywood Blvd.; 323-467-7788

Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse, Chicago, IL
It may not be the oldest, but Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse reigns supreme in its own way. Not only is it routinely ranked the highest-grossing independent restaurant in Chicago, and among the most profitable in the country, but it's known for welcoming legions of famous guests and regulars. Just glance at the walls by the staircase, a veritable shrine to the hundreds of celebs who call Gibsons their local favorite. The place bustles with clinking martini glasses at the bar, while OG servers bring pomp and circumstance to the packed dining room along with colossal cuts of steak, seafood platters and enormous slices of cake. 

1028 N. Rush St.; 312-266-8999

The Palm, Washington, DC
Perhaps most known for its famous customers and their caricatures that line the walls, The Palm has maintained its status as the quintessential power lunch spot for upwards of 40 years. The menu is as delightfully retro as the dining room, stocked with straight-shooting steakhouse and Italian favorites like crab cakes, veal Marsala and Key lime pie.  

1225 19th St. NW; 202-293-9091

Taste of Texas, Houston, TX
Lone Star pride runs deep at this 40-year-old institution where modern sensibilities meet nostalgic charm on the plate, in the glass and on the walls. Hefty cuts of certified Angus beef and rich sides keep guests coming back, as does the in-house Texana history museum of flags, portraits, battle artifacts and signed documents on display throughout the restaurant. 

10505 Katy Fwy.; 713-932-6901

Butcher’s Table, Seattle, WA
This multilevel ode to beef located on the edge of South Lake Union offers a little bit for everyone. There’s a swanky bar, a butcher shop and a lunch counter for grab-and-go items. But the main event is the hushed, subterranean dining room where this relatively modern space takes a more traditional steakhouse atmosphere, complete with black tablecloths, dim lighting and a staff prepared to indulge any whim.

2121 Westlake Ave.; 206-209-5990

Abe & Louie's, two locations
This traditional Boston (and Boca Raton) steakhouse offers a glimpse into the world of yacht clubs and tycoons. With white tablecloths, wood-paneled ceilings, steep prices and plenty of blue blazers, the restaurant feels like a vintage gentlemen’s club. And with gigantic cuts and attentive service, it's worth the outlay. 

793 Boylston St., Boston; 617-536-6300

2200 Glades Road, Boca Raton; 561-447-0024

Cole’s Chop House, Napa, CA
Nothing goes with a big Cab or bold Meritage quite like a nice hunk of steak. Cole's, an elegant dining destination in California Wine Country, perfectly pairs top-notch meat with an excellent, long list of wine. The stellar service and the setting — a rustic stone building — complete the experience. 

1122 Main St.; 707-224-6328

Butcher and Singer, Philadelphia, PA
This Stephen Starr restaurant in Rittenhouse Square is a classy paradise for carnivores. Boasting a midcentury supper club atmosphere, it feels like Don Draper might stroll through the doors of Butcher and Singer at any moment. Try a first-class steak paired with a classic cocktail, or choose from the expansive wine list. 

1500 Walnut St.; 215-732-4444

Cafe La Maze, San Diego, CA
Back in the 1940s when Tijuana was the playground for Hollywood’s rich and famous, this National City hot spot was a U.S.-based pit stop to fill up on steaks and seafood. There have been facelifts over the years, but diners can experience the restaurant’s gilded history. Dine in tufted red vinyl booths while portraits of Clark Gable, Bing Crosby and Errol Flynn — guests known to frequent the restaurant back in the day — hang above you in the retro dining room.

1441 Highland Ave., National City; 619-474-3222

Keens Steakhouse, NYC
This Midtown Manhattan relic has been around since 1885, and we’d imagine it's just as good now as it was back then. With a museumlike ambiance, Keens still serves massive chops and magnificent cuts of meat, as well as a comprehensive selection of scotch. 

72 W. 36th St.; 212-947-3636

Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House, Fort Worth, TX
When the flagship Uptown location opened last year, the new digs were sexy, modern and anything but old-feeling like the original Spring Valley location (about to become the next Al Biernat's). However, the Fort Worth location still has that wonderfully majestic throwback vibe worthy of the brand's old-school legacy. Lots of rich wood paneling and accents, ornate wrought iron on stairways and second-floor railings, massive chandeliers and pastoral murals work in harmony to create a distinct feel from decades past.

812 Main St., Fort Worth; 817-877-3999

Pacific Dining Car, Los Angeles, CA
The circa 1921 restaurant was born in a railway car parked on a rented lot Downtown to serve the hungry appetites of land speculators, real estate moguls and bootleggers — the kind of men who made deals over big steaks, flaky pies and a cup of coffee. As the place (and the economy) grew after the Depression, celebrities from mafia heads to Mae West were fans of the hideaway. A meal in the original wood-paneled dining car with its tasseled curtains, green velvet chairs and dog portraits on the wall is a taste of a more glamorous time around the table, long before cell phones and selfies became the norm. It's also open 24/7.

1310 W. Sixth St.; 213-483-6000

Okeechobee Steakhouse, West Palm Beach, FL
It doesn’t get much more old-school than the oldest chophouse in the state of Florida. The family-owned landmark has been passed down from generation to generation for 70 years, garnering a following for its top-notch service and premium menu of dry-aged steaks, mouthwatering shellfish and truffle-Parmesan tater tots.

2854 Okeechobee Blvd.; 561-683-5151

The Prime Rib, three locations
This place has barely changed since it opened its first location in Baltimore in 1965. The staff still dons tuxedos. Guests still must wear jackets. Pianists and bassists still play every night. The meat is still first-rate. And both the DC outpost, which opened in 1976, and the Philly outpost, which opened in 1997, follow the same formula as the original. They're just as beloved too. 

2020 K St. NW, Washington DC; 202-466-8811

1101 N. Calvert St., Baltimore; 410-539-1804

1701 Locust St., Philadelphia; 215-772-1701
 

The Driskill Grill, Austin, TX
Before The Driskill Grill opened in the Driskill Hotel in 1999, the space was home to The Driskill Dining Room (opened in 1929), which served dishes like broiled sirloin of Kansas City beef for just $1.10 in 1940. These days, a 23-oz. Kansas City strip for two will run you $121 — but remember it's Ranger Cattle aged for a minimum of 50 days in the restaurant's temperature- and humidity-controlled dry-aging room. Diners can gussy up their steak (not that it needs it) with sauces like bacon-date jam and bone-marrow aïoli, and enjoy seasonal sides like local okra with heirloom tomato and chorizo or English pea risotto with Parmesan and lemon.

604 Brazos St.; 512-439-1234

Bones, Atlanta, GA
If you're in the mood for an expense-account kind of experience, Bones, open since 1979 in Atlanta's tony Buckhead neighborhood, should top your list. This masculine chophouse excels at all the standards, from porterhouse to rib-eye, but it's not just about the steak here. The chummy service staff is legendary — many with decades-long tenures — the Mountain High Pie is an iconic dessert and the mind-boggling wine list just as renowned. Looking for something more relaxed? A lunchtime burger at the bar is a Buckhead tradition.

3130 Piedmont Rd. NE; 404-237-2663

Gene & Georgetti, Chicago, IL
Serving Chicago since 1941, this River North steakhouse has always been a place to see and be seen — and it remains so today. The beef is tender and flavorful; the Italian fare just as hearty; and the cocktails just as stiff. Bonus points for the ogle-worthy crowd, which includes politicians and Windy City elite. 

500 North Franklin Street; 312-527-3718

Pappas Bros., three locations
Texas is known for its beef and Pappas Bros. is the ultimate steak experience in the Lone Star State. The three restaurants — one in Dallas and two in Houston — possess all the hallmarks of big doins': masculine decor, a biblical wine list and impeccable service. But it’s not just for show. The aged in-house meats are just as good as you’d hope. Don't miss the chilled seafood tower either. 

10477 Lombardy Lane, Dallas; 214-366-2000

5839 Westheimer Rd. Houston; 713-780-7352

1200 McKinney St., Houston; 713-658-1995

Alfred's, San Francisco, CA
Approaching its 90th birthday, this iconic FiDi steakhouse received a much-needed menu and decor revamp last year thanks to its new owners, Daniel Patterson's DPG group. Now it feels both historic and fresh, balancing classic dry-aged steaks from the mesquite grill and oysters Rockefeller with carrots cooked in aged beef fat or smoked steelhead trout on toast. The gorgeous atmosphere features throwback bright red booths and crystal chandeliers, with contemporary touches like Bay Area photography. Note that the restaurant suffered a fire in the spring and expects to reopen mid June.

659 Merchant St.; 415-781-7058

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