Best Traditional American in San Francisco

July 25, 2016
by Zagat Staff

Top rated traditional American restaurants in the city of SF.  

House of Prime Rib
English · Polk Gulch · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.2 · Service 4.5

"When you want a hunk o’ beef" , this Polk Gulch "institution" remains a go-to for a "classic" American meal of prime rib "cooked to perfection" and "carved at your table" , plus "all the fixin’s" ; with its "showy" service (behold the "spinning salad" ), "cold martinis" and "big, old-fashioned booths" , it’s a true "throwback" that rewards the "expense" – you can even "ask for seconds" – and while "nothing ever changes" here, fans say that's "part of the charm."
Wayfare Tavern
American · Downtown · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.3

"Genius" popovers and "amazing" fried chicken are menu highlights at this "creative comfort-food" spot in the FiDi via chef Tyler Florence; "charismatic" servers and a "super-cool" atmosphere compensate for "pricey" tabs and "loud" acoustics, but overall it stays "hopping" for a reason.
Mama's On Washington Square
American · North Beach · $
Food 4.4 · Decor 3.7 · Service 3.9

Brace yourself for a "long wait in line" to access this "charming" North Beach breakfast-and-lunch "institution" where the "home-style" American fare includes "awesome French toast" and a Monte Cristo sandwich that’s a "sinful delight" ; though it's cash only, relatively "low costs" are an additional reason why regulars are willing to squeeze into the "small" , "tight" , sometimes "tourist" -filled space.
Chow Food Bar
American · The Mission · $$
Food 4.1 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.0

A "home away from home – with better cooking than home" – this "super-popular" mini-chain is a "staple" for fans of "consistent" American comfort food and "good value" ; since it’s like "eating in a cozy diner in a small town" , regulars don’t mind the "loud" decibels and "hit-or-miss" service.
American · Lower Pacific Heights · $
Food 4.2 · Decor 3.6 · Service 3.8

For a "large, delicious" weekday breakfast or weekend brunch, this "homey" Lower Pacific Heights cafe delivers American comfort food in "huge portions" ; fans say it's "totally worth the wait" , though a few are less impressed with "all the fuss – and the gargantuan lines" ; P.S. no dinner.