San Francisco’s House of Prime Rib

Enjoy Old School Dining Elegance and Superbly Aged Beef

Even in a town known around the world for fresh seafood and cutting-edge fine dining establishments, sometimes Bay Area visitors and residents crave a properly aged piece of beef and the type of tableside service seldom seen these days. When this craving becomes a four-alarm jones, many people head to the House of Prime Rib on Van Ness Avenue. Walking through the doors of this longtime establishment is a bit like time travel. The spacious dining room has wooden booths and banquettes along the sides, woodwork on the ceiling, a long wooden bar with lighted spirits and glassware, white linen tablecloths, smartly dressed bartenders and servers and the zeitgeist of a much earlier era.

People have been coming to House of Prime Rib since it opened in 1949 and once you’re seated, you’ll understand why. The fireplaces in each dining room quickly chase the chill from your bones; the service is unobtrusive but attentive, the pours and the portions are generous and the mobile carving stations offer enticing glimpses of succulent whole beef ribs carved tableside. Other old-school touches that transport diners to another time include the side dishes, which accompany every meal. Diners look forward to:

  • Freshly tossed salads prepared tableside, complete with spinning salad bowl and delicious house dressing.
  • Mashed potatoes, with each generous dollop finished with a splash of brown pan-dripping gravy.
  • Creamed spinach, a very tasty counterpoint to cleanse the palate between bites of delicious prime rib.
  • Baked potatoes, savory and irresistible with sour cream, butter and fresh chives.
  • Yorkshire pudding, the classic preparation perfect for soaking up gravy and the au jus poured over every cut.
  • Fresh horseradish sauce, which offers a complimentary tang to the rich, aged beef.
  • Expertly prepared desserts, such as English trifle, Grand Marnier crème anglaise and many others.

There used to be many such dining establishments in American cities, but with rare exceptions, most of these places are long gone. Those that remain, such as House of Prime Rib, keep their doors open by providing outstanding service and simply incredible food. That said, there is nothing simple about keeping a fine dining restaurant open for more than 65 years. It takes hard work, unwavering standards, attention to detail and a dining experience that cannot be found anywhere else. A restaurateur must do these and many other things exceedingly well to remain relevant and competitive. The décor and service may be old school, but there’s nothing dated or stale about this place. For more information or to make a reservation, visit

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