A San Francisco Stalwart Steakhouse Gets a Facelift

Alfred’s steakhouse shines under new ownership

The chandeliers and red booths and walls give a classic steakhouse vibe.

When you walk into Alfred’s, the newly renovated restaurant from the Daniel Patterson group, you won't have any doubts that this place has been here for generations. The red booths and chandeliers are the same that welcomed regulars like Frank Sinatra and the powerhouse duo of Joe Di Maggio and Marilyn Monroe. The atmosphere is the closest you can come a classic East Coast steakhouse and still have the Northern California weather.

There are old-school accents: Martinis and Manhattans are served with a refill in the shaker, fresh oysters — Kumamoto and Marin Miyagi — are on the daily menu, and there is a good selection of Champagne by the glass (Val de Mer Chablis, rosé) and also a wide selection of half bottles. Order your steak with the traditional array of sauces (oxtail bordelaise, whipped horseradish, salsa verde, brown-butter Béarnaise) and some classic sides: Don’t miss the Kennebec fries and the creamed spinach.

But this is a steakhouse, so the meat receives a special focus. Alfred’s steaks come from the local Flannery Beef and are naturally raised on a 100-percent grass diet. The Patterson Group took ownership of Alfred’s last year with the promise to continue the tradition of the steakhouse founded by Alfred Bacchini.

Bacchini opened his first restaurant in 1928, moving from Italy with only an apocryphal “$20 gold piece and a train ticket to San Francisco” in his pocket. The first location was on Vallejo street. In 1970, he agreed to sell his restaurant to the Petri family. The family relocated Alfred’s to its current location on Merchant Street, which had been home to the historic Blue Fox restaurant for more than 60 years.

This is definitely a date spot (swing by on Valentine’s Day for an $85 porterhouse-for-two special) that still serves up can’t-miss experiences. Try their bananas Foster flambèed tableside. It’s both delicious and pyrotechnic.

Alfred’s is located at 659 Merchant St. Lunch is served Thursdays and Fridays, while dinner is served daily. For reservations, call (415) 781-7058 or book through OpenTable.