December 12, 2017

The Cliff House – San Francisco


Most people who visit San Francisco have no idea of some of the unique sights that lie nearby. One of those is the restaurant known as Cliff House. Located on the western side of the city and perched above the cliffs just north of Ocean Beach, it overlooks the site of the former Sutro Baths and is now a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.



First constructed in 1858, Cliff House has gone through five major incarnations over the years due to disasters and new ownership. The most beautiful construction was perhaps the one built in 1896 which was a seven story Victorian Chateau, called by some “The Gingerbread Palace.” That same year work began on the famous Sutro Baths which included six of the largest indoor swimming pools, a museum, and skating rink. Surviving the 1906 earthquake with little damage, it later burned to the ground on the evening of September 7, 1907.



Today’s Cliff House features two restaurants, the casual dining Bistro and the more formal Sutro’s. There is also the Terrace room which serves a Sunday brunch buffet, a gift shop, and the historic Camera Obscura overlooking the ocean.



I was living in the Bay area for over a year before I had even heard of Cliff House. After visiting, I regretted not going sooner. The menu is a little pricey, but you are rewarded with some spectacular views. I recommend going on clear day, just before sunset. Both the history and beauty make Cliff House a must see for any tourist visiting San Francisco.



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