Reviews of the finest restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area by Carol and Joe Davis - the Dining Detectives. From Sushi to Prime Rib, the Detectives dine their way across the spectum of fine food. ©2006 Carol and Joe Davis

The San Francisco Steakhouse and Seafood Restaurant

The Dining Detectives were back in San Francisco and this Thursday evening we had the pleasure to experience one of the best Steakhouses in town. Harris’ on Van Ness Avenue has gained a reputation as an institution since 1984 where you can find anything from Mid-Western Corn Fed 21 –Day Dry-Aged Steak to fantastic Maine Lobster.

We left work and took the California Street Cable Car from the foot of Market Street up to Van Ness. This was a San Francisco Treat in itself. A short walk north on Van Ness and we arrived at Harris’. We were warmly greeted by Keith Reese the personable and knowledgeable General Manager and were led to our table at a comfortable leather booth. High ceilings and a large 35 foot mural by San Franciscan Barnaby Conrad enhanced the Van Ness Room, the stately main dining room where we dined. The massive chandeliers and open kitchen added to the décor.

Frederick, our waiter who has been at Harris’ for many years, was quickly at our table and got us started out right with a large bottle of San Pellegrino Sparkling Water and a couple of Martinis.
Harris’ Famous Martini shaken and served on the stem in a classic wood bucket with Kettle One Vodka- Very smooth.
King Eider Martini with Grey Goose Vodka and Duckhorn Winery’s Dry Vermouth served in the classic wood Barrel. Extra smooth.
Both were fantastic and a great way to loosen up and get ready for a great dinner.

The Executive Chef, Michael Buhagiar, has also been at Harris for quite some time, working his way up from attending Culinary School in San Francisco and being a sous chef at Maxwell Plums. Owners Ann Lee Harris and Goetz Boje rarely need to drop by as it appears that everything runs perfectly...

It was now time to see what Harris’ had to offer and here are the dishes that we highly recommend.

Harris Steak Tartare- Fresh, great presentation, color, excellent texture, flavorful with a little kick. The best!

Sonoma Foie Gras on grilled country bread with reduction of nectarine- Sweet and buttery, truly wonderful.

Prince Edward Island Steamed Mussels- tender and sweet, we loved the white wine dipping sauce/ broth with parsley, onions and diced tomatoes.


Award Winning Mid Western Corn Fed Dry-Aged Prime Beef. Harris gets "Best Steak in the Bay Area" regularly because of the beef. They even have a Retail Butcher Counter for those who want to experience superb beef at home. Contrary to popular belief, it is not Harris Ranch Beef, although there was a previous connection.

So many choices so little room on one visit. Here are the Steaks we tried and highly recommend

The Porterhouse Steak-Best of both worlds. We can’t rave enough about this entrée. A steak lover’s delight, rich wonderful corn fed beef flavor, what a great steak is all about. Served with sautéed seasonal vegetables and choice of potato, we had the potatoes gratin- fabulous.

Filet Mignon Rossini –Filet Mignon grilled and finished with grilled Sonoma Foie Gras and Black truffle, cabernet sauce. Delicious, the beef, the sauce, a must. Melts in your mouth, like butter!


Steamed Whole Maine Lobster with steamed clams- Absolutely the best we’ve had since a trip to New England last fall. This 2 and _ pounder could not have been cooked more perfectly. Incredibly sweat, light yet is filling.

Sweet Endings:
Banana Baked Alaska with caramel rum sauce- beautiful presentation and tasted even better. Our favorite this evening!

Chocolate soufflé cake with white chocolate and cookie ice cream – very light and so equally rich…..delightful.

Vanilla and raisin bread pudding with Bourbon burnt sugar sauce, almond praline. Chantilly cream. Great texture and presentation, lighter than traditional bread pudding.

Harris’ has a spectacular selection that will please both the connoisseurs and the budget minded alike. We opted to pair Wines by the Glass with our cuisine.

2001 Forefathers, Marlborough New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc- Fantastic! Paired well with the Mussels and Foie Gras.

1999 Eberle, Paso Robles, Rose` of Syrah- Paired well with the Maine Lobster

Laurent-Perrier Brut, Champagne- Paired perfectly with the Lobster.

1997 Berringer Vineyards, Knights Valley, Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon- Paired perfectly with the Porterhouse Steak with it’s fresh hint of cherry.

1997 Chateau Potelle, Napa Valley. This big, bold red paired perfectly with the Filet Mignon.

1998 Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Le Mistral, Napa, Syrah blend. This paired well with everything with its magnificent luscious fruit flavors.

The List of Epic Reds is impressive to say the least and totally compliments and pairs well with all the Aged Beef.

Harris is the epitome of a true Steakhouse. A Martini, a Steak, Creamed spinach and a Big Bold Red Wine. The service was great. Bring friends, relatives and out-of-towners--- they’ll all be impressed. Be sure to say hello to the General Manager, Keith Reese. He is terrific and certainly made our evening enjoyable!


2100 Van Ness Ave (at Pacific Ave)
San Francisco, California 94109

Phone 415-673-1888
Fax 415-673-8817


Open: Dinner Only
Monday-Friday from 5:30 PM
Saturday-Sunday from 5:00 PM

Reservations Recommended
Major Credit Cards Accepted

Valet Parking Available
Dress- Jackets Appreciated, no shorts or T-shirts.

Full Bar / Extensive Wine List
Private Rooms for Private Parties or Meetings
(Accommodates up to 100 sit-down or 150 for cocktails)

Live Jazz -Thursday- Saturday (Susan Chen Trio)
Pacific Lounge has a 3 course price fixe dinner- no reservations needed

Cellular phones silence appreciated
Retail Meat Counter