Cliff House Sign

Ocean Beach

Cliff House

The Cliff House is a historic upscale restaurant located on the northern headland of Ocean Beach. Over the years, as people have enjoyed the meals and views from the restaurant, the reputation and look of the eatery have changed. But today, if you visit Ocean Beach (and are hungry) the Cliff House can be a good spot to rest and dine. The good views and food speak for themselves.

The Cliff House has gone through several phases in its lifetime. Originally, the restaurant was nothing more than old cargo ship wood, placed high on a headland in 1858 and constructed into a building. Over the years, after fires and earthquakes, the Cliff House has transformed into everything from a seven-story Victorian chateau, which in old pictures resembles the house of Dracula, to the modest, cream-colored restaurant building that you see today.

Regardless of its style, the same location and ambiance have remained with the Cliff House.

Be prepared for crowds at the popular Ocean Beach eatery, though, especially during the busy times of year (June ‚ÄĒ Nov.). One restaurant, Sutro‚Äôs, which honors a past owner, Adolph Sutro, is more formal; and the other restaurant, Bistro, a more caf√©-style venue, keep the Cliff House ticking throughout the seasons. In addition, views of the famous Seal Rocks, where sea lions (local wildlife) typically play and nap, and the Sutro Baths ruins, are both entertaining.

Did we mention the Pacific Ocean is less than 30 feet away? Check out that view, too.

There are plenty of restaurants to visit on your San Francisco holiday. And truthfully, no matter where you go in the city, good food is sure to appear. But if you want a taste of history unique to Ocean Beach, both in food and location, make your way to the Cliff House.

Cliff House

How Do I Find the Cliff House?

  • You can use¬†public transportation routes¬†1, 2, 5, 18, 31, 31ax, 38, 38ax, 48, 71, 71L and the N to access the Cliff House.¬†The¬†5R is the easiest, though.
  • To¬†reach the Cliff House¬†from¬†Union Square¬†you can ride the 5R or N. The N goes to the community of Ocean Beach (about one mile south of the Cliff House) and the 5R is a 5 minute walk from the restaurant.¬†We recommend the 5R.

Cliff House Facade


Orange Sky Co. says:

Orange Sky SF Logo

The Cliff House is crowded on a regular basis because of popularity and prime location. It’s also more upscale than one would think for a beach restaurant. If you’re dying to visit, be our guest. But if the wait is too long, don’t feel bad about giving the restaurant a miss.


Location of the Cliff House