Monday, August 13, 2012

San Francisco : Cliff House Restaurant (Romantic Dinner Fantasy Fulfilled)

Now, how would you like to a an excellent romantic dinner at an exquisite restaurant? One where the food is heavenly and wine divine, one perched gingerly on a sheer cliff overlooking the ocean, one with a view, a view of seagulls gliding past gracefully, one with a view of the waves of the North Pacific Ocean smashing majestically against some rugged rocks below. As the sun sets slowly but surely in the horizon, her golden sun rays dance and sparkle, reflected on the water while you held on the the hand of your loved one, your face soaking in the very last bit of her warm sunlight before she retires ....
San Francisco has just the perfect restaurant to fulfill your fantasy. Welcome to Cliff House!

Cliff House is a restaurant perched on the cliffs just north of Ocean Beach on the western of San Francisco.

Cliff House has quite a history. Dating back to 1858, this restaurant has underwent major reincarnation to be what she is today. In 1894, the very first Cliff House was burnt down only to be rebuilt in 1895. In 1896, the Victorian style Cliff House was opened. In 1906, Cliff House miraculously survived the great San Francisco earthquake and fire. However, in 1907, she was razed to the ground in a fire. In 1909, the new Cliff House reopened and was bought over by George Whitney in 1937. Since then, she has undergone several remodeling and restoration to what she is today.
Getting to Cliff House is not exactly difficult although it will take approximately 25 minutes taxi ride from Union Square where we were staying. If you are driving, once you get onto Geary Boulevard and drive the entire street, you would find yourself there.

The restaurant is well known and well visited and hence, making an advance reservation is necessary. We got our hotel to make our reservation and since I wanted very much to a glimpse of the sunset, we made our reservation at 6:30pm.

We were quickly show our seats and we were fortunate to be able to get a table for two just by the window with a beautiful view of the cliff and the ocean. The restaurant settings were bright, comfortable with full glass windows all round, giving the diners a spectacular view of the cliff and the ocean beyond. The service was prompt and the staff professional and friendly.
Settings were simple and nice and their appetizer, main, desert and wine menu are definitely inviting.
With so many choices on the menu, it was rather a difficult decision to choose what to order, especially when you do not even know what they were .....
We shared the appetizer, Braised Penn Cove Mussels with House-made-Marissa served with caramelized onions, anchor steam beer and grilled herb bread. Price : USD15.
I had Bacon Crusted Loch Duart Salmon, served with apple, rainbow chard, whole grain mustard sauce and celeriac-potato puree. Price : USD29. I must said that the piece of salmon seared with bacon crust was certainly a very refreshing idea to me at least.
My wife's favorite...scallops. Here we have the Pistachio crusted Scallops and Orange glazed Pork Belly, served with parsnip puree, butternut sauce and red wine syrup. Price : USD32.

How can one be having such fine food without a glass a wine and I order a glass of Chardonnay, produced right here at Napa Valley.
With the main course done, it was time for desert. I am less adventurous when it comes to desert and I simply settled for the Chef's Selection of Sorbets for the day.
My wife is more of a desert person and she gamely took on the Frozen Lemon Souffle, served with fresh blueberries, aged balsamic, lemon curd, citrus softbread and ground black pepper. Price : USD9
With our meal finished and our appetite satisfied, the sun was ready to retire and call it a night. We took a stroll outside the compound of the restaurant, enjoying the chilly sea breeze against our face which gradually turned into a tingling sense of numbness due to the cold. With our cameras ready, we waited patiently for that one good shot of the sun retiring.

Shooting sunsets in San Francisco here is like playing roulette because one can never tell when the infamous fog of San Francisco would decide to come in and refuses to leave.

We were fortunate that the fog stayed away that evening and we were rewarded with some memorable shots that added up as the cream to a wonderful dinner and magnificent evening. This was simply our fantasy fulfilled.

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