Updated: Feb 8
The House of Prime Rib is definitely a legendary San Francisco Bay Area establishment and there's a good reason why the 49ers dine there annually, most recently in 2020 before heading to Miami for Super Bowl 54.
The House of Prime Rib Cut.
The House of Prime Rib
The House of Prime Rib....now let that settle in your mind for just a few seconds. So what did you think? Hopefully you imagined a perfectly cooked cut of beef rib meat that has been roasted to mouth-watering perfection. I'm not tooting anyone's horn, I'm telling Y-O-U the truth. Established four years after World War II by owner Joe Betz in 1949, his tried and true formula still packs the place with many hungry people.
The cows are corn-fed and the meat is aged for 21 days, when it's ready to be cut and served you will spot the silver carts, which are pushed around the restaurant. It's very amazing to me that in a city (San Francisco) that's always in the news about being one of the most healthiest in world, big on organic products and vegan diets how this restaurant still attracts droves of people from everywhere. I've been coming here multiple times since I was first introduced to it back in 2005. Everything looks and tastes the same as it did then and I wouldn't be surprised if it was like this back in 1949.
The Food, the Extra Slice and the Secret Cornbread
The menu is very easy to order from because it's short and precise. You select your choice of cut:
The City Cut: a smaller cut for the lighter appetite
House of Prime Rib Cut: a hearty portion of juicy tender beef
The English Cut: some feel that a thinner cut produces the better flavor
King Henry VIII Cut: extra-generous, thick cut of prime beef, for king size appetites
Eat that juicy bone on the House of Prime Rib Cut.
After you decide your cut or prime rib, pick your sides which consist of corn or spinach, mashed or baked potato and a fantastic thousand island tossed salad with sliced beets. When the salad arrives you are treated to a short show where the large salad bowl spins around on a bed of ice and the server gives each person a very healthy portion of delicious salad. I should also mention that you get served a round loaf of sourdough bread with creamy butter. You can always ask for more too.
Spin that delicious salad and take a peek of the lively atmosphere in the short video.
The prime rib is very tender and juicy, you also get the juice which is heated (the server will check back when they see your plate almost done and splash more hot juice, which heats everything back up) SOOO GOOD. If you have a big appetite, don't forget to ask for an extra slice (available for all cuts except the City Cut). It's much thinner and smaller than the original prime rib slice, but still delicious. If you like horseradish, you will love coming to eat here. You get several types of it. Be very careful though because it's very aromatic and spicy, which will clear your sinuses. There is also a secret off-menu item you should always ask for and that's the limited cornbread. They don't promote it much so make sure you ask your server because the cornbread is absolutely good.
The secret off-menu cornbread.
The atmosphere inside is very warm and cozy. You feel like you are in an English establishment with all of the wooden decor, low lighting and dizzying silver carts being pushed around. There a few different rooms that all surround the bar, but the bar is open to only one side. The bar is mid-sized and they like to keep most of the spaces around the bar reserved for people who plan to eat. The House of Prime Rib is a great place to celebrate an engagement, birthday or college graduation (they have a banquet room that sits 20 to 70 people). This is also a nice place to take a small group of friends or to take your sweetheart on a nice romantic date. They also have a coat check if you get toasty inside.
The House of Prime Rib has an expansive selection of fine wine.
Make a Reservation
My suggestion is for you to make a reservation at least a couple weeks in advance because this place is always packed. If you can't get a reservation, no problem, just show up at 3:30 PM when the doors open so you can put your name on the waiting list. I've done this the last two times I've eaten here. The wait was usually 2 to 2 1/2 hours. You can either wait inside and order drinks at the bar or you can just come back later. One last thing is the parking situation. Trying to find parking on Van Ness can be tough, but House of Prime Rib takes care of that problem by offering valet parking service at a reasonable price right in front of the entrance. This is a FIVE-STAR experience and I highly recommend eating here if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area or just visiting.
Don't forget to rack up 3x the points for dining at House of Prime Rib when using the BEST travel and dining credit out there the - Chase Sapphire Reserve.
If you've been here before, I'd love to hear your experiences, so please comment below!
Exterior view of House of Prime Rib.
House of Prime Rib
Open everyday for dinner
Located at 1906 Van Ness Avenue, between Washington and Jackson Street
San Francisco, California
For reservations call (415) 885-4605