Cliff House : Michelin's recommendations
Renovated to the tune of $19 million in the early 2000s, the historic Cliff House offers both casual and upscale drinking and dining, as well as panoramic views, from its perch atop a high bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.This is the third cliff house on the site. Adolph Sutro built the first in 1881, but it burned to the ground on Christmas Day 1894. Sutro lost no time in hiring architects Emile Lemme and C.J. Colley to design its replacement: a flamboyant, eight-story, many-spired confection resembling a French chateau. Critics decried Sutro's extravagance, but the public loved the ornate castle and its restaurants, art galleries, luxurious parlors with panoramic ocean views, private lunch rooms and observation tower 200ft above the sea. Its glory was short-lived, however-the building survived the 1906 earthquake only to succumb to fire the following year.In 1909 the Reid Brothers, architects of the Fairmont Hotel, de-signed the third and present Cliff House. The resort remained popular through Prohibition but was abandoned for extended periods in the mid-20C until it was acquired by the National Park Service in 1977. For years it was home to the Musée Mécanique of antique arcade games, but in the early 2000s the museum was moved to Fisherman's Wharf and the Cliff House was expanded and restored. Today it holds two restaurants-the casual Cliff House Bistro and the swank Sutro's, as well as a small gift shop.