I have been going to the Cliff House for most of my life. I remember when it was a run-down dive. I remember when Museé Mecanique was still there. It is now an upscale, almost ritzy hangout for tourists. Thankfully, they didn’t change the Clam Chowder Recipe.
Their Clam Chowder is my favorite of all time. I have had Sam’s down in Half Moon Bay and it is good. But I don’t think it will ever surpass The Cliff House clam chowder for me. I have been eating their clam chowder since I was a little kid. So to me, their New England clam chowder is how clam chowder should taste. It is engrained in my memory. The pepperiness, the big whole clams, the chunks of potatoes, no bacon, and their secret ingredient, tarragon. At the old Cliff House they would give you a half loaf of delicious sourdough bread as well and it was the perfect compliment and oh so very San Francisco. Clam chowder and sourdough bread overlooking the ocean. You simply can’t get more San Francisco than that. The new Cliff House just gives you oyster crackers. They just don’t do it like the sourdough bread did. Either way, the clam chowder is still the same and they better not give in to the changing times and change their recipe. It is golden.