San Franciscans can argue all day about the pros and cons of Tadich Grill. Some will swear that they would choose the sand dabs for their last meal on earth, while others might tell you that the food is overpriced. (My favorite online review said, "I've had better thermidor in jail.")
But to me there are two bonafide reasons to pay a visit to Tadich Grill, regardless of these discussions. Number one, it's been in business in some shape or other since 1849, when it was founded by three Croatians during the Gold Rush. Number two, some of the waiters appear to have been there since then. They wear white coats, know the menu inside out, treat you with respect, and flirt with your mother if she lets them. They keep your meal going, but never seem to intrude. They really know their service here. Bonus reason number 3, for those of you who are not convinced by the old-school service idea, is the fantastic old wood-paneled dining room. If you're lucky you can even have your own semi-private "room" from the row that runs down the left side of the restaurant.
So I do suggest that you hit the Tadich Grill. Play along. Drink an old-fashioned. Have the sand dabs. Let the waiter tell you a little about his kids. My only beef is, why no Croatian wines on the wine list?
The bartenders' crisp white jackets charm me every time we visit Tadich's. The classic traditionalism of it makes me weirdly happy as does the fact that those drinks-pouring gents are NOT shy with the booze. You WILL notice the gin in your gin and tonic. Will.