The Big 4 at The Scarlet Huntington is perhaps the city’s most famous old-school restaurant. This is a white-tablecloth place, favored by power brokers and society figures—no less an authority than the quintessential San Francisco politician, the colorful former mayor Willie Brown, has named it as one of his favorite restaurants. (There’s no need to be intimidated, however, a warm California welcome is extended to every diner—even those who haven’t been elected to office.)
The name of the restaurant pays homage to the four men who built California’s railroads, and in turn the state’s economy, at the end of the 19th century: Leland Stanford, Charles Crocker, Mark Hopkins, and the hotel’s namesake, C.P. Huntington. They would surely appreciate the scene, with its green leather banquettes and chairs, wood paneling, vintage prints, and waiters in formal attire. We can imagine Leland opting for the rack of lamb, and C.P. Huntington perhaps ordering a steak but Executive Chef Kevin Scott also prepares lighter fare, from his Mediterranean stew to grilled fish. Every dish reflects the bounty of California produce and the best of what is in season.