Actually, "something of an institution" might be and understatement. The restaurant was established in 1849 (before California was a state) and, according to their website, is believed to be the third oldest continuously run restaurant in America. (Not to be confused with the Old Clam House, which claims to be the oldest restaurant in San Francisco which has been operating continuously at the same location. A location which, incidentally, we can see from our house.)
It would be a great place to take out of town guests, but maybe for a very early dinner. Tadich Grill does not accept reservations, so if you show up wanting a table at a regular dinner hour on a Saturday, be prepared to wait. You could probably be seated pretty quickly if you wanted to sit at the long bar, but that doesn't work very well with more than two people. We eventually got a table, hidden off in a little alcove, it was really wonderfully cozy.
The menu is expansive, but the focus is all seafood. We ordered the Seafood Cioppino, the Dungeness Crab Cakes, and the Dungeness Crab and Prawns a la Monza and everything was delicious. In fact, I wish some of that a la Monza right now. No idea what that means, but it was tasty.
We ordered the rice pudding for dessert. The Tadich Grill take on rice pudding could perhaps at best be called "unconventional". Between the three of us we ate about half of one order. Next time I'll skip dessert.
Would We Go There Again
With out of town friends who like seafood and don't mind a wait, yes. Just the two of us, if we happened to find ourselves downtown on a weeknight, yes.