One of the joys of living in San Francisco is having access to some of the best restaurants in the world. Then, you have kids, and the only restaurants you seem to go to are brunch spots, pizza places and burrito joints. You walk past cozy, dimly lit restaurants and see couples dining at tiny tables for two with white table cloths, and you wonder what happened to your life.
We’re here to help. Read on for a list of 50 (FIFTY!) great restaurants in San Francisco where you can take your kids, divided into two sections: “Really Kid Friendly” and “Kid Friendly, If You’re Smart About It.”
And, we don’t mean “great” because you can take your kids there (although that is really good). We mean “great” because the food is tasty and many of them have solid bar menus.
You will still find excellent brunch, pizza, and burrito places on this list because … kids, and Gary Danko is not on the list because … kids, but there are oh-so-many yummy local spots to try.
Did your favorites make the list? What would you add?
REALLY KID FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS
These places are ready for you. You’ll see other families with young children dining here and most have kids’ menus and high chairs.
- Baby Blues BBQ (Mission) 3194 Mission St. Expect big portions of Southern BBQ, salads and sandwiches in this hip and stylish restaurant. Choose from chicken strips, hot dogs, or sliders for the kids.
- The Beach Chalet and Park Chalet (Outer Sunset) 1000 Great Highway. These sister venues give you great options for dining with kids. The Beach Chalet is a more traditional dining room that boasts beautiful views of the Pacific ocean and serves seafood and American fare. The Park Chalet is an indoor/outdoor dining experience that offers music and picnicking options on the weekends. Check the website for the calendar of events. Both serve beer prepared onsite at the Beach Chalet Brewery.
- Boudin Bakery at the Wharf (Fisherman’s Wharf) 160 Jefferson St. Sometimes touristy places are fun for locals, too. This is a great lunch spot and fun place to take kids. Your children will snack on free animal-shaped bread treats while you watch the bread being made through the window. Find a seat outside or upstairs if you need more room for your brood.
- The Corner Store (Lone Mountain) CLOSED as of Mar. 2017 (We know. We’re disappointed, too.) 5 Masonic Ave. This place has everything. The food is excellent. The menu always changes. The cocktails are great, and the wine and beer is stellar. Adults will feel like they’re at a not-kid friendly restaurant, and then the high chair, crayons and kid menu arrive making all of our dreams come true. Brunch gets crowded, but early dinners are easily accommodated.
- The Crepe House (Nob Hill) 1755 Polk St. Come here for more than just crepes. They serve salads and sandwiches in addition to their delicious sweet and savory crepes and are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Giorgio’s (Inner Richmond) 151 Clement St. Children often outnumber adults at this pizzeria. Expect a wait on the weekends unless you get there by 5:00 pm. Instead of a coat check, they have a stroller check, and kids will get dough to play with before food arrives. The warm bread and draft beer selection will keep the grown-ups happy.
- Goat Hill Pizza (Potrero Hill) 300 Connecticut St. This staple of the Potrero Hill neighborhood often has family-friendly events and specials throughout the week.
- Gioia Pizzeria (Russian Hill) 2240 Polk St. Delicious pizzas and a great brunch spot with outdoor seating. Their friendly staff will always make you feel welcome.
- Green Chile Kitchen (NoPa) 1801 McCallister St. Enjoy New Mexican-style cuisine for brunch, lunch or dinner. The extensive menu has something for everyone, including a kids menu. The margaritas are incomparable, and they always have great drink specials.
- Pacific Catch (Marina & Inner Sunset) Two locations. At this fish house, you can dine casually without compromising taste. Salads and sandwiches round out the meal for any non-fish lovers in the group, and the kids menu has great options for the little ones.
- Park Chow (Inner Sunset) 1240 9th Ave. Serving delicious American cuisine for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, across from Golden Gate Park. Bistro-style seating in front, a kids’ “bar” menu, and great wine and beer selections for the grown-ups make it a go-to spot for families.
- Patxi’s Pizza (Hayes Valley, Inner Sunset, Marina, Noe Valley) Four locations. Serving deep dish Chicago pizza. The pizzas take about 30 minutes to prepare, and they offer special kids’ pizzas that can be served in the mean time.
- Pica Pica Arepa Kitchen (Mission) 401 Valencia St. Arepas are corn pockets (like pitas) stuffed with slow cooked meats, beans, plantains, cheese or vegetables. They are the perfect kid-friendly Venezuelan food and everything on the menu is 100% gluten free.
- Pluto’s (Marina & Inner Sunset) Two locations. Come here when you want a great walk-through casual al a carte menu that includes cute and tasty kid items like Martian Mac ‘n Cheese, Saturn Garlic Potato Rings and Solar Sweet Potato Fries, a full juice and milk menu, and some yummy baked desserts. For adults, there are custom made-to-order salads and sandwiches. It has a large dining room and is usually not too busy, since many people come for takeout.
- Red Hill Station (Bernal Heights) 803 Cortland Ave. The owners built the type of neighborhood restaurant that they’d want to frequent because they also live in the neighborhood. The kids’ menu is the perfect way to introduce your little ones to seafood. Most of the dining room is reserved for walk-ins, so there’s no need to plan ahead before heading out for dinner.
- Roam Artisan Burgers (Marina & Lower Pacific Heights) Two locations. Great customizable burgers in a casual, order-at-the-counter setting make this a no-brainer for families.
- Squat & Gobble Cafe & Crepery (Castro, Marina, West Portal) Three Locations. Serving family-style, large portions in a casual, welcoming atmosphere. The menu is extensive (think: breakfast food for dinner!) and the Marina location has a great back patio, which can be reserved for private events.
- Sunset Reservoir Brewing Company (Outer Sunset) 1735 Noriega St. The owner set out to make this a welcoming place for families, so come here to enjoy good, seasonal comfort food and tasty microbrew beers, wine and cocktails. The volume level is on the louder side which is perfect for kids.
- Tacko (Cow Hollow) 3115 Fillmore St. This taqueria with a New England coastal feel uses only fresh, organic ingredients and slow cooked meats that make the tacos, burritos and other menu items a great option for casual dining with kids.
- Tacolicious (Marina, Mission, North Beach) Three locations. They should rename the restaurant Tequilalicious because it has an extensive selection of tequilas. Tacos are a staple on the menu, of course, but there are plenty of other delicious authentic Mexican dishes from which to choose.
- Waterbar (Embarcadero) 399 The Embarcadero. You wouldn’t think this seafood restaurant is kid friendly, with its sweeping views of the Bay and city, white table cloths and upscale feel, but it is. The staff is trained to cater to families. There are two floor-to-ceiling aquariums to entertain the children, and they have a kids menu.
KID FRIENDLY, IF YOU’RE SMART ABOUT IT
These places are cool with you bringing your little ones, but go early and bring food your kids are guaranteed to like, as not all will offer kid-friendly options. Be prepared to see more singles and couples than families, but don’t let that scare you. These spots have all been field tested by real moms with real kids.
- 21st Amendment Brewery and Restaurant (SoMa) 563 2nd St. Serving freshly prepared pub favorites and hand crafted beers to locals and Giants fans in town for baseball games. Check the blackboard for daily drink and food specials. Also check the baseball schedule because it gets crowded before and after games.
- Ace Wasabi’s Rock n Roll Sushi (Marina) 3339 Steiner St. Come with the kids for the happy hour and sit in the back room where you’ll find other families just like you.
- Barrel Head Brewhouse (NoPa) 1785 Fulton St. “Hoppy Hour” from 4:00 – 6:00 PM makes this a great option for early dinner with kids. In addition to their delicious house brews, they offer a rotation of guest beers, “brewtails”, cocktails, wine by the glass and every spirit you could ever want. High chairs are available, and their flatbread and grilled cheese cover the kids in lieu of an actual kids menu.
- The Bell Tower (Nob Hill) 1900 Polk St. A casual pub with a full menu, some outdoor seating and lots of dogs make it a laid back, neighborhood spot to go with the kids.
- The Brick Yard (Cow Hollow) 1787 Union St. The large dining room, outdoor seating and well trained staff make this a great option for family dinners. You’ll find healthy meal options as well as traditional bar food on the menu.
- Farmer Brown (Mid-Market) 25 Mason St. A noisier environment serving upscale comfort food make this a viable option for dinner with the kids. Great food, delicious cocktails and an urban rustic feel make this feel like a cool location for adults. Reservations are recommended.
- Foreign Cinema – (Mission) This is a staple restaurant for date nights but will welcome your little ones for brunch with a three course children’s menu, crayons and coloring books. Champagne and oysters treat the adults.
- The Front Porch (Mission) 65a 29th St. Southern and Caribbean soul food makes the whole family happy in a casual, warm environment. The fried chicken is playfully served in a movie theatre box. Request a booth to be most comfortable dining as a family.
- Hog Island Oyster Company (Embarcadero) 1 Ferry Building. This popular spot in the Ferry Building doesn’t take reservations, so be prepared to wait for a table. Fortunately, with all of the other places to explore in the Ferry Building, the kids can be entertained, while one person waits in line. The friendly staff make families feel welcome and their efficient service helps make the dining experience stress free.
- Home Plate (Marina) 2274 Lombard St. An amazing, tiny brunch spot, where you’ll get complimentary warm scones and homemade jelly before your meal. Add your stroller to the others parked right out front where you can keep an eye on it while you dine.
- Il Casaro Pizzeria and Mozzarella Bar (North Beach) 348 Columbus Ave. Delicious pizza and pasta served by a friendly waitstaff. Like most North Beach establishments, it’s cozy but doable with kids.
- Kasa Indian Eatery (Castro & Nob Hill) Two locations. This welcoming casual restaurant with counter service will make the whole family happy. Taste Indian cuisine cooked with the freshest ingredients using traditional recipes. The rolls with egg, rice and yogurt are always a favorite with the kids.
- Marina Sushi Bar (Marina) 2020 Lombard St. The owners are what really make this place kid friendly. They keep plastic kiddy plates and utensils on hand, and your little one may get a complimentary ice cream at the end. The gyoza (pot stickers) and edamame are perennial favorite for kids, and they have a variety of juices from which to choose. There is only one high chair in the restaurant, so if you have a portable one, you may want to bring it. Happy hour for the adults makes this place a great value.
- Nob Hill Cafe (Nob Hill) 1152 Taylor St. Save dinner for an adult only outing at this neighborhood spot. Come with the kids for brunch when this small cafe is a little slower and you have the opportunity to sit outside.
- The Pizza Hacker (Mission) 3299 Mission St. What started as a food truck grilling pizzas on a converted Weber grill is now a cool restaurant on the border of the Mission and Bernal Heights. There’s rarely more than a ten minute wait here, but you can text ahead to put your name on the wait list just to be safe. The chalkboard running the length of the wall entertains the kids, allowing the parents to sip on a local craft beer or other beverage of choice.
- Rogue Ales Public House (North Beach) 673 Union St. The outdoor beer garden and forty beers on tap make this a popular spot for large groups without kids, but the casual atmosphere and tasty selection of pub food make it doable for families. Treat the kids to Rogue’s homemade root beer while you explore their house brews and large selection of guest beers.
- Schmidt’s (Mission) 2400 Folsom St. The beer selection, sausage platters and other authentic dishes will make you feel like you’ve taken a family trip to Germany. Freshly baked pretzel rolls and spaetzle hit the spot for kids and adults alike.
- Sotto Mare (North Beach) 552 Green St. An Italian oysteria and seafood restaurant, come here for great cioppino, clam chowder, and fresh fish dishes and enjoy them in a cozy, traditional North Beach Italian setting. If your kids aren’t seafood lovers just yet, the pasta options will hit the spot.
- Southern Pacific Brewing (Mission) 620 Treat Ave. Family friendly hours are limited to 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Monday – Friday, so it’s a nice option for, let’s call them, playdates. It’s a large space, so strollers are easily accommodated, but there are no high chairs or kid menus.
- Stones Throw (Russian Hill) 1896 Hyde St. Enjoy California/ American cuisine in a stylish, but welcoming environment. The dessert menu offers a twist of classic sweets and treats that will let you reminisce about your childhood and share those memories with your kids. Leave suggestions for future desserts at the end of the meal.
- Street Restaurant (Russian Hill) 2141 Polk St. The menu here is inspired by the local ingredients available at that time, so you can expect fresh, creative and delicious meals in a rustic, contemporary setting. They are always friendly to families and go the extra mile to borrow high chairs from neighboring restaurants, if needed.
- Suzy Noodle Shop (Japantown) 1581 Webster St. This tiny classic noodle shop in the Miyako Mall serves ramen, soba and udon noodle soups. Kids will enjoy looking in the nearby Kinokuniya gift shop.
- Tropisueno (SoMa) 75 Yerba Buena Ln. This restaurant is like getting two restaurants in one. For lunch, it’s a great taqueria. For dinner, it’s a casual restaurant serving authentic Mexican dishes. Across the street, Yerba Buena Gardens offers a great place for kids to release some energy before dinner. Reservations are recommended for dinner.
- Urban Putt (Mission) 1096 S. Van Ness St. Golf is first come, first serve, and the restaurant serves bar bites that kids’ will love. Children under 5 years old play for free. After 8:00 PM, only adults 21 and older are allowed on the course.
- Woods Polk Station (Russian Hill) 2255 Polk St. Need a pit stop while walking around the city with your little one? Stop in for a beer and snack on empanadas. This is a tiny place that’s not set up for families, but they are always welcoming if you come in for a quick refreshment.
- Yank Sing (SoMa) Two locations. These busy, buzzing restaurants make it a good spot for families. The dim sum carts are full of fresh, authentic Asian and Chinese dishes, and the variety of options guarantee there will be something for everyone. Try the more casual Stephenson St. location for the kids.
- Yummy Yummy (Inner Sunset) 1015 Irving St. Serving an extensive menu of authentic Vietnamese dishes, the staff loves to dote on children and will let them make their own spring rolls.
- Zazie (Cole Valley) 941 Cole St. The wait for a table at brunch will be worth it here. They’re well known for their gingerbread pancakes, but offer savory dishes, salads and sandwiches. The garden patio and local neighborhood vibe make this a welcoming spot for families.
- Zero Zero (SoMa) 826 Folsom St. Delicious, brick oven pizzas are a hit with diners of all ages. Seasonal pizza specials and rotating salad and pasta dishes round out a tasty menu. They offer a great wine and spirits selection for the adults and the kids will love the Make Your Own Sundaes. Reserve a table to avoid a wait.