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Aug 30, 2000 06:39 PM

sf with kids???

  • m

Coming to SF in October with 2 kids, ages 5 and 12...any suggestions for restaurants that will make the whole family happy??? Thanks :)

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  1. j
    Judy Leibovitch

    You didn't mention what type of food your family likes, but a few kid friendly places we like are Ti Couz in the Mission District for great, inexpensive crepes a la Bretagne, Paradise Pizza in the West Portal district (very friendly, best caesar salad I've ever had, and homemade pasta), Pasta Pomodoro (local chain with decent pasta for cheap where you pick the pasta and the sauce. Friends of ours with very picky, kosher kids went there and turned up their noses at something they had ordered and the server exchanged it with no fuss. Our 2 year old loves Cafe Marimba in the Marina, which serves very creative mexican and whose owner/chef?? Read Hearon is /was behind Black Cat and Rose Pistola. Don't forget that basically any restaurant in Chinatown may be considered child friendly, so a search of the message board may prove helpful.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Judy Leibovitch

      I second the recommendation for Ti Couz (16th and Valencia, two blocks from 16th St. BART station), an authentic Breton creperie where your kids can choose the fillings for their crepes (savory and sweet). Great salads, too. Mission District taquerias are also a good choice with kids; lots of choices of grilled and stewed meats, and since evrything is put together in front of you, you control additions of spicy sauces, etc. Kids also love the Penafiels (Mexican sodas in many fruit flavors).

      1. re: Judy Leibovitch
        Judy Leibovitch

        Also thought I'd mention Park Chow on 9th Ave near Golden Gate Park, or Chow in the Castro for good, inexpensive basic and not so basic foods where the neighborhoods are fun to roam. I love the eggplant parmesan, and they have spaghetti and meatballs that my kid loves for some ridiculously low price. Not just Italian, however. You might also all enjoy Korean charcoal barbecue in Japantown. Meats and veggies are brought to the table and you grill them yourselves (a chance to play with fire). Korea House is tasty, but a Korean patient of mine says he likes Seoul Garden better. These are all places a sightseer might also enjoy.

        1. re: Judy Leibovitch

          Thanks for the suggetions!!! I have been (without the kids) to both Black Cat abd Rose Pistola, so maybe we'll give Cafe Marimba a try!!! My kids love crepes, so we'll try to get to Ti Couz too!!! Has anyone heard of Whiz Burger Drive In??? And where it is?? I read in a little magazine blurb somewhere that the burgers are great!!!!
          Thanks again for ALL of the suggestions!!! :)

          1. re: Maura
            Jefferson Scher

            Driven by many times, but never tried it. Per the Bay Guardian's "Best of 99":

            .Even without a highway nearby, Whiz Burger offers every reason to pull over: an excellent retro sign, cheap prices, an outdoor counter with a screened-in serving window, and a menu with all the major food groups: French fries, mango shakes, cheeseburgers, and ice-cream cones. Just remember to grab some extra ketchup packs for the glove compartment. 700 South Van Ness, S.F. (415) 824-5888.


            1. re: Jefferson Scher

              Whizburger is pretty sweet. When I have a corn-dog jones, there is not a stick with which the establishment may be beaten. The shakes are perfectly good, although not heavenly, and I am a die-hard fan of the thick-cut (though I would be shocked if they were fresh cut) french fries. They make a good juicy burger, but I usually go to Hot 'n Chunky (or Hot 'n Hunky in the Castro) if that's my craving. Joe's Cable Car, way, way down Mission Street, has the daily fresh ground meat, if it is indeed burgers you're after. On the other hand, Burger Joint and Jay's Cheesesteak shop both have Niman-Schell (sp?) gourmet beef, and the difference is clear. The only problem is with the health-food meat focus, they exclude bacon from the menu entirely.

              Circling back to the family eats, and tangentially related to burgers, Fog City Diner is touristy, but good and fun... On the pricier side for a whole family excursion.


              1. re: Mike Zurer

                I like the burgers at Barney's (several Bay Area locations, including Chestnut, 24th St., College Ave in Oakland), even though they violate B. Kliban's proscription ("never eat anything bigger than your head"). Lots of burgers to choose from, like the Parisian (w/blue cheese and red onion on a baguette) or the Baja (salsa, guac, sour cream, & jack). Great batter-fried stuff--try the mixed vegetables (zucchini, mushroom, & onion) or just the (enormous) onion rings. Fries are pretty good, but not as excellent as the onion rings. There are some nice salads, and just so you don't have to eat anything *too* healthy, some of them have bacon; they also have a veggieburger thing, though.

                I think they're pretty kid-friendly overall--prices aren't too bad, and atmosphere is casual--but the burgers are huge and I don't think they have a kids' menu.

                1. re: Tom Hilton

                  Thanks, Tom for all the burger suggestions!!!
                  We'll probably stick to Whiz Burger, though, because even if the food is so-so, I am sure the ambiance will more than make up for it with the little people!!!

                  1. re: Tom Hilton

                    Hi Tom, I vote for Barney's too. The one near Chestnut (actually on a side street) in SF and Piedmont in Oakland have outdoor patios that I think the kids will enjoy during these last few weeks of summer weather.

                  2. re: Mike Zurer

                    Thanks for the endorsement, Mike!!!
                    I have been to the Fog City Diner w/o the kids, and it really is fun...but I don't think their young palates would appreciate the good food!!!

                  3. re: Jefferson Scher

                    Thanks for the info!!! I look forward to taking the kids sounds fun!!!! :)

              2. There is a fabulous restaurant called Mel's Diner on 3rd Avenue near Pacific Bell Park. Their menu is huge, with tons of different selections. They make especially good Chinese chicken salad and Philly cheesesteaks. They have lots of other good stuff too, and a dessert menu a mile long. This place is definitely a crowd pleaser.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Sarah
                  judy leibovitch

                  Is that part of the Mel's Diner chain? It might be, in which case the original location is the one on Geary, whose facade was used as the outside of Al's Diner in the old Happy Days sitcom.

                  1. re: judy leibovitch

                    Sorry, but I am not sure whether it is a chain or not.

                    1. re: Sarah
                      judy leibovitch

                      I'm thinkin' it's gotta be part of the Mel's chain, or the attorneys would be all over them, don't you think? At any rate, I just wanted to make the point to Maura that assuming same chain, the "Happy Days" one might be cool for the kids. (Or do you think kids that young would even know the reference?!!)