restaurants for family w/teenagers
- Barbara Marshall
I'd like to give my kids a taste of great SF restaurants w/o spending a fortune. Definitely want to include a dim sum place, something local and italian, something unusual (Foreign Cinema?) and a trendier dress-up spot. Requirements are good food and an atmosphere we can't get in south fla. Really like places that specialize in fresh, regional foods.
I get extra points from my teenage son for a sports theme-spot with good food.(do they exist?) Anything to do w/the Giants, especially.
No haute cuisine temples, cuz the kids won't appreciate them.
There's been several threads on dim sum places as well as Italian; just browse through the SF board or do a search from the main board. I also strongly encourage searching for previous discussion on the places I'm recomending below, so that you can draw on the more collective wisdom of the SF hounds.
As for something unusual and something dressier...
Foreign Cinema is also a little on the trendy side, so that might fit your bill. You can check their film schedule online too. I ate dinner there about 1 and a half years ago, when it first opened, and thought that the food was fine but not exceptional for the price. Desserts were excellent and strongly recommended.
For a more dress up place (and also cool decor), I'd recommend Farallon, a seafood place just off of Union Sq - the interior design can be quite a sight, with jelly fish lamps and all sorts of underwater motifs. It's a bit on the spendy side. One trick that I often use is to eat at a mid-priced restaurant and then go off to a pricey place for dessert and atmosphere. You could try that for Farallon.
Chez Panisse in Berkeley definitely qualifies as a place for fresh regional food - it's where Californian cuisine began. The cooking is simple and focuses on presenting prime ingredients. Worth the trek to Berkeley. The upstairs cafe is more casual, and has an a la carte menu. The restaurant downstairs serves only a prix fixe menu, is pricier and more formal. Only drawback for you is that it is quite a temple, but the food should be easy to appreciate.
Within SF, Universal Cafe near the Mission has excellent Californian food as well. But it can be a bit loud.
I haven't been to Florida, but I'm guessing that one might get better Asian food here (please excuse my ignorance and presumption if that's not the case). That could fit your unsual category. None of them I've described below are dressy or expensive. I'd try Korean BBQ (the popular Brother's on Geary), Vietnamese (go for some of dishes cooked tableside at La Vie, also on Geary), and Japanese (go to Maki in Japantown for some pristine cooked dishes). Of these 3 places, I'd pick Maki if you need a tie-breaker.
For atmosphere, you could also try eating at Plouf (French, get the mussels) or B44 (Catalan tapas and rice dishes) on Belden Lane, a little lane just off Bush and Kearny lined with European eateries. Definitely a Mediterrean look and feel to the dinner, if you get to sit outside on the lane.
Lastly, Destino on Market near Valencia, for interesting Peruvian-influenced tapas.
Please let us know where you decide to eat, and how the food was. Best wishes!