Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Jan 16, 2009 02:58 AM

Where to take husband for his birthday on the peninsula

My husband loves to eat out. With 2 little kids (20 months old and 5 year old), we're somewhat limited in our choices. For his birthday, I'd love to take him somewhere for a nice family lunch or dinner. (Kids will be coming along because we'd like it to be a family event. )He is Hungarian so if there's a recommendation for a Hungarian restaurant, that'll be nice. He also loves crepes and desserts. We live in San Mateo. I'd like to go somewhere within a 15 mile radius. Thanks.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Not Hungarian food, but the kids would love Bucks Restaurant in Woodside and would be comfortable there since if something spills its not a problem. There is so much for them to look at and their Ice Cream Hot Fudge sundae is the best. Check out their website

    1. I think Left Bank in San Mateo might work for lunch. I've usually enjoyed my food (Menlo Park location) with only a few misses & is reasonably kid friendly (crayons provided). From personal experience, I know they will accommodate "plain egg noodles for kids please" type of requests.

      Just went yesterday for a friend's birthday lunch and had a pleasing salad nicoise while friend who is trying to cut down on carbs enjoyed her steak salad. Highlight was dessert of poached pear (in liquer/wine?) with vanilla ice cream & chocolate sauce, quite tasty.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ceekskat

        Left Bank in San Mateo is awful - the service and management are beyond awful. It is hard to believe it is owned by the same people that own the Menlo Park branch. If you decide on LB please don't go to the one in San Mateo.

      2. I agree with both Buck's and Left Bank, though Left Bank is fancier than Buck's, which is one of those places with lots and lots of interesting stuff all over the walls and ceiling for the kids (and you) to look at, while left bank is more "white tablecloth". You might also consider Bay Watch for crepes. They're not fancy French crepes, but more like light omelets. I don't think the kids would be any kind of problem there either.
        Do we have any Hungarian food around here? There used to be one in Palo Alto, but I think it's gone.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Kim Cooper

          I really am not a fan of Left Bank, but my kids like it. I have found the food to be subpar and service not so great. They do have a kids menu though ig that is important and crayons for the kids to draw on the table.

          We don't eat often up toward San Mateo, but my kids love New Kapadokia for turkish food in Redwood City. It isn't fancy, but comfortable and good food. They can do a chicken and rice for the kids, as most middle eastern places will do.

          Not familiar with any Hungarian restaurants in Palo Alto. At one time Babbo's in the Stanford Shopping Center had Hungarian owners, but I haven't eaten there.

          Max's is easy with kids too, if a bit slow. Again, some things are better than others there, but the menu is diverse enough if that is an attraction.

          We take our kids everywhere, and haven't had an issue. A few restaurants required us to keep them on task, and our kids are used to restaurants.

        2. Left Bank, Bucks, Max's, are all fairly unremarkable restaurants. I strongly prefer Left Bank in Menlo Park - had a tasty skirt steak there last week. I might argue that Buck's is a better restaurant than Left Bank, but it's in the really upscale diner category.

          I worry that your husband who "loves to eat out" will be unimpressed by all of those. Where does he like to eat? Does he like to eat *out*, or does he like to *eat*? If the destination can be about the food, instead of the ambiance, you've got different picks. Left Bank is not a bad lunch choice - you can also consider going on the late side if the kids will handle it - left bank stays open throughout the afternoon, and is comfortably empty.

          Finally, it's about the kids. As one poster mentioned, they take their kids everywhere, I know some kids who should never be in a restaurant. No matter what your kids do, Buck's will be fine with it, that's for certain.

          So here's my recs.

          I would consider Sushi Sam's. That place is a little on the formica side, but it's already crowded and noisy, and as long as your kids can deal with that, the sushi can't be beat. I mean, *really* can't be beat - I still don't know what a Belt Fish is, but I'll remember the taste forever.

          Chinese restaurants, in general, are excellent with kids. If your husband doesn't eat chinese often, and you live in san mateo, you're doing yourselves a disservice. Search up on the board here.

          There is no hungarian food on the peninsula that I know of either. There is elba in Palo Alto, but I was there last night for the first time (restaurant roulette!) and it's 99% german, and the food's pretty tired. There were kids there, a 5 year old and a kid in a stroller, and they had the run of the place because there were so few people there.

          I somehow wonder if Zibbibo in PA might be a good choice, as long as the kids are well behaved. It's somehow just casual enough.

          2 Replies
          1. re: bbulkow

            i would also argue that Buck's is a better restaurant than Left Bank SM. my experience there has made me uninterested in trying the other Left Banks. i would not consider Buck's to be a special occasion restaurant though. New Kapadokia is another great restaurnat where we've alwasy had great service, but we haven't taken the small one there yet. given how accommodating the staff has been, i would imagine that they are great with kids. if you decide the route, i would recommend tea at new kapadokia (it's something of a spectacle) and then the short trip down the block to pamplemousse for dessert.

            as much as it gets slammed on these boards, Town in San Carlos is a great place to take kids, and there are a few things on the menu (warm napa cabbage salad for one) that are delicious. our 16 month old daughter likes to look at the street traffic outside. i've also heard good things about Piacere (across the street from Town) and i've seen a lot of kids there.

            we've also taken our kid to Yuzu in San Mateo for sushi. if you go for an early dinner (especially on a weekday) they are very accomodating. Joy Luck in SM is also good for dim sum. it's bustling and no one minds the kids. it's also fairly interesting for the kids to see the carts moving around.

            1. re: bbulkow

              Zibbibo would be a good choice for a weekend lunch. It won't be crowded, you can eat family-style if you want but the small plates would work well for the kids. It's a nice place, but "just casual enough."