Food suggestions for ex-New Yorker w/ toddler and shellfish-allergic spouse
Dear CHers - I was very active on the NYC board until I moved to San Diego. Now I will be coming to SF with a 19 month old toddler and my spouse who is allergic to shrimp and lobster, and we all enjoy good food. My toddler is surprisingly not picky but cannot eat really spicy food for obvious reasons. My spouse will eat anything other than shrimp and lobster! We will be staying at the Marriott in downtown on 4th Street and Market, and will not have a car.
I am on a business trip that will feed me most of the time, so this is what we need, and all of them must be child-friendly (high chairs at the least!):
1. Good breakfast options for my toddler and spouse that are affordable ($10 or less per person)
2. Good affordable lunch options for the above - preferably stuff unique to SF; we'd like to avoid chains if possible. My spouse loves clam chowder in a bread bowl, Mexican food, and steak.
3. We will have one dinner for all three of us, and we'd like to have Chinese food. We are used to NYC Chinatown fare, so something like that would be great. My favorite place in NYC was Hop Kee that is Cantonese, and I love salt and pepper seafood. Spouse can and will eat crab. Toddler likes chow fun and rice.
I was childless last time I went to SF, so any fun places to take my kid during the day as well? Willing to take public transportation or walk.
What days of the week? Some things like farmers markets only happen on certain days. Some places are closed on Monday or some other random day.
The Metreon near your hotel has a 'farmers market' with mainly prepare food. They also have kid-friendly things like a carosel and such
Here are a few things to consider ...
Visitng SF. Eat like a local not a tourist.
I have read a little bit about the Metreon Farmer's Market. We arrive on a Sunday afternoon, and stay until Thursday morning. My spouse and child will be on their own for Monday lunch, Tuesday and Wednesday breakfast and lunch, and Wed dinner. All three of us will eat out for Sunday lunch, Tuesday dinner, and Thursday breakfast.
Sunday lunch – Nopalito (Updated but not dumbed down Mexican)
Monday lunch – Metreon food court
Tuesday breakfast – Town’s End
Tuesday lunch – Chowder’s
Tuesday dinner – Canteen
Wednesday – Donato’s Bakery in North Beach or Café Bean
Lunch – Look at the Mission links
Wed dinner.- Requested Chinese – R&G or Bund Shanghai
Breakfast Luques or Café Mason
So is dinner Sunday and Monday taken care of? Also Monday breakfast?
The breakfast thing is difficult. The usual recommended places require waits and I wouldn’t do that with a toddler.
Town’s End (closed Monday) has great breakfast with house-baked scones and muffins. They are uber-child friendly and have high chairs. During the week they don’t have the crowds the weekend brunch attracts.
You could then take a street car down to Pier 39, have the baby look at the sea lions and have your chowder in a bread bowl at Chowders. Unlike Boudin, it is not canned but made fresh. However, stop by Boudin to look at the bakers in action. They you could go to Hyde Street pier to board some old boats.
If your wife likes Mexican she might go to 24th St and check out some of the places mentioned in that first link I provided.
Here’s some good sites and guides for children’s activities some of which mention especially kid-friendly places.
For example the first link mentions a mall near you that seems extremely toddler friendly and if your wife wants to shop … well
You might decide what your plans will be in terms of areas you will be in the city. It is difficult to come up with restaurants. If you go to Golden Gate Park or the Marina … that would be a whole different set of criteria.
Put together a proposed list of restaurants you think will interest you and I’m sure you will get a lot more direction.
I recently replied to another traveling w/ toddler question. My response was 1st. Looks like their were a few others that might apply to your trip as well.
If you use "toddler" in a search you might find some other good recent recommendations.