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Jul 2, 2012 04:37 PM

Restaurant Suggestions for Quick Trip

We are doing a quick overnight trip on the 4th. Never been with my 4-year-old, so I was hoping for some help :-) Would love suggestions for:

- Dinner on the 4th. Will be coming from the Wharf area, but wanted to get out of there before the crowds hit for fireworks. Was thinking maybe Tony's Pizza Napoletana? Is the wait terrible even if we get there by 6:00? Not sure how the holiday will effect things.

Fog City Diner was another idea, but not sure if they have a children's menu.

- Breakfast near our hotel (Westin, 3rd & Market). There has to be something better than the hotel restaurant, I would think?

- Casual lunch at the Wharf. I know, I know...nothing good. But how about something that's at least not horrible? We have enough In-N-Out down here, so that's not on our list.

- Early dinner near Yerba Buena Gardens.


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  1. Skip the Wharf and go to the Ferry Building instead. Lots of options even when the Farmer's Market isn't running.

    1. Tony's on the fourth. It's funny, either everyone leaves on the 4th or everyone's around. It seems different on different years - and it depends on the fog forcast. If you go during the fireworks, you'll probably be OK. Best (especially with a 4 year old) is to have something safe and plausible with no wait. For example, I sometimes end up at Calzone's --- not proud, but there you go.

      Fog City - I am 80% sure they have a kids menu, or would make up a custom dish (noodles, whatever).

      Breakfast - how far are you willing to walk in the morning? Crepe au Chocolate is very close but I haven't been there. Meusli, crepes, omlettes.
      My pick would be Emporio Rulli, which is a very short walk up and right on union square, where you can get coffee and pastries and they won't care about your 4 year old.

      Casual lunch at wharf --- I'm so sorry.

      Early dinner near Yerba Buena - you've actually got some real choices right around there. You'll be limited by the 4 year old quotient (no Benu for you), and your emergency rip cord can be whatever's in the Metreon these days or the Museum Cafe (closes early but plenty good).. There are two food places on top of YBC, but they seem to keep strange hours. Thirsty Bear might be a good choice on the early side, they have lots of small interesting plates but also have straight ahead food. Tropisueno. Zero Zero is close and _really_ good but casual and loud (no one will mind a kid), but I don't know if they're early enough. Palace Hotel will make your daughter feel like a princess - it's only average food, but it's in a glorious art decco historic hotel. (Taxis are complicated in that area at that time, because there's flow to the bay bridge, which is all backed up. But some routes are fully open. For example, you can get to the Ferry Building without traffic, but not the ballpark.)

      1. Consider walking to Pazzia at 337 Third St. , between Folsom & Harrison, just down the street from your hotel & near Yerba Bena Gardens. Don't know if it will be open on the 4th; you might call to check (415) 512-1693.

        1. It's not particularly Chow-worthy, but there is a Rainforest Cafe in the Wharf area that any 4 y.o. would love.

          4 Replies
          1. re: zorrosf

            Thanks everyone for the great ideas! Please keep them coming.

            My son is the only kid who doesn't like Rainforest Cafe, believe it or not. He doesn't like the thunder that happens every 20 minutes or so!

            For whatever it's worth, he's a well-behaved 4 year old. I know all parents say that...but he's grown up eating in restaurants, and isn't a loud kid. So I'm not worried about his being loud and disturbing others...I'm more concerned about menu items that might appeal to him. He pretty much sticks to American and Italian, but also likes Japanese (non-sushi).


            1. re: WestsideLisa

              casual lunch at the wharf? - how about scoma's - might not be casual enough?

              1. re: WestsideLisa

                Italian is decent in the YBC area. Zero Zero is right around the corner, and _quite_ good - and casual -

                In the metreon there's something called Firewood Cafe. Undistinguished but plausible.

                How far is OK from there? The blocks are kind of long down there.

                1. re: WestsideLisa

                  For a very casual lunch at the wharf you can try Tanguito. Check out some reviews at the following link. The ones for Tanguito are towards the bottom.


              2. Thanks for the ideas, everyone.

                I don't have much for breakfast near the hotel. Any suggestions even if it's a little further away? Looking for more of a full-service kind of place rather than just a coffee and pastry place. Maybe Dottie's True Blue Cafe?

                5 Replies
                1. re: WestsideLisa

                  Breakfasts ---

                  Note, I don't really eat breakfast, but one does get around a little.
                  My perfect morning start is something like the Egg in a Hole and whatever's on syphon at Blue Bottle Mint Plaza. I could live on that, because SF is great at Bread and very good at Eggs, but it's not the kind of sit down you're talking about. Thanks for being more specific.

                  Lori's (better than average, a good compromise all things considered) Mel's (lower quality but edible)
                  Dottie's (too long a wait for me if I was on vacation or not, in too many guidebooks, but very well regarded)
                  Cafe de la presse (food is really good in that simple french way, I like the atmosphere)
                  Sears Fine Food - yum! but I haven't been there
                  Max's on Geary - hearty! Tasty! Huge menu! But a little generic.
                  butler + chef - really nice location in a hidden SF neighborhood, with a great playground, smallish menu, TINY place, supposed to be very good food, maybe too far?
                  Town's End - sprightly american breakfasts, beloved by locals, perhaps worth the distance because it's right on the waterfront and exactly the kind of morning breakfast you're talking about (no views but before and after you can run about)
                  Red's - if you go down there, you can get a real local taste at Red's, and eat at the tables by the marina. ACTUAL old school, I always get an egg sandwich, the huevos rancheros are probably great, not quite the standard sit down place though - Boudrain ate there in one episode of No Reservations
                  Boulette's Larder - in the ferry building
                  farm;table - if it's not too far
                  The Sentinal ? It's denis leary, there's no breakfast menu on the page though
                  Moulin Rouge ?
                  It's Tops - This is a favorite at 1am, it's probably just as good at 8am, real SF diner atmosphere, kind of far and no real reason you'd go that direction

                  1. re: bbulkow

                    Thanks! Sears looks like an easy walk...that might work.

                    1. re: WestsideLisa

                      Unless things have changed, Sentinel mainly has muffins and there's nowhere to sit (it's a takeout window). I prefer Denis Leary's other takeout window Golden West near Montgomery and Sutter in a little lane called Trinity Street. They have more substantial stuff as well as muffins and there is outdoor seating along this lane, though it is in the shade and is concrete so can be a bit chilly.

                      1. re: grayelf

                        The Sentinel also has really excellent oatmeal. But, no seating.

                  2. re: WestsideLisa

                    We stay at that Westin and at the St. Regis on business trips and some of my colleagues have been going to breakfast at the place next to Peet's on Mission @ 3rd, I think it is called The Grove. Haven't tried it myself but they were satisfied with it. If you were going to pay hotel restaurant prices, go to the restaurant on the 4th floor at the St. Regis - not a bargain, but delicious and I have regularly seen families in there in addition to business travelers.