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Aug 26, 2012 03:48 AM

Chinatown and other recs (good for kids)

We're coming in to San Francisco for 3 days late next month before heading on to Yosemite. I'm hoping to get recommendations for must-try places with these caveats:

-will have a 2 year old and a 5 year old. They are well behaved in restaurants, but would be most comfortable with somewhere casual that is used to kids. One is a junior chow hound, so anything goes. The other is gluten free and very picky, so I usually just get rice and bring a gluten free sandwich for him. Gluten free restaurant options are welcome but not required.

-Any ethnicity or cuisine style. Very interested in Chinese - we live in Ohio and decent Chinese (especially anything beyond the Chinese-American standards) is hard to come by. Is there someplace especially good in Chinatown? We're interested in authentic, but not too knowledgeable about more obscure dishes or regions. Willing to try whatever.

-Sometimes the kids go to bed early and we get delivery in the hotel. It's near Union Square, and good delivery options would be nice to have in mind. I've seen websites like grubhub, but don't know how to narrow down what's good. Or somewhere close to the hotel with takeout, even if no delivery.

-Would prefer to stay in the broad range of major tourist sights, as this is a short trip and we don't necessarily have the time to go wandering out to far-flung neighborhoods. We're happy to walk 10 blocks away from where we are, but not like an hour bus ride. YKWIM.


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  1. With a gluten-free kid, I'd suggest Vietnamese -- my celiac friend was delighted to be told that even the noodles are rice noodles, and my 5-year-old niece loves pho. Plus it's not super spicy (like Thai). You didn't mention what touristy things you're going to do. Even though it might qualify as a "far flung neighborhood" it seems likely with small kids that you'll be going out to Golden Gate Park, and the neighborhoods on either side of the park have lots of Asian options. Yummy Yummy (Vietnamese) on Irvine would be a good choice.

    Pizza is really big in SF right now and usually big with kids! I noticed yesterday looking at the menu that Tony's Pizza in North Beach has gluten-free pizza options. I don't know if they do take out, but you might call and check.

    I'm a little hesitant to recommend Chinese places to people (a) who don't know anything about Chinese food, and (b) who are traveling with small children. I think the odds of recommending something that won't work are high. You might want to try a lunch/brunch at a dim sum place with carts (like City View, just off the edge of Chinatown). Then you can see the food before you choose it, it's "small plates" so it's no big deal if you choose something you don't like, and the kids usually really enjoy it. For dinner in Chinatown you might want to try Great Eastern. Really any Chinese restaurant should be good with kids, and Great Eastern has good food and a staff that should be able to guide you to things that are more "authentic." If you want to walk in the wild side, Z&Y on the same block has a menu that includes Sichuan specialties (get the explosive chili chicken) but also basics for your kids.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      Tony's Pizza opened a take out spot next door. They also deliver now (

      Besides, other delivery listings are (many restaurants are listed on all 3 sites):

      I usually cross reference places with yelp (mostly for the pictures, taking yelp reviews with a grain of salt of course) for ordering. I think the hotels in union square is within delivery range for Lers Ros and Thai House Express if you are in the mood for Thai food.

      1. re: gnomatic

        Thanks. I'd forgotten about the take-out spot for Tony's. I wonder if they also do the gluten free? There have been very positive reports on delivery from Lers Ros to Union Square hotels. Our visitor from Ohio should be aware that at Lers Ros, hot means hot!

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Thanks for the suggestions! For some reason I hadn't thought of Vietnamese for this trip, but I enjoy it so thanks for the reminder. Also interested in Tony's - gluten free pizza is sure to be a hit.

          If anyone has additional ideas, I'm happy to hear them.