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A16, Flour + Water, Delfina or Ideale...best family-friendly Italian?

Hey SF Hounds,

Making a visit to your lovely city in a few weeks and just trying to nail down the last dinner for our long-weekend.

We'll have our toddler with us on this trip, so I'd like to go somewhere we won't get the evil eye from other diners and where he'll be welcomed. He's generally a well-behaved kid, but he's 17-months old. He has his moments (we'll do our best to distract and entertain).

I figured Italian might be a nice option for us since we're doing La Folie (parents only!) on Saturday and doing the kid's night at luella on Sunday. Of these four, which do you think will be the best fit for us? We're staying in the Fisherman's Wharf area on this trip, so if any are closer to that area, I might go for it, just for convenience's sake. But ultimately--I'd like a good meal to close out our trip.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Flour and water but I wouldn't describe any of these as family friendly (much less toddler friendly).

    10 Replies
    1. re: olyolyy

      Grr. Okay. I appreciate that. I did a search on here and saw a couple of people mention Ideale as being toddler/kid friendly.

      If you've got any more recommendations to throw our way, I'd be open to them. I've never been to SF with a little one, so I'm trying to navigate as best I can.

      1. re: umwife11

        Don't worry about the anti-kid people in SF. There are tons of them. I have a 4 year old daughter and I have found that no matter where you go you will probably get the evil eye from someone in the restaurants here. It's not the most kid-friendly city. People love dogs more than kids. Just keep your little one entertained, don't let him wander around and go out side for any outbursts. Other than that, enjoy your dinner. I'd go to A-16 or Flour and Water with a little one. Go early.

        1. re: srr

          I have to laugh a little at how you said "People love dogs more than kids." My cousin just visited friends in SF and I asked her to check with them for recommendations on places to go with kids. She came back empty-handed and with the same thought: "My friends said there are more things to do in SF with their dogs than there are to do with their kids."

          So to hear that phrase again...hmm... :)

        2. re: umwife11

          I've eaten at flour and water many a time with my baby, go early, sit at the open communal tables and you should be fine. The staff is always super nice and the pasta and dessert are worth it! I'm not a huge fan of their pizza, find it on the dry side and would rather eat their pasta. For a more family friendly place I'll throw out zero zero, love their margarita pizza, aranici and fried chicken thighs. They have some great house sodas and cocktails too. Have fun!

          1. re: olyolyy

            If you want to go to Flour+Water, make a reservation. Otherwise you need to get in line long enough before they open at 5:30 that you don't have to wait for the second seating.

            Personally I'd go to Zero Zero, similar atmosphere and food, not as hard to get into.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              That's the one place I rarely make reservations for. They set aside very few slots for opentable.

              1. re: olyolyy

                I'm curious about your comment about resos. Do they only take them from OT? Can't one call the restaurant directly? Once I found out that OT gets paid $1/person for their work, I try to phone direct.

          2. re: umwife11

            i'd gladly choose to be seated next to a toddler over the adults we sat next to on our last flour+water visit ...

            just go wherever you want, and don't give it too much thought. all these places are casual enough and crowded enough that you're not going to stand out.

            1. re: umwife11

              I can't speak for the patrons, but the staff at F&W are super-accommodating to those with kids. We walked in on busy night with our then tiny baby (maybe 6 or 7 months old) and they gave us three seats at the bar (one turned upside down so we could rest our detachable car seat/stroller thingy on it), cooed at our baby when she briefly woke up, and made us feel 100% welcome. They were not at all impatient or put out that we were taking up an extra seat on a busy night with a non-eating customer.

              1. re: possumspice

                On a busy night at F+W without a reservation you won't get seated for an hour or two.

            1. re: Dustin_E

              Seriously? When I've been to A16, the clientele consisted mainly of dates and apparent auditions for the Real Housewives of SF.

              Caffe Baonecci and Tony's Pizza Napoletana, both in North Beach, have some of the best pizza in SF and I've seen kids in both (CB = roman style according to reports on this board, and TPN neapolitan). Personally, I like CB's pizza better than A16 or Delfina, both of which can be quite good.

              I've not been to Ideale, but based on it being in the tourist friendly North Beach, I would expect them to be used to having a fair share of families wander in.

              1. re: hyperbowler

                a16 would be easier than delfina or flour+water. random place in north beach would be easier than a16. douchey marina yuppies have kids too.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Yes, we're going on a Monday and since we're flying back home on Tuesday morning, we'll definitely be going early, around the 5:30, 6 p.m. range.

                1. re: umwife11

                  In that case, Ideale or BaoNecci.

                  I'd recommend La Ciccia, Pauline's, or Tommaso's, but they're all closed.

              2. I'd vote Flour & Water. Loud enough that a slightly fussy toddler won't be too much of a distraction. Also, they've done a couple of classes with Sprouts Cooking (kids classes), that my daughter has loved.

                1. Ideale or Tony's Pizza Napoletana would be my two best picks for family friendly. Flour+Water is too, but can be a zoo.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: scottca075

                    Tony's takes no reservations and can be a very long wait. We went on 7:30 on a Sunday and the wait was an hour and 45 (accurately predicted by the hostess).