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Nov 21, 2012 10:16 AM

San Francisco with my little girl

Hello all. We are starting a new tradition this Christmas season. Both grandmothers and myself are taking my darling 3.5 year old to SF to see the nutcracker and Christmas decorations. I lived in SF years ago, but would love some advise from recent residents. I was hoping to do the teddy bear tea at the Ritz, but they never returned my call and when I had already purchased the ballet tickets and called to reserve a tea spot, it turned out that that Friday is a blackout day (of course). So, I am looking for suggestions. We will probably take the train up on Thursday night or Friday morning. We are staying at the Omni. The performance is at 2pm friday. I would love if Crown and Crumpet were still around and we could do tea there. Is there anywhere similar we could do an early afternoon tea? Also, is there a fun place for dinner? She is very well behaved, and would love a whimsical place. Thanks for the help!

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  1. It might be a bit out of your way, but Lovejoy's in Noe Valley could work for tea.

    1. The Sheraton Palace hotel usually only has Saturday afternoon tea in the beautiful Garden Court.

      However, the web site says they will have additional days during the holidays, you will have to call and see if they will be open on your date.

      4 Replies
      1. re: pamf

        I would NOT recommend tea at the Palace Court. It was not only the absolutely worst tea of any we've had (far, far, far inferior to Lovejoy's/SF or Pardee Home Museum/Oakland), the service was perfunctory and they have rearranged the table layout to cram more tables in. As a result, the vast majority of the tables have excellent sightlines - not of the magnificent glass dome, but of the service aisles. Watching dirty dishes being carried off was not our idea of a good time, especially at the outrageous prices they charge.

        If the timing works and you are willing to go just for lunch, I would recommend the Eclipse restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Hotel for a few reasons:
        1) Their interior has the Xmas lights up (actually, hanging down from the balconies). This is really one of the most beautiful Xmas sights in San Francisco, and most people have no idea it even exists. Your granddaughter will be thrilled at the sight.

        2) They are once again featuring the elaborate miniature Xmas village where the center fountain is. You may have to lift your granddaughter up to see it, but we are talking about a village the size of four pool tables!

        3) Limit yourself to sandwiches and soups at the Eclipse. It's what they do best. DON'T do the salads, unless you're just getting a small side salad. Their main dish salads are only average. Yes, Eclipse is a little pricy, but nowhere near Garden Court's gouging.

        4) Service at the Eclipse is terrific – my spouse is a restaurant mgmt graduate, and our standards for service are very high. These are classic "old-school" professional waiters, and they are excellent. You can ask for any kind of customization on your dishes and I've found that around 85% of the time, the kitchen is happy to do it. You'd be surprised (or not) how many Bay Area restaurants we've been to that "forget" to do requests or even flat-out refuse.

        5) Entrance is on the lobby floor, two escalators up. Straight down California St. to the Embarcadero, and taxis wait outside the Hyatt Regency so you can get to the ballet performance easily.

        For 2013, I'd suggest you call and ask the Ritz when they start taking reservations for the Teddy Bear Teas – I hear they are REALLY popular – and mark that date on your calendar to start calling! That may mean calling around Labor Day, LOL.

        1. re: jaiko

          I can't speak for the food, but I can concur that the atrium lobby at the Hyatt Regency is delightful for children of all ages. There's also a seasonal ice rink in the adjacent Justin Herman Plaza.

          I'd suggest: lunch at Nieman Marcus Rotunda, ballet, hot chocolate at the Hyatt Regency before or after ice skating/watching ice skaters.

          1. re: jaiko

            Thank you for the response! I so appreciate it!

            1. re: jaiko

              Thank you for taking the time to cover all the options!!

          2. For dinner - I would suggest Waterbar. It's really good seafood, upscale, that you & the grandmas will enjoy. Plus it's full of these enormous fishtanks that will fascinate your daughter. Best of both worlds :) It's right on the Embarcadero, so it's scenic outside too.

            ps +1 on Lovejoy's Tea Room. That's where all the little girls of SF love to have tea.

            1 Reply
            1. re: RBofSF

              Slightly OT, but owner's of Lovejoy's have recently opened a new location in Pacifica. Called Lovey's Tea Shoppe. It's right on Highway 1 at Rockaway. I haven't been, but judging from the number of cars parked outside, they are already popular. They menu looks very similar to Lovejoy's.