Sat night (tomorrow) with kids in SF
We ended up in SF for a few days at short notice and looking at Opentable, realizing it's not going to be easy to find a good kid-friendly place on a Sat night -- Any suggestions? Something that might have reservations directly (ie not Opentable) or something with less than 30 min wait at 6pm. We are in the financial district but willing to jump in a cab to the Mission or somewhere not too far. Per previous threads tried Kokkari, Perbacco, etc, no luck. Is someplace like Absinthe too adult for well-behaved kids? Thats one place that is available.
We bring our kids wherever we feel like going and have never had any problems to speak of. We don't do the really high priced spots, but they've been welcome and comfortable most everywhere. Great that you're bringing them with you.
I haven't been to Absinthe, so I can't comment, but from the outside, I could see where the tone might not be ideal for kids.
What about Bar Tartine, at least if you go as early as possible, as soon as they open? That's an easy ambience for kids. That whole neighborhood (around 18th and Valencia) is full of restaurants of various sorts. A stroll up and down Valencia is nice for the family, given the restaurants, cafes, shops, etc. There's an eclectic toy store that's related to and near a place with a similarly eclectic mix of items from nature, including taxidermy. I can't think of the name, but it's easy to find just walking by. Our kids get pretty absorbed there. Be careful if you venture to Mission St. with the kids, though. It's a little rougher around the edges.
There's hope at the high end pizza places if you get there when they open, if that's of any appeal. They're well chronicled and debated here.
Weather permitting, you could go to one of the food truck locations. It's not like going to the most appealing restaurants, but it can be fun and if the right places are in the rotation, you can eat fairly well. There's a place with trucks on 11th St. just to the north of 101. There are a bunch of trucks and a covered eating area. If all else fails, it's a consideration, at least.
Did you check Cotogna? It can be very hard to get in there, but early offers a bit of hope.
Any other kinds of food that interests you? That might help to come up with some ideas.
We went to West of Pecos our last night in Nov on a bit of a whim and really enjoyed it (mind you we come from a land of no good Mexican-ish food of any kind). The main reason I bring it up is that there were a number of tables with kids of various ages and they were all enjoying themselves hugely. It's just loud enough in there that child noise would not be noticed, and there is food that would appeal to all. We were there on a Monday, though, not a weekend but I'm thinking it would be similar early, and you might still be able to get a reso on Urbanspoon. When I tried just now they had fourtops available at 530 and 6 tonight.
Here's a link to some reports (I still haven't written mine, doh): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/856568
In the Mission, you could try Foreign Cinema which is excellent and is bustling enough that kids are OK. A more casual choice would be Company on Guerrero Street -- it is fairly new and I have been very pleased with the food there. The owner and staff are very kid friendly and it is more of a neighborhood place.
BTW, Absinthe is excellent but it definitely has a more formal vibe.
The website is www.companysf.com (the key to searching is to use Guerrero street) in the search. The food is basically interesting riffs on cal-med favorites. I have particularly enjoyed the appetizers with their house-made ricotta and recently had a wonderful swordfish entree (with artichokes etc.). I also like the wine list and the fact that a number of wines are available on tap. Bauer gave it two stars for food but I think it is better than that. Casual atmosphere and good service too.
Opentable currently has Perbacco available at 5:45 & 6:45 for 4 people tonight (2+2 I assume?). After that, how about the new M.Y. China in the Westfield mall? We were at the mall the other day and noticed its location under the dome. Away from the busy area...I think kids would enjoy it.
Other availability on Opentable...Town Hall, RN74. RN74 isn't necessarily kid-friendly, but I've taken my kids there & it is fine (can be expensive).