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Apr 3, 2013 12:44 PM

early dinner with two kids

I want to take my kids to eat in SF on weekdays. I'd like to take them to some nicer places to expand their horizons a bit. Some of these nicer places are hard to get a table most days but I'm hoping with our early dining hour flexibility we can score a table.

My thought is to introduce them to good food made with good ingredients. I'm sure they get enough of mediocre or bad food. I'd like to show them a contrast. They are both willing to try any foods.

So any recommendations for child friendly restaurants that I have a good chance on scoring a table during the week (with or without reservation) are welcomed.


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  1. How old are your kids and are there any types of cuisines that are off-limits? And do you have a budget?

    I'd start with Mandalay for Burmese - where it is never really difficult to get a table.

    Zuni is always exceptional.

    SPQR is pretty easy to get into early and they have been consistently good.

    1 Reply
    1. re: CarrieWas218

      Kids are 6 and 8. They will try anything. The little one likes carbs but her sister likes veges and meats. We really don't have a budget either. I figure we'll be good with 2 apps, 1 entree, and be done with 1 dessert.

      We've tried a few Burmese places in Daly city as well as Burlingame and they thought the food was ok, but the spicy food kind of got to them after a few bites.

      I'll hit up SPQR for a reservation. Thanks

    2. Recently did this with a 12 year-old niece who is an adventurous eater but visiting from upstate NY (not a dining paradise). We made 4:30 or 5:00 reservations and had great meals at:

      Zare at Fly Trap -- This was her favorite and she loved the "meatballs" and I of course agree--one of those simple food things elevated to insanely good levels. Lots of unique and delicious dishes.

      Zuni -- She was impressed by the bread salad; not so much by the chicken, as I am from a family of chicken-roasters (and chicken soup-makers). It was very good overall, though.

      Barbacco -- OK, kind of weird to take a kid to a place with "bar" right in the name, but she loved it. Lots of stuff with weird Italian names that she had not had before--perfect! It was actually very educational.

      We also went to many places in Oakland (because I live there and it's easier!) and her favorite there was Spices 3, I think just because she'd never seen a "Chinese restaurant like that!" (her words). No, I did not feed her stinky tofu.

      Another place in SF that I would have loved for her to try was Lers Ros--great Thai. Also an interesting neighborhood for a kid from the country.

      1. +1 Zuni ... always a pleasant experience.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ML8000

          +2 on Zuni.
          I've said this before and you'll need to reserve, but I think Nopa and Cotogna are both good for kids.
          I saw a lot of kids early at Front Porch the other night.
          Also, my 10-year-old's favorite is Piccino.

        2. They might find a Japanese izakaya fun (Sozai in Inner Sunset, or Ippuku in Berkeley), or similarly a tapas place like Zarzuela. As a kid, I always liked places like that, which have lots of small plates of a variety of things.