Frommer's San Francisco with Kids

Frommer's San Francisco with Kids

by Noelle Salmi, Salmi
     
 

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Designed for visitors and locals alike, Frommer’s With Kids Guides show how to plan family trips and outings that are fun for kids of all ages.

• Written by parents for parents

• Exact prices

• Star-rated reviews of family-friendly hotels and restaurants

• Age recommendations for most activities

• For those traveling with

Overview

Designed for visitors and locals alike, Frommer’s With Kids Guides show how to plan family trips and outings that are fun for kids of all ages.

• Written by parents for parents

• Exact prices

• Star-rated reviews of family-friendly hotels and restaurants

• Age recommendations for most activities

• For those traveling with children ages 2 to 14

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780470387443
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
05/04/2009
Series:
Frommer's With Kids Series, #45
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

Frommer's San Francisco with Kids


By Noelle Salmi

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-7645-7887-1


Chapter One

Family-Friendly Dining

San Francisco is a food-lover's city. Even before renowned local chef Alice Waters gave birth to California cuisine, San Francisco took advantage of its access to fresh seafood, local produce, and ethnic influences to foster a thriving dining scene. To the north, east, and south are dozens of small family farms, many organic, which supply city restaurants. In addition, the melting pot of immigrants has added serious depth to the epicurean offerings. Great Mexican food abounds in the Mission, and you'll find Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Thai restaurants everywhere. Although North Beach has its share of Italian restaurants, you can also find Spanish, Indian, and Greek cuisine very close by.

With so many tantalizing options, it would be a shame to stick to pizza simply because you have the kids in tow-although San Francisco does have some excellent pizzerias, which are listed in this chapter. Experiencing the city's fabulous food needn't deplete your wallet-ethnic restaurants are often inexpensive, and many moderately-priced restaurants are home to capable, aspiring young chefs. But it may mean you'll be taking young kids out of their culinary comfort zone and that you'll be eating in restaurants not populated exclusively by families. You'll soon discover, though, that San Franciscans are a friendly bunch and that most chefs will be happy toaccommodate tiny palates should the need arise. My husband and I have dragged our kids to any number of local restaurants and found that, by following the guidelines I list below (see the "Dining Out in Peace" box), we've been able to enjoy many wonderful dinners and, at the same time, introduce our girls to new and interesting foods.

With that spirit of discovery in mind, I've listed several dining options in this chapter that are not specifically designed for families but to which kids will certainly feel welcome. I have, however, passed over those restaurants that are simply not suitable for kids under 12. The exceptions are restaurants I suggest for when you have a babysitter.

Of course, you may hit moments in the sightseeing frenzy when you just want a place where everyone can sit, find something they like on the menu, and eat-without worrying about keeping the kids quiet or persuading them to think beyond buttered noodles. For those moments, I've included plenty of restaurants that are tailormade for big, messy, family meals.

A NOTE ABOUT PRICES The restaurants in the reviews that follow are categorized as Very Expensive, Expensive, Moderate, and Inexpensive, based on an approximation of what a family of four would spend for nonalcoholic drinks and four main courses. If this family would have to pay $120 or more for a meal, I consider that restaurant Very Expensive; from $75 to $120 Expensive; between $40 and $75, Moderate; under $40, Inexpensive. I've included cafes, pizzerias, and casual, order-at-thecounter places under the Inexpensive header, and restaurants that have positioned themselves as combining highquality ingredients and value in the Moderate column. The Expensive category includes afternoon tea in hotels, usually costly, but delightful if you like that sort of thing. Very Expensive restaurants are for the evenings you've hired a babysitter, unless you're rearing a future Julia Child or Jacques Pepin and wish to inspire her or him. Tax in San Francisco is 8.5%. Tip 15% for good service; more for exemplary service; and at your discretion for poor service.

CHAINS, CHAINS, CHAINS & FAST FOOD You don't find a lot of national chains or even fast-food restaurants in any but the most touristed neighborhoods, such as Fisherman's Wharf and Union Square. For the most part you'll find San Franciscans, with or without kids, prefer chef-driven restaurants with unique identities. As for fast food, you can't do much better than a burrito, but I do understand that kids crave pizzas or burgers once in a while. Instead of pointing you to the nearest McDonald's however, I have done my best to offer alternatives including locally owned diners and regional chains of Italian restaurants, noodle bars, and pizza parlors.

1 Restaurants by Cuisine

AFTERNOON TEA Laurel Court (Nob Hill, $$$, p. 115) Lovejoy's Tea Room (The Castro/ Noe Valley, $$, p. 144) Palace Hotel * (SoMa, $$$, p. 110)

AMERICAN Blue Front Cafe (The Haight, $, p. 137) Blue Mermaid Chowder House (Fisherman's Wharf, $$, p. 128) Chow * (The Castro/Noe Valley, $, p. 144) Cliff House Bistro (The Richmond/ Sunset, $$$, p. 145) Dolores Park Cafe * (Mission, $, p. 142) Dottie's True Blue Cafe * (Union Square/Financial District, $, p. 110) Ella's * (Japantown/Pacific Heights/Presidio Heights, $, p. 134) Firefly ** (The Castro/Noe Valley, $$, p. 144) Fog City Diner (The Embarcadero/ South Beach, $$, p. 120) The Grove * (Marina/Cow Hollow, $, p. 132; Japantown/Pacific Heights/ Presidio Heights, p. 135) McCormick & Kuleto's * (Fisherman's Wharf, $$$, p. 127) Park Chalet * (The Richmond/ Sunset, $, p. 146) Park Chow * (The Richmond/ Sunset, $, p. 147) Polker's Gourmet Burgers (Russian Hill, $, p. 136) Rainforest Cafe (Fisherman's Wharf, $$$, p. 127) Sears Fine Foods (Union Square/ Financial District, $, p. 110) Tadich Grill (Union Square/ Financial District, $$, p. 108) Taylor's Refresher * (Embarcadero/ South Beach, $, p. 122) Town Hall *** (SoMa, $$$, p. 111)

ASIAN The Citrus Club (The Haight, $, p. 138) Long Life Noodle Company & Jook Joint (Embarcadero/ South Beach, $, p. 121) Zao Noodle Bar (Marina/Cow Hollow, $, p. 133; Japantown/Pacific Heights/ Presidio Heights, p. 135)

ASIAN-FUSION Cafe Kati ** (Japantown/Pacific Heights/Presidio Heights, $$$, p. 133)

BAKERY Boulange de Polk * (Russian Hill, $, p. 136) Citizen Cake (Civic Center/Hayes Valley, $$, p. 130) Tartine * (Mission, $, p. 143)

BARBECUE Memphis Minnie's * (The Haight, $, p. 138)

BELGIAN FRIES Frjtz (Civic Center/Hayes Valley, $, p. 128; Fisherman's Wharf, p. 130) BREAKFAST/BRUNCH Blue Front Cafe (The Haight, $, p. 137) The Canvas Cafe/Gallery (The Richmond/Sunset, $, p. 146) Dolores Park Cafe * (Mission, $, p. 142) Dottie's True Blue Cafe * (Union Square/Financial District, $, p. 110) The Grove * (Marina/Cow Hollow, $, p. 132; Japantown/ Pacific Heights/Presidio Heights, p. 135) Ella's * (Japantown/Pacific Heights/ Presidio Heights, $, p. 134) Polker's Gourmet Burgers (Russian Hill, $, p. 136) Sears Fine Foods (Union Square/ Financial District, $, p. 110) Town's End (Embarcadero/ South Beach, $$, p. 121)

CALIFORNIA Citizen Cake (Civic Center/ Hayes Valley, $$, p. 130) Crossroads Cafe * (The Embarcadero/ South Beach, $, p. 121) Foreign Cinema ** (The Mission, $$$, p. 140) Franciscan (Fisherman's Wharf, $$$, p. 127) Gary Danko *** (Fisherman's Wharf, $$$$, p. 126) Hayes Street Grill * (Civic Center/ Hayes Valley, $$$, p. 129) Isa ** (Marina/Cow Hollow, $$, p. 131) Moose's *** (North Beach, $$$, p. 122) Restaurant Lulu * (SoMa, $$$, p. 111) Town's End * (Embarcadero/ South Beach, $$, p. 121) Zuni Cafe ** (Civic Center/ Hayes Valley, $$$, p. 129)

CARIBBEAN Cha Cha Cha's * (Haight, $$, p. 137)

CHICKEN Il Pollaio * (North Beach, $, p. 124)

CHINESE Eliza's (Japantown/Pacific Heights/ Presidio Heights, $, p. 134) Dragon Well * (Marina/Cow Hollow, $, p. 132) Great Eastern Restaurant (Chinatown, $$, p. 116) Hunan's Home Restaurant (Chinatown, $, p. 116) Lichee Garden (Chinatown, $, p. 118) R & G Lounge * (Chinatown, $, p. 119) Ton Kiang ** (The Richmond/ Sunset, $, p. 148)

CREPES Crepe Express (The Haight, $, p. 138) Frjtz (Civic Center/Hayes Valley, $, p. 128; Fisherman's Wharf, p. 130) San Francisco Crepe Cart (Fisherman's Wharf, $, p. 129) Ti Couz * (The Mission, $, p. 143)

DELICATESSEN East Coast West Delicatessen (Russian Hill, $, p. 136)

ECLECTIC The Canvas Cafe/Gallery (The Richmond/Sunset, $, p. 146)

FRENCH Fleur de Lys *** (Union Square/ Financial District, $$$$, p. 104) Grand Cafe * (Union Square/ Financial District, $$$, p. 105) Isa ** (Marina/Cow Hollow, $, p. 131) Restaurant Lulu * (SoMa, $$$, p. 111)

GREEK Kokkari Estiatorio ** (Embarcadero/South Beach $$$, p. 119)

HAMBURGERS Burger Joint (The Haight, $, p. 138; The Mission, p. 142) IN-N-OUT Burger (Fisherman's Wharf, $, p. 128) Polker's Gourmet Burgers (Russian Hill, $, p. 136) Mel's Drive-in (Marina/Cow Hollow, $, p. 115; SoMa, p. 132; The Richmond/Sunset, p. 147) Taylor's Refresher * (Embarcadero/South Beach, $, p. 122)

ICE CREAM Ben & Jerry's (The Haight, $, p. 137) Gelato Classico * (North Beach, $, p. 124) Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop (Fisherman's Wharf, $, p. 128) Mitchell's Ice Cream * (The Mission, $, p. 143) Swensen's Creamery (Russian Hill, $, p. 136) Toy Boat Dessert Cafe * (The Richmond/Sunset, $, p. 148)

INDIAN/PAKISTANI Naan-N-Curry (North Beach $, p. 126)

ITALIAN A16 *** (Marina/Cow Hollow, $$, p. 131) Antica Trattoria *** (Russian Hill, $$$, p. 135) Cafe Pescatore (Fisherman's Wharf, $$, p. 128) Caffe Macaroni (North Beach, $$, p. 123) Delfina ** (The Mission, $$, p. 140) L'Osterio del Forno ** (North Beach, $$, p. 123) Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store (North Beach, $, p. 124) Pasta Pomodoro (Marina/ Cow Hollow, $, p. 126; North Beach, p. 133; Japantown/ Pacific Heights/Presidio Heights, p. 135; The Castro/ Noe Valley, p. 145; The Richmond/ Sunset, p. 147) Pazzia * (SoMa, $$, p. 115) Puccini and Pinetti (Union Square/Financial District, $$, p. 108) Rose Pistola * (North Beach, $$$, p. 123) Tommaso's Restaurant (North Beach, $$, p. 123) Trattoria Contadina ** (North Beach, $$, p. 124)

JAPANESE Isobune (Japantown/Pacific Heights/Presidio Heights, $$, p. 134) Juban Yakiniku House (Japantown/Pacific Heights/ Presidio Heights, $$, p. 134) Sanraku * (Union Square/ Financial District, $$, p. 108)

MEDITERRANEAN Blue Front Cafe (The Haight, $, p. 137) Foreign Cinema ** (The Mission, $$$, p. 140) Zuni Cafe ** (Civic Center/ Hayes Valley, $$$, p. 129)

MOROCCAN Aziza ** (The Richmond/Sunset, $$, p. 145)

MEXICAN Cafe Marimba * (Marina/Cow Hollow, $$, p. 131) La Corneta Taqueria * (The Mission, $, p. 142) La Rondalla (The Mission, $, p. 142) Pancho Villa Taqueria * (The Mission, $, p. 143)

PIZZA Amici's East Coast Pizzeria (Embarcadero/South Beach, $, p. 121; Marina/Cow Hollow, p. 132) A16 *** (Marina/Cow Hollow, $$, p. 131) Blondie's Pizza (Union Square/ Financial District, $, p. 110) Giorgio's Pizzeria * (The Richmond/ Sunset, $, p. 147) Pizzetta 211 * (The Richmond/ Sunset, $$, p. 146) Tommaso's Restaurant (North Beach, $$, p. 123) Vicolo Pizzeria * (Civic Center/ Hayes Valley, $, p. 130) ZA Pizza * (Russian Hill, $, p. 137)

SPANISH Bocadillos * (Embarcadero/South Beach, $$, p. 119)

SEAFOOD Blue Mermaid Chowder House (Fisherman's Wharf, $$, p. 128) Hayes Street Grill * (Civic Center/ Hayes Valley, $$$, p. 129) McCormick & Kuleto's * (Fisherman's Wharf, $$$, p. 127) Tadich Grill (Union Square/Financial District, $$, p. 108)

SUSHI Isobune (Japantown/ Pacific Heights/Presidio Heights, $$, p. 134) Sanraku * (Union Square/ Financial District, $$, p. 108)

THAI Khan Toke * (The Richmond/ Sunset, $$, p. 146) Koh Samui & The Monkey (SoMa, $$, p. 115) Marnee Thai * (The Richmond/ Sunset, $, p. 147)

VEGETARIAN Greens *** (Marina/Cow Hollow, $$$, p. 130) Millennium (Union Square/ Financial District, $$$, p. 105)

VIETNAMESE Ana Mandara * (Fisherman's Wharf, $$$, p. 126) Slanted Door *** (The Embarcadero/South Beach, $$, p. 120)

Key to Abbreviations: $$$$ = Very Expensive $$$ = Expensive $$ = Moderate $ = Inexpensive

2 Union Square/The Financial District

VERY EXPENSIVE

Fleur de Lys *** FRENCH Ironically, the first entry in a chapter called "Family Friendly Dining" doesn't really fit that description. It is one of two exceptions I've listed for a night when you have a babysitter and want to experience one of the top restaurants in the country. It's clear from the moment you walk in the door and see the regal, intimate dining room, tented in 900 yards of richly-patterned red and gold fabric, that Fleur de Lys is the epitome of ultraluxurious dining. In keeping with the warm, inviting decor, the impeccable service is comfortably unpretentious.

As for the awe-inspiring food, the man behind the mastery is award-winning chef Hubert Keller, a native of the Alsace region of France who has trained with some of the top chefs in the world. Keller's kitchen is firmly rooted in classic French cooking, but includes some playful touches inspired by his new country, such as truffle-infused popcorn and an amazing mini foie gras hamburger. Choose from a menu of three, four, or five courses and expect to be blown away by such offerings as seared Moroccan spiced sea scallops with pomegranate jus, cauliflower flan, and Osetra caviar or veal tournedos scented with foamy lobster bisque and veal essence. A vegetarian tasting menu, with options like truffled white bean soup with green garlic fondue and wild mushrooms, is also available. The desserts and cheese selection are obscenely delicious, and the wine list includes several hundred selections. (Although I've noted this isn't a place for kids, I did once spot two pre-teen boys dining with their parents; they were well behaved and seemed to enjoy the experience.)

777 Sutter St. (between Jones and Taylor sts.). 415/673-7779. fleurdelyssf.com. Reservations essential. 3-course menu $68, 4-course $76, 5-course $88. Mon-Thurs 6-9:30pm; Fri-Sat 5:30-10:30pm. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Muni: 2-Clement, 3-Jackson, 4-Sutter, or 27-Bryant to Jones St.

EXPENSIVE

Grand Cafe * FRENCH The restaurant certainly lives up to its name in terms of decor and style: from the soaring ceilings, massive columns, and wallsized murals that depict turn-of-the-20th-century Paris to the fine food, this brasserie is abuzz with energy and activity. Located next to the Hotel Monaco and close to the theaters around Union Square, tourists and locals gravitate to the stunning dining room for California-inspired French dishes prepared in an open kitchen with a theatrical flair. Appetizers may include herb-encrusted soft shell crab, to be followed by braised rabbit or sauteed skate, and, for dessert, a very tasty banana cream pie. Although the food has improved since the arrival of seasoned chef Paul Arenstam, it is not quite as majestic as the room that houses it.

For a taste of grandeur without the grand prices, check out the adjacent, more casual Petit Cafe for pizzas, salads, sandwiches, and desserts. Even in the main room, children may order off the Petit Cafe menu.

501 Geary St. (at Taylor St.) 415/292-0101. grandcafe-sf.com. Highchairs, boosters. Reservations recommended. Main courses $12-$17 lunch, $19-$25 dinner; Petit Cafe $7-$16. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Breakfast Mon-Fri 7-10:30am, Sat 8-10:30am, Sun brunch 9am-2:30pm; lunch Mon-Sat 11:30am-2:30pm; dinner Sun-Thurs 5:30-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30-11pm. Petite Cafe, Sun-Thurs 11:30am-11pm; Fri-Sat 11:30am-midnight. Muni: Powell-Hyde or Powell-Mason cable car to Union Sq.; walk 2 blocks west.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Frommer's San Francisco with Kids by Noelle Salmi Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Noelle Salmi is a freelance writer who lived and worked in several U.S. cities and many foreign countries before moving to San Francisco in 2001. In addition to her work promoting investment overseas, she worked at a major daily newspaper and later at CNN in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Associated Press in Berlin, Germany; and United Press International in New York City. Her articles have appeared in the Santa Clara Valley Weekly, Jornal do Brasil, The West Side Spirit, Emerging Markets, USA Today, and Bay Area Parent. In addition to this guidebook, she is writing the first edition of Frommer’s San Francisco Day by Day. She lives on Russian Hill with her husband Mika and daughters Annika and Natasha.

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