Whether you’re just visiting for the week or you’re raising children in the city, San Francisco is a great place to be. Our famous hometown offers some of the country’s best sights, educational institutions, entertainment facilities and outdoor adventures in the country. For ideas in those categories, check out 24 Things to Do with Kids in San Francisco.
But no matter where you are, finding a fun place where you and your kids can both find something delicious to eat is often difficult. In this guide, we rounded up the best spots in the city for kid-friendly dining, complete with weekly specials, healthy options, specially designed play areas, entertainment, dedicated kids’ menus and more. So, whether your kids are picky, adventurous or both, you’ll find the perfect spot right here.
SoMa and Financial District | Facebook
Is there anything more kid-friendly than grilled cheese? This eatery has two locations in San Francisco—SoMa and FiDi—where they create some of the most unique and gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches we’ve ever seen. These include mac and cheese stuffed into a garlic-buttered grilled cheese, caramelized apple spread and artisan cured ham, housemade cabbage kraut, and more. Kids 8 years old and younger can get a special sandwich made just for them with delicious cheddar cheese on sourdough bread.
Bernal Heights | Facebook
This barbeque joint started in Los Angeles when two Southern guys moved to the city, swapped recipes, and started their very own restaurant. Today, they have four locations in California and Pennsylvania and they’ve been featured on the Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives! Their San Francisco location offers a huge menu of BBQ and southern-inspired meals alongside a dedicated kids’ menu with approachable items like chicken strips, hot dogs and sliders.
Fisherman’s Wharf | Facebook
For both good food and great fun, we recommend heading to the flagship and headquarters of Boudin Bakery. In addition to the upscale Bistro Boudin and Bakers Hall—which offers a marketplace, café and espresso bar—you can watch the bakers making fresh bread by hand through the 30-foot observation window. For even more, check out the Museum and Bakery Tour, which explores the history of Boudin Bakery in San Francisco and offers even more views inside the facility.
7 locations | Facebook
This beloved Bay Area chain began as a quaint, roadside burger joint in St. Helena back in 1999 and now has seven locations in San Francisco, Napa Valley, Marin County, Silicon Valley and East Bay. In the city, you can find Gott’s in the Ferry Building Marketplace. From the beginning, this local eatery has been dedicated to local sourcing and high-quality foods; all their dishes are made with locally sourced ingredients, including Niman Ranch beef, Zoe’s bacon, Panorama Bakery breads and Osprey Seafood. On the kids’ menu, you’ll find smaller portions of high-quality, American classics, and they’re all served with fries or fresh veggies and a small drink.
Cole Valley | Facebook
Designed as a full-service, 1930s-style soda fountain and classic lunch counter, The Ice Cream Bar serves up ice cream, sodas and savory items using locally sourced dairy and produce. The ice cream, waffle cones, cookies, candies, soda syrups and tinctures, soups, brioche and wheat breads are all made fresh daily in the kitchen, so everyone can find something delectable to enjoy, like handcrafted, alcoholic fountain drinks for adults and snickerdoodle ice cream sandwiches for kids.
Russian Hill | Facebook
Mac and cheese has gone gourmet and gotten even more delicious at Mac’d. This fast-casual, build-your-own mac and cheese eatery invites everyone to get creative and invent their own flavors. Starting from a base of shells, elbow noodles or cauliflower, you can choose your signature cheese sauce and add things like crab and shrimp, jalapeños, roasted broccoli, hot dog, bacon, chorizo, Korean short rib and more. To see the menu, click here.
Mission District | Facebook
Photo courtesy of Pica Pica Arepa Kitchen
For fresh, Venezuelan arepas crafted with fresh ingredients, you can’t do better than Pica Pica. Each arepa is made by hand daily and filled with savory, slow-cooked meats and veggies. These handheld meals are already fun for kids, but the team at Pica Pica makes their flavors even more approachable on the dedicated kids’ menu featuring a simple cheese arepa with an optional choice of a savory filling as well as other items like crispy chicken strips, coconut rice and more.
Embarcadero | Facebook
Family-owned and -operated for more than 25 years, Pier 23 combines everything we love about San Francisco dining: a waterfront patio, fresh seafood, historic character and live music. The dinner menu offers everything from Lobster Mac & Cheese to seasonal Whole Roasted Dungeness Crab, and the special kids’ menu is one of the largest on this guide. It includes fun items like the Mini Burger and Fries, Fish and Chips, the Kid Crab and Shrimp Sandwich, and the Small Batch Root Beer Float.
Laurel Heights | Facebook
Photo courtesy of Rigolo
Heralded as the most kid-friendly restaurant in the city, Rigolo combines warm atmosphere, French Provincial home cooking and Northern California ideals like scratch-made cooking and locally sourced ingredients. In addition to a huge kids’ menu, they offer free kids’ meals with the purchase of an adult meal every Monday night, and they have a special kids’ play area complete with a picnic table, books, games, puzzles and more.
SoMa | Facebook
A great choice for the whole family (even the dog), SoMa StrEat Food Park is the place to go in San Francisco for local, gourmet food truck fare every day of the week. Their food truck lineup changes every single day, their calendar always features special, themed events, and their atmosphere is the perfect place for community and kid-friendly fun. To view their food vendors, click here.
16 locations | Facebook
This Bay Area original is dedicated to delicious burgers, local sourcing and sustainability. From the humanely-raised Brandt Farms beef to the housemade pickles, everything at Super Duper is, well, super duper, including their packaging which is completely compostable! In addition to kid-sized shakes and kid-sized ice cream cones, their menu offers a Mini Burger—a 4-ounce patty with Super Sauce—that can be topped with things like tomatoes, jalapeños, grilled onions, roasted portobello and more.
6 locations | Facebook
With five brick-and-mortar locations from Silicon Valley to San Francisco, the dishes at Tacolicious come with sunny patios and tons of fun. Whether you’re hunting down a few shareable snacks, a plate of mouth-watering tacos or a delectable dessert (coconut flan, anyone?), this spot should be on your go-to list. The Kids’ Menu features smaller portions and simple dishes like carnitas, chicken, seasonal veggie or fried fish tacos, cheese quesadillas and a bean and cheese burrito, and every item comes with a side of beans and rice and ends with a sundae.
Nob Hill | Facebook
Located inside the Fairmont San Francisco hotel, the Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar is a historic tiki bar that every music, food and cocktail fan should see. The story begins in 1929 when the hotel added a 75-foot indoor swimming pool on its Terrace Level. In 1945, the pool was transformed into a lagoon complete with a floating stage for the orchestra. Today, you can enjoy live music from that stage, food from the Polynesian-inspired menu, artisan cocktails, and even the occasional tropical rainstorm complete with thunder and lightning. Their kids’ menu makes Polynesian flavors more approachable with things like Fried Chicken Tenders, Coconut Shrimp Skewers and Grilled Miso Salmon in kid-sized portions.
Mission District | Facebook
Urban Putt is San Francisco’s first and only indoor miniature golf course, and it’s home to a full-service restaurant and bar where they offer a menu of upscale meals crafted using organic and locally sourced ingredients. The Mission District facility offers a fantastical and high-tech 14-hole mini-golf course for fun, and after the game, stop in the eatery for gourmet bites (and drinks!) both kids and adults can enjoy.
Embarcadero | Facebook
This Embarcadero mainstay has been named on The 15 Best Restaurants with the Best Views in San Francisco, Where to Get the Best Oysters in San Francisco and The 11 Most Romantic Restaurants Along The Embarcadero, and its versatile setting is great for kids, too! The daily changing menu represents the day’s best fresh-caught and sustainably sourced fish as well as the most expansive selection of oysters on the West Coast. The kids’ menu offers these fresh flavors in smaller, approachable portions and includes activities like coloring pages and mazes to keep everyone entertained.
Do you have a suggestion?
If we missed your favorite kid-friendly restaurant in the city, tell us about it in the comments below!