Big Spaces And Happy Faces: Best Family-Friendly Restaurants in San Francisco

Those who have traveled with family know the joys and challenges of such a trip. Everything - the good and the bad - is amplified. Watching a child enjoy his or her first sourdough bowl of clam chowder or gobble down some Ghiradelli chocolate can actually bring tears to the eyes. Dragging screaming kids up a San Francisco hill in a desperate search for food, however, can bring tears of a very different kind.

Stick with tears of joy by considering our list of best family-friendly restaurants. These restaurants are large and roomy enough to allow kids to expend that unfathomable energy, and the staffs are friendly and experienced enough to know that family meals take a certain touch. Whether it's the general zaniness of Buca de Beppo that brings out the kid in everyone, or the nearby access to Golden Gate Park of Park Chow to allow ample room for play, these restaurants will keep your whole family satisfied.

Since San Franciscans take dining-out extremely seriously, the last thing you want is to force your family into a small place that's just not well-designed for families. Let's face it: tiny, somewhat snobby restaurants are far from a child's "happy place." To keep everyone happy, consider one of our family-friendly restaurants, below. 

Lynn Gorfinkle and Josh Spiegelman -the inspired and conscientious owners of Roam Artisan Burgers, with two San Francisco locations and one in the East Bay - have made a hamburger that's a cut above all the rest. Every ingredient on Roam's menu...  Read More

If you still have savory dreams from childhood of two slices of perfectly buttered toast squeezing out melted cheddar cheese, this restuarant is for you. And, even though the recipe is simple, they take their one product very seriously, with...  Read More

Cole Valley

While Bay Area brunch restaurants are not hard to come by, Zazie's is one of a few local gems that keeps customers coming back despite its long, out-the-door lines. The eatery is renowned for its gingerbread pancakes but also features more...  Read More

Specializing in fish, Pacific Catch combines innovative cooking styles from Asia, Latin America and Hawaii with fresh, local ingredients to create a California-style cuisine all its own. Patron favorites include the raved-about island fish tacos...  Read More

Yank Sing

On the hunt for top-notch Chinese food? Check out Yank Sing, one of the city's most popular spots for authentic Asian fare. Here, deem sum carts laden with enticing, freshly made offerings make their way to each dining room table, affording...  Read More

Sotto Mare's old-school Italian ambiance and incredibly fresh fare receive rave reviews from North Beach natives and Bay Area visitors alike. The restaurant is known for its traditional baccala, savory crab cioppino and Boston-style clam...  Read More

The Brick Yard, located in San Francisco's Cow Hollow district, is a local's haven and includes family style seating and an elevated outside patio facing Union Street. The restaurant also features high-definition TVs and a full-service kitchen...  Read More

One of three locations, the Valencia Street restaurant in the Mission District is where the magic that is Pica Pica first happened in 2010. Fitting in perfectly with its surroundings full of Latin flair, this Maize Kitchen is open for lunch,...  Read More

Urban Putt
Photo courtesy of Tom Molanphy

Urban Putt opens at 4 p.m. on weekdays, 11 a.m. on weekends; a round of golf for adults is $12 and just $8 for kids five through 12. Besides the mesmerizing, hand-crafted course exhibits, Urban Putt has a full restaurant and bar in case you need...  Read More

Waterbar knows its a beautiful restaurant in a beautiful city - and makes the most of it. Designer Pat Kuleto spared no expense to insure diners will walk away with a complete ocean experience, including floor to ceiling aquariums full of...  Read More


Meet Tom Molanphy

The only thing that Tom Molanphy loves more than the food, art, music, and culture of San Francisco is sharing it with others. San Francisco never gets old for Tom.

Tom has lived in the San...  More About Tom