San Francisco has a lovely, diverse dining scene that is as eclectic as its arts scene.
From innovative vegan diners to restaurants that specialize in delighting kids from around the world, dining destinations in San Francisco come in all varieties.
If you’re traveling to San Francisco and looking for places to eat that don’t feel like tourist traps and won’t break the bank, check out these family friend restaurants.
In the event that you do want to pop out on a date without the kids, we’ve also listed a few foodie favorites.
These restaurants are located in San Francisco or nearby surrounding areas, and are within a quick drive or walk of a few great San Francisco attractions, so they can be easily worked into your family vacation itinerary.
Kid-Friendly San Francisco Restaurants
This American-style restaurant is actually located inside Golden Gate Park, so it’s the perfect option for taking a lunch break from your daily explorations.
With a great mix of indoor and outdoor seating, Park Chalet gives you the experience of eating in a garden (without all the allergies). The menu includes items like chicken wings, Caesar salads, and cheeseburgers for the pickier eaters, and fun options like lobster leek sausage and kale salad for the more adventurous.
Nearby Attractions: Ocean Beach, Golden Gate Park, Legion of Honor
Located on San Francisco’s beloved Fisherman’s Wharf, Scoma’s is the go-to place for families looking to enjoy tasty, fresh seafood (literally right off the boat).
Although the menu often changes seasonally, some standby items include delicious pastas, grilled and fried fish of all varieties, and house specials like “shrimp and scallops alla gannon.”
Their children’s menu also includes cheeseburgers and spaghetti alongside fillets and prawns, so you can still enjoy delicious seafood even if they’re not into it.
Nearby Attractions: Fisherman’s Wharf, Wax Museum, S.S. Jeremiah O’Brien
An old-fashioned restaurant featuring delicious American diner food, Mel’s Drive-In has a great retro feel that is sure to delight diners of all ages. The restaurant even features jukeboxes at all the tables, really giving you that 1950s feel.
Popular menu items include their wide variety of different burger options, delicious breakfast items, meatloaf, fish and chips, and many tasty desserts. With a number of convenient locations in San Francisco, Mel’s is a great go-to place to suit everyone’s tastes.
Nearby Attractions: Presidio, de Young Museum
, Golden Gate Park
Adjacent to Golden Gate Park, this popular eatery is a kid favorite. It’s a bit on the smaller side, but this organic café serves only the tastiest and freshest in American fare, featuring all of your favorites plus some pleasant surprises.
The lunch menu, for example, features soups, sandwiches, salads, pastas, and pizzas. They even offer a special kids’ drink menu, with items like “Monkey Time,” made of pineapple and orange juice.
From breakfast and brunch to dinner and lunch, Park Chow is open any time of day you might want to take a break from sightseeing.
Nearby Attractions: Huntington Falls, Conservatory of Flowers
, Buena Vista Park
Unicorn Pan Asian Cuisine
With its diverse cultural heritage, it’s no surprise that the most authentic local cuisine in San Francisco is often not your traditional American fare.
Unicorn specializes in fresh, diverse Asian dishes, frequently combining different elements and menu items to create new and innovative cuisine. A visit here is a great way to get a taste of San Francisco’s Asian heritage and a sense of their modern dining scene.
You’ll also be able to find some plainer or vegetarian options to suit the kids if they’re a little less than adventurous.
Nearby Attractions: Cartoon Art Museum
, California Historical Society
, Financial District
If you’re looking for more seafood options, Waterbar is the perfect destination. This trendy, elegant eatery offers some of the freshest and finest seafood in the city.
Plus, it’s got one spectacular view of the water! Menus change daily, but they’ve consistently got a few favorites like oysters, scallops, seafood bisque, and more.
Be advised that this place does come with a bit of a price tag, but it’s well worth the cost if you’re looking for the best seafood in San Fran.
Nearby Attractions: AT&T Park
, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, SoMA
Vegetarian & Foodie Options
San Francisco is sometimes credited with the origin of the locavore movement, the culinary trend that tries to advance the consumption of local food products as much as possible.
Radius offers a delicious and unique variety of ceviche, tacos, and small plates that utilize only the freshest local ingredients. Menus change often to reflect the availability of ingredients, but the options are always tasty.
Nearby Attractions: Asian Art Museum
, Go Car Tours
, the Mission District
Although the name is simple, the cuisine at Greens Restaurant is far from boring. Featuring a variety of creative, sustainable vegetarian dishes, this dining destination has been a local favorite for the past twenty years (way before vegetarian restaurants were cool!).
They specialize in meatless cuisine of many styles, but it’s all supremely delicious.
Nearby Attractions: Marina Green Park, Golden Gate Bay Cruises
, Fisherman’s Wharf
Golden Era Vegan Restaurant
This vegan hotspot combines two of San Francisco’s most significant dining trends – the influence of Southeast Asian cuisine and the desire for organic, fresh, and vegetarian options.
These fun dishes are both traditional and experimental, featuring everything from salads and soups to rice plates and claypot dishes. There’s plenty here to satisfy those who prefer plain food, too, like some of the simple noodle dishes.
Nearby Attractions: Contemporary Jewish Museum
, SoMA, Cable Car Turnaround
Whatever type of cuisine and budget you have in mind, the San Francisco dining scene has something for you. Looking to explore on your own?
Some of the best places to wander in search of a fun and tasty dining experience include SoMA (South of Market Street), the Mission District, and the Financial District. Bon Appétit!