The Bay Area is the mecca for adventurous eating, so why should the adults be having all the fun? From acai bowls to Indian burritos, it’s time to trade in the standard chocolate chip cookie for a macaroon at these local spots with little foodies in mind. Check out our favorite family restaurants for adventurous kids to get those taste buds talking.
With four Bay Area locations to choose from, there's likely a Jack's Restaurant near you. We love it for a family night out as the restaurants are totally family-friendly and the menu is full of food that kids will love. Take the kids on a trip to the Mediterranean with the sampler as a starter (pitas, hummus and tzatziki). Lamb meatballs are terrific for sharing along with the garlic oregano fries. Skip the traditional kid's menu choices and share a plate of the lamb chops that are perfectly sized for picking up and eating with your hands. To keep the Greek flavor going until the end, opt for the galaktoboureko for dessert. Layers of sweet phyllo pastry, semolina custard and apricot-orange blossom preserve will be just the bite you need to round out the meal.
Locations in Newark, San Bruno, San Mateo and Pleasant Hill
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner
August (1) Five
The deep aromas of Indian food welcome you as soon as you walk in the door at August (1) Five in San Francisco. This modern take on Indian food is particularly kid friendly at brunch time when they offer a rotating menu of options like French toast topped with bananas and butterscotch and arancini. Both Chef Manish and owner Hetal's own children love the Poori Aloo, a potato stew, and the Veggie Appam, a savory, gluten-free pancake. It's location is ideal as it is right down the street from the War Memorial Opera House and open for dining before or after Nutcracker and SF Symphony performances.
524 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, CA
Hours: Brunch: 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Lunch: 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Tues.-Fri. Dinner: 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Tues.-Sun. (open until 10:30 p.m. on Fri.-Sat).
Need something a little different to eat on family movie night? Check out SAJJ Mediterranean for a menu that’s healthy, filling and affordable for the whole crew with locally-sourced produce and hormone-free Halal meats. With their Feast for 4 deal, you’ll get falafel, chicken shwarma, salad, rice, hummus, tzatziki and pita bread for all of $30. With locations in SF, Mountain View, San Jose and Sunnyvale, you can pick it up on your way home and have dinner done.
4140 North First St.
San Jose, CA
Hours: Sun.-Thurs., 11 a.m-9 p.m & Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m-10 p.m
Curry Up Now
The popular food truck serving Indian street food with a twist has several brick and mortar locations all over the Bay Area, and the décor is enough to want to hang out with the whole family. While the food choices can be a bit spicy for the little ones, the kids' menu is there to the rescue. The Bunty Burrito with paneer and Naan Pizza are top choices that are an instant hit, while grown-ups can snack on Sexy Fries and samosas. Can’t stay? Check out their Family-Style Meals To Go in Alameda and Oakland (for now).
1745 San Pablo Ave.
Hours: Mon.-Sun., 11:30 a.m-9 p.m
This LA-based deli (and more!) is all the rage since it opened up its first location in Campbell and second in San Jose. The kids' menu is pretty standard, but the PB&J will probably be the best version of this sandwich you’ll ever have. Get your little ones to try something new like the beet side salad—you can grab samples of whatever sides look appetizing while you wait to pay for your meal. Aside from the delish menu, these people know what it’s like to eat out with kids by designing a kid’s corner complete with a mini table, chalk wall and Connect Four game. With the goal of building a place that the community can gather around, Mendocino Farms just might hit the spot. Read more here.
1875 S. Bascom Ave.
3090 Olsen Dr., Suite 150
San Jose, CA
Opening soon in San Mateo
Hours: Daily from 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
With a restaurant named “Thanks Mom” in Spanish and a dedication to love of the earth and the families that live in it, you almost have to visit, and it’ll be so worth it. This Mission Mexican joint is 100% plant-based, non-GMO and authentic. The interior décor takes you to a village in Mexico, while the food (looking at you guacamole) snagged some rave reviews from the Zagat national food reviewers. Try the quesadillas with pumpkin seed salsa and flautas with sweet potato and caramelized onions for a delicious take on vegan Mexican fare.
2211 Misson St.
San Francisco, CA
Hours: Mon. & Tues., 11 a.m-10 p.m; Wed.-Fri., 11 a.m-11 p.m; Sat., 10 a.m-11 p.m; Sun., 10 a.m-10 p.m
Mama bees looking for a place that doesn’t scream kid friendly but so is, look no further than Bumble. Its chic décor makes it an ideal spot for a mama’s brunch, while the playroom (available for a fee) and healthy kids' menu makes it all sorts of OK to bring the little ones. Mini pink waffles will match your grown-up portion, and the Lil B’ Plate makes it a point to include seasonal fruit and veggies. You can spend an entire afternoon here, but be sure to check the calendar for movie days and family nights.
145 First St.
Los Altos, CA
Hours: Tues.-Fri., 9 a.m-2 p.m; Sat. & Sun., 8 a.m-3 p.m
For a healthy snack when the tummies are growling, head on over to Mana Bowls for take out. The Brazilian café is all about the super foods in a delicious way with acai bowls, smoothies and fresh juices. The peanut butter mango bowl is one of our favorites—acai sorbet and coconut base topped with granola and honey. The bitty bowls are perfect for the mini-me's and come with acai sorbet, bananas, strawberries, apple juice and granola.
1930 Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
Hours: Daily 10 a.m-5 p.m
Think you can’t get a burger if you’re vegan? The founders of VeganBurg set out on a mission to change exactly that, and it has become one of the most popular vegan joints in the Bay Area, earning celebrity nods from Taylor Swift and Sir Paul McCartney. 100% plant-based and GMO-free, you can feel good about what you’re eating and how it impacts the environment. The Mini Meal includes a burger, fries with broccoli and a cookie. The other location is in Singapore, so we can rest easy that this one is located right here in the Bay.
1466 Haight St.
San Francisco, CA
Hours: Sun.-Thurs., 11 a.m-9 p.m; Fri. & Sat., 11 a.m-10 p.m
Sunday supper is cozy and homey at this Piedmont neighborhood restaurant. Dishes change weekly and there is always a pasta dish (linguini with butter and parmesan cheese) made just for kiddos. For something more, they can indulge just like the grown-ups do with half-portion, half-priced three-course prix fixe dinners that include items like steak and eggs and cinnamon roll bread pudding.
4029 Piedmont Ave.
Hours: Daily 8 a.m-12 p.m (Cafe); 5 p.m-close (dinner) & 4:30 p.m-8:30 p.m (Sunday Supper)
For fast, casual, authentic Mexican food that’s more than a cheese quesadilla with beans, check out Panchito’s in North Bay. Here you can order classic favorites like carne asada and chile verde, with some pretty tasty chips and salsa on the side. Not only does the kids' menu serve up adult-sized entrees like Chile Relleno and tamales, they also feature a vocabulary key for bitty diners who want to try out their Spanish. De nada!
667 De. Gando Rd.
San Rafael, CA
Hours: Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m-9 p.m & Sat., 12 p.m-9 p.m
Take the kiddos to Westfield Mall (next to Nordstrom’s) after some back-to-school shopping or before a movie at the Metreon for some yummy comfort food. Tap 415 has a cool vibe for both adults and kids with a thought out menu designed just for them. Classics include mac n’ cheese, cheddar burgers and mini corn dogs, but the seasonal mocktails and shakes are worth saving some room for.
845 Westfield Center, 4th Floor
San Francisco, CA
Hours: Mon.-Thurs., 11:30 a.m-9 p.m; Fri. & Sat., 11:30 a.m-9:30 p.m & Sun., 11:30 a.m-8:30 p.m
The iconic SF restaurant draws the crowds every day, and although it’s a prime date spot, you wouldn’t believe it’s also seriously kid-friendly. The three-course prix fixe meal comes with chicken or steak, veggies, and pasta, and ends with an ice cream sundae while a feature film is shown in the background. Who knew a kids' menu could be so grown-up, but still add some fun with crayons and a coloring book?
2534 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA
Hours: Mon.-Wed., 5:30-10 p.m; Thurs.-Sat., 5:30-11 p.m; Sat. & Sun., 11 a.m-2:30 p.m
One of the most popular spots for family, and a great kids' menu to boot, Pacific Catch checks all sorts of boxes on our list. With six locations from Corte Madera to San Mateo, little seafood lovers can munch on coconut shrimp, teriyaki bowls and fish tacos while sipping on some pretty adult-worthy pineapple orange guava juice. Spacious seating big enough for strollers and high chairs make this one a no brainer.
Locations: Mountain View, Campbell, San Francisco (Inner Sunset & Marina), Corte Madera & San Mateo
Delicious French cuisine that’s also kid friendly might be tough to find, but Rigolo Café has made it happen. Located in Laurel Village, the black and white spot features a play area for kiddos complete with toys, crayons and a chalkboard while you enjoy authentic fare like chicken tartines and apricot jam crepes. Perks include Monday Night Kids Eat Free after 4 p.m and tasty brunch items such as fresh-squeezed orange juice and French Toast (of course).
3465 California St.
San Francisco, CA
Hours: Mon.-Sat., 8 a.m 7pm; Sun., 8 a.m - 4 p.m
Fish sticks get a much needed upgrade with fish n’ chips at Yankee Pier. This East Bay restaurant is all about sustainability and their fresh seafood from “coast to coast” makes for one delicious meal. Kids' menu features shrimp cocktail, grilled salmon, classic clam chowder, and of course, fish n’ chips. For dessert, check out the house-made butterscotch bread pudding with whipped cream, enough for the table to share.
3593 Mt. Diablo Blvd.
Hours: Daily 11:30 a.m-9 p.m
Kasa Indian Eatery
Calling all Indian burrito fans—this place is for you! The perfect lunch on the go, these burritos come with tikka masala, curried lamb and potatoes all wrapped up nicely in a flour tortilla. For the little ones, have them try a kid-sized version with egg, rice and yogurt. Although the menu is small, it packs a big punch when it comes to flavor. They have two locations in the city and offer catering for big events.
4001 18th St.
San Francisco, CA
Hours: Daily 11 a.m-10 p.m
Oh Baby Sushi
For casual Japanese food that you’ll actually want to visit with the whole gang, this Redwood City joint makes it easy to nosh on fresh sashimi while your kiddos explore mini portions of teriyaki bento boxes, tonkastsu bowls and ramen in soy sauce broth. The outside patio is nice to enjoy on a sunny day, and if naptime is near, all items are available for take out.
2139 Roosevelt Ave.
Redwood City, CA
Hours: Tues.-Wed., 11:30 a.m-2 p.m & 4:30-9:30 p.m; Thurs., 11:30 a.m-2:30 p.m & 4:30-9:30 p.m; Fri.-Sun., 11:30 a.m-3 p.m & 4:30-9:30 p.m
True Food Kitchen
Healthy food backed by a physician gives us all the good-for-you feels. With locations in Palo Alto and Walnut Creek, True Food Kitchen is all about mingling nutrient-rich foods with flavorful combos for a meal that gives you the energy to chase those kids around for the rest of the day. Kids' menu items include almond butter, banana and apple sandwiches and chicken teriyaki bowls with brown rice and quinoa. Be sure to check out their brunch as well with yummy options of juices and smoothies, salads and grain bowls.
180 El Camino Real, Suite 1140
Palo Alto, CA
Hours: Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m-9 p.m; Sat. & Sun., 10 a.m-9 p.m
—Kate Loweth, Sandra Lee, Erin Feher & Mireille Schwartz