With COVID-19 changing the dining landscape across the country, outdoor dining has been more popular than ever. Lucky for us, we are just now heading into prime outdoor dining season in the Bay Area (we’re talking about you, San Francisco!). Enjoy sunshine, fresh air and maybe a beautiful view or two while you nosh on seafood, pizza and French toast. Check out these options with ample outdoor seating that are ready for your next family meal!

OUTDOOR DINING IN SAN FRANCISCO

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Scoma’s Restaurant (@scomassf) on

Scoma's

This classic Fisherman's Wharf spot has opened up to outdoor dining daily from 11:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. and we are here for it. Go for the crab legs and cioppino to celebrate 55 years of Scoma's selling the freshest seafood in town. Bear-battered fish and chips are a kid fave and the adult popscicles are a fun addition to the outdoor menu. 

Per 47
San Francisco, CA
Online: scomas.com

photo: Boudin

Bistro Boudin

Head to Fisherman's Wharf for this pop-up dining experience from our favorite sourdough bread maker. Open daily from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Boudin’s Summer Grill & Crab Fest highlights the best of the waterfront district with food stations of fresh crab, wood-fired pizzas with a crunchy sourdough crust, savory barbeque, wine, beer, craft cocktails and of course, the eatery’s legendary sourdough bread. Boudin has moved its operations outside the restaurant and into the streets of Fisherman’s Wharf to provide a clean and safe opportunity to dine alfresco in one of San Francisco’s most famous locales.

160 Jefferson Street
San Francisco, CA
Online: bistroboudin.com

photo: Kate Loweth

MerSea

This spot is the perfect option for summer dining with its unbeatable view of SF and super kid-friendly vibe. With its Treasure Island location, you can grab a Lyft across the bridge and you will feel miles away from the downtown SF congestion. Grab a spot on the expansive patio complete with bocce ball, putt putt and a plot of artificial grass to spread out the toddler blankets. Get yourself a P3 Sandwich (Philly-style shaved pork shoulder, pepperoni and provolone) or the out-of-this-world brioche French toast. Walk off your meal along the water or head over to the grassy area to fly your kite.

699 Avenue of the Palms
Treasure Island, San Francisco, CA
Online: mersea.restaurant

photo: Ghirardelli

Ghirardelli Square

Ghirardelli Square is a great option for al fresco dining as there are quite a few different options depending on whether you want burgers and beer, dumplings and tea, or an ice cream sundae. 

Ghirardelli Marketplace & Ghirardelli On-the-Go Shop
These two Ghirardelli Chocolate locations are ideal for enjoying your favorite sundae or sweet treat outdoors! Visit Ghirardelli Marketplace to pick up classic Ghirardelli items, including: chocolate squares, bars, gifts, baking mixes, and chocolate chips. Or, visit Ghirardelli’s On-the-Go Beach Street location for ordering sundaes, ice creams, milkshakes, and more to enjoy in Ghirardelli Square’s many outdoor dining areas.

Palette Tea House
Palette Tea House’s patio is open for outdoor dining during lunch and dinner and serving up all the hits, including their signature dumplings, bao and Roaring Dragon family meals. For reservations, click here.

San Francisco Brewing Co.
It doesn’t get better than San Francisco Brewing Co.’s beer garden, where families can enjoy classic pub favorites with a modern twist, including pizzas, sandwiches and baked pretzels. For those 21+, SF Brewing Co. has a great selection of seasonal batches and signature brews. View their menus and more here.

photo: Alexander's Steakhouse

The Patio by Alexander's Steakhouse

Alexander's Steakhouse San Francisco is excited to bring you the long-awaited experience of Alexander’s Steakhouse at their new outdoor dining patio in the heart of the SOMA district. The Patio by Alexander's Steakhouse offers the best in al fresco summertime dining, complete with safely-distanced tables. The outdoor space has been repurposed into a patio blocked off with recycled doors for a cozy and quaint dining feel. The Patio by ASH is a casual outdoor experience that features some of the favorites from Alexander's Steakhouse, combined with some amazing pastas that have been created by Executive Chef Eric Upper. Open for lunch and dinner, Wednesday-Sunday, with brunch also offered on Sunday.

680 Folsom St.
San Francisco, CA
Online: alexanderssteakhouse.com

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Fiorella (@fiorellaitalian) on

Fiorella

This neighborhood Italian restaurant is best known for its wood-fired pizzas—favorites include the mushroom and salsiccia pies. There are extensive vegetarian options and the restaurant is able to modify their dishes to exclude meat. Both of their locations are open for outdoor dining. 

2238 Polk St
San Francisco, CA

2339 Clement St.
San Francisco, CA
Online: Fiorella-sf.com

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Zazie (@zazie_sf) on

Zazie

This classic SF brunch spot is a classic for good reason: the food is always out of this world, the atmosphere is warm and cozy and service is great. French toast, pancakes, eggs and sandwich options galore mean everyone will find something to like. They are not currently taking reservations but you can put your name on the list and receive notification when a table opens up. 

941 Cole St.
San Francisco, CA 
Online: zaziesf.com

photo: Erin Feher

Lemonade

Is there a more perfect lunch than a veggie-full, flavor-packed salad accompanied by a tall, cold glass of lemonade infused with flavors like cucumber-mint, blood orange or coconut-apple? For parents who want an easy meal that won’t weigh them down and kids who love to eat the rainbow, it’s Lemonade to the rescue. The covered, heated patio at the Mission St. location features upholstered bright yellow booths and the interiors are equally as comfortable for a leisurely lunch. Options for family fun in and around the eatery are endless, as the patio virtually opens onto the rolling lawn of Yerba Buena Park. The waterfall is within view and just a short stroll through the park takes you to the Creativity Museum, the classic carousel, the ice rink and bowling alley.

781 Mission St. (4th and Mission Sts.)
San Francisco, CA

16 West Portal
San Francisco, CA
Onlinelemonadela.com

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Reverie Cafe/Bar (@colevalley_reveriecafe) on

Reverie Cafe

This Cole Valley gem is well known for its delicious breakfast and lunch, but mostly for its spacious and secluded garden patio. There’s even a little stream that runs through the outdoor seating area, which is fenced and completely safe for kids to play around while you stay seated enjoying your treats. Remember that this place is a cash only, but don’t worry, there is an ATM just down the street.

848 Cole St.
San Francisco, CA
Online: reveriesf.com

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Hog Island Oyster Co. (@hogislandoysterco) on

Hog Island Oyster Co.

If you and your kids are seafood lovers, this is the place for you. The outdoor patio has an amazing view of the Bay Bridge and it’s away from traffic so your kids can leave the table and play nearby, or simply watch the ferries chug in and out of the harbor. Hog Island has their own oyster farm in Marin and their oyster sampler is to die for. They have many options for kids and the non-seafood eaters as well. Don’t despair if the patio line is long, it moves fast and it’s worth the wait (and there are plenty of tasty, outdoor alternatives just next door—this is the Ferry Building after all).

1 Ferry Bldg.
Shop 11
San Francisco, CA
Online: hogislandoysters.com

Surisan

Surisan offers one of the most unique brunch menus in the city, with several Korean-influenced dishes including jook (rice porridge), kimchi fried rice and bulgogi alongside omelets, burgers and some really stellar French toast. Don’t miss the famous millionaire’s bacon, which is basically bacon dialed up to 11. Another thing not to miss the expansive patio right next to Fisherman’s Wharf. Dinner is a more strictly Korean affair, featuring Korean-style fried chicken, short ribs and seafood claypots. In addition to outdoor dining, you can enjoy your meal to-go or via delivery. 

505 Beach St.
San Francisco, CA
Online: surisansf.com

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Mission Rock Resort (@missionrock) on

Mission Rock Resort

This scenic Mission Bay restaurant has one of the best views in town. You can’t get any closer to the water—you’ll feel like you are dining on a boat! Don’t miss the oyster happy hour (daily from 3 to 7 p.m.), Thai chili wings, crispy calamari or Dungeness crab special. Reservations are recommended, or you can grab counter service on the first floor.

817 Terry Francois Blvd.
San Francisco, CA
Online: missionrockresort.com

OUTDOOR DINING IN THE EAST BAY

photo: Plank

Plank

This Jack London Square spot offers loads of different options for families looking for a good time. Reserve a bocce ball court outside with views of the Bay. The outdoor seating is perfect for families and there's even a small climbing structure next door for the kiddies. The expansive food and beverage menu provides lots of kid-friendly options.

98 Broadway
Oakland, CA
Online: plankoakland.com

photo: Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr

Westbrae Biergarten

Just one glance around this place will make it pretty obvious why it’s so kid friendly—there’s a massive sandbox! The all-outdoor Biergarten is a welcomed addition to the neighborhood. Grown ups can enjoy one of about a dozen local beers on tap, while the kids can explore the sandbox, a water fountain, or the Astroturf “lawn” area. And if that’s not enough to keep them busy, the BART whizzes by every couple of minutes, ensuring train lovers won't mind staying until you finish your pint (or two).

1280 Gilman St.
Berkeley, CA
Online: westbraebiergarten.com

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge (@forbiddenisland) on

Forbidden Island

Get out your best Hawaiian shirts and head over to Alameda for this tropical paradise. Forbidden Island recently opened a backyard oasis where you can enjoy umbrella drinks and tasty bar meals. Reservations are available via their website

1304 Lincoln Ave.
Alameda, CA
Online: forbiddenislandalameda.com

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Paulo Jay (@pj_dumlao) on

Lost & Found

Head to this downtown Oakland oasis to soak up some sun, and enjoy a game of ping-pong or corn hole. You’ll find both games set up on the spacious back patio, which also offers a variety of seating options. The laid-back atmosphere will make the whole family feel right at home.

2040 Telegraph Ave.
Oakland, CA
Online: lostandfound510.com

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Brotzeit Lokal (@brotzeitlokal) on

Brotzeit Lokal

From the outside, Brotzeit Lokal looks like it could be a clam shack or a boathouse. But inside, it’s a haven for German bier lovers. It's located right on the water, so kids will love watching the boats come and go, while the over-21 set will enjoy the variety of authentic brews. Prost!

1000 Embarcadero
Oakland, CA
Online: brotzeitbiergarten.com

OUTDOOR DINING IN THE SOUTH BAY/PENINSULA

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Campo di Bocce of Los Gatos (@campodiboccelg) on

Campo di Bocce

Campo di Bocce captures la dolce vita of Italy in a classic Italian restaurant setting complete with covered bocce courts. It’s a great option for a meal out with the kids: enjoy some playing time with the littles, then sit down to pasta and pizza. The staff will give you a quick lesson on how to play but most kids pick up the basics very quickly.

4020 Technology Pl.
Fremont, CA
510-651-2500

175 E. Vineyard Ave.
Livermore, CA
925-249-9800

565 University Ave.
Los Gatos, CA
408-395-7650

Online: campodibocce.com

photo: Kate Loweth

Mendocino Farms

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. Both the Campbell and Santana Row locations have outdoor dining available. With the goal of building a place that the community can gather around, Mendocino Farms just might hit the spot. Read more here

The Pruneyard
1875 S. Bascom Ave.
Campbell, CA

Santana Row
3090 Olsen Dr., Suite 150
San Jose, CA

Other locations in SF, Palo Alto, San Mateo and San Ramon

Onlinemendocinofarms.com

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Half Moon Bay Brewing Co (@hmbbrewingco) on

Half Moon Bay Brewing Company

Grab yourself a beer flight while the kids watch the seagulls soar at this Half Moon Bay establishment right on the water. Sit outside on the patio where you can count the sailboats docked across the street. Their kids' menu has tons of options including wild salmon and grilled prawns for the more adventurous little eaters. Don't forget to grab a growler of your favorite pint to go!

390 Capistrano Rd.
Half Moon Bay, CA
Onlinehmbbrewingco.com

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Steins Beer Garden MV (@steinsbeer_mountainview) on

Steins Beer Garden

This Mountain View gastropub describes itself as “your neighborhood beer garden” and they live up to it with something for the whole fam (including Fido!). Grab a spot on the patio and sample one of the DOZENS of beers from their list. Be sure to ask for markers and coloring sheets for the little ones. This place can get a little busy in the evenings, so your best bet is to stop in during the early afternoon (we know we can twist your arm). Bonus: dogs are allowed on the outdoor patio! 

895 Villa St.
Mountain View, CA
Online: steinsbeergarden.com

OUTDOOR DINING IN MARIN

photo: Erin Lem

Amy’s Drive Thru

Tasty fast food is the name of the game at the just-opened Amy’s Drive Thru in Corte Madera. Situated right off of 101, locals have been eagerly awaiting their opening. And good news: this place doesn’t disappoint. COVID-friendly, Amy’s Drive Thru offers a drive through option and a spacious outdoor patio whose picnic tables and benches are sanitized after every use (signs on the tables signify whether they’re ready for patrons). Customers enter through one door and exit through another, with condiments and utensils dished out only by the staff (who are all masked). 

Let’s talk food: their mostly organic menu includes their signature Organic Veggie Burgers, along with organic fries, organic shakes and organic smoothies (we suggest the green smoothie—our toddler is officially obsessed). Other highlights include organic soups, organic mac ‘n’ cheese, burritos and salads. For sweets opt for baked goods like vegan cinnamon rolls and waffles. Their menu is very kid-friendly, adaptable (you can customize to vegan or gluten-free) and clearly labeled if you have any food allergies. We give two resounding thumbs up.

5839 Paradise Drive
Corte Madera, CA
Online: amysdrivethru.com

photo: Erin Lem

Fish Hook Co. at Proof Lab Beer Garden

Also in Tam Junction in Mill Valley is beloved Fish Hook Co. who brought their fresh, thoughtfully-sourced seafood fare from the Outer Sunset where their original outpost still stands to Southern Marin. This beer garden is super inviting to families. In fact, pre-COVID, kids often outnumbered adults with wooden toys lay scattered on the stage and lawn area. 

They’ve recently reopened their doors to first-come, first-serve outdoor dining. Order at the counter and choose from fave menu items like their fish tacos, burritos, avocado tacos, salads and fish ‘n chips. A variety of local beers are on tap, along with delicious agua frescas. After eating, stroll over to Proof Lab to shop their goods or pick up a coffee to-go at Equator.

254 Shoreline Highway
Mill Valley, CA
Online: hookfishco.com/#web-menu

The Junction

People used to fly through Tam Junction in Mill Valley on the way home or to Stinson. Now, thanks to a number of new eateries, this thoroughfare is now a destination for families. The Junction, which opened end of summer 2020, is the newest hot spot for locals seeking a relaxed, inviting and COVID-friendly spot. Started by the folks who own PizzaHacker in SF, this new and gigantic beer garden and pizzeria serves up fresh pies, beer and kombucha on tap. 

Picnic-style tables are placed at least 6 feet apart in the huge outdoor space and patrons are asked to wait outside the beer garden until a seat opens. Order from your phone directly from the table (goodbye menus) and piping hot pizza and beverages are delivered shortly thereafter. The staff are all masked and tables wiped down after each turns over to the next group. Parking is ample, along with space for kids to roam socially distant from each other. When the pandemic subsides, kids will enjoy the sweet pirate ship play structure. in the back of the beer garden.

226 Shoreline Highway
Mill Valley, CA
Online: thejunc.com/

photo: Nat & Cody Photography

Shake Shack

Just opened in Spring 2019, this Marin Country Mart eatery is a favorite for families and has plenty of outdoor seating. Everyone loves Shake Shack's famous burgers, crinkle cut fries, shakes and frozen custard. The 21+ crowd can sip on wine and beer all on the spacious outdoor patio that includes a foosball table.

1401 Larkspur Landing Circle
Larkspur, CA
Online: shakeshack.com

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by William LaMontagne (@wjlamontagne) on

Pond Farm Brewing Co.

San Rafael got a whole lot more family-friendly (if that's at all possible) thanks to Pond Farm Brewing Co. The space is bright, airy and light, and includes a back patio with a rotating selection of food trucks most evening (they also allow in outside food). They brew all of their beers on-site but what you'll really love is the dedicated kids play area, which features a play kitchen, tons of toys and kid-sized furniture. It's definitely a welcoming spot to kick back with a beer and enjoy time together as a family without worrying about your kids making too much noise or being too active. Bonus: there is plenty of free street parking, and they have wi-fi and open at noon for you work-from-home parents!

1848 4th Street
San Rafael, CA
Online: pondfarmbrewing.com

—Anita Chu & Kate Loweth

 

RELATED STORIES

Food Truck 101: Where to Get Your Meals on Wheels

23 Bay Area Spots for Epic Family Picnics

Over 50 Bay Area Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free

Foodies in Training: Best Bay Area Kids’ Menus