Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar


A visit to San Francisco isn’t complete without experiencing The Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar. Yes it’s a bar, but it’s also a restaurant that children won’t want to miss. The Pan-Pacific Rim menu is tasty but what makes the place so special, so impossible to miss, is the artificial thunderstorms that come on the hour while a full band plays on a boat in a moat. You’ll be blown away as the kids sip soda and you enjoy one of the Tonga’s famous Mai Tais.

Contact no: (415) 772-5278

Location: 950 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

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The Grubstake

What makes this inexpensive eatery unusual is that it’s located inside an antique train car that is permanently parked on Pine Street. It used to be a train on the Key Line that connected San Francisco to the East Bay before the Bay Bridge was constructed. Along with its traditional diner fare, The Grubstake is oneof the few restaurants in the area to serve Portuguese dishes, an easy and delicious way to feed your children some culture. Some swear by its burgers; we like its Caldo Verde. Remember, bring cash, Grubstake doesn’t take credit cards.

Contact no: (415) 673-8268

Location: 1525 Pine Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

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Tartine Bakery

Everyone loves the Tartine Bakery, which is a short walk from Dolores Park. It uses only the freshest local ingredients to make its delicious French pastries, and San Franciscans line up every day for the chance to taste flaky, buttery croissants, and chocolaty brownies. Although the staff fusses over their pastries to perfect them; the elegant, simple taste of the pastries won’t frighten kids away. In Paris, you still might not find Pain au Chocolate as good as this. Tartine’s quality is no secret, so come during the week to avoid the crowds.

Contact no: (415) 487-2600

Location: 600 Guerrero Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

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Taqueria Cancun

San Francisco is famous for its own style of Mexican food, unduplicated anywhere in Mexico or the North. When San Franciscans move away, their thoughts return to the Taquerias of the Mission District. Taqueria Cancun is a perfect example. Informal and unfussy, (if a bit noisy) it serves giant burritos and tacos with only the freshest ingredients. Its sizzling carne asada (grilled steak) is known as the best in town, but what makes it truly special is that Cancun doesn’t skimp on delicious, fresh, California-grown avocado. Make sure your children are careful, the green picante sauce is spicier than it looks.

Contact no: (415) 252-9560

Location: 2288 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

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Tadich Grill

The oldest restaurant in San Francisco, the Tadich Grill served dinner to gold rush miners and sailors. Take your children here for the history, the curtained booths, the conversations at the long wooden counter, and the grumpy old waiters wearing white shirts. Take yourself here for all of those reasons, plus the sole meuniere and the sand dabs.

Contact no: (415) 391-1849

Location: 240 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94111

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St. Francis Fountain

This recently renovated ice cream fountain, deep in the heart of the Mission District, makes delicious old-fashioned floats, malts and shakes, teaching a history lesson in treats. This is San Francisco’s oldest ice cream parlor and as such is very old-fashioned. For example, they won’t serve soy-based ice cream, which, in San Francisco, makes them seem practically reactionary. They have high quality versions of old dinner fare as well. We’ll warn you, this place gets very crowded during weekend brunch hours, so come during the week.

Contact no: (415) 826-4200

Location: 2801 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

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Most of the tourist attractions in the Fisherman’s Wharf area don’t have anything to do with fish, or fisherman or even wharfs. Wax museums, singing waiters, and guys pretending to be robots all compete for your attention. Hidden away in a quiet alley, at Scoma’s, you can actually see the fishermen come in with their catch every day. You don’t need to get up early for it either, they come in intermittently throughout the day. The fish is cleaned, prepared, and at your table within minutes of its arrival. It wouldn’t be possible to eat fresher fish unless you were prepared to bite it as it swam. Even children who hate seafood will find something they like on the child menu, and everyone loves drawing with crayons on the child-friendly paper tablecloths.

Contact no: (415) 771-4383

Location: Pier 47, San Francisco, CA 94133

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Sam Wo

The food is nothing special. But like the House of Nanking, coming here is a San Francisco tradition. These days it’s a little quieter, but you still have to walk through the kitchen and up the staircase to get to the dining rooms, the sink is still in the middle of the room (remember to wash your hands) and the Chow Fun noodles are still the main attraction here. The waitstaff are all quite sharp, but children will love the dumbwaiter, which is strangely fascinating.

Contact no: (415) 982-0596

Location: 813 Washington Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

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Luna Park

Luna Park is a favorite among locals and tourists alike for its high quality comfort food. Simple dishes like mashed potatoes and oven-baked macaroni and cheese coexist happily with more exotic fare like broccoli rabe and fried wonton chips, so you can be sure that everyone will be able to find something to eat. The green beans are vegetables that your children will actually want to eat. More important is the dessert; their famous s’mores, which you and your family make at your table, are unforgettable. Be careful though, the marshmallows tend to stick to your fingers.

Contact no: (415) 553-8584

Location: 694 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

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Molinari Delicatessen

Molinari Delicatessen isn’t so much located in the heart of North Beach as it is the beating heart of San Francisco’s Italian community. The same family has run this old-style Italian deli for four generations, a claim very few businesses in town can match. Molinari ships its famous meats all over the country, but they taste better here. Remember to get a number as soon as you enter the store so that people who come in after you don’t cut ahead of you. When you and your children order your sandwiches, you get to pick out your own bread or roll (we suggest the rosemary rolls as they’re the softest). It may sound like a lot of stress for a simple sandwich but trust us, Molinari’s salami, mortadella, and prosciutto are incredible.

Contact no: (415) 421-2337

Location: 373 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133

Learn more here.