Eating out with Kids

Archived Q&A and Reviews

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See also: Food Shopping & Purchase

Richmond, Pinole, El Sobrante area

December 2001

I am looking for good places to eat with kids in the Richmond, Pinole, El Sobrante areas, basically on the I-80 corridor. I live near El Cerrito and find I prefer to go in the direction of less crowds and more parking, as opposed to eating in the Berkeley/Albany areas. Thanks for any suggestions. Jennifer

Hunan Villa, 632 San Pablo Ave., Pinole 510-724-1368 Very good they also have Jazz on some nights. Voted best of EastBay Chinese by Contra Costa Times. (I don't think their web-interface for ordering take-out works correctly). There is also a good Japanese restraunt next door (Del Monte Center), I forget name, but it is also good. See this link of restraunts also: Mike

Sawadee Thai restaurant on San Pablo Avenue (SPA) in Richmond (near Barrett) is good, and great fun for kids who like to take off their shoes and sit on floor pillows.

La Strada is a very good old-fashioned white-tablecloth family-friendly Italian restaurant in San Pablo. On SPA near Church, I believe.

There are several good Chinese and Japanese restaurants on SPA in El Cerrito. Try Shem's across from the EC Plaza. on SPA They are trying to build up business, and have special 2-for-1 dinner deals all the time. Gong Bu Lai in mid-El Cerrito shopping center is good. At the north end of El Cerrito, Uncle Wong's is popular, in the Del Norte Place strip--along with Italian restaurant String's which is mediocre.

Katana-ya for Japanese, on SPA in a strip mall. There is also a good Japanese restaurant on SPA across from Home Depot, can't remember the name. There are 2 right next to each other, one is better than the other.

For lunch we are devoted to the unpretentious The Junket on the south side of El Cerrito Plaza. Great sandwiches (try the avocado veggie sandwich on a sourdough roll, my usual), quiche, salads, coffee, deli counter. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, you can combine a Junket junket with a visit to the farmer's market.

The Asian Pacific Mall (Richmond) right by the freeway off Central has several good restaurants. Phuping Thai (kids love the name) is a favorite of mine--although a little fancy for evening perhaps, so we go there for lunch instead. The 868-something Chinese restaurant is also very good. Haven't tried the cook-your-own Hot Pot place yet, but that might be fun.

A new Fresh Choice (buffet-style all-you-can-eat salads, soups, pizza, whatnot) will soon open in the Hilltop Mall in Richmond.

And of course there's always Chevy's near Hilltop Mall.

And coming soon (2002) to the El Cerrito Plaza: Pasta Pomodoro, Macaroni Grill, Baja something-or-rather, an ice cream store, a small locally owned Italian gelato and sandwich cafe on Fairmont (hooray!), and *way* too many Starbucks. Lori

Tina's Creekside Cafe on San Pablo Dam Road in El Sobrante is cute, resonable, kid friendly and has lots of wonderful food (with excellent vegetarian options). Jeanette

I would try Jennifer & Todd's on San Pablo Dam Road (at El Portal. They have big wood tables (enough room to move your plates, etc. away from wandering hands) and lots of space in between the tables (for strollers, diaper bags, etc). The food is really good (italian and steaks)and reasonably priced. They have GREAT breakfast too (blueberry pancakes, chicken pesto omelettes, etc.) Kristen

There is a strip of 3 exits in Richmond/Pinole that offers quite a few eating places. Hilltop Mall Rd. has quite a few great eating places in the Mall (Sweet River Saloon, A Mexican Grill [can't remember the name -- something like Cazuelas maybe?], Mongolian BBQ, Burger King, Subway among others) and then there's also Chevy's off that exit. Richmond Pky/Fitzgerald Dr. offers Applebee's, Round Table Pizza, Outback Steakhouse , In-N-Out Burger, Togo's, Subway, Me-N-Ed's Pizza, a CheesSteak Shop, and etc. And Appian Way Exit has a number of places for families to eat like Wendy's, Taco Bell, McDonald's, (with an outdoor play structure), Burger King, Long John Silver's, KFC, Carl's Jr. (with an indoor play area), Sizzler, to name a few. (Note: Richmond Pky/Fitzgerald Drive Exit and Appian Way Exit are one big road. You can theoretically get off on one exit and continue down the road until you get back on the freeway at the end of the other exit.) Hope this helps. Enjoy! April

I live in El Sobrante and have three children. We frequently go to a Chinese buffet called Uncle Sam's. It's at the corner of Valley View and May Road in a shopping center with Albertson's. I usually don't go for buffets but this place is so popular that the food rarely stays on the hot table for more than 15 minutes. They also have some american style food - french fries, chicken nuggets - that kids like, and frequently have sushi rolls, in addition to a large variety of very fresh Chinese food. They're very kid-friendly. There's a fixed price depending on age but drinks are extra. The only down side is that the menu doesn't change much.

There's also a Sizzler right off Appian and the freeway and in downtown El Sobrante there's a Tandoori Chicken, which I personally love but probably most kids would not. Larry

Marin County

From: Mark (12/98)

Novato: Cacti southwestern
San Rafael: Los Camelia's original recipe's mexican, Anita's kitchen Thai, David's very good italian, Mayflower english pu,b Mulberry St. Pizza excellent Pizza

San Francisco

March 2002

I am wondering if anyone can recommend a baby and child ''friendly'' restaurant in San Francisco that is not a chain (i.e. Denny's, etc.)I have checked the archives and there are not many recent postings. Hungry mom w/ 18 month old

If you're anywhere near the inner-Richmond District, Georgio's pizza on Clement and fourth (or fifth, I can't remember), is the place to go with kids. We used to live in the neighborhood and went there every single Friday night with our then toddler. It seemed every family for miles was there, too. Friendly staff, perfect pizza, great pasta, amazing garlic bread...etc. Good prices. Loud and easy going - very kid friendly but still enjoyable for adults. We still make the schlep over the bridge just to visit, and it makes us dream of moving back (when we win the lottery, I mean). It's right across from City Kids. Parking is unlikely, so take Muni. another former San Franciscan mommy

I have brought my 3 month old to several restaurants in SF where a bit of cooing and occasional cry went completely unnoticed. Here are some of my favorites: Boogaloos is a great breakfast/lunch place in the Mission. In Noe Valley there is a Barney's Burgers and a crepery called Savor that is baby-friendly. On a nice day there are several good restaurants that have patios: Yum Yum Mediterranean on 9th and Irving, Moki's Sushi in Bernal Heights and Zazie in Cole Valley. Feel free to e-mail me for more recommendations, I've lived in the city for seven years and used to eat out a lot! sierrabc1

Angkor Borei Cambodian Restaurant on Mission and 30th... great food, hudge vegatarian menu, and VERY kid friendly

There was an amusing article in last months Gourmet about taking Children to places not geared to them. It describes taking a toddler to Masa. Basically, the point the author (Michael Lewis) was making was that toddlers and very rich people aren't really all that different in their demands.

Not recommending you do this, of course, but it was amusing.

The Chronicle has a list of kid-friendly restaurants sorted by location. It's here:

In their list I have been to and can recommend in SF Chow.

Good Luck. We're in the restaurant black-out period with our toddler. Myriam

Noe Valley (aka Stroller Valley) has a number of child-friendly places. Savor, with its lovely patio, on 24th Street comes to mind. Have you checked out They list kid-friendly restaurants in the city, among other resources for parents. Denise

From: John (11/98)

I recommend Beach Chalet Brewery on Great Hwy at JF Kennedy Dr., on the western edge of Golden Gate Park. It is children friendly yet it caters well for an adult dining experience (there is a good selection of home brew on tap and I believe they have live jazz in evening). When we had lunch recently with my husband's family from UK, the 5 year old in our party was presented promptly with a set of crayons with which to color her own sheet of children's menu. The adults thus enjoyed a leisurely meal while the child was busy with her artwork. The location is also rather special. On a fine day there is an opportunity for an after meal stroll in the park, or along the beach as we did. Otherwise the view of the ocean from the restaurant alone is spectacular. It's a good place to bring out-of-town visitors. There is also plenty of free parking ( a bonus for SF dining experience!).

From: Wendy (10/98)

Re: SF family restaurants
The most easily negotiated (though not necessarily the most gourmet food), in my opinion, are:

  • Chevy's (Tex-Mex) -- all over, but the one at Howard and 4th or 5th has free parking (I believe its on Minna) after 5:00, and it's easy to get veggie food there.
  • Fresh Choice (cafeteria style salad/soup/etc. bar) -- these are located a little south, Colma and Tanforan area both have one. They are priced by age (under 5 free, 3.99 up to 12 (I think), 10% senior discount, etc.) Lots of veggie choices available, and the best thing for new parents is that they have highchairs on wheels, so you plug your kid in the highchair at the beginning of the line, drag it along as you pick up food, and can even throw food on the tray as you go along to keep the child happy!
  • Olive Garden (Italian) -- located at Stonestown, this restaurant even has tablecloths!

    Chain Restaurants

    Have you tried Boston Chicken? With a whole or half chicken, you get side dishes which include mac & cheese (since my kids don't like chicken), jello, fruit salad, or different kinds of vegetables. And with the coupons that seem to appear every week in the Sunday Chron, it's really cheap -- we once even got a free chicken.


    We also go to Carrow's and Nation's for breakfast and that works out well, as our son loves scrambled eggs and hash browns. I always bring jars of baby food and his own juice in case service is slow or the places are crowded and I ask for crackers first if there is a long wait for food. I bring books if he finishes eating before we do, but sometimes one of us has to carry him outside and keep him amused.