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In the Union Square area, Lori's Diner is a popular place for families. Vinyl seats, throwback diner menus of burgers and hot dogs, plus less throwback pastas and salmon provides enough variety for kids' and parents' palates. On the back side of the Renaissance Parc 55 Hotel on Ellis and Cyril Magnin Street is the Siam Restaurant, a small, neat little Thai restaurant that is nicer than a hole-in-the-wall, but priced close to that. Kids might cotton to the Thai-inflected dishes that use spaghetti noodles (but not spaghetti sauce), or the ever popular Pad Thai noodles.
A favorite kid and family friendly place in San Francisco is the Crossroads Café on the Embarcadero – near the ballpark & Delancy Street. It has a walled garden, comfy sofas and cheap healthy food plus huge slices of cake – and a small bookstore too. Nearby, under the bay bridge is Reds Java Café that does fries and hot dogs and beer and has an outside eating area (ok it’s a parking lot on a pier with chairs and a steep drop into the water). The new Boudin Bakery further around Embarcadero, near Pier 39 is kid friendly and not too expensive – they can watch bread being made and moved around in baskets like a monorail.
At the foodie-haven Ferry Building is Taylor's Refresher, from Petaluma. Great diner food that is reimagined. Casual atmosphere and a view that can't be beat.
On 24th Street & Mission are some great Mexican cake shops and restaurants, plus the St. Francis Ice Cream Soda Fountain and lots of Murals to see. Roosevelt's Tamale Parlor, an 85-year-old local favorite, has reopened with a new look and re-imagined menu: 2817 24th St. (at Bryant), San Francisco; (415) 824-2600. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday.-Friday, until 10 p.m. Sat.-Sun.
In Chinatown, on Jackson is ABC that has great pork buns. You can sit in the park down the street to eat. In fact, most restaurants in Chinatown are family friendly for dining. Chinese regard children in restaurants as a fact of life, and even in the fancier Chinese restaurants, no one raises an eyebrow children act like children when families come to dine.
Additionally, if you are on Clement St. (in the Inner Richmond district), Georgio's Italian Eatery is an always popular family restaurant, with great tasting fresh made pizzas, pasta dishes and calzones. Bustling family atmosphere, with a kids' menu.