Best Themed Restaurants Worth the Splurge

Kate Loweth

If you are looking for that extra-special spot to celebrate a birthday or an impressive report card, look no further: These kid-friendly restaurants bring more to the table than your average burger and fries joint. Picture mini golf courses, rain showers, cat company and more—the kids will be entertained and you’ll get a fun family date night out without having to resort to digital bribery. Win-win!


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Golf & Food Trucks: Stagecoach Greens

Nella DuBon-Koch

This kid on the mini-golf block was destined to be a major fave for families in the SF area. After it opened several years ago in Mission Bay, everyone fell in love with the amazingly-detailed putt-putt holes from the Chinatown dragon to the 1906 Victorian complete with earthquake. Located right across the street from the food truck mecca SPARK Social SF, it even has a number of food trucks of its own. Al Pastor Papi and Hookt Donuts will be mainstays while other trucks rotate through. Rent a cabana and make it a family night!

1379 4th St.
San Francisco
Online: stagecoachgreens.com

RELATED: Our Full Review of Stagecoach Greens Mini-Golf and Food Trucks When It First Opened

A Night on the Island: Tonga Room

themed restaurants to try in SF
Dhyana Levey

Skip the Rainforest Cafe and go to the real deal instead. Opened in 1945 within the Fairmont Hotel, this campy and yes, touristy lounge showers visitors in old-school Tropicana. The Polynesian-esque ambiance includes the Tonga Room’s epic rain showers every 30 minutes and a lagoon where a live band plays on a thatch-covered barge. Happy hour (Wed.–Fri., 5–7 p.m.) offers a sweet deal on food and drinks for the whole family, and bartenders are happy to whip up a colorful, fruity, booze-free concoction in a coconut for the kids. All ages are welcome until after 10 p.m. when it goes 21+.

The Fairmont Hotel
950 Mason St.
San Francisco
Onlinetongaroom.com

Table Tennis & Graffiti Art: SPIN

Kate Loweth

This spot near SFMOMA and Yerba Buena Gardens is the place to go when you want to up your table tennis game in style. SPIN is definitely not your mom’s garage—it is a funky industrial space with custom graffiti-style artwork on the walls and old-school jams playing. Open from noon until late, kids are welcome at SPIN until 9 p.m. when it goes 21+. You reserve table time in one-hour increments and there’s a menu full of shareable plates and cocktails to go along with your game.

Choose one of the two tables in their patio area and you’ll have your own space to lounge, eat and play. Kids will love the SPIN Burger or the always-dependable pepperoni pizza. Check their calendar for upcoming family-friendly events. 

690 Folsom St.
San Francisco
Online: wearespin.com

Chocolate Lover’s Paradise: Ghiradelli Chocolate Experience Store

While this sweet spot near Fisherman’s Wharf has been dishing up chocolate treats for decades, it just recently underwent renovations meant to engage locals and tourists alike. The new, improved Ghirardelli Chocolate Experience Store now includes a behind-the-scenes look of the making of its famous hot fudge sundaes in an open kitchen, more than 20 flavors of Ghirardelli chocolate squares in a huge Pick & Mix selection and a live chocolate bar creation. While the line at the main ice cream shop is usually long any time of the day, it has a fun old-school ambiance that kids love. 

900 N. Point St.
San Francisco
Onlineghirardelli.com

Tea Time in Japan: Japanese Tea Garden

Not only is The Japanese Tea Garden the oldest public Japanese garden in the United States but the tea house is reportedly the first place to serve fortune cookies in the US at the turn of the century. The gorgeously landscaped gardens with an arched drum bridge, pagodas, stepping stone paths koi ponds and a Zen garden are both lovely and fun to explore, and the tea house serves treats like green tea cheese cake, sweet rice cakes and cookies, and Udon noodles and miso soup for the chilly Golden Gate park weather.

75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr.
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco
Online: japaneseteagardensf.com

Cat Heaven: KitTea Cafe

Get your cat fix at this cafe that is also home to 16-22 adorable rescue kittens just waiting for love. There are two options here: choose the cafe side and watch the kitties through the window or select the cat lounge where you get to meet the cats in person. Sandwiches and salads are available for purchase and you get your choice of green tea. They also offer hot chocolate for the kiddies. To access the cat lounge side, kids need to be at least 9 years old (ages 5-9, give them a call and they might be able to get you in). Bonus: many of the cats here are available to adopt! 

1266 Valencia St. 
San Francisco
Onlinekitteasf.com

RELATED: All the Places to Encounter New Animals around SF

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