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The best kid-friendly restaurants have fun food and a welcoming atmosphere. Just about any pizza or burger place is going to be kid-friendly, but many other kinds of restaurants are great for children.

Good signs that a restaurant is kid-friendly include:

If your child is an adventurous eater, ethnic restaurants can be great options. Asian, Mexican, and Mediterranean are often good choices. Fortunately, most kid-friendly restaurants are pretty easy on the budget. In fact, there's a pretty strong correlation between cost and kid-friendliness. Expensive restaurants and their customers often aren't very welcoming of children.

Timing is also part of the equation. A restaurant can be kid-friendly for breakfast and weekend lunches, but be the power lunch scene on weekdays or a dating hotspot during Friday night happy hour.

Kids Eat Free
These restaurants that not only welcome children, but offer free kids meals on at least some days of the week:

Blue Jay Cafe - San Francisco (Everday before 7 pm)
Carrows - Several Locations (Wed & Thu after 4 pm)
Chevy’s - Several Locations (Tue)
Coco’s Bakery and Restaurant - Hayward (Wed & Thu after 4 pm)
Easy Street Café - San Anselmo (Mon 4-9 pm)
El Torito - Several Locations (Wed)
Fillipo’s - Berkeley, Oakland (Tue)
- Several Locations (Wed)
Marie Callenders - Several Locations (Tue & Sat)
Pedro's Restaurant - Los Gatos, Santa Clara (Wed)
Pizza Party - Santa Clara (Everyday after 5 pm)
Schooners Grille & Brewery - Antioch (Wed)
Squat & Gobble - San Francisco (Tue 5-10 pm)

More Kid Friendly Restaurants
Baby Blues BBQ - San Francisco
Bistro Maxine - Palo Alto
Buca di Beppo - Campbell , Palo Alto, San Francisco
Benihana - Burlingame, Concord, San Francisco
Black Bear Diner- Gilroy, Napa, Oakley, Rohnert Park, Sonoma, Walnut Creek
Boston Market - Several Locations
California Pizza Kitchen - Corte Madera, Palo Alto, Monterey, San Francisco, San Jose, San Mateo, Walnut Creek
Chili's - Bay Area side
Chuck E Cheese - Bay Area wide
The Elephant Bar - Burlingame, Campbell, Concord, Cupertino, Daly City, Fremont
Emery Public Market - Emeryville
Fresh Choice - Bay Area wide
Julie's Coffee & Tea Garden - Alameda
Main Street Coffee Roasting Company - Redwood City
Max's Diner and Cafes - Bay Area wide
McDonald's - Regional
Mel's Drive-in - San Francisco
Old Spaghetti Factory - Concord, Oakland, San Jose
Pasta Pomodoro - Several Locations
Peggy Sues - San Jose
Phil's Sliders - Berkeley (monthly Family night entertainment)
Play Cafe - Oakland
Red Robin - Several Locations
Rigolo Cafe - San Francisco
Roundtable Pizza - Bay Area wide
Red Tractor Cafe - Dublin
Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe - Emeryville
Rainforest Cafe - San Francisco
Red Robin - Newark, Pleasanton, San Bruno, Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Jose
Southwest Grill - San Mateo
Straw Hat Pizza - Bay Area wide
Sweet Tomatoes - Fremont, Pleasant Hill, Pleasanton, Sunnyvale, Walnut Creek
Taco Bell - Bay Area wide
T.G.I. Fridays - Bay Area wide
Tomatina - Alameda, Berkeley, Dublin, Santa Clara, Walnut Creek
Zocalo Coffee House - San Leandro

Ice Cream Parlors
Baskin Robbins - Bay Area wide
Ben & Jerry's - Berkeley Napa, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Clara
Cold Stone Ice Cream - Bay Area wide
Dairy Queen - Bay Area wide
Double Rainbow - Bay Area wide
Fenton's Creamery and Restaurant - Oakland
Ghiradelli Chocolate Manufactory and Soda Shop - San Francisco
Haagen-Dazs - Bay Area wide
Joe's Ice Cream - San Francisco
Mitchell's Ice Cream - San Francisco
Smitten Ice Cream - San Francisco, Lafayette
San Francisco Creamery - Walnut Creek
Screamin' Mimi's - Sebastapol
Sugar Cone Cafe - Kensington
Sweet Connections - San Bruno

Cooking Schools
Apron Strings - San Francisco
Cake Works - San Jose
Cucina Bambini - San Jose
Kids Culinary Adventures - San Mateo
What's Cooking - Marin, San Francisco, East Bay
Young Chef's Academy - Sunnyvale