When I moved to San Francisco my best friend Heather made a point of inviting me to a restaurant across town that I HAD to try. It was about a 45-minute/two bus MUNI ride for both of us and I knew there had to be a dozen other closer places we should try. "Trust me," she said. She was taking me to Zazie, and she didn't steer me wrong. Years later Zazie is still one of the first places I think about when talk of breakfast, lunch or dinner comes up. I'm never disappointed.
Another thing I noticed in those early visits was just how family-friendly the place was. One day I witnessed a mom chatting with Jennifer, the owner, on the best table for lunch for with two other friends, all three with babies in tow, on the patio. She didn't bat an eye and actually comforted Mom who seemed a little stressed at their space options. The high chairs seamlessly appeared and everyone enjoyed their meal. I wasn't a mom then but I was definitely impressed, and when my own daughter arrived I knew we'd be taking her there.
Zazie is a French bistro, so at pretty much any time of day you'll be treated with a wide (but not too wide) array of rich sweet or savory options. The hardest part for me is always deciding what to order, especially at brunch time. Luckily their breakfast options are available daily through lunchtime, so if you really want those gingerbread pancakes at 1 pm, go for it. Seriously, I can't think of a time that I didn't love my meal at Zazie, and I've had some food I've thought about for weeks afterward, like their fish soup Provencale. Its rich without being creamy and stuffed with chunks of flaky fish and mussels, and perfect with their crusty bread and a class of wine.
Despite the awesomeness Zazie is not a large space, which makes their accommodating attitude even more special. There are two first-come-first-served tables in front, seating for maybe 30 inside, and another 20+ outside on the patio. If you have the chance sit out back--heat lamps and blankets are available when needed. If you're having any issues handling your gear just ask for help-the manager Mario had no issues picking Sophie up off the ground when M. tossed her over the side of the high chair!
The waits can also be epic--Zazie recently placed pretty high on this list of longest lines in town, so keep that in mind if you're traveling with a baby. My suggestion? Skip the weekends and head over mid-afternoon. The sun will probably be shining, the wait will be brief and you can take advantage of the entire menu while enjoying the incredible patio, great service and delicious food. So thanks for that first brunch Heather! I owe you one :)
- The bathroom at Zazie is a feat of spatial design. It is so small you'll feel like you're in a cocoon, so don't even bother taking a baby in there!
- Zazie is also extremely sitter worthy--on Mondays they invite dogs for dinner on the patio and Tuesdays are BYOB with no corkage.
941 Cole Street (at Carl)
San Francisco, CA
Stroller Friendly? Yes
Takes Reservations? Yes, via Open Table
High Chairs? Yes
Changing Table? No