Hornblower Cruises Pier 3, Bay St./The Embarcadero. Reservations required. Diners at brunch are seated as they board, and the maitre d’ announces to each table when it is their turn to visit the bounteous buffet. Magnificent views of San Francisco and the bay are enjoyed as the boat goes out under the Golden Gate Bridge, past Sausalito and Angel Island, and beside Alcatraz. Live music plays in the background, and the Captain makes the rounds to greet everyone. After dining, there is time to tour the vessel. The dinner-dance cruise is more formal, with waiters serving four-course dinners, and they sometimes include spectacular fireworks viewing.
Special events are also often scheduled. Note that though highchairs and booster seats are not available, parents are welcome to bring aboard strollers with wheel locks, and children are given crayons and coloring books to keep them busy.
House of Prime Rib 1906 Van Ness Ave./Washington St. The specialty of the house in this posh, clubby spot has been the same since 1949--the finest aged prime rib served right from the cart and carved to order tableside. (In fact, the only other entree on the menu is grilled fresh fish.) Choose a City Cut (for small appetites), an English Cut (several thin slices), or a King Henry VIII Cut (for those with king-size appetites). The complete dinner includes a chilled green salad prepared at the table and presented with chilled forks, bread and butter, either mashed potatoes with gravy or a baked potato, fresh horseradish sauce, creamed fresh spinach, and Yorkshire pudding. Come here hungry.
House of Shields (bar) 19 New Montgomery St./Market St., South of Market.