Afternoon sips and snacks at the American Girl Bistro SF

American Girl Cafe entrance
Now that the American Girl Store in San Francisco has been open for two months, most of the crowds have abated.  The novelty of a new store, the holiday shopping rush, and the 2014 Girl of the Year introductions have come and gone, and it's actually possible to stroll around the store without having to face long lines and hordes of people... with one exception.  The American Girl Bistro continues to be fully booked, at least on the weekends!  The Bistro was fully booked each day in December (yes, I checked!), and you still need to book 3-4 weeks in advance if you want to make a weekend reservation.

Fortunately, once I realized the bistro was open for reservations (this was in late October of 2013), I began planning our first visit to the American Girl Bistro in the new store.  Opening weekend was fully booked, but I was able to get a reservation for 4 on a weekday afternoon in December.  Unfortunately, they only take reservations for up to 4 people (it's a small place), so the only people who went on our first visit were The Pea, her grandmother (who was visiting from the UK) and I -- oh, and two of The Pea's American Girls, Mia and Caroline.  It turned out to be the perfect place for a girls' afternoon out, and we had a grand time!

The Bistro is located on the second floor of the American Girl Store. The capacity is pretty small -- not including the private party room, there are 3 tables for 4, 1 table for 3, plus 10 stools at the bar, for a total of 25 seats (don't quote me on this: this is just the way it was arranged when I was there, and it's possible the tables get rearranged depending on the reservations). That doesn't include seats for dolls!
American Girl Cafe: cafe bar

For starters, we decided to order from their "Sip and Savor the Holidays" seasonal drink menu.  I ordered the Frozen Hot Chocolate ("A cool twist on this classic drink! Rich cocoa blended with vanilla ice cream and crushed ice, topped with whipped cream and mini chocolate chips", $4.25), Nana ordered the Snowball Punch ("Creamy vanilla ice cream and cherry soda make a perfectly pink holiday treat", $3.75), and The Pea ordered the Candy Cane Frosty ("Chocolate and vanilla ice cream with peppermint syrup and candy cane sprinkles", $4.75).  All three were delicious, but we decided the winner was Nana's Snowball Punch.  The other two tasted like ordinary chocolate milkshake and mint milkshake, but the Snowball Punch was  tangy, creamy and unique.
Holiday Drinks American Girl Cafe

Since it was mid-afternoon, we ordered a snack from their Small Plates menu instead of a meal.  The Pea was determined to have the Curly Fries ("An abundant basket of our delicious curly fries. Great for sharing!", $4.25).  The fries arrived in the cutest little wire basket with two bowls of ketchup for dipping.
American Girl Cafe: Curly Fries

We had originally planned on ordering Soft Pretzel Bites ("A basket filled with our signature soft pretzel rolls. Served with sweet and tangy honey-mustard dipping sauce", $4.50),  but at the last minute changed our mind in favor of the Artichoke Spinach Dip ("Fresh spinach, artichokes, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese. Topped with toasted bread crumbs and served with pita triangles", $6.95). I am sooo glad we did, because this dish was Ah-mayy-Zing.  Definitely the best thing we ordered that afternoon!
American Girl Cafe: Warm Artichoke Spinach Dip

I would have liked to order Afternoon Tea ($13.50 per person) but there was no way we could have stuffed anything else into our bellies. We'll just have to come back another time!
American Girl Cafe afternoon tea

I really have to commend the waitstaff for their service.  The fact that our party had no little girls (The Pea is 12, but at 5' 5" she was taller than most of the staff!) didn't faze them in the least.  Our server gladly got doll seats out for Caroline and Mia, and lent us a third doll so we'd be a party of 6 (3 ladies and 3 dolls).  She made sure each doll had a place setting and remembered to pour tea for them.
American Girl Cafe: pouring tea for the dolls

Being the Big Girl party didn't bother us at all, and I'm planning to take the boys on our next visit.  Girly-girl the American Girl Store may be, the American Girl Bistro is a great place to eat for any person, at any age. It's a great place for any occasion: a special Dad-Daughter lunch, a Mom-Daughter dinner, a bridal shower, baby shower, the sky's the limit!  And the prices are so reasonable, you don't really need a special occasion to eat there.  After all, who doesn't like ice cream sundaes and sandwiches?!
American Girl Cafe: guest dolls

Check out more of my American Girl photos on Flickr!
Disclosure: Our visit to the American Girl Cafe was not sponsored in any way by American Girl or any other company

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