It’s amazing to note that over half of San Carlos’ eating and drinking establishments have an outdoor area where one can bring the dog (there are also a few wineries where dogs are welcome inside). As San Carlos is a very dog friendly town and walking down Laurel Street with the pooch is a basically a city ritual, it’s natural that most restaurants will welcome diners bringing their four-legged friends. Of course, a good experience with your dog depends on your dog’s size and temperament as well as the weather, but the City of Good Eating analyzed the almost seventy places where you can bring your dog based on four criteria:
- Size: how large is the outdoor area – this relates to the generally roominess, the overall crowd (including other dogs), and the likelihood of finding a table;
- Room for Dogs: although this is related to size, this criteria is about the roominess for the dog itself – is there sufficient distance among the tables and can your dog find a good spot to lie down without disrupting other diners or the wait staff;
- Sidewalk Separation: with normally robust foot traffic particularly through downtown San Carlos (including other dogs), the best locations have some sort of separation (either through just distance or perhaps a physical barrier) to avoid distractions and negative interactions between your dog and people or other dogs walking by; and
- Shade: Of course this is weather dependent (and the shade will change based on season and time of day), but most dogs prefer shade and areas which are not too hot – shade could come from a roof, umbrellas, or proximity to a building casting shade.
For each place, we assigned one of three colors (green/yellow/red) for each of the four above criteria, with green being the most condusive conditions for your dog. Red doesn’t necessarily mean bad – it may just mean you may need to pay more attention to your dog while dining. We also include some notes that help give context to the dog environment. In the list below, we have included both sit-down, server-based restaurants as well as counter service and fast food restaurants. In the case of the latter, you will likely have to tie up your dog and leave it to order your food inside.
Of course no place is perfect, and it goes without saying that it’s only a good place to visit with your dog if you want to eat there yourself! You can of course walk along Laurel Street and check out multiple spots, whereas other places are a bit more isolated. By our ratings, only one restaurant gets green across-the-board: Maverick Jack’s. It has a large covered outdoor patio away from the street with lots of room for dogs to stretch out. Interestingly, others that come close include a lot of the fast food chains, such as Burger King, Carl’s Jr., Chipotle, and In-N-Out Burger. Other strong contenders include Domenico which has a large outdoor seating area, the new wineries that allow dogs inside, as well as Crepe Stop, Noelani’s, Jersey Joe’s, and Patxi’s.
To download the matrix, click here: Dog Friendly Restaurants or view the graphic below. In future posts, we’ll look father afield for dog-friendly places in Belmont and Redwood City, however, we have taken the pooch to the Dog Haus and Water Dog Tavern in Belmont as well as Theatre Row in Redwood City.