Even if your kids love them, you can’t face seeing one more plastic grilled cheese, mystery meat nuggets or nuked mac and cheese dinner on your table. But often the grown up menus serve twice the food they can eat at 3 times the price, and the food has only a 50% chance of getting eaten. (Mom math, right there.) Scroll down to discover which restaurants serve up such fantastic kids menus that you’ll be sneaking bites from their plates!
photo: Meghan Rose
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When you walk in the door, you’ll think we made a mistake. A place that looks this hip, charming and just plain cool can’t possibly be welcoming to kids. But it is. Whether you sit downstairs by the amazing wallpaper, giant windows and bar, or upstairs with the sunset in the hills views, you’ll feel like you’re back in your dating days. But no, your kids are sitting right there next to you, after being greeted joyfully at the door, munching on Grilled Chicken in Butter Sauce, Linguini just the way they want it, or a Waffle at any time of the day. Meanwhile, you’re lingering over an Eggs Benedict brunch or Smoked Salmon Tartare appetizer and inspired cocktail. Do leave room for dessert; everything is lovely, but the Chocolate Pots de Crème are especially divine.
Kids menu items range from $3-$6.
1661 Colorado Blvd.
photo: Jennifer O’Brien
This is not your average pizza and pasta joint! Think fresh and inventive pastas and pizzas handcrafted from scratch daily. A place where you can enjoy an upscale meal without feeling like boisterous bambinis need to be silent, Stepford children. Additionally, the open concept kitchen provides some theatre for tots who are interested in watching talented chefs prepare meals. The kids’ menu features selections that’ll please even the pickiest pint-sized palettes: Spaghetti with Meatballs, Cheese Pizza and Chicken Strips are just a few of the yummy items to choose from, along with Sugared donuts with chocolate dipping sauce for the grand finale. And no joke, the kids’ meals are so good, you’ll find yourself begging your little munchers for extra bites and eating their leftovers in the car on the way home.
Kids prices are $5-$8.
There are locations in Santa Monica, El Segundo and Irvine.
photo: Meghan Rose
In LA, sushi is as much a part of a typical kids diet as hot dogs. However, it can really add up. You want them to branch out beyond just cucumber rolls, but you can’t see ordering expensive items that might get spit out. Sushi Roku offers Okosama options for kids: meals that give them a balanced dinner and either a fantastic introduction to sushi or a great way to branch out with other Japanese classics.
Kids meals are $12
Sushi Roku has locations in Mid-City, Pasadena, Santa Monica
Let’s say you want special family meal. Elegant. Like arctic char with gingered beets, or beef short ribs with ricotta gnocchi. And while you want the kids to broaden their horizons, you’d rather avoid spending $36 on a plate of food they won’t eat. Luckily, Suzanne Goin’s Brentwood spot offers up kid options like perfectly Grilled Chicken. A Half Sized Burger, gourmet style. Even a starter of Crudités with ranch dressing for them to nibble, giving you time to linger over your own appetizer of Grilled Peach with Dandelion, Prosciutto & Burrata. Then toddle over to the bakery next door for some cookies to go for dessert. And while you’re there, pick up a loaf of cherry cashew bread to toast for tomorrow morning’s breakfast.
Kids menu items range from $6-$12
11648 San Vicente Blvd.
photo: Meghan Rose
Obica Mozzarella Bar
Maybe you can’t take your kids to Italy, but you can eat like you hopped the pond, any night of the week. Specifically, the mozzarella is what’s flown in twice a week direct from Campania. Combine that with perfect pasta and wonderful wine, and parents are pretty happy. But the kids? Ecstatic. Choosing from a Mac and Cheese that will ruin them forever for the boxed stuff, the gooiest Grilled Cheese with the silkiest Tomato Soup for dipping and several other choices, you may find you’re sneaking bites of their meals. Plus, kids even eat free on Sundays.
Kids menu items range from $6-$12
Obica has locations in Hollywood, Century City and Santa Monica.
photo: Flower Child
Casual, cute and yummy: that’s a gold medal trifecta when eating with kids. So what about a restaurant where you have all that AND it’s healthy AND it’s accommodating for eaters of any age with any dietary restrictions: gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free, raw—they’ll help you customize your order however you want it. It’s also our favorite place to bring kids when you choose to eat super healthy, but you’ve got a steak-or-bust spouse and picky kids. You can add all-natural steak, chicken, tofu or salmon to any salad, sandwich or wrap, and the kids menu is a fully customizable plate of “pick a protein plus two sides” (like gluten-free mac & cheese, organic brown rice or oranges & apples), which allows delighted picky people to design their own perfect meals. The kids breakfast option of toast, eggs, fruit & local honey is amazing, too. (And gives you a reason to start your day with the avocado toast, vegan hash and a fabulous fresh juice.)
Kids breakfast is $5, and lunch/dinner is $6.50.
1332 2nd St.
Huckleberry Bakery & Cafe
Roundups of kids’ menus often focus on dinner. But Huckleberry closes at 5 p.m., making this a breakfast & lunch (or very early dinner) spot. It’s so inviting, casual and family-friendly you’d guess the owners have kids. Which they do (they’ve even named two of their other restaurants after said kids). Eggs, salads, sandwiches and breakfast platters are top notch for grownups, but we often can’t resist piecing together a nosh meal of pastries or savory galettes, fresh toast with a side of avocados and the appropriate accompanying drink (outstanding coffee, tea, beer and wine). Kids will lap up their house made Hot Chocolate at any time of day, and you can order them Organic Chicken Fingers, PB&J the way heaven intended it or Scrambled Eggs & Bacon at any hour. And with sides like Milo & Otis fresh bagels, literally everyone from teething baby to wine o’clock grandma is covered.
Kids menu items are $5.50-$9.50
1014 Wilshire Blvd.
photo: Golden Road Brewing
Golden Road Brewing
When we poll parents about their favorite place to eat with their kids, this is mentioned by almost every single one. When you walk through the door, the first thing that hits you is the sheer number of parents with wee ones. No, the kids menu isn’t re-inventing the wheel, but it’s actually pretty darn good, and while it’s not extensive, it is inclusive. The grilled cheese can be made with vegan cheese. The burger comes in beef with cheddar or in tofu with vegan cheese. Anything comes with a choice of salad or fries and you can get a side of quinoa or veggies to round out their meal. Did we mention there’s a doggie patio and lawn games when sitting still becomes too tough. And beer! Fabulous, locally crafted beers are what get you in the door, but a place where everyone can eat and play is what keeps you coming back.
Kids menu items are $6-$8.
5410 West San Fernando Rd.
Welcome to hipster family heaven. Tattooed waitresses and fedora wearing bartenders are friendly and ready to serve up kiddie favorites to the tots and cold micro-brews or organic wines to the parents. (Can’t decide on just one pint? Order the popular beer flight of six different brews.) The whole family will love the made to order wood fired pizzas that come with a variety of organic toppings. They don’t mind special orders, which is great for picky eaters. For kids it’s the Marley Meal, which means they pick a small cheese pizza, grilled chicken breast or battered cod; it’s served with salad, fruit, fries (the pizza can be vegan). For parents, if you don’t try the Buffalo Cauliflower, you don’t know what you’re missing. And everyone ends happily sharing the Happy Camper S’mores or Churros with chocolate sauce.
The kids Marley Meal is $7, no matter what combo you choose.
2141 Sunset Blvd.
photo: Mr. N via Yelp
How often does your former late-night hang turn into your family go-to? The size of the menu! The options! The variety! And it’s all good. So if Dad wants fried Mac & Cheese Balls and Mom wants a Freshwhich (a sandwich filling wrapped in light rice paper), teens want giant plates of Hunka Pancakes (the Elvis special with peanut butter, banana, chocolate chips and dulce de leche) and kids can get Plain ol’ Pasta, a Hot Dog or One Pancake—this is your spot. Punk Tarts are a must to end the meal (the Dark Chocolate Malt Brownie Sundae doesn’t stink either). Also, it’s open 24-7, so if you need a spot when the kids can’t sleep at midnight, or everyone was awake and hungry at 5 a.m., here’s where you can always find something to eat!
Kids menu items are $5-$7.
1850 N Vermont Ave.
photo: Adam L. via Yelp
Next time your kids beg for Chipotle, bring them straight to SOL Cocina for fresh Baja Mexican food in a lovely space. You can eat the food that reminds you of college surf vacations down the coast, while kids can chow on smaller and less spicy portions of Mexican foods they recognize and love, from plain Cheese Quesadillas to Carne Asada Tacos with rice & beans. Everyone happy, no meals from paper bags required.
Kids menu items are $5-$9.
12775 W. Millennium Dr.
photo: Arnold Gatilao via Creative Commons
Dinah’s Family Restaurant
Sure, they’re famous for the fried chicken but you can get anything here! Like, anything. The kids fried chicken is their biggest hit, but if your young muncher prefers, you can order up spaghetti, burgers and more. Amazingly kid friendly, this joint takes you back to a the days when your own grandparents brought you to a place just like this. In fact, they may have taken you here! Be ready to wait for a table at peak hours. If you need to keep the kids well behaved while you wait, remind them that there could just be a slice of their amazing pie for dessert…
Kids menu items are $7.
6521 S Sepulveda Blvd.
So… a pizza chain makes the list? Yup! Here’s why: not only do kids adore the $5 personal pies (hello, fabulous price point!), but parents can indulge in freshly made pizza, pasta or seasonal veggies paired with beer, wine or craft cocktails. The food is prepared quickly, but without sacrificing farm-to-table freshness. Kids can mold colored clay while they wait. Long, large tables are perfect for families. While the kids’ menu had them at mini-Pizza, the mini Mac & Cheese and opposite-of-mini Chocolate Chip Cookies are also enticing. (There are gluten free crusts and vegan cheeses to pick from here, too, if that’s a consideration.)
Kids menu items are $5.
There are multiple locations across the city. Check the website for details.
Pssssst: We also have some favorite spots where absolutely everything is crazy healthy, but also so tasty the kids won’t notice if you don’t tell them! Here’s where you can eat healthy with your kids.
What restaurant has your favorite kids menu in town? Please share your inside scoop in the comment section below!