Finding a place to eat with your kids in LA can be a total pain in the ass. After all, there are only so many times you can spend too much on a sh*tty meal at The Cheesecake Factory. But there are way better places out there - restaurants with food that kids will actually like, dining rooms that aren’t too loud (or too quiet), and waitstaffs that won’t freak out if your son makes a beeline for the fryer. Here are 22 spots where they’ve got all that - and, maybe, some alcoholic beverages for you, since this is the first time you’re going out since little Colton was born in 2012.
Any place with “bar” in its name probably isn’t going to be your first choice for a meal with little Ammabella, but ERB is no regular bar. This Arts District spot has a massive back patio - including a bocce court - so kids can run around a bit without you worrying a server’s going to bowl them over. They’ve also got a simple burger and fries that your kids will love (you will too, since it’s the best burger in the city). Also important to note: Their cocktails are innovative and excellent - the Mateo Street Margarita with prickly pear is our favorite, but you can’t go wrong with any of them.
Getting kids to sit through an entire meal is not easy, especially when that meal is brunch and they have the energy of an entire herd of gazelles. But at Capital Seafood, the dim sum spot on La Cienega in Beverly Hills, there’s enough going on during their daytime dim sum service that your kids will stay entertained for the whole meal. On top of that, they’ll like the food as much as you do, especially if you go with the crowd-pleasing BBQ pork buns, shrimp shiu mai, and salt and pepper calamari.
This isn’t a complicated formula: Mohawk Bend has roughly one million beers on tap, but in order for you to enjoy them, the kids need food that’ll keep them quiet. Fortunately, this Echo Park spot has a whole bunch of kid-friendly options, like Buffalo cauliflower, chili cheese fries, and plenty of good pizzas (get the White Mushroom, which is topped with garlic chips). This is also the best place to come with your vegan brother and his kids - almost everything on the menu can be made without animal products.
Normally, big-deal, high-end restaurants like Birdie G’s are not places where you can show up with kids and expect to be welcomed. But this spot in Santa Monica is the ideal place to go with children in tow. It’s huge, there’s plenty to look at, and there’s a great patio if you’re worried your two-year-old is going to spontaneously melt into a puddle of tears. They even have a kids’ menu that features smaller versions of their standard menu items, like the Sloppy Jeremy and matzo ball soup, alongside other kid favorites (potato-crusted chicken fingers, fresh pasta with parmesan cheese).
Admittedly, oyster bars usually aren’t ideal spots for kids. But Broad Street isn’t just any oyster bar. It’s a huge restaurant largely decorated by raiding nautical-themed thrift shops, so you don’t (really) have to worry about your kids breaking anything. It’s super casual, and there’s plenty to look at outside in the lagoon. They serve great (and kid-friendly) versions of their Beach Burger, popcorn shrimp, and clam chowder - so you can save those oysters for yourself.
A little biergarten in Mar Vista, Rasselbock is a great place to come with kids for a low-key and great meal that involves brats - encased meats, not misbehaved children - and (possibly too many) doppelbocks. The currywurst is one of our favorites, but we also love the jägerschnitzel - breaded pork loin, pounded thin, and topped with mushroom cream sauce. They’ve even got a patio where there are games and toys for kids, so you can ignore them and pay attention to the Premier League match on the TVs.
Distilleries are basically playgrounds for adults, so it makes sense that this Long Beach spot is good for parents. But it’s a lot more surprising how great this place is for kids, too. Located right in the middle of a downtown Long Beach shopping center, Portuguese Bend is a full-blown restaurant with both a kids’ menu and a regular menu that includes a bunch of food kids will love, like loaded baked potato soup, chicken and shrimp pasta, and chili cheese fries. They also get bonus points for having an entire milkshake menu - with the option to add bourbon for $3.
Here’s a secret about kids’ menus: They’re a social construct, just like the U.S. dollar. We know that because, while Milo + Olive doesn’t have a kids’ menu, your six-year-old will love basically everything on their regular one, including a bunch of very good (and not too-weird) pizzas, potato gnocchi that’s basically just grown-up mac & cheese, and a garlic knot that should be squarely in the middle of the Santa Monica city flag. You’ll probably sit at a communal table with another family, so your kid will have someone else to play with when you’re here.
Sometimes, eating out with kids is an absolute sh*tshow. The kind where lemonades are spilled, tears are shed, and everyone goes home wearing a little bit of ketchup. If that’s usually the case with your family, then head to Quality Seafood. This outdoor market at the Redondo Pier is pure chaos, and absolutely incredible. If it comes out of the Pacific, then they’ve got it here - oysters, whole snappers and tuna, shrimp and spiny lobster - and they’ll fry it, broil it, or steam it for you. You order at the counter, tear some sheets of newspaper off their huge roll at the front for a tablecloth, and lay it down on whatever picnic table you choose from the two stories of seating.
Bea Bea’s is a diner in Burbank with more than 150 items on the menu, including 60 different kinds of pancakes, waffles, French toasts, and crepes. So needless to say, both you and your kids are going to love it here. It’s almost always packed, but it’s also big enough that you’ll rarely wait too long for a table. No matter how picky your kids are, they’ll find something they like on this menu, but our favorite will always be the Green Tea Monster pancakes - matcha pancakes, with green tea mascarpone and white chocolate chips.
A place that pours more than 300 kinds of mezcal might not sound like the most kid-friendly spot, but Madre is a little different. This Oaxacan restaurant in a Torrance mall is huge, with plenty of room for big parties if you’ve got a large family. The menu is also long, and the portions are massive, which makes it ideal for splitting a plate of tacos or chiles rellenos. The queso fundido is also highly shareable and great. There’s live music most nights of the week, and they’ve even got some space in front of the band if your kids decide to hit the dance floor - or if you do, after getting involved with that mezcal selection.
La Grande Orange Cafe
Pasadena has no shortage of places to eat with kids, but the number where you’ll actually enjoy your meal is pretty low. That’s why we appreciate Le Grande Orange, a fancy-sounding-but-super-casual restaurant at the Del Mar Metro station. It’s an all-purpose spot, with everything from French onion soup to an ahi tuna burger and BBQ pork ribs. They’ve also got some great weekday deals if you live in the area (or want to go to Pasadena on a weeknight), like half-off wine bottles on Wednesday, and buy one entree, get one for $5 on Monday and Tuesday.
Kids go through stages - only wanting to wear flip flops, or watch Paw Patrol, or eat bread. Playa Provisions won’t help with the first two, but it definitely can with the last one, since they’ve got an entire section of breads on their menu - something we can also get behind, especially when it involves pretzel bites with beer cheese, a house pepper parmesan ciabatta, and dulce de leche biscuit bites. And if your kids are a little more adventurous, there are even more great options, like fish and chips, a patty melt, and salt cod and clam chowder. You’ll eat it all on their excellent patio, which feels like you’re sitting right on Dockweiler, complete with firepits and PBRs.
You’ll always feel comfortable bringing your kids to Salazar, because the place is already filled with them. Plain and simple, this entirely outdoor Mexican restaurant in Frogtown is a kid haven, with margarita-sipping parents doing their best to have a good time while also keeping one eye on their children playing in their preferred habitat - gravel. There isn’t an official kids’ menu to speak of, but needless to say, most kids won’t pass up a plate of tacos.
No one will tell you C&O has the best food in Venice (except maybe your visiting parents from the Midwest), but what this Italian restaurant does offer is a fun, homey atmosphere with food that absolutely anyone can eat - including your kid who only eats noodles and butter. Yes, the string-lit patio with painted Italian streetscapes is cheesy, and yes, you’ll sing “That’s Amore!” more than once with the waitstaff, but as long as you lean into the absurdity of it all, you’ll always have a good time. Just make sure not to fill up on the free garlic knots, they’re clinically proven to be addicting.
If you have one of those kids who won’t stop talking unless there’s a lot of food in front of them, go to Bludso’s. The Texas-style BBQ restaurant on La Brea is one of the most consistent BBQ spots in LA, with a lively space that feels like a family-friendly sports bar and giant party platters to keep your wily offspring occupied for most of the meal. The brisket and short rib are not to be missed, but it’s probably the mac & cheese that’ll be the topic of discussion during bedtime stories.
When Connie and Ted’s first opened in West Hollywood, it was one of the most popular (and exclusive) restaurants in the entire city. Today, this New England-style seafood spot has settled into what it was always supposed to be - a family-friendly neighborhood spot with excellent comfort food and a big space for kids to spread their wings and terrorize every adjacent table. If you’re a big group, definitely get the New England boiled dinner and a few stuffies, but if it’s just you and the kids, putting a few of their excellent burgers on the table is a must.
If your kids can’t get excited about a meal full of patty melts, cheeseburgers, and strawberry shakes, then check their return policy, because they’re officially broken. This classic diner in Koreatown is like stepping back into the 1950s, but not in that terrifyingly fraudulent, chrome-filled way other ’50s-themed restaurants tend to rely on. It’s fun and lively, the food is excellent, and if the mood calls for it, they serve beer and wine as well.
If you’re a parent, you know that if you’ve got the chance to let your kids be independent and order for themselves, you take it. That’s why you should go to Triple Beam, the pizza shop with locations in Highland Park and Echo Park. The pizzas behind the counter change by the hour, but will include options like delicata squash and honey, mushroom with black truffle cheese, and tomato confit with pesto. You hold up your hands and say “I want this much” - it’s so easy, your seven-year-old can do it. Then, you pay by the pound, which is great, because you won’t end up with an entire pie of leftover plain cheese pizza you ordered because you didn’t expect your kid to like the sausage and kale one.
A historic Mexican spot on Beverly, El Coyote is a great place to bring your whole family. That’s because they’ve got all kinds of Mexican favorites, like carnitas combination platters, tamales, and tortas, and a patio, if you’ve got kids who need to run around a bit. But it’s hard to beat sitting at a big booth inside and pretending you’re in a Tarantino movie (you can explain this to your kids when they’re teenagers). Be careful of the margaritas, though: They’re fantastic and dangerous.
A Cal-Mex spot on Main St. in El Segundo, there’s a reason Sausal has been a go-to for South Bay families since it opened in 2015: Anyone can find something they’ll like here. The menu isn’t perfect, but some of the best stuff includes the chicken albondigas, brisket tacos, and skirt steak carne asada. And if you’re looking to actually order a drink for the first time in who knows how long, the Rancho Margarita really can’t be beat for $10.
This Los Feliz spot is a perfect place to come with kids, mainly because the side patio feels like you’re in a dining hall at summer camp - except with way better food. The menu involves a bunch of stuff that’ll make both you and your picky kids very happy - smoked corn fritters, mac & cheese, and turkey kale chili. Also important to note: They’ve got $1 oysters on Tuesday nights, and some great Happy Hour deals on wine.