Eating with toddlers is an interactive experience. Food is slurped, thrown and, sometimes, eaten. If you want to bring your family circus to a restaurant to avoid cleaning the kitchen after feeding time, your best bet is to arrive early and pick the right spot. Ideally, the restaurant is open to families, offers fast service so you can dine and dash, and has a scenic view (a parking lot will do). Oh, and a kid’s menu is a bonus but not necessarily a requirement. Here are a few great kid-friendly dining options in LA.
Golden Road Brewing near Glendale
5410 W San Fernando Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90039
Okay, this one sounds too good to be true: An open-air patio with every outdoor game imaginable—including a life size Connect Four—countless beers on tap, and avocado tacos. And dogs are welcome, too. What else do you need?
Lemon Tree Kids Cafe in Koreatown
621 S Western Ave #111, Los Angeles, CA 90005
Boasting a 2000-sq. ft. playground, Lemon Tree allows you to feast on Korean cuisine while your kids run amuck. So you’ll be able to talk in complete sentences to your spouse, which is always a win.
Several locations including 1121 S Western Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90006
This place is so massive, if you show up at 5:30 on a weeknight, you’re guaranteed to have an entire corner to yourself so you don’t have to be embarrassed if one of your kids pitches a fit when his tortilla chip breaks into too many pieces. Also, the food is delicious and there are tons of fun artifacts to see on the walls. And margaritas.
Clifton’s Cafeteria in Downtown LA
648 South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014
A cafeteria-style restaurant with loads of kitsch, it’s like taking your little ones to a museum while you wait for your food to arrive. Plus, the kids’ meal comes with a toy.
In-N-Out Burger near LAX
9149 South Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045
Because this location is right by LAX, your kids can have a front row seat to watch all the planes take off and land. Trust us, they’ll thank you big time.
Button Mash in Echo Park
1391 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Arrive early to avoid the hipster crowd—they’re even open at 4pm on the weekends—and let your kids poke around at the games while you wait for your Asian-fusion cuisine.
Casa Bianca Pizza Pie in Eagle Rock
1650 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041
Kids and pizza go together like…kids and pizza. The staff is very friendly here and the mozzarella sticks are to die for. And it’s always loud, so you don’t have to feel bad for being the only people who scream throughout a meal.
Langer’s Delicatessen in Downtown LA
704 S Alvarado St, Los Angeles, CA 90057
Super-good, traditional deli fare with quick service, and they have changing tables in their bathrooms. Done and done.
Snooknuk Cafe in Larchmont
506 N Larchmont Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90004
OK, the food isn’t amazing and you have to finish your dinner by 6pm. But! You can eat in peace while your kids play in an adorable little indoor playground.
Kids Club at Waterside in Marina Del Rey
4700 Admiralty Way, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
The Kids Club at Waterside, Marina Del Rey has fantastic kid’s programming every Tuesday starting at 11am (it doesn’t run year-round. Check the website for schedule). It varies from puppet shows, musicians, crafts, etc. And the dining options are equally diverse, from Mendocino Farms to The Counter and California Pizza Kitchen. Nothing like some lunch theater, right?
Any Farmer’s Market, Really
How lucky are we to love in Southern California?! You can go to any market on any weekend—from Atwater Village to Brentwood—and you’re guaranteed a good time. Fresh veggies and fruit, face painting, a slew of food trucks. To make sure your kiddos don’t take this for granted, try finding a farmer’s market in Detroit in December.
Toby Lowenfels lives in Culver City with her husband and two toddler boys. When she’s not scouting out kid-friendly restaurants in LA, she’s perfecting 20-minute dinner recipes at home, which you can subscribe to here: dinnerin20.com.