Your sister’s coming to town. Ten years ago, that would have meant a hurricane of martinis and 4am trips to the nearest taco truck. Now, things have changed. And not just because she’s staying in an Airbnb instead of on your couch - she’s also bringing her kids. And chances are, those kids will eventually get hungry.
When you’re dining with children, you have a very specific list of criteria: Menus where the kids will find something they like, clientele who won’t give you dirty looks when the kids start screaming, probably a patio, and definitely some alcoholic beverages for all the adults. Here are 11 places that check all the boxes.
When all your nephews eat is bread and butter, C&O Trattoria is the place to go. It may be a touristy restaurant in the midst of the Venice Boardwalk chaos, but it’s also one of the most family-friendly spots in town. That means unlimited garlic knots for little Mason and Joffrey to fill up on before your chicken parm even hits the table. The place is definitely a little cheesy, but the hourly “That’s Amore” singalong should keep the kids entertained.
Kids need plenty of room to roam. We read that somewhere. And this outdoor Tex-Mex spot in Frogtown has plenty of space for them to do just that. They also have good - and good-sized - tacos (one is enough for a child) and great larger plates, like hanger steak and a bone-in pork chop. You and your sister can pretend you’re watching her kids play in the dirt underneath your table, but really, you’re much more interested in making sure that second margarita pitcher gets to your table.
Yes, we’re talking about that Cheesecake Factory - the one with a 12-page, 3,000-item menu. But you’re not here for Tex-Mex eggrolls, or Buffalo Blasts™. You’re here because of the Happy Hour, and because the patio has views of what is basically a private lagoon. Let the kids get sandy on the beach while you get blasted on $5 Long Island iced teas.
So your sister wants a nice meal before she heads back to Cincinnati. And of course, the kids are coming. Take them all to Connie and Ted’s, the huge, New England-inspired seafood spot in Weho. It’s ideal when you need to keep children occupied, but also want something a little more upscale. There’s a big patio with plenty of space, so even if the kids are determined to destroy everything in their paths, no one will give you dirty looks.
A brewery is probably not the first place you’d think to bring three six-year-olds, but Golden Road is really more like Disneyland with beer. This huge converted warehouse in Glendale has three different patios, cornhole, and plenty of space for the kids to run wild. The food here is solid, too, which makes it even _better_than Disneyland.
Triple Beam Pizza not only has the best pizza in the city, it’s also a good place for kids because they can order for themselves. They’ll point at whichever rectangular pizza catches their eye, hold out their hands and say, “I want this much.” Triple Beam usually has six or seven different pizza options, and we recommend you get a little bit of everything. Add in a bottle of wine, and drink it on the patio while the kids eat their pizza, quiet for the first time since they were born.
This all-day spot in Playa Del Rey is the perfect place for a beachside brunch - with kids. They’re used to children, and the back patio has big fire pits that will keep them entertained way longer than you expected. The brunch cocktails are excellent - there’s no better way to start a day by the beach than with a mai tai - and the menu is kid-friendly, with fish tacos, pastries, and a patty melt. They also get bonus points for having an ice cream counter out front.
Cha Cha Chicken feels like a private beach cabana, even thought it’s right in the middle of the action in Santa Monica. They’re BYOB, so after you order at the counter and haphazardly plant your kids at their own table, you can crack open the six-pack you carried in. There’s plenty here for the kids to look at, from the giant jungle plants to the colorful signs everywhere, and even more space for them to run around until they collapse.
Sometimes, just having things for kids to look at isn’t going to cut it. Fortunately, Paradise Cove is literally on the beach, so they can take turns burying each other while you eat bar snacks. The food isn’t life-changing, but this will also be the only meal where the kids will be able to entertain themselves the entire time. Your only worry will be whether they remember to take their shoes off before jumping in the water. But really, that’s your sister’s problem.
You’ve just spent your second consecutive day at the beach, and there’s no way the kids are going to be able to make it home for dinner before they lose it. And since traffic is stressful enough without a breakdown happening in the backseat, you’re getting dinner in Santa Monica. HiHo is the place to do it. Service is quick, they have excellent milkshakes, and the burgers are significantly better than what you were going to grill at home anyway.
This pizza spot has some of the best pies on the Westside, along with a decent patio. At first glance, the pizzas may be a bit too out-there for the kids, but you can start with a basic margherita and hope for the best. As for what you’ll be eating, pies like the Bee Sting and the Lil’ Stinker are must orders, and when you add in a couple cocktails, you’ll have a great time.