There are a lot of restaurants in San Diego to choose from, but if you have kids you want to make sure you pick one that is family friendly. Here are a few of my favorite kid approved spots:
Casa de Pico
Casa de Pico has been one of my family's favorites for many years. The atmosphere is festive and the food is delicious. According to their website, your fiesta begins when you walk through the door. Whether dining in the gorgeous dining room filled with vivid colors and hand-painted artwork, or on the heated patio with its giant splashing fountain, Casa de Pico brings you the very best in Mexican culture. I have a lot of great memories throwing wishing pennies into the fountain and sitting out on the patio in the great San Diego weather enjoying some authentic Mexican food. There are always tons of kids and families around. My mom always liked taking us here because they're super fast and bring your food out in no time at all. That helps when you have squirmy kids with you (especially hungry squirmy kids). The music is fun too! You will often find a mariachi band serenading guests as they eat. Speaking of eating, they have a kid’s menu with so many options! This is definitely a place kids will love.
Island Pasta Coronado
There is no way to explain how incredibly good Island Pasta is. The focus is on fresh, homemade pasta made daily and all the sauces are made in house. The menu includes a wide variety of hot and gooey thin crust pizzas, crisp fresh salads and yummy sandwiches, including the insanely tasty meatball sub. They have a “Pasta For Pee Wees” Section on their menu, which includes fettuccini pasta, spaghetti, ravioli, and even pepperoni cheesy garlic bread. They also have a double sided menu, with loads of options. It’s kind of a smaller restaurant, but they have seats outside for when the weather is nice (which is 99% of the time in San Diego) and they have cool giant doors that open up so even if you sit inside you still kind of feel like you're outside. Island Pasta is on Orange Avenue in Coronado and is walking distance to the beach and the historic Hotel Del Coronado. This is a great family friendly restaurant because the food is good, the location is beautiful, and the atmosphere is very beachy casual.
This is a fun one! The Corvette Diner is definitely a 50’s throwback. They have multiple rooms you can dine in, so there’s plenty of spots to sit. Each room has a different theme which keeps things exciting if you come here more than once. They have a menu with a wide variety of foods from grilled cheese to hot dogs. They also have a giant arcade with plenty of games that the kids can play while waiting for their food. This is a win-win for parents! There’s classic 50’s music always playing, as well as vintage Corvettes you can look in. The waiters will even come around and make you balloon animals! This is a fun, energetic restaurant with great food. The whole family will have a great time at the Corvette Diner!
Station Tavern is a hidden gem in the heart of South Park. At first glance you might think it's an adult only restaurant, but as soon as you walk through the doors you'll soon discover just how kid friendly this place really is. The atmosphere is very laid back and the restaurant has a giant "backyard" of sorts that includes a huge chalkboard for kids to write on and a half scale trolley that they can explore. The kid area is gated too so you know your kids will be safe while playing. Mom and dad can hang out close by on the picnic style tables and enjoy their food while keeping an eye on the little ones. The food is delicious too! They offer a great selection of hamburgers, hot dogs, and salads. Their sweet potato fries are the best thing ever! And if you have a 4 legged kid, they're welcome to join you on the back patio as long as they're on leash. Go check it out!
If you live in Southern California, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard of Rubio’s. The founder, Ralph Rubio, attended San Diego State University and created the restaurant chain in the early 80s after visiting Baja California with some friends. Today, Rubios has tons of locations all over California, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. Rubios is great for kids because they have an awesome kids' menu that includes things like cheese quesadillas, chicken taquitos, and bean burritos. Their rice is the best rice you'll ever have. It's simple and tasty and any kid will love it. They have great indoor and outdoor seating as well. This is a simple restaurant, but a family favorite for sure.
The Habit Burger Grill
Another California original is The Habit. They offer a wide variety of options, including a kids menu with choices like a grilled cheese sandwich and chicken nuggets. What kid doesn't like chicken nuggets? It's like one of the main food groups when you're 5 years old. For adults, they offer delicious burgers, sandwiches, salads, and even fish. Everything is grilled fresh and it's super tasty. They also have malts, shakes, and ice cream cones if your kiddos eat a good dinner and earn a dessert. Or maybe you can eat dessert first. We won't judge. Most locations offer outdoor seating and you have the choice to sit wherever you want. This place is really fast and the atmosphere is casual and family friendly.
Janet’s Montana Cafe
If you are in the eastern part of San Diego county you'll want to be sure to check out Janet’s Montana Cafe. This is a fun mom and pop type of restaurant with a rustic atmosphere. The food is really good (they offer traditional American food, from breakfast items to things like hamburgers and hot dogs), but the best part of this restaurant is the location. It's nestled in the quaint little town of Alpine and is surrounded by beautiful mountains and giant trees. While you're waiting for your food, the kids can explore the surrounding green space and grassy areas. During the holiday season they decorate with tons of twinkle lights and festive decor. They have really fast service, as well as tasty desserts and coffee. Be sure to try their pie! The casual and cozy environment will make you feel at home. It’s more of a smaller, lesser known restaurant, but that just means it will be less crowded. The food will for sure make you want to come back!
Sitterwise youth blogger, Cade Albert (age 12)