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The Best Kids' Menus At LA And OC Restaurants

KIDS MENUS burger fries lead
A burger, fries and a beer.
(Edward Franklin/Unsplash)
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When you're a parent, life is a constant improv. Situations change at a moment's notice and suddenly, you're forced to scrap your plans and devise a new strategy on the fly. While you're doing all this — coming and going to school, sports practices, band recitals, doctors' offices and birthday parties — you're going to need sustenance.

Whether you're hoping to foster a little family togetherness or racing out of the house to avoid a meltdown, we've found a slew of restaurants with kid-friendly menus that also should (and this is key!) keep adults happy.

Roe Seafood & Fish Market

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Head to 2nd Street Long Beach's Belmont Shore neighborhood, maybe after hitting the beach or visiting the Museum of Latin American Art. You'll find Roe, an upscale, modern seafood restaurant and fish market alongside a canal bordering Naples, an area dripping with old money vibes. Standouts on the Little Guppy menu include the black bean and cheese burrito and the fish nuggets made from fried Alaskan cod. Both are served with exquisite Kennebec potato fries. Given the large portions, kids probably won't notice when you steal a few and dip them into their cocktail sauce or creamy tartar sauce, both of which are housemade.

On a budget? During Happy Hour (Monday - Friday, 3 - 7 p.m.), slurp individually priced oysters and pair them with a couple of scallops bathed in fresh wasabi and tart yuzu sauce. If you're feeling luxurious, grab a shrimp cocktail and sip an $8 dollar martini while watching the sunset over the water.

  • 5374 2nd St., Long Beach.

Beachwood BBQ and Brewing

This brewery and barbecue doesn't skimp on the little things, from vast outdoor seating area to the indoor booths that are big enough to accommodate large families to the crayons that come with the kids' menus to the changing tables inside each bathroom stall. Their central location, in downtown Long Beach, is about a mile away from the Aquarium of the Pacific.

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The straightforward kids' menu at Beachwood BBQ and Brewing features smaller versions of their brisket, smoked chicken, andouille sausage and other menu items along with a choice of sides. Your best bets are blue cheese grits, baked beans or fried green tomatoes. Parents can also take advantage of the excellent selection of house craft beers such as the Hayabusa Rice Lager or Foam Top Blonde Ale.

  • 210 E. 3rd St., Long Beach.
  • 7631 Woodwind Dr., Huntington Beach.
  • Steelcraft: 12900 Euclid St., Garden Grove.

BCD Tofu House

Founded in Koreatown in the 1970s by Hae Sook Lee, BCD Tofu House has eight locations throughout L.A. and Orange Counties. At any one of them, you can share bowls of kimchi soon tofu bubbling with dumplings and seafood while you munch on bulgogi.

For the under-seven set, the kid's special offers something for every tastebud. The cafeteria-style dish recalls the set-up at Clifton's with a mini bowl of soon tofu, your choice of bulgogi or chicken teriyaki, fried dumplings, rice and a package of seaweed. Kids might not eat everything but they'll have plenty of options, and you'll have tasty leftovers.

  • 3575 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown.
  • 869 S. Western Ave., #2, Koreatown.
  • 11710 South St., #101 Artesia.
  • 607 Sepulveda Blvd,, Torrance.
  • 1731 Fullerton Rd., Rowland Heights.
  • 2700 Alton Parkway #135, Irvine.
  • 9520 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove.
  • 5321 Beach Blvd., Buena Park. 
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Golden Road Brewing

Who loves breweries more, kids or adults? For kids, there's room to roam and stuff to gawk at. For adults, there's beer, obviously. Golden Road's various SoCal locations are a bit more refined than they once were but the original site, which is a stone's throw from Griffith Park, Travel Town and the L.A. Zoo, maintains the traditional look and feel of a brewery.

After you place your order, you'll notice the George Orwell quote hanging on the wall: "The Puritanical nonsense of excluding children and therefore to some extent women from pubs have turned these places into mere boozing shops instead of the family gathering places that they ought to be." The quote comes from his 1943 essay, "The Moon Under Water," about one of his favorite London watering holes but it rings just as true in 21st century Los Angeles. The ample outdoor play space filled with yard games should help little ones burn off energy while menu offers a mix of vegan and non-vegan pub fare such as chicken fritters, grilled cheese and mini-corn dogs. It's truly a place where everyone in the family can enjoy themselves.

  • 5410 W. San Fernando Rd., Atwater Village.

Playa Provisions

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Brooke Williamson of Top Chef fame and her husband, Nick Roberts, have built a beachside getaway in a quiet corner of Playa Del Rey. Amid multiple seating options, opt for the outdoor patio where you can cozy up by one of the fire pits and listen to the ocean waves. The lobster rolls, studded with tiny morsels of pickled mustard seed and crushed potato chips, are heavenly. Don't skip the smoked trout dip confetti-ed with a kohlrabi caper relish and sustainably grown roe, all of which comes with bagel chips. Tykes-wise, the menu features a bunch of great options. There's a 4-oz. burger, pasta with a butter sauce, crisp sand dabs, a mini-fish and chips plate with two chunks of perfect, flaky bits of cod and a heap of shoestring fries (parents will definitely want to snag a few). If you need to nosh on the go, grab hot and cold sandwiches, pastries, coffee, soda, beer and canned cocktails from their cafe.

While you're in this 'hood, soak in the splendor of the sea. Playa Provisions is near Dockweiler Beach and Del Rey Lagoon Park. The former offers a pedestrian walkway that runs alongside the seashore and is perfect for bike and scooter rides. The latter features a newish play structure for kids ages 5-12 with several climb areas and colorful sloping slides, providing little ones plenty of pre-or post-meal thrills.

  • 119 Culver Blvd., Playa Del Rey.

Malibu Country Mart

Finding yourself in the 'Bu means there's an excellent chance you'll end up at Malibu Country Mart, an outdoor mall just off PCH. Amid all the high-end stores, there's a medium-size playground located on the somewhat sprawling lawn in the center open air space and features sandpits, swings, and small slides for the kids. As eating options go, you have plenty to choose from. The nearby John's Garden, which has been around since 1975, sells sandwiches and salads. Howdy's has a kid's bean and cheese burrito made with organic pinto beans, rice, and cheese.

On the other side of Cross Creek Road, a two-minute walk from the Mart, you'll find Malibu Village, featuring more upscale retail as well as Marmalade Cafe, Joules & Watts Coffee Roasters, and Broad Street Oyster Co., a popular seafood spot (at least among the influencer set). The raw bar features a stellar selection of oysters, ceviche and live uni. If you want something more substantial, try a lobster roll served warm with butter or chilled with mayo. The Classic Burger, a Niman ranch patty with American cheese, grated onion and pickle on a sesame roll, will make you forget all about that Bible verse-touting burger chain. It pairs well with a local craft beer or a glass of natural wine. For the children, the lobster roll, fried fish sando and clam chowder are all great options. While Broad Street hasn't yet resumed indoor service, take a peek at its kitschy 1980s and '90s decor which looks like Spuds McKenzie and the characters from T&C Surf Company compared Trapper Keepers.

  • 3835 Cross Creek Rd., Malibu.

Simmzy's

With four locations — Long Beach, El Segundo, Mattanhatan Beach and Huntington Beach (RIP Burbank) — Simmzy's is an excellent option for families. Despite its micro-chain status, it achieves the look and feel of a beachy neighborhood watering hole. It's a perfect place if you and the fam need an easy night out.

Fill adult tummies with delicious chili and cumin-spiced carne asada tacos, chicken tacos on flour tortillas, wood-fired pizzas or burgers. Kids have their choice of chicken fingers, mini-burgers, chicken tacos, grilled cheese sammies or a kid-sized pizza. It's easy to add a variety of toppings. Maybe your little one wants to try pineapple and BBQ sauce with their 'za. Every kid's meal comes with buttered peas, veggie sticks or a green salad. If you're looking to imbibe, they have half a dozen in-house craft brews on hand.

  • 229 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach.
  • 21028 CA-1 #E-100, Huntington Beach.
  • 5271 East 2nd St., Long Beach.
  • 850 S. Pacific Coast Highway, El Segundo.

Spoke Bicycle Cafe

Spoke Bicycle Cafe is an oasis along the pedestrian path of the L.A. River. Perhaps a family bike ride brought you here or maybe your small fries just came from a session at Klub Gymastics. Whatever brings you to Frogtown, the enclosed outdoor patio is expansive so antsy kids can wander around and take in the plants and bicycles. The children's menu offers PB&J or honey and banana open-faced sandwiches. Adults can choose among burgers, breakfast burritos, a Classic California BLAT (bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato) made with Bub and Grandma's rustic sourdough and a cauliflower farro bowl.

While you're there, grab a cup of Trystero Coffee or a bag of their beans, roasted locally by Greg Thomas. If you came to eat and feel inspired to cruise around Elysian Valley, there's a bike rental and repair shop on the other end of the property. Or walk less than half a mile to Lewis MacAdams Riverfront Park (formerly Marsh Park), where there's a small playground ideal for kids 8 and younger.

  • 3050 N. Coolidge Ave., Frogtown.

Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken

The fried chicken eatery offers plates of both light and dark meat with enough pieces to feed an entire family. Gus's kid-specific menu lets younguns choose among chicken tenders, wings or legs with sides of mac and cheese and fries. Parents and kids can both partake in a variety of wonderfully fried starters including pickles, okra and green tomatoes. Post-chicken, save room for a slices of chocolate cheese pie.

Take advantage of the Mid-City L.A. location to hit up LACMA or the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. If you find yourself at the Santa Ana outpost, your not far from the Santa Ana Zoo, the Bowers Museum and the Discovery Cube Science Museum. Any chance to squeeze in some culture with a side of fried chicken is a bonus.

  • 1262 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles.
  • 2580 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach.
  • 509 S. Glenoaks Blvd., Burbank.
  • 102 N. Sycamore St., Santa Ana.

Kismet Rotisserie

After taking in the sights at nearby Barnsdall Art Park or strolling through Griffith Park, you might've worked up an appetite. Modern Mediterranean roasted chicken takeaway spot Kismet Rotisserie is an ideal grab-and-go option. From a whole roasted chicken to soups, salads, sandwiches and pita, you've got options.

For the kids, there are pint-sized pita sandwiches and chicken plates. Don't forget to add a side of schmaltzy potatoes, made with mouthwatering bits of roasted garlic and chicken drippings. The wealth of spreads and sides is perfect for sharing whether you choose the fennel tzatziki, the peanut muhammara or the pickle assortment.

  • 4666 Hollywood Blvd., East Hollywood.
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