Best Kid’s Menus at Bay Area Restaurants and Beyond

We eat out fairly frequently with the kids here in the California Bay Area. A kid’s menu with healthy options at low prices is important to me, but sadly hard to find.

What I really wish restaurants would let me do is order one of the adult options in a kid-size portion and price. Can someone take care of that please?

When we just had one toddler, I used to share my meal with him. That didn’t always work, though, if I wanted to order something spicy or that was hard for him to chew, like salad. The next best option was to order him a soup. Usually that was healthier than anything on the kid’s menu and he loves most kinds of soup, so other than the mess, it was a win.

Now with two kids who eat quite a bit, we usually just stick to ordering them their own meals, so cost is definitely a concern. I want their meals to include produce and a glass of milk without having to pay extra for it (I’m giving you the side-eye here, Past Pomodoro. No one wants to pay $6 for pasta with sauce and then pay extra for broccoli AND extra for milk).

Here’s a list of what I have found to be the restaurants with the best kid’s menus in the Bay Area and beyond.

1. Willow Street Pizza

This South Bay Area restaurant has my favorite kid’s menu hands down. There are many healthy options ranging from $4-7 and each includes a glass of milk. There is even a salad on their kids menu!

Best Bay Area Kid's Menus Willow Street Kid's Pasta with Chicken and broccoli

My kids love the salmon with mashed potatoes and broccoli and the chicken and broccoli penne. Bonus: they have a toddler tray that includes bits of chicken, carrots, cheese, cucumbers and oranges for kids under three.

Best Kid's Menu in the Bay Area Willow Street Pizza

2. Aqui

Another South Bay Area favorite, this restaurant has quality options for kids. While they may be short on veggies, there’s nothing fried, just wholesome ingredients and they do offer fruit. Drinks are extra, but with some options under $4, the meals are at a price point that can’t be beat elsewhere.

Best Kid's Menu in the Bay Area Aqui Cal-Mex

3. Red Robin

You can find this restaurant all over the country, not just in the Bay Area, and it has a surprisingly good kid’s menu even though there are plenty of unhealthy options. Kids can choose a main dish, a side dish and a drink, and how healthy you make the meal is up to you. Usually I have my kids combine a healthy and less healthy option, such as chicken fingers and broccoli. My son even specifically asked for his broccoli with olive oil and salt just like at home and they happily accommodated his request. The meal also includes refills on your beverage of choice, including milk.

Best Kid's Menu in the Bay Area Red Robin
This picture just shows the main dishes. Side options include broccoli, oranges, apples, fruit salad, green salad and steak fries.

4. Chipotle

This is another national chain with a great kid’s menu. While my kids can’t get there favorite bean and cheese burritos here, I can pair a side of brown rice and beans with their meals and organic milk is included. For a veggie option when they aren’t in the mood for beans (not their favorite), I get side of mild salsa instead. And you know mom and dad are getting chips and guacamole for sharing, so there’s that for them too. Bonus: you know the ingredients are higher quality than many other places.

Best Kid's Menu in the Bay Area Chipotle

5. Rubio’s

Yes, this is another Mexican option, but I couldn’t pass up this kid’s menu. This is one of the few places (other than Willow Street) that includes fish on their kid’s menu.

Best Bay Area Kid's Menus Rubio's Kids Fish Taco
Chowing down on a fish taco

They give you options for sides, so you can mix and match healthy and not-so-much if you like. My kids usually get rice and applesauce, which I know hardly counts as produce, but that plus milk being included has this restaurant making the cut.

Best Kid's Menu in the Bay Area Rubio's

Do you have any others to add to this list?

What’s a good place to eat out with kids where you live?

Linking up with Brittany for this month’s Munchkin Meals.

 

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Comments 9

  • Laura, we eat out at least once a week, and just last night we were at our favorite upscale Italian place and I noticed for the first time that the kids meal was $7.95 (!)
    We only have one child right now but with another one on the way, we’re going to have to deal with paying for two kids meals, which could add up. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on eating out with kids (and options to forgo ordering separate meals). I want my son to eat well when we go out, and sometimes, we find ourselves choosing restaurants we won’t normally choose because we know there will be good kids meals.

    My son is picky, and I agree with several of the chain restaurants you mentioned (Chipotle, Red Robin, etc.). Those all work here in Colorado.

    • One time I ordered $8 mac & cheese off a kid’s menu at a fairly nice restaurant and it was Kraft! I was pissed! I’ve paid that much for a quesadilla before at a nicer Mexican restaurant too and no milk was included. Such a ripoff and not a complete meal!

  • awesome idea about ordering from the kids menu! ima steal that…

  • This is a great post! I want someone to do this in San Diego 🙂

  • I agree! I wish they would just serve the same adult options but just smaller (and cheaper!). I can’t stand the kiddie meals which is usually just cheese sandwiches or chicken nuggets. We’ve been lucky with sharing our meals with the kids so far.

  • Oh my gosh! I always struggle with eating out with my toddler! We live in the Netherlands and every single restaurant I have ever been to offers the same options on the kids menus: deep fried snacks! No vegetables and of course we have to have some sweetened milk!

    We simply don’t eat out because of it. Restaurants here are generally expensive and portions are quite small in comparison to the US, so eating out for my husband, myself and our toddler easily could end up costing 80 – 100 euro (130ish dollars)! I really don’t understand why restaurants don’t just offer adult options in smaller portions either. Ahhem, it makes me quite irked like why can’t kids eat vegetables or non-processed meats, too?

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