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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.