The Best Kids Menus at Los Angeles Restaurants

Blue-Beary Buckwheat Pancake | Photo courtesy of M Café de Chaya

With fast food offering a constant temptation, it can be difficult for busy parents to find good options for their kids when the family is dining out. Plenty of restaurants offer kids menus, but most of them feature typical items like macaroni and cheese, hot dogs and grilled cheese. In a welcome trend, Los Angeles restaurants are putting extra thought into their menus for the younger set. Read on for a dozen L.A. restaurants that feature great kids menus.

Turkey and cheddar sandwich | Photo courtesy of Huckleberry Cafe & Restaurant

Huckleberry Bakery & Café

Though technically for the 12 and under set, adults do sometimes order off the kids menu, e.g. a half grilled cheese to go with that bowl of soup. And the staff usually accommodates them. Other yummy choices include smooth organic peanut butter on soft, buttery house-made brioche with either homemade strawberry preserves or Nutella. There’s also a turkey and cheddar sandwich, and at breakfast time, eggs scrambled with cheddar cheese and toast. Heart-shaped shortbread cookies and gingerbread pigs are popular to finish. And if mom and dad are still eating, the kid can stay occupied with the in-house Etch A Sketch (part of a small toy collection) or coloring books.

Blue-Beary Buckwheat Pancake | Photo courtesy of M Café de Chaya

M Café de Chaya - Melrose

True, the Blue-Beary Buckwheat Pancake might be much more virtuous than the typical white flour pancake with faux maple syrup. But the M Café version of the breakfast staple, with its fresh fruit face and oversized ears, is also crazy cute, so the kids will want to dig in. It comes with real maple syrup and maybe a “Q is for Quinoa” or “T is for Tempeh” coloring placemat - never too early to start learning about healthy food. Other options include scrambled tofu and tempeh bacon, as well as a scaled down version of the popular macro burger.

PB&J with house-made peanut butter and Coldwater Canyon Provisions strawberry jam | Photo courtesy of Mendocino Farms

Mendocino Farms – Sherman Oaks

The newest locations of Mendocino Farms, including Sherman Oaks and FIGat7th, are outfitted with foosball tables and oversized chalk board walls stocked with chalk for doodling. If this isn’t enough to please your youngster, there are fresh roasted turkey and cheddar sandwiches on soft Hawaiian rolls - two to an order. A classic PB&J features house-made peanut butter and locally sourced strawberry jam. There's also a toasty grilled cheese sandwich that's made with cheddar. The $3.95 meal includes a small side of fruit and a drink.

Smokey fried chicken for kids | Photo courtesy of Plan Check

Plan Check Kitchen + Bar - Sawtelle

When Plan Check owner Terry Heller, a dad himself, noticed more and more customers coming in with their children, he and chef Ernesto Uchimura collaborated on a special menu. Now available at all three locations, including the brand new Downtown spot, the menu not only has some compelling options, it comes with a mini-Spirograph set. “We want to have kid fans,” says Heller. Among the offerings are the signature Plan Check Burger (minus the schmaltz onions), a smaller version of the popular smokey fried chicken, and chicken sticks coated with swatches of crisp bacon. Since Heller’s kids love apples and he was keen on one healthful option, there’s a pretty apple salad finished with a lemon-honey vinaigrette. For dessert, the kids have a tough choice between a root beer float and a warm donut that’s dusted in cinnamon sugar.

Sand dabs | Photo courtesy of Playa Provisions

Playa Provisions

Chef-owner Nick Roberts, who operates Playa Provisions with his wife Brooke Williamson, grew up in Monterey eating sand dabs. Roberts says, “Instead of fish sticks, we used to eat those.” So the duo decided to offer sand dabs on the kids menu at their four-restaurants-in-one concept, which opened in May 2014. The mild, white fish is lightly breaded and fried - grown-ups can try them in a substantial sandwich. At dinner, all kids meals include a complimentary mini-ice cream sundae made with housemade vanilla ice cream. Equally sweet is the kids egg-in-a-hole that’s offered in the a.m. hours, cut in the shape of a boat or crab as a nod to the seaside location.

Sushi assortment bento box | Photo courtesy of Sushi Roku

Sushi Roku - Pasadena

Justin Leyvas, manager of the Pasadena location of Sushi Roku, calls the sushi assortment bento box on the kids’ menu “a gentle way” to expose kids to sushi. It’s also affordable, since turning a kid loose on the regular sushi menu at many Japanese restaurants can be a pricey undertaking. The bento box includes shrimp and tamago nigiri as well as cucumber rolls, tuna rolls, edamame and fruit. There is also a chicken kara age (Japanese-style fried chicken) and vegetable tempura box that includes rice, edamame and fresh fruit. The menu is available at the Hollywood location as well.

Jules' fish and chips | Photo by Aliza J. Sokolow, courtesy of Tavern


It’s a family affair at Tavern, which offers kids menu items like “Jack’s half-sized Tavern burger,” named for chef-owner Suzanne Goin’s son, and “Jules’ fish and chips with tartar sauce,” the personal favorite of co-owner Caroline Styne’s 8 year old son. The crisp, golden filets of halibut or cod - it depends on what they have on hand - are tucked into a wood bread proofing basket along with a mountain of hand cut fries. The grilled cheese with apples is another popular option. Lighter appetites might try “Alex’s crudités with ranch dressing,” also named after one of Goin's little ones. The house-made Snickers bars aren’t on the kids menu, but kids seem to have a knack for honing in on the sweet and salty treat.

Sliders on the kids menu | Photo courtesy of Umami Burger

Umami Burger - The Grove

Thanks to a shiny trolley and an American Girl store, The Grove location of Umami Burger sees a lot of families. So it makes sense that this Umami would offer a short and sweet kids menu. This is a burger spot, so give the (little) people what they want: two juicy sliders on the signature Portuguese style buns finished simply with cheddar and Umami’s homemade ketchup. The sliders come with a choice of French fries or sweet potato fries, and a beverage. There’s also a grilled cheese option, but our sources tell us the sliders are the runaway favorite. Look for the kids menu to debut at additional locations soon.

Baby back ribs and sweet potatoes on the kids menu | Photo courtesy of Wood Ranch BBQ

Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill – The Grove

Along with crowd-pleasing chicken tenders, the 11-and-under set can follow mom and dad’s lead and enjoy a plate of lean, meaty baby back pork ribs licked in barbecue sauce, or fresh Atlantic salmon grilled over oak. Entrees come with a choice of sides like smashed sweet potatoes, baked beans, steamed broccoli, or fries, as well as a drink. Dessert is additional, but what tot can resist the Build Your Own Sundae option?