Sometimes even we theme park food-loving parents need a break from corndogs and French fries. Luckily, San Diego has plenty of delicious family-friendly meals outside of its theme parks that can satisfy the cravings of your entire family, young and old. Best of all, adults can indulge in meals fit for their palate, while their little ones can enjoy more kid-friendly flavors. From kids’ menus that will please your froglets to kid-designated areas that feature outdoor games and play structures, here are some of the best kid-friendly restaurants in San Diego.
Best Kid-Friendly Mexican Restaurants in San Diego
Before we hop into the overall best kid-friendly restaurants in San Diego, let's talk Mexican food. San Diego has some of the best Mexican food in the country and is known for its mouth-watering tacos, so we've given it its own category! Casual Mexican restaurants are an ideal place to bring your pint-sized frogs for chicken tacos or a cheese quesadilla. Here are some kid-friendly spots for memorable Mexican food:
- Cenote Grill (Escondido) – a great family-friendly spot that has delicious food, a kids’ menu, an open kitchen to entertain curious little frogs, and coloring activities to keep everyone happy.
- Ponce’s Mexican Restaurant (San Diego) – from the lively atmosphere to the kids’ menu that includes cheeseburgers, this popular spot is great for a memorable family meal. Make sure to book reservations to avoid long wait times!
- Oscars Mexican Seafood (San Diego) – this popular taco chain throughout San Diego is a great spot for getting a light meal or a snack in between meals. For kiddos who are not fans of seafood, there are options like quesadillas on the menu. The branch in Hillcrest is great for frog families, since it offers sit-down dining.
Best Kid-Friendly Restaurants in San Diego
Filippi’s Pizza Grotto Little Italy (San Diego)
Head down to this lively Little Italy neighborhood, where everyone can enjoy a meal at this beloved family-owned restaurant. The moment you step in the door, it feels like you are transported straight to Italy, with red and white-checkered tablecloths and a warm, dining atmosphere. The pizza pies are the stars here, but pasta-loving frogs will be content with the spaghetti, ravioli, and lasagna offerings. Families can build their own pizza with their favorite toppings, or children can get smaller portions of pasta dishes with meatballs or sausage.
Classic Malt Shop (San Diego)
It is hard to go wrong with a classic diner that serves up hand-spun milkshakes and giant, juicy burgers. The menu includes classic fare, and everything is made with fresh ingredients and is homemade. Crowd favorites include the Western Burger, with crispy onion rings inside and the banana split for dessert. The kids’ menu features items like hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken strips that will go over well with the tiny frogs in your party. The service matches the food in top-notch quality, and it’s always served with a smile. This restaurant is just a hop away from SeaWorld San Diego and is a great way to end a fun-filled day.
Station Tavern & Burgers (San Diego)
This neighborhood spot has something for both kids and adults alike and is an excellent spot to grab lunch. The outdoor play area is perfect for letting little froggies get out their energy while adult frogs sip on local craft beers and enjoy artisanal burgers on the patio. Kids can enjoy finger foods like hot dogs and grilled cheese. There are hoptastic vegetarian options, including the delicious black bean burger. Make sure to take a peek at the weekly specials’ menu that features items like the quinoa stacker and beer brats.
The Waffle Spot (San Diego)
Located inside the Kings Inn San Diego, this Mission Valley family-friendly diner is a great option for a casual brunch. Frogs young and young at heart will delight in the specialty waffles, such as the churro waffle that is the perfect balance of soft and crunchy. For family members who prefer savory over sweet, there are egg dishes such as omelets and huevos rancheros. Keep your eye out for Sir Waffelot, who is always ready for a picture opportunity with the entire family!
The Crack Shack Little Italy (San Diego)
For solid fried chicken, head on over to this chicken-centric spot in Little Italy. The grown-ups can enjoy the many delicious menu offerings, including the Senor Croque, which is a decadent fried chicken sandwich with an egg and bacon. Kids are also well taken care of here with a kid’s menu with – you guessed it – chicken nuggets. There is also an outdoor play area with lawn games and covered patio seating.
Waypoint Public (San Diego)
One of the biggest draws for frog families to this North Park neighborhood hangout is the food, but the indoor play area is a close second. Adults can enjoy craft beers and spirits, as well as a chief-driven menu that features shared plates such as BBQ pulled pork mac and cheese and larger entrees that include the Mediterranean lamb burger. For small froggies there are kid-approved choices like spaghetti and chicken tenders. Waypoint Public is open for both brunch and dinner.
There is nothing us frogs love more than a themed restaurant, and this camp-inspired spot definitely has us hopping. With an outdoor playing space and a kids’ menu with classics like grilled cheese and roasted chicken, there are plenty of things to keep the little ones entertained and well fed. Speaking of well fed, the menu has market-driven dishes such as chargrilled oysters and smoked duck that will make Mom and Dad happy campers as well. Make sure to save room for s’mores that you can roast right at your table!
Viewpoint Brewing (Del Mar)
If you are hopping back down to San Diego from Legoland, this brewery is a great family-friendly spot to stop at in Del Mar. With scenic views of the San Dieguito Lagoon, a kid and dog-friendly patio, frog family-friendly food such as burgers and fries, and plenty of space for little ones to get their energy out, this is a solid family spot. Best of all, frog parents can keep a watchful eye on their little ones while sampling some delicious bites and local brews.
Farmer & The Seahorse (San Diego)
It is hard to go wrong with this Torrey Pines restaurant that offers both delicious food and a large AstroTurf lawn with games for your little frogs to go wild. Go for a family-friendly brunch on your way to Legoland California, where the little ones can be treated to a kid’s waffle, and frog parents can enjoy avocado toast or a breakfast pizza topped with bacon, asparagus and gruyere.
There you have it — a taste of some of the best family-friendly restaurants in San Diego. Let us know your favorite spots in the comments below!
Related: When to Visit San Diego
Related: Our Guide to Visiting San Diego with Kids