Birthday lunch/dinner for a 4 year old?
We went to American Girl Cafe for lunch yesterday (my girls had a random day off from school) and it was 1/2 empty and they had the best time! I would take a chance and give them a call if you are flixible on days or times. We called at 11:45 and there were 7 of us and they were happy to have us for lunch at 12:30.
I second the Benihana recommendation - two other additions I'd like to make are a revolving sushi bar if she's into that kind of thing of Micheli's on Cahuenga, where the waiters sing - my son used to get up and sing with them when he was little. Finally, I've never been to TuTu Tango on Universal City Walk but I hear that's fun for families (tapa style food) or even Gladstones for that matter.
I'll throw in a few more recs.. You didn't specify area or liked/disliked cuisines, so, a shot in the dark...
How about a teppenyaki like a Benihana where the food prep is a show.
Hard Rock Cafe does a good birthday thing... I did age 15 there... I think
If they're adventurous, somewhere like Dar maghreb where you can eat w/ your hands... she might thinks that neat w/ the belly dancers
C&O Trattoria is fun for kids
BJ's w/ Diddy Reese across the street
Tea Party at the Tudor House, American Girl Cafe, or that place at Disneyland (Mary Poppins' Tea), or Tea and Teacups in Yorba Linda
Encounter is up high w/ a cool view and rotates
The Griddle Cafe b/c the food is like dessert.
Swingers/Cafe 50's are fun
Hard Rock is good for kids birthdays. Age four might be a tiny bit young to appreciate it, but in the HRC's favor ... it's loud normally (the sound of children just blends in with the rock music), they have food kid's like (hamburgers, stuff like that) ... there are lots of guitars to look at ... and it's Hollywood "cool."
A four year old might not dig it as much as a 10 year old, but it's a pretty good rec.
Take her to a tea party at Paddington's, Rose cottage, the Huntington Gardens or another tea room. Many of them do special teas for children, but you need reservations.
Go to the farmer's market on fairfax and let her choose what she wants from the many fun places.
Frankly,she's four. She'll feel special going anywhere you take her, and she wil only be enterrtained for so long before things get old. Mc D's and Chuck e are good for kids because most of them at her age aren't particulalry into the fine food but enjoy constantly moving, shouting and engaging entertainment that may make your head explode.
If you try to go too upscale with her, you may end up regretting it. Is what is fun for her important, or something that makes you feel like you got her "the best"? Ask her where she wants to go..she may just want the pizza and games at Chuck E Ratso's, or the funny men at Bucca Di Beppo's, or a clown at Mickey D's. I think a princess tea party would be perfect, though!
Again, be realistic..she's four. (Ex teacher rant ending...sorry)
Wherever you end up, call them and let them know ahead of time that she's four..this will buy you the thanks of the dining place AND fellow diners!
Depending on the style you want to go here are three idea's. I am local to the Burbank/Glendale so they are in that area.
1. All the California Pizza Kitchen's are really kid friendly I take my girls there all the time and they love it!.
2. There is a great little cafe in Burbank called Krust and they are like an old tea shop. They have great lunch and yummy cupcakes. The staff is really nice and I am sure if you call ahead about the birthday they could arrange something.
3. Don Cuco's Mexican rest in Burbank & Glendale. We took my niece here for her birthday and they sang to her and put a huge sombraro on her head. She had a blast.
Anyway hope that helps.