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Kid friendly restaurants in Orange County

  • m

We will be in Orange County with our 3 grandchildren ( 5.9.14) and would appreciate some suggestions for some good restaurants that are kid-friendly. If possible, we would prefer LA and California based restaurants instead of national chains.

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  1. Harbor House Cafe (one in Sunset Beach and one in Dana Point) are very kid friendly, have huge menu's and are open 365/24. We like them for breakfast, but they have plenty of good choices for lunch and dinner too. Wear as casual as you like because everyone else will be dressed in their finest shorts and tee shirts.


    1. Where in OC? It's a big area & you don't want to be driving all over the places with 3 kids!

      6 Replies
      1. re: torta basilica

        We will be all over. We are staying at the Marriott in Fullerton, but over the time we're there we will be at Disneyland, Knotts, the LAX area a couple of times. We have been to the LA area quite a bit, but it has been 5 years since we were there last..

        1. re: mjtx

          So, it's actually Northern OC info you need. Hopefully, some hounds can help - I'm better with the beach areas!

          1. re: torta basilica

            However, if there is some place really special we aren't opposed to driving! My husband and I were in Bordeaux a few years back and when we were looking for day trips to take we discovered that there were some terrific restaurants in San Sebastian Spain so we detoured there and went to San Sebastian for a couople of days so that we could eat at Arzak. That said, with 3 grandchildren we don't really want anything of that caliber!!!

            1. re: mjtx

              No, I don't think I'd take 3 kids to Arzak! Hopefully, you'll get some help - I know there's tons, but I just don't hang out in N OC that much & I'm down to 1 16 year old who will only go out for sushi with me. I do think a detour to have lunch at Ruby's on the pier in either Seal Beach or Newport Beach would be fun - especially Newport - you can sit on the roof & guard your food from marauding seagulls! I would think all 3 ages would really like Newport, the ferry, Balboa Island, just sitting on the sand & watching the surfers at the Wedge...

          2. re: mjtx

            I believe there is a Claim Jumper near Knotts. Very kid friendly. Bring an empty stomach as portions are huge. Enjoy your stay. Hopefully there won't be too much June Gloom....

            1. re: Jeet Yet

              Another Claim Jumper is in Brea...right off State College Blvd @ Birch Street not far from the hotel. There's also THE HAT on State College on the way to CJ.

        2. I'm in north OC, but that's a tough one...only b/c you have kids in the mix and I don't have any.

          If you're up for dimsum, then there's TEN TEN SEAFOOD off the 5 @ Euclid in Anaheim (just a couple off ramps from D'land).

          If you're into burgers, you have three options: IN-N-OUT (there's one on the other side of the freeway from your hotel), KNOWLWOOD (off Harbor & Commonwealth) and ISLAND'S (in Brea @ St College Blvd & Imp Hwy).

          If you like Mexican, there's EL FAROLITO in Placentia. It's <5 min drive from your hotel off Chapman & Bradford Aves. It is delish!

          I also love, *LOVE*, the Mongolian BBQ on the s/w corner of St College & Chapman; it's a hole in the wall, but the food is good & cheap. And across the street from there (in the Starbucks strip mall) is a yogurt place that many from CH like.

          These are family friendly restaurants. Other than Chuck E Cheese, I don't know of any place that's pro-kid, but I don't look for them either. Sorry.

          If you give us an idea of what kind of food you prefer, that might help us give you more suggestions that would be to your liking.

          1. Knott's itself was built from their "Chicken Dinner Restaurant".
            There's a Zanchou Chicken a few miles west of Disneyland, on Ball, past Brookhurst.
            La Palma Chicken Pie Shop has been near the corner of Euclid and La Palma for over fifty years.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Curt the Soi Hound

              Whenever I go to Ten Ten Seafood, I pass by that La Palma Chicken Pie Shop. I guess I should stop by one of these days....

            2. A fun place with kids is Moreno's Mexican restaurant on Chapman Ave in Orange. Beautiful outdoor patio, a fountain, a woman making tortillas outside as you watch, and strolling Mariachis. The kids can walk around and watch the fountain and tortilla maker without disturbin other guests. Especially good for Sunday brunch. The food isn;t as good as El Farolito, but the ambience is pure Old Californio!

              1. Jaegerhaus off Ball exit on 57 is good for breakfast, before going to Disneyland for the day. It's casual.

                Anita's (New Mexican cuisine) at Fullerton is very casual also and I don't see a 5 year old being an issue. The food is decent, not gourmet nor spectacular, but it's better than most chain Mexicans.

                In Brea Lucille is OK for BBQ (better than Claim Jumper IMHO), I've seen tons of kids at the Sunday brunch (with a mini kid's buffet food area) at Taps in Brea as well.

                There's a Ruby's in Anaheim off Habor Blvd. They have kids menu and OK diner style food. The original location at the Newport Beach pier is really nice if you like ocean view.

                Another place that's kid friendly and have nice ocean view is Beachcomber Cafe at Crystal Cove. Could be a wait though as they don't take reservations.

                Any Asian restaurants in Rowland/Hacienda Heights area shouldn't be a problem either. It's probably a 15-20 minutes drive up from Fullerton.

                Chu's Wok Inn at Orange is pretty good I thought. It's mandarin style and have the usual suspects in terms of chinese food (orange chicken, etc.). But I thought the flavors were good and not at all greasy.

                To be honest though a well behaved 5 year old can really pretty much dine at any place in LA (except at the ritzy places). I never had any problem with bringing my kid to any place once he could sit still for 1/2 hour at a time.

                3 Replies
                1. re: notmartha

                  The original Ruby's is on the Balboa Pier, not the Newport Pier

                  1. re: I got nothin

                    You're right. Don't remember the pier name, just know it's near/in Newport Beach.

                    1. re: notmartha

                      No worries. Just wanted to make sure we sent the out-of-town OP to the right place (Or pier). The Balboa Pier area is a great place for the kids, you can take them over to the Fun Zone (although they've replaced some of it with a Nautical Museum) and play a few games and grab a Balboa Bar for dessert