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Kid Friendly, Near Long Beach Aquarium

I have 2 girl cousins (11 & 13) visiting from Ohio (which btw is a pretty green state) and I am taking them to the LB Aquarium. I want to take them out for a fun 'california' lunch but not sure where to take them. By 'california' I mean food that they can't get in Ohio. For instance they never had boba until they came here and I took them to eat delicious mexican for the first time too.

So to recap:

Something near LB Aquarium
Something kid friendly
and/or Something semi-exclusively californian

Thanks a bunch to everyone, in advance! Your comments and suggestions are the reason I eat so well whilst living in LA :)

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  1. It's not right next door to the aquarium, but in Belmont Shore, there is a pretty reliable Lebanese place called Open Sesame. You probably don't see too much of that in Ohio... at least I never have seen that when I've been there.

    1 Reply
    1. re: glutton

      I love that place. I love the kafta pita. Sigh...I miss living in Long Beach sometimes.

    2. Bubba Gump Shrimp is very kid friendly and very close to the aquarium.

      There's a Vietnamese place in Long Beach called Benley that people rave about. I hear it's good for kids.

      The LBC Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles is right near there as well on Broadway and Alamitos (I think).

      2 Replies
      1. re: teach

        Benley is nowhere near the aquarium, but it is excellent. Right around the aquarium you'll find mostly chains (Bubba Gump, Island's, for example) at the Pike. Shoreline Village has a couple of places, but nothing unique to California. Down Ocean Blvd., kids might enjoy dining on the patio of the LB Art Museum, overlooking the harbor and the Queen Mary. There's a small exhibition of children's photographs on the theme of LB architecture taken by 5th graders, that might interest the kids. Otherwise, Belmont Shore (follow Ocean and it becomes 2nd Street) is a good option. Open Sesame, Sunnin, Magic Lamp for middle-eastern, George's for Greek (or you could take the Pine Ave. shuttle from the aquarium up to the original Geroge's on Pine), La Creperie, Bono's, plus many others. The kids would probably enjoy a foray into Famima, which iirc just opened, and it's a good be there isn't one in Ohio.

        1. re: CynD

          Don't forget there is also a Pinkberry's now as well as Aroma di Roma (I think that is how you spell it) for wonderful gelato. IMHO, I think the kids would get a kick out of the crepes at Le Creperie.

      2. with that age group ... there's a california pizza kitchen pretty close. depending on how "foodie" they are, there's also one of those PF Changs (in other words, if they're NOT foodies--it's not objectionable, just not chow-worthy). bubba gump's actually isn't awful.

        1. Another vote for Bubba Gump which meets two of the three criteria, (near the Aquarium and Kid Friendly).

          I'm not so sure I'd call Benley a kid restaurant. It has a modern decor and is a small storefront. And not at all near the Aquarium.

          1. I think it would be irresponsible for an adult guardian of two children to take them to Bubba Gump. You may as well give them cigarettes and crystal meth. It's that bad. People should go to jail for these types of offenses.

            5 Replies
            1. re: glutton

              You must be joking. What did you see there! It's always been a wholesome atmosphere the few times I've visited. Bubba Gump movie playing on the screens and friendly servers.

              1. re: mlgb

                I meant that very sarcastically, but there is truth in there. The food is lousy. It's all in that genre that I like to call PJ McPickleCrappy's -- huge portions, overly fried, overly processed, rubbery food. The faux rustic interior is absurd. If it was the last restaurant on the planet, would I eat there? Sure. But in Long Beach there are lots of other great options that serve healthier, tastier, cheaper, interesting foods. These kids can get Bubba Gump in Ohio. They might go to a Chili's, TGI Friday's, Max 'n' Erma's, Fuddruckers, Joe's Crab Shack, or something else in that genre, but the food will all be the same.

              2. re: glutton

                don't confuse the restaurant with the movie. i had to eat there once and was really dreading it. but the barbecued shrimp were not bad at all.

                and the patio of the art museum is a good suggestion, too. i'm not sure they'd be up for the enamel painting exhibit itself, but the restaurant is ok and the menu is probably the right blend of sophisticated and kid-friendly for early teens (dressed up sandwiches, etc.)

                1. re: FED

                  As to the art exhibit, I was suggesting the photo exhibit in the basement exhibit room, which are photos taken by a 5th grade class, about the same age as the cousins. Another fun place might be the tea room on 4th just east of Alamitos Blvd. Very girly, and a fun afternoon.

                  1. re: CynD

                    yes, absolutely. i wasn't meaning to correct you at all. the exhibit is great. those kids have a great eye for architecture.

              3. what about the yard house? Is that still down there in shoreline village? Right across from the aquarium? They have good food there.

                2 Replies
                1. re: taco

                  I thought about mentioning Yard House, but the OP asked for something different than her cousins would get in Ohio. Yard House is good, but not anything they couldn't get back home. Its menu is pretty standard.

                  1. re: CynD

                    And the inside at Yardhouse is mostly a giant bar. But outside on the patio would be fine. And the Long Beach location was the original before it became a chain.

                    As for Bubba Gump, I gather you haven't been there, glutton. It sounds like it's beneath you. However, the spicy boiled pick n eat shrimp (to share) and the hushpuppies (with rock lobster tails and corn niblets) are good. I didn't say it was California Cuisine. But I've not had the type of food you describe there. Yes the portions are pretty big, but that's why we share. The thing I like about that location is the crowd that eats there, not just tourists, and not just white yuppy foodies. It's fun, and there isn't a much of a shoreline in Ohio.

                2. Although a chain, I would take them to Islands at the Pike. All kids love burgers and fries, and the whole place has a surf theme.

                  1. How about Gladstones? Food is good and they serve cotton candy at the end of your meal if it is your BD. Lie like everyone else. I love Open sesame. The potatoes with a side of garlic sauce. My kid and her best friend are away at college and that is the first thing they want when they get back to LA. Kings Fish house is also very good. Islands is great for burgers. Bubba Gump is a chain and very few things on the menu are that good. The grilled mahi mahi are OK but for seafood in that area I would go to Gladstones or King's fish House on Pine.

                    Roscoe's chicken and Waffles is an LA cool thing. Nothing like that in Ohio - but they do have cheese curds, skyline Chili and Culver's frozen custard.

                    1. THANK YOU EVERYONE. I ended up taking them to Belmont Shores. We dined on Thai b/c they wanted 'spicy asian' ha ha. We went to Color Me Mine afterwards and they had a great time being 'creative'. Thank you so much everyone La Creperie is great and I wish i had remember that pinkberry is down the street. d'oh. till next time!