HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


FUN places!

  • l

My nephew and niece are spending the weekend with me next week (ages 7 and 4.) I want to take them to some funky, fun places for meals. Though good food would be nice, it is really secondary to the atmosphere, etc... Any suggestions, preferably on the Westside or
in Santa Monica? I was thinking Ed Debevics orperhaps Benihana. Any other ideas? Thanks in advance!!


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. C&O Tratorria in Marina del Rey, on Washington, two blocks from the beach.

    Loud atmosphere, nightly singing of "That's Amore", and the garlic knots and calamari are good. Honor wine bar. roasted chicken is pretty good too....not a big fan of their pasta though.

    1. Try Papadakis in San Pedro (301 W 6th St)- it meets your criteria for not great food and lots of fun -dancing whether you want to or not, and electrical Greek music. There's also Dar Maghreb in Hollywood (7651 Sunset Bl) where my similarly aged relatives couldn't get over the fact that you're SUPPOSED to eat with your hands - and use a bath towel for a napkin. It's not cheap but the food's pretty good; the belly dancer was a little intimidating for an 8 year old boy. Universal's City Walk is also fun with not great food, but kids don't seem to mind because the atmosphere, especially in the evening, is so lively.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Griller141

        I disagree with your statement about Papadakis. Went there in May and my large party (myself included) thought the food was great. Definitely a good place for a group-lots of entertainment and very fun.

      2. Hop in the car and head for the Rainforest Cafe in South Coast Plaza (Costa Mesa). They'll love it and you'll be their hero. See website link below.

        Link: http://www.rainforestcafe.com/RFC/eMa...

        1 Reply
        1. re: JerL

          Not to be a pain, but I was at Southcoast Plaza yesterday and walked right by Rainforest Cafe, which was a total nightmare! Southcoast Plaza has been pretty busy this summer and there were about 50 people waiting outside the restaurant for lunch. Also, it was all people with little kids (toddlers) and strollers, and the 4 and 7-year old may think it's a little too juvenile. I definitely would not make a trip down to OC just for that. Rainforest Cafe may be entertaining for kids, but I think there is probably one in LA. In addition, the food is very subpar, not even mediocre, IMHO. Maybe it's just the South Coast Plaza one, but every time I see Rainforest Cafe, I just think, "yuck."

        2. f

          What about Tokyo Delve's in Marina Del Rey? I've never been but I hear it's a fun atmosphere and I think they have non-sushi items if sushi is too "gross" for your relatives.

          Link: http://www.delve-sushibar.com/

          1. You picked two of my daughter's favorites. The third is Great Greek on Ventura Blvd.; music, dancing waiters, decent food.

            1. Lauren, I can only hope that your niece and nephew like "real" restaurants more than my kids did at that age. And Ed Debevic's is pretty dependable. But my kids even now that they're older just don't really like sitting around for waitresses no matter how "fun" the restaurant is, and so it's never very fun for me to watch them get squirmy. Here's what they like: the outdoor cafe on the beach at the bottom of the California incline in Santa Monica; picnics in the park (in Santa Monica, Douglas Park and Rustic Canyon are great); the courtyard of the Malibu Country Mart, where there are several restaurant choices and a playground, after the beach or a hike. The courtyard of the Brentwood Mart (Reddi Chick), like a mini-Farmer's Market. The real Farmer's Market. The Apple Pan. Or maybe it's just me that's allergic to theme-type restaurants, but if I'm going to pay that kind of money I want real food and no screaming babies. Have fun!

              1. I just polled my kids, ages 6 and 8, and they said: McDonald's (aargh!), Junior's Deli, El Torito Grill in Beverly Hills (they love this place because they like watching the tortillas being placed on the round cooker and they like the clouds on the ceiling - the food isn't bad, either), and any Italian restaurant for noodles. Another suggestion is Buca di Beppo in Santa Monica. The only thing about this restaurant is you can't really order separate meals for the kids as it is family style. Any Greek restaurant is good as it is entertaining (I'm dying to try Papadakis Taverna in San Pedro). Ohhh! I just remembered one more restaurant - Maggiano's in The Grove. We went there a couple of weeks ago and it was actually very good. A lot of fun strolling around The Grove, too. Just be sure to make reservations unless you go very early (phone number 323-965-9665)

                1. And now for something completely different...

                  In Buena Park - Medieval Times - my 4 and 6 year old kids are still talking about it. We will likely check out the Wild West themed place next door (can't remember the name) next time. Hey, we are talking pure entertainment, not quality of food. It is definitely a spectacle. I think it is about $45/person.