L.A. family coming down for the weekend
Wifey and me plus our four kiddos (9-15) will be staying in mission valley for the holiday weekend. We like pretty much everything. Looking for a good family friendly San Diego eating experience. Would like to keep it pretty close (no further south than downtown, all the way to the ocean, no further east than Lemon Grove). Dessert recs would also be appreciated (especially ice cream!).
FYI, we've already eaten our way through Old Town and Seaport Village.
Since you are looking for 'good family friendly' eating..
Ricky's for breakfast or Perry's in Mission Valley/Old Town..
Blue Water Grill in Bay Park for lunch/happy hour/dinner
JV's taco shop for good grub in Linda Vista/USD
Basic for some fab pizza in the Gaslamp
Bully's East in Mission Valley for bully burgers
Tio Leo's for Mex in Linda Vista
Marisco German Seafood food truck in City Heights
Sab E Lee for fab Thai
Phil's BBQ Sports Arena/Point Loma..for the 4 kids
Bali Hai in Shelter Island..
Filippi's in Little Italy
Tender Greens Liberty Station past the Airport
Searsucker in Gaslamp for brunch
re: L.A. Jay
Filippis is red-checker tablecloth Eye-talian. I'm not as offended by that as some here are- it's easy, a little fun and familiar.
But I'd go to Basic 5 times before I'd go.
No big food truck lots like you have a-way up there. We have a few, mostly mariscos, and they're good if you don't mine eating of a trashcan lid or a greasy truck bumper. I go there by myself, leave the rest of the fam at home.
Beach Chick gave you a VERY good list- she's much older than I and vastly more experienced.
Hopefully Foodiechick will chime in- she's even more knowledgable and wise ; )
Beach Chick is on the money!
I don't have kids, but every time I hit Station Tavern it is LOADED with families and dogs. Outdoor seating is fantastic, picnic tables, playground area, beer and burgers. Best of all it's in hip South Park and the parents look like those straight outta Los Feliz or Silver Lake.. The food is not spectacular, but good enough. Walk down the street and there's a great ice cream spot. Also, several cute boutiques and vintage stores to visit en route. Stationtavern.com. Think it's right off Fern. Easy meter parking close by. Let us know what you select and have fun.
re: L.A. Jay
It's not like an "Olde Tyme Ice Cream Parlor" it's a lot better. And our kid LOVES the place, as do the other kids I see there.
I wouldn't hesitate to go.
Again- my views on food are far less sophisticated that other hounds here, who'll warn you against setting foot in the place, so take my observations with a flake of Fleur de Sel.
But kids love the place.
re: L.A. Jay
RE: Extraordinary Desserts. Hmmm. Toughy. I am just so turned off by a Quinceanera dessert display. You will pay for artistry, but I've never tasted the magic. Especially given the price. Good atmosphere for kiddos and they will be mesmerized by all the pretty flowers for sure. As a local, I just never understood the hype. If it's a weekend, expect a wait. If Vegan and thrifty, you can grab a bite at Evolution Fast Food next door. Another place with good outdoor, family-friendly seating/vibe. OH, duh. Finally two plus two. Yes, SanFilippos which other's recommended is adjacent. Super mediocre, but after the Balboa Park experience no one will care. Guarantee you, dinner will be chaper than dessert:).
Disclaimer: I once lived in El Paso and experienced countless Quinceaneras before forming this opinion/generalization.
In an answer, yes, kid-friendly.
Options that haven't yet been mentioned that are in close procimity to Mission Valley
Pappalecco - 5th Ave. in Hillcrest, cross street is Pennsylvania. Not ice cream but it is really good gelato, lost of flavors, Italian coffee, breakfast, salads and sandwiches.
Chocolat - corner of 5th and University in Hillcrest. Once again, not ice cream but really good gelato.
Burger Lounge - 4th & University in Hillcrest.
Mama Testa - University and Richmond in Hillcrest. All tacos all the time. The hard shell mashed potato tacos are outstanding and not nearly has carb heavy as they sound. Also good are the grill chicken, cochinita pibil, mojados, and (housemade) chorizo tacos
Tre Porcellini - next door to Mama Testa. They undergone some changes in the last few months so I can't guarantee they're still as solid as they once were. Italian
Cafe on Park - Good breakfast/lunch spot on Park Blvd, close to University. Hillcrest
Parkhouse Cafe - Park Blvd. University Heights (next door to Hillcrest)
Bruno's Pizzaria - Park Blvd just south of El Cajon Blvd. Very good Neopolitan-style pizza
Adams Ave. Grill - on, what else, Adam Ave. kind of in the University Heights area
Blind Lady Ale House - Adams just east of 30th, great beers, good pizza and salads
Tioli's Crazy Burger - 30th North Park area, exotic burgers
Caffe Calabria - Pizza (and very good coffee)
El Comal - Illinois St., 1/2 blk. north of University in North Park
Urban Solace - 30th in North Park
Two of the biggest farmers markets in SD are Saturday and Sunday and within 10 minutes of Mission Valley. Saturday in Little Italy, Sunday in Hillcrest. Lots of prepared food vendors, good place to wander around and graze for breakfast.
Emjoy your visit
On your way down from LA you could pull off at Encinitas Blvd and get some treats at Elizabethan Desserts (it's also close to SD Botanical Garden). My favorite is the pecan shortbread dipped in chocolate.
The Mission in Mission Beach or Isabel's Cantina in Pacific Beach for breakfast.
Our kids always love the Little Italy Farmer's Market on Saturdays, which has a pretty view across the bay to Point Loma. We usually share paninnis & crepes and finish with delicious popsicles from Viva Pops.
Mama Testa's for tacos in Hillcrest is close to the zoo & Balboa Park.
Tender Greens at Liberty Station for lunch.
Azucar in Ocean Beach for cafes con leche & amazing pastries. Their lime bar is delicious!
Pizza Port in Ocean Beach has great pizza and craft beers with a family friendly atmosphere (think picnic tables & video games)