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Orange County birthday dinner with kids

My cousin's birthday is this weekend, and after going through some old CH posts, I found it hard to get down options. I need a Saturday night location for a dinner. We're looking for a family-friendly location as we have 3 boys and she has a little girl. The kids are all under the age of 10, and we're looking to stay away from the chains. We're open to all types of cuisines. They live in Ladera Ranch, we live in south L.A. county...but we're all willing to make the drive so long as the food is good. Bonus points for the place if their desserts are good...my cousin has a sweet tooth.
Thanks!

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  1. I wonder how Park Avenue in Stanton is fairing these days? I do recall they feature parfaits on their dessert list (I'm a sucker for parfaits) and they are definitely "family friendly."

    http://www.parkavedining.com/

    2 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      Just checked the menu...sorry, no parfaits on the dessert menu at this time. Looks great! Thanks for the rec. If anyone has more, please feel free.

      1. re: attran99

        No parfaits? A total travesty! ;-D>

        ADD: I just took a look at their menu and I did see an "eggnog parfait with pralines and fresh whipped cream" - for $7. So maybe (hopefully) they still have them.

    2. marche moderne - perhaps sit outside (for the kids) and request heat lamps. darya across the street from south coast plaza. somewhere in little saigon - tho since you're probably familiar with that area and maybe you're looking for a little ambience it's perhaps not a consideration.

      1 Reply
      1. re: namstermonster

        I didn't think Marche Moderne could be a possibility. Even with the heat lamps, I think it would still be cold, and I don't think the kids would appreciate the food. Darya seems promising, however the desserts aren't as impressive...looks like they probably order them from a vendor.
        You're right. We're pretty familiar with the Little Saigon area, and go there quite often. I'm looking for something not that.
        Thanks for all the helpful tips!

      2. Not OC but we love Belmont Brewing Company at the Belmont Pier. Sit on the patio which overlooks the beach and the pier with the Queen Mary in the distance. They take reservations so the kids don't get grumpy having to wait. The view provides entertainment. Lobster Bisque is yummy as is the Tuscan Tomato soup and the entrees. Dessert is not spectacular but is good. Our kids love to have dinner here.

        1. Forget gourmet food with 4 kids under 10, the other patrons will thank you.. Go to Buca di Beppo in Huntington Beach, right off the 405. if you have not tried it, you might be surprised. the deserts are actually very good, and the kids will have a good time.

          2 Replies
          1. re: AMC1210

            No offense, but Buca is terrible and a chain. I've been subjected to that enough times, and rarely find anything to my liking. If I wanted any of their food, I could make it at home, and it would be significantly better. Why pay for something sub-par? Outside of the parameters I had originally mentioned. I never said it had to be gourmet...just good and not a chain (and bonus point for great dessert). I find that families with kids are too easily side-lined to chains, and that doesn't have to be the case. Sevorg, namstermonster, and sayrob's suggestions of Park Avenue, Darya, and Belmont show that family-friendly dining doesn't have to be limited to chains.

            1. re: attran99

              I have one other suggestion. We like Gulliver's across from the John Wayne airport. While it used to be a very, very tiny chain (one in Marina Del Rey where Jerry's Deli is now and one up by SF International airport) I think this one is the last location. We still hit it when we are down that way at dinner time: http://www.gulliversrestaurant.com/

          2. Crow bar: http://crowbarcdm.com/ The "pork and beans" made with pork belly is excellent and a steal at $16 for a full entree portion.

            Pizzeria Mozza. Desserts of gelato pie, various gelati, and budino should make everyone happy.

            Pizzeria Ortica. In addition to pizza, you can also get fresh housemade pasta, entrees of fish and chicken, etc.