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Kid Friendly Non-Chains: Santa Monica/Westside?

Hi, my husband and I and our 4 year old son will be staying in Santa Monica in June for 4 days. Don't want to be relegated to only "family restaurants" or chains or only food trucks (though they are really good I know!). Would love some decent places good for a nice dinner without pushing things too much, i.e. we know we'll be there early, will eat pretty quickly, etc. We have a car, but probably don't want to drive more than 20 minutes. Any type of food is welcome. Thanks for your ideas!

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  1. Rustic Canyon is the first restaurant which comes to mind.

    4 Replies
    1. re: maudies5

      Haven't been there yet; is it actually kid-friendly? Huckleberry right across the street by the same owner is pretty kid-friendly.

      1. re: PeterCC

        Rustic Canyon is extremely kid-friendly. Get there as early as possible (I think they open at 5:30). The 4 year old will likely be ready for dinner at that time. Wonderful food, service,and variety. www.rusticcanyonwinebar.com

        1. re: maudies5

          agree as long as your there by 6:30. Great food.

          1. re: maudies5

            The roast chicken and their burger will satisfy both kids and adults...

        1. re: Servorg

          Sigh, I can't go there without being sad that City Bakery isn't there anymore. But that is a great place for both kids and adults.

          1. re: Servorg

            Bear in mind that FarmShop has a hidden child menu. The kiddie menu is great. However, it is NOT printed and will only be offered (verbally) if one asks for it. That being said, the kids menu offers pancakes, which are absolutely out of this world.There are other offerings on the "spoken/un-printed" children's menu.

          2. Off the top of my head, in town:

            Fritto Misto (good pasta)
            Spumoni (ditto)
            Benihana (technically a chain)
            Tender Greens

            Actually, Santa Monica is full of good restaurants. Based on your own guidelines (eating early, quickly, etc) you can really eat anywhere. So any other criteria or parameters (price range, cuisine, etc)?

            1 Reply
            1. re: PeterCC

              Note to OP: I don't necessarily think the above are the best restaurants in Santa Monica, just good choices for bringing a kid. Though we've taken our kids (5 and 10) to more adult-oriented places like the Dining Room at the Shangri-La hotel, and they split a steak frites while we enjoyed burrata and risotto and whatever else we had, and everyone was happy.

              My wife says Zengo's pretty good, though I haven't been. Again, as I said above, and as yogachik said below, your strategy for tackling dinner with the kid will work with nearly any restaurant, probably even at Melisse. :-)

              (Oh, you only mentioned dinner, but there's lots of good breakfast places. We've recently started going to Blue Daisy, and Bru's Wiffle serves good food, but at least as of several months ago, service was very slow. YMMV.)

            2. That describes every restaurant in Santa Monica. They're all kid friendly, especially early. R+D, Chaya, Galley, Lares, Gilberts, Rustic Canyon -- all particularly popular with kids. Country Mart is a great suggestion.

              1. My kids and I like Blue Plate Oysterette. They have a kids menu and a view of the ocean if you sit out front, and I like the seafood.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Robert Thornton

                  I also like Blue Plate Oysterette, but I would be reticent to take a 4 year old to a restaurant which did not accept reservations. I think that The Lobster might be a better choice. A view of the Pier, ocean, nice food and a very kid-friendly & after-lunch walk on the pier.