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Baby Friendly in LA

Will be in LA for parts of a weekend for a wedding and its our first trip with our twin babies in toe...they'll be 7 months. Usually our vacations are filled with dining destinations--highbrow and lowbrow alike, but obviously this one will be different. Still, we'd like to retain some semblance of our former lives...any recommendations?

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  1. Preferred location(s)? Any type of food likes vs dislikes? Breakfast, lunch and/or dinner? Budget? I am assuming you will have a car?

    4 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      Yes, will have a car. And probably staying by the airport, but will have parts of around 3 days to explore (with a 2-night trip up to Santa Barbara sandwiched in the middle), so all three meals. Have never been to LA, so will look for touristy type things that we can do with two infants--Santa Monica Pier/Venice Beach, Hollywood Walk of Fame, open to recommendations--so in those areas. But not opposed to making a restaurant the destination too. Open to any kind of food--but partial to local and ethnic specialties, and iconic establishments and creative foodie finds.

      1. re: wallyg

        All these places are both close to the airport (LAX anyway) and extremely "baby" friendly. For Santa Barbara recommendations you will need to post separately on the California board - which you can find here: http://chowhound.chow.com/boards/3 where those requests are handled.

        Coni' Seafood, a place that features dishes from Nayarit and Sinaloa Mexico is an absolute MUST since you will be close to them during your stay. You should read this review by one of the LA board regulars, Mr. Taster http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8569...

        For location and photos of Coni' Seafood check out Yelp here http://www.yelp.com/biz/coniseafood-i...

        You should also try breakfast or lunch at Pann's www.panns.com

        First of all Pann's is a classic "googie" architectural gem. Secondly it's a type UN favorite (in other words folks from every race, creed and color) who want great wings & waffle combos or one of the best patty melts in the city or their best in show biscuits or a corned beef hash that makes me cry - at least when it's available - a special only made when they actually make their corned beef.

        There are actually two very good, chow-worthy halal Indian/Pakistani restaurants also close by LAX, Al Noor http://www.alnoor-restaurant.net/ and Al Watan http://www.alwatanrestaurant.com/

        If you want to sample some beach life then head over to Manhattan Beach for breakfast at Uncle Bill's Pancake House http://www.unclebills.net/ which has been around forever drawing in crowds of hungry locals and tourists alike.

        Now if you want to take the scenic route up to Santa Barbara along the coast (which is a much nicer drive than taking the 405 to the 101) then you need to plan lunch at Moqueca http://www.moquecarestaurant.com/ for their very unique Brazilian stews that are rare in the US.

        Finally, for a nice baby friendly day with good food you should go over to the permanent farmer's market at 3rd Street and Fairfax to look around and sample the local eats. Or head downtown to the newly revamping Grand Central Market for what is great fun as well and a cheeseburger that is currently lighting up the LA chowhound board at Belcampo http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/970281

        1. re: Servorg

          if you end up at uncle bill's pancake house, be aware that it will be jammed at "normal" eating hours.
          their wonderful waffles covered with melted cheddar and french toast covered with cheddar are not secrets to the locals.
          especially on a weekend, you can't just drop in and get a seat whenever you want.

      2. Thank you for the advice, Servorg. To give some more background...places I'm thinking about...Kogi truck, Langer's, Din Tai. Coni sounds interesting...definitely would want Mexican on any potential list.

        5 Replies
        1. re: wallyg

          For Mexican, consider Amor y Tacos (see here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/962707 ).

          Also consider Parks BBQ for Korean BBQ.

          1. re: wallyg

            Langer's is always a good idea if you are looking for one of the premier pastrami sandwiches in the US. Coni' is one of those completely unique and absolutely delicious places that you simply will thank yourself for taking the time to try.

            As ipse says above, Korean is one of the things that LA excels at and Parks is the quintessential example of Korean BBQ. Baby friendly at Korean places is a given and it's also great fun to cook your own meat on your personal grill.

            1. re: Servorg

              focus people!

              but while talking korean BBQ...do you think LA places would be appreciably better/different than what we can get here in NY?

              1. re: wallyg

                let's see.. NY have 2 streets (plus a couple of suburbs), and no parking.

                we have a few square miles and $2 valet.

                also, searching baby/toddler/infant shows:
                (limited results to thread numbers in the nine hundred thousands


                and try this site which focuses on toddler dining in LA:

            2. re: wallyg

              I've been to Din Tai Fung with a baby, and it was very easy. The only thing is, you will want to time your visit for off-peak hours to avoid a long wait (which I always do anyway).

            3. Breakfast or lunch or brunch at Back to the Beach on the sand in Santa Monica would be fun. There is an adjacent play area on the sand for the kids and the eggs, salads and burger dishes are good quality.

              1. Souplantion (a chain) is all over LA with many locations. Very baby friendly salad bars. They even have high chairs on wheels.

                1. All of Montana Avenue in Santa Monica is baby friendly.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: maudies5

                    The best place for 'baby friendly'.
                    No question.

                    1. re: maudies5

                      I had lunch at R+D Kitchen on Sunday and couldn't believe how many babies and small children were there - even at the bar, which I always thought was illegal!

                      1. re: aching

                        It seems like those little humans are poised to take over the world someday...

                        1. re: aching

                          One more most excellent reason to eat at Father's Office...

                          1. re: Servorg

                            You're right, Father's Office is definitely not baby friendly! At 34, I STILL get carded every time I go there.

                            1. re: aching

                              My wife and I were just walking into R+D Kitchen one night when a couple were heading for the door with their squalling toddler in tow, and all of the people in the very crowded bar area, along most of the restaurant, were actually applauding and whistling to show how glad they were to see the last of whatever the Cirque du Soleil floor show must have been taking place prior to them exiting...We both started laughing.

                        2. re: maudies5

                          For reals. For a little while there seemed to be a war brewing between toy breed dogs and toddlers. It was a rout. Babies and toddlers own that street now.

                        3. State Street in Santa Barbara has lots of restaurants with patios that would be baby friendly.... Lots of choices and options so best bet is to walk up & down and find one that sounds good to you..... And most small Mexican stands are family friendly, the most famous in SB being La Super Rica, but there are really lots of places all over the city.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                            Very true and there are alot more off State.

                            1. re: latindancer

                              Yes, such a great city to walk around and explore in. We go up every Mother's Day. It's so relaxing!

                          2. Getting closer to our trip so thought I'd bump

                            1. Paradise Cove in Malibu might be another option....tables right on the sand. And lots of families. Also...Italians tend to love babies. I think I've seen babies/toddlers every time I've been to Tra di Nois (sp?) in Malibu.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: perk

                                Just curious, how do you maneuver a stroller in the sand??

                                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                  Mines got knobby big wheels three of em. Not ideal but works.

                                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                    hadn't thought of that....not being a parent. but since there's valet parking....maybe carry the kids in and then use high chairs? the distance from the inside restaurant to the tables in the sand isn't really very far. so....maybe a little muscle?

                                    1. re: perk

                                      We bring our girl to the beach all the time. I think paradise cove a great idea.

                                2. I was recently at Sycamore Kitchen early (9-ish) on a Saturday morning, and it was a baby paradise. It's got a great patio and absolutely delicious food - I highly recommend it for your visit! However, be warned that it becomes very crowded as the day goes on.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: aching

                                    Ditto pain quotidian on melrose.

                                  2. On Sundays, there is a very baby-friendly farmers market in Santa Monica in the Ocean Park/Main Street district. Babies galore! For food, there are a bunch of vendors who cook up breakfast/lunch type stuff that you can then take to a grassy area to eat picnic style.

                                    From there, you would be just a quick stroll down Ocean Park to the beach proper -- where Ocean Park hits the beach, there is a play area, family bathrooms, and grassy/shady park areas. It's festive and pleasant on a Sunday.

                                    Parking can be a bit exasperating, but if you don't mind a little stroll, you could park a few blocks away in the beach lots and save yourself the Main St. flustercluck of traffic (not sure if that's practical with little ones, but just a thought).

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: spoonlicker

                                      Great idea! Ocean park beach is a great place to take little ones.

                                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                        Another benefit to the Ocean Park beach: the pedestrian path between it and the Pier is wide, smooth (stroller friendly), and has bathrooms (with diaper-changing tables in the "family" stalls) at convenient intervals. It would make for a lovely stroll with the tykes...endless entertainment for them as they watch the parade of humanity bike/rollerblade/skateboard past on the adjacent-but-safely-separate bike path.

                                        There are also the Perry's beachside stands (with tables, umbrellas, and windscreens) that would make for an easy casual nosh break (typical beach-side food, nothing spectacular, but for the price of an iced coffee for Mom or a cookie for the kiddos, a good place to chill out and spread out).

                                        The pedestrian path is much less hectic and crowded to navigate than Main St proper...it's a good "scenic route" between the Pier and Venice.

                                    2. I have 3 year old twins - and we have been taking them to restaurants all over LA since they were babies!!! The key was to go at non-busy times, meaning dinners at like 6pm or earlier. Pretty much any restaurant was fair game and accomodating.

                                      Some places that stick out that were very welcoming to our baby twins: Robata Jinya, Craft, Bouchon, Saddle Peak Lodge, Plan Check.

                                      In the areas you mention...

                                      I'd recommend Loteria Grill near Hollywood Walk of Fame -- we had our twin group here when they were all around 1 year or younger and they were very accomodating to like 20 babies.

                                      In Santa Monica, I'd head to the Santa Monica Place Mall dining deck to Zengo or La Sandia. There is also a play area in the food court, but your kids may be too young for it. Tongva Park - next door to the mall - is great! Or Stella Barra, which is between Santa Monica and Venice on Main Street.

                                      Highly recommend the Fairfax Farmer's Market (as Servong already did). A little hard to manuver a double stroller there because it's tight and always crowded, but lots for them to look at and would be worth a trip. Plus there is a trolley!

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Obessed

                                        Ooh, Tongva Park is great. It would make for a nice picnic destination (and wow are those restrooms clean). I'm wondering where a good parking area would be, though...the lots attached to SM Place are so chaotic and stressful these days. Traffic coming off the 10W at 4th St gets backed up badly. I really feel for folks trapped in their cars, trying to get in and out of that structure.

                                        Maybe the lot on 4th St. next to the police station? (Taking a left off of the 4th street offramp instead of a right into mayhem.) Short stroller-stroll across Main to the park...? Also gives pretty good access to the Pier IF a person really wanted to brave the crowds (I don't recommend it, esp. with a stroller).

                                        1. re: spoonlicker

                                          For Tongva, we park at the new structure on 2nd St. (just north of Broadway). It's an easy walk over (all controlled intersections: Cross Broadway, cross Colorado, over the bridge, and you are at Tongva).

                                        2. re: Obessed

                                          Your mention of Bouchon made me think how nice that park there is for a little al fresco dining - either pastries from Bouchon Bakery or sandwiches from Paninoteca. Perfect place to go with the littles!