In San Diego, these restaurants go above and beyond the usual suspects — chicken fingers, grilled cheese sandwiches and hot dogs, with a side of paper and a set of crayons — to offer entertaining experiences your children won’t soon forget:
1. Bo-beau Kitchen + Garden
Parents love the beer and handcrafted cocktails at this La Mesa joint, but they especially appreciate the restaurant’s life-size, retrofitted school bus, in which children can play in plain sight. There’s also a giant chalkboard for drawing, and a little something extra for teens (ages 12 to 16), who can try sophisticated entrees (think grilled sea bass and French fries) in half portions, and at half the standard price.
2. Village Pizzeria
Just outside of San Diego, Coronado’s Village Pizzeria offers Build-Your-Own-Pizza Night on Wednesdays, and children receive pre-rolled dough, marinara sauce, cheese and three toppings of their choice. Best of all, they eat free of charge! Village Pizzeria has two locations — Orange Ave. and Bayside — and Build-Your-Own-Pizza Night begins at 4 p.m.
3. CUCINA enoteca and CUCINA urbana
Similarly, young chefs can create their own pizza pies at CUCINA enoteca and CUCINA urbana, famous for their locally sourced and California-inspired Italian fare. Kids are given a personal sized, half-baked pizza, along with sauce, cheese and pepperoni.
4. Waypoint Public
Located in North Park, this beer-loving spot touts a 30-tap system, mainly featuring West Coast brews, along with more than 100 variations of bottled beer. Surprisingly, it also offers a separate area just for kids, packed with books and games and featuring an Astroturf floor space.
5. Corvette Diner
On a typical day, you’ll find balloon artists, magicians and live entertainment at this 50’s-style diner, located in Point Loma. There’s also an arcade, and the servers break out into song and dance every hour, encouraging patrons to join them!
6. MooTime Creamery
One of Hotel del Coronado’s onsite eateries, MooTime Creamery is a must-visit for families. Choose from an array of delicious flavors and toppings, and time your visit for Happy Hour (5 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday), when you’ll receive $1 off any item. Try the Silly Vanilla – it’s vanilla ice cream that’s dyed blue!
– Amanda Geronikos