Celebrities, movie premieres, glistening blue ocean, gorgeous mountains, a shopper’s paradise: there’s plenty to love about L.A. But the Los Angeles food scene is what we found to be over-the-top SPECTACULAR! Fresh from the ocean seafood, modern California cuisine, locally sourced ingredients…my mouth waters just remembering our meals from our recent vacation.
My family is made up of certifiable foodies seeking outstanding dining experiences wherever we travel, and Los Angeles didn’t disappoint. With plenty of celebrity chefs, farm-to-fork menus, street food and family-friendly options, Tinseltown delivered big time!
Here are my family’s Top 10 Foodie Family Friendly Restaurants in Los Angeles! I chose these restaurants based on their stellar reviews, willingness to cater to families, proximity to tourist sights, and, since I was traveling with two teen/tween girls, frequency of celebrity sightings. At every restaurant listed below, we spotted families happily dining. I welcome you to add your family’s top picks in the comments section below!
10 BEST RESTAURANTS IN LOS ANGELES FOR FAMILIES
Genius Chef Katsuya Uechi’s inventive Japanese cuisine at Katsuya Brentwood lived up to the hype! This ultra sleek and chic spot designed by Phillipe Starck is the ideal setting for a special night out.
Be sure to order a few dishes from the Robata bar, a grill where seafood, vegetables, and meats burn over imported bincho charcoal. Mmmm! My girls flipped for their Nabeyaki Udon Soup and house specialty Crispy Creamy Rock Shrimp.
Get ready for some “to die for” sushi! Our family delighted in the contrasting flavors of the Sashimi Sampler which included tuna, yellow tail, salmon, halibut, scallop and hokki clam. Adults will love Katsuya’s drink menu with favorites such as a Watermelon Cucumber Mojito and their Pampered Pineapple.
CRAIG’S (WEST HOLLYWOOD)
Step into this Hollywood icon on Melrose Avenue, often called the “Hottest Restaurant in L.A.” Owned by Craig Susser, the former general manager at famed Dan Tana’s, Craig’s envelops you in old-school leather, brick, and dark wood.
The menu spans both American and Italian dishes which are sure to please everyone in your family. Our highlights included their sumptuous finger-licking BBQ Ribs, classic Chicken Parmigiana, rich Fettuccine Alfredo, and Margherita Pizza. Craig’s over-sized portions made it easy for my family to share. Craig’s is also willing to provide your little ones with dishes sized just for them.
The feeling is upscale neighborhood eatery meets Hollywood! Oftentimes you will have to walk past the paparazzi just to enter the restaurant.
AU FUDGE (WEST HOLLYWOOD)
The ultimate “in” yet kid-friendly Los Angeles spot on this list is Au Fudge, which was specifically designed to cater to families with children of all ages! Owned by actress Jessica Biel and other celebs, Au Fudge offers seasonal, organic and locally-sourced ingredients, a fabulous towering bar, and…A HUGE PLUS…you can sign up your kids to be watched by an onsite au pair at the open and cheery playroom and creative arts center!
While your children have fun making crafts and playing, you can relax, dine and even order one of their expertly crafted cocktails. Then, the au pair will escort your child to join you when your order arrives so they can dine with you.
This rustic-meets-modern airy spot offers tasty healthy cuisine for the whole family! Tweens and teens will delight in the vintage arcade games, retro photo booth, and the custom sundae cart.
Our brunch highlights included the Local Avocado Toast on cranberry walnut bread and the Eggs Benedict with a lemon truffle Hollandaise sauce. My husband raved about his Chicken and Waffles with spicy maple syrup.
For dessert we almost didn’t want to touch the beautiful S’mores Dip with Graham crackers, Marshmallows and Chocolate Mousse. Au Fudge also offers wonderful option for vegans, vegetarians and gluten free diners, and this restaurant may very have THE best kids menu in town!
THE IVY (WEST HOLLYWOOD)
The Ivy is quintessential LA.: a gorgeous garden-inspired restaurant located among the trendiest stores on Robertson in West Hollywood. Stop in for lunch and have a salad or sandwich. My girls still dream of The Ivy’s light and airy crispy chicken tenders.
Don’t be surprised if you catch some paparazzi lurking outside. We did! Long story, but the daughter of an Academy Award winner walked in holding an Oscar, and we snapped pictures with her and the shiny statuette. Consider ordering The Ivy’s specialties, Louisiana Crab Cakes and Shrimp Tacos. If you want the best chance at spotting celebs while dining, try to score one of the most desirable tables: those on the beautifully decorated patio.
BLUE PLATE TACO (SANTA MONICA)
After a day at the beach we wanted four things: top-rated food, an outdoor patio, views of the beach, and to be able to dine in shorts and t-shirts! Vibrant and festive, Blue Plate Taco had it all!
After scoring a coveted patio table, we dove in and relished the delicious Tex-Mex dishes. We gobbled up their carnitas, shrimp and chicken tacos. (They only use organic meats.) Their kids’ meals were HUGE! Don’t miss their addictive slaw side dish and their homemade guacamole.
Blue Plate Taco prides itself on using sustainably-farmed ingredients. Check out their bar which features spiked agua frescas and a variety of tequila cocktails. Relaxed, inexpensive and mucho delisioso, this L.A. restaurant offers the perfect spot to watch the California sunset!
URTH CAFE (WEST HOLLYWOOD)
My girls begged to check out super casual Urth Cafe in West Hollywood which they told us was a celeb hangout. Teens are known to Instagram their meals from this hip spot, like my girls did. We gorged on the humongous sandwiches, gigantic salads and tremendous tubs of organic coffee.
This laid-back and often crowded spot has both indoor and outdoor seating, and parents (like us) may appreciate that Entourage’s Vince and his crew hung out here all the time. Our favorite dishes included the tasty Mushroom Pizza, the Urth Salad and their lip-smacking Turkey Burger. Tip: You may have to wait a while for a table, and be sure to order inside before sitting.
KING’S FISH HOUSE (CALABASAS)
During a stop in ritzy Calabasas, home to Drake, Justin Bieber, and Kim and Kanye, we found a true seafood lovers’ dream, King’s Fish House. This casual, yet hip restaurant boasts an extremely friendly vibe with a fantastic kids’ menu and renowned raw bar.
Known for freshness and flavor, we devoured our seafood feast including their North American Lobster platter, their expertly Grilled Scallops and Shrimp, and a true stand-out: their Macadamia Nut Crusted Wild Alaskan Halibut with orange ginger butter sauce. My girls said I must tell you that the creamy clam chowder was a definite crowd pleaser! The seafood sampler appetizer was also a hit. We ended on a sweet note with a gigantic slice of the Key Lime Pie and four spoons. Their huge menu has something for everyone, even your most finicky eaters!
And for the parents in the group, you can be sure to find the right specialty beverage to compliment your meal with the huge bars and a happening happy hour. King’s Fish House is located in The Commons at Calabasas, a Cali-style outdoor upscale mall, known as a spot where celebrities regularly shop.
Dark, sexy and hip, Gjelina is located on up-and-coming Abbott Kinney Boulevard in Venice Beach. If you are able to score a much sought after reservation at Chef Travis Lett’s foodie destination, you’ll delight in sitting at the rustic tables while sampling inventive farm-to-table shareable plates.
With no kids menu and no modifications, this restaurant is best for more adventurous eating kids. My girls loved the “must-order” wood-fired Neapolitan Style-Pizzas and quality House Cut Frites. Stand-outs at our table were the Charred Brussel Sprouts, the Gruyere Caramelized Onion Mozzarella pizza and the Rigatoni Lamb Bolognese with Parmesan! Delish!
This L.A. restaurant also offers an amazing selection of charcuterie and cheese, which is always fun for little fingers. Parents can peruse the well-curated wine list. See if you can get lucky enough to dine on the back brick patio surrounded by tiny twinkling lights.
CECCONI’S (WEST HOLLYWOOD)
The electric and beautiful West Hollywood restaurant Cecconi’s delivers with its stellar food and a bevy of A-listers. Watch the beautiful people as they parade in!
My crew loved sampling the modern day Northern Italian dishes on the garden-inspired patio. All four of us dove into the delicious hand made pastas and wood oven pizzas.
Have fun sampling some of the Italian tapas, called cicchetti; our favorite was the plate of meatballs. A sure hit with kids like mine was the light and airy Calamari Fritti. My husband drooled over the perfectly prepared Cavatelli and Lamb Ragù with Artichoke. Another standout was the Pappardelle with Wild Mushroom, Sausage and Amarone.
VISIT A FOOD MART OR FOOD CART
Foodie families need to keep in mind that Los Angeles is known for its world famous food trucks and food marts. Don’t limit your dining to traditional establishments. Use the website Find L.A. Food Trucks to track down a particular craving you have. Branch out and experiment with the cheap and casual street food scene.
We loved the freedom of exploring the tastes of The Original Farmer’s Market next to The Grove outdoor mall. A highlight for us was eating sandwiches from John’s Garden outside at the Malibu Country Mart, surrounded by chic stores, a playground, and the chance of spotting a celeb or two.
Note: On this list I’ve called out my family’s favorite dining locales in the Los Angeles area, but there are many more great options from which to choose. Los Angeles has a wide variety of spectacular and unique restaurants at all price points. Most importantly for families, these dining establishments welcome young foodies and offer dishes which we think would appeal to families who appreciate gourmet food.
WHERE TO STAY IN LOS ANGELES
We absolutely loved our eight-night stay at The Beverly Hilton. This well-located hotel is just a few blocks from the heart of Beverly Hills. With an old-school glamorous pool, a relaxing lobby bar with excellent cocktails, a delicious on-site restaurant, and a welcoming staff, The Beverly Hilton is the ideal home base for families visiting Los Angeles. Our crew also loved checking out the ballroom that is home to the Golden Globes each year!
This article was originally published by Hilton Mom Voyage.