San Diego is a melting pot of cultures and foods. Traveling to San Diego with kids? Want to know which San Diego restaurants are ideal for the whole family? From Balboa Park to Point Loma and Little Italy, we’ve got you covered. Here are the best family-friendly restaurants near the city’s top attractions.
11 Best Kid-Friendly Restaurants in San Diego
Our family believes that it is important to experience different cultures and food. San Diego is one place where families can find authentic Italian, Mexican, Japanese and Californian foods in casual restaurants. San Diego’s climate lends itself to outdoor dining which in and if itself makes a restaurant kid friendly. During our visit we took every opportunity to try out different restaurants, most with patio or outdoor seating options. Of course, having a kids menu or happy hour menu and a play area is important too.
San Diego is comprised of a number of beach towns and distinct neighborhoods. Dining is one of many fun things for families to do in San Diego. We’ve collected our favorite kid-friendly San Diego restaurants organized by neighborhood.
La Jolla Kid-Friendly Restaurants
Our family found the La Jolla Shores area of La Jolla as the most kid friendly in many ways, including restaurants. We packed as much dining as possible into our time there, and did not find a restaurant without a kids menu or outdoor seating.
The Shores Restaurant
The Shores Restaurant located at La Jolla Shores Hotel boasts the most beautiful sunset views from their open air patio. Its location directly on the beach cannot be beat. Mouth-watering Maine Diver Scallops will delight the adults, while kids will enjoy a menu tailored just for them. After dinner, a walk on the beach is just steps away as well as park for the kids to play at as you watch the sun set. The Shores also serves breakfast, lunch and a fabulous happy hour.
San Diego has their own delicious and unique Mexican fare. Galaxy Taco in La Jolla is an excellent sampling of this style of food. Quick and easy fish tacos and other menu items inspired by Mexican street food were a hit with my entire family. Adults will enjoy the stone ground masa tortillas, and fresh margaritas. The casual outdoor covered patio also makes it a perfect family restaurant to grab lunch or enjoy happy hour, just a couple of blocks from the beach.
We visited Shorehouse Kitchen for breakfast. Pancakes were our kids’ choice from the kids’ menu, but the menu selection that everyone had to try was the maple fried chicken breakfast sandwich. It is a delicious and hearty start to the day that combined a variety of flavors in true California style. Of course, we enjoyed the patio here, just a short walk from La Jolla Shores beach.
Point Loma Kid-Friendly Restaurants
This peninsula that includes several San Diego neighborhoods including Shelter Island, Ocean Beach and Liberty Station all conveniently located near San Diego International Airport. Point Loma is also home to Cabrillo National Monument.
Vessel Restaurant at Kona Kai Resort
Vessel Restaurant combines beautiful views of the Shelter Island Marina and beach from the outdoor patio with delicious American food. The kids’ pasta tastes like homemade pasta. The adults had to have some too.
TravelingMom Tip: For a lower cost experience go for happy hour. The happy hour lobster quesadillas are bursting with lobster. Or, for a more luxurious experience order the prix fixe menu.
Fathom Bistro Bait & Tackle
Fathom Bistro is located on the pier at Shelter Island with spectacular views of the San Diego skyline, boats coming in and out, as well as extra friendly Seagulls and Pelicans. They are known for their homemade sausages and craft beer selection. The kids menu includes a creative variety of hot dog selections. It is a pretty unique place to experience.
Nico’s in Ocean Beach
We think we found the best burritos in San Diego at Nico’s. This may have been the only restaurant we visited that did not have outdoor seating. However, we made two trips here for breakfast. It is a tiny restaurant that puts out a lots of flavorful food. Above all, Nico’s Carne Asada Burrito is just bursting with flavor. Our little guy really enjoyed the chicken quesadillas. And, mom was happy with the simpler breakfast burrito. Be forewarned that the portions are huge, so you may want to share. Any future visit we make to San Diego is sure to include at least one stop at Nico’s.
Corvette Diner at Liberty Station
Corvette Diner, a fun 50s themed diner, is a favorite with the kids. There’s a video arcade to keep them entertained. Its hard to go wrong with burgers, waffle fries, onion rings, tater tots and milk shakes. Plus, Liberty Station is a favorite due to its art walks, concerts, movie nights and more.
Balboa Park Family Restaurants
Balboa Park is home to a tremendous amount of museums and attractions, including the San Diego Zoo.
Panama 66 at Balboa Park
Panama 66 is the place for families to dine in Balboa Park. It is a lovely outdoor restaurant with a kids’ menu that includes grilled cheese and Nutella & Banana sandwiches. For something different, be sure to try the curry fries.
North Park Family Restaurants
Station Tavern offers affordable burgers, cocktails and craft beer. This casual restaurant has outdoor picnic tables wand an outdoor play area with a miniature trolley on which the kids can play. This was once a stop on the trolley station.
Another of several San Diego restaurants with play spaces, Waypoint Public in North Park offers elevated local cuisine with adventurous beer and dining selections. However, plan to spend a bit more for the Waypoint Public family dining experience.
Little Italy Family Restaurants in San Diego
Filippi’s Pizza Grotto Little Italy
Filippi’s Pizza Grotto Little Italy is also a family favorite. Kids love Filippi’s pizza and casual dining environment. There’s so much more to discover in Little Italy.
What are your family’s favorite kid-friendly San Diego restaurants? Tell us in the comments below!