11 Fun Restaurants to Take Kids To in San Diego

Feeling hungry? Our list of the top 11 most fun places to eat for kids in San Diego, is the best way to pick a restaurant the whole family will enjoy.
Todd Sarouhan
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means if you make purchases through them, I may be compensated at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
Fun Restaurants to Take Kids To
Kid-friendly Restaurants
Best Restaurants for Kids
Explore & Save
Featured Hotel
Tours & Adventures

Fun, Hip, and Kid Friendly Restaurants in San Diego

Famous Taco Shops at the BeachThe Famous Hodads Burger Joint in Ob

When you’re on vacation, it can be hard to find a kid-friendly restaurant that isn’t too far from the family-friendly hotel you're staying at, or one that’s near amazing San Diego attractions like the San Diego Zoo, New Children’s Museum or LEGOLAND California. Luckily, I have you covered with my picks for the best restaurants to eat at with kids in San Diego!

I hand selected these restaurants because I can attest from personal experiences that they have delicious food that’s sure to please adults and kids alike. From burgers and pizza to Mexican and seafood, there’s something to please every palette. Order off kids menus with child-sized portions and relax while you refuel.

Many restaurants also have child-friendly attractions and play areas. On-site playgrounds and arcades make the visit extra special for kids.

Top your meal off with dessert to make the day complete. From ice cream to pastries and pies, these sweet treats will bring smiles to the faces of the whole family!

Delicious meals are steps away from a shopping spree at the Westfield UTC Mall when you visit Din Tai Fung restaurant, a local favorite Chinese restaurant originated in Taiwan. Feel like you’re touring Asia with Todd as he takes in the atmosphere and samples the authentic cuisine.

Go on a Food Tour

The 11 Best Kid-Friendly Restaurants in San Diego

Parents rejoice: meal time just got a whole lot easier, and way more fun!

No matter what you’re in the mood for, there’s a kid-friendly San Diego restaurant serving it up. Check out our choices of the best eateries that will keep kids entertained and happy throughout the meal.

1) Enjoy Burgers and Shakes at Corvette Diner

Neighborhood: Liberty Station
Address:
2965 Historic Decatur Rd, San Diego, CA 92106

Take a trip back to the days of Rock N’ Roll at the Corvette Diner in Liberty Station. Stepping inside this diner transports guests right back to the 50s, complete with antique decor, golden oldies playing on the jukebox, and a menu full of classic diner staples. There’s no better pairing than a burger and a milkshake, so stop by between 12 pm-8pm from Monday-Thursday and open till 9 pm on Friday and Saturday.

Corvette Diner isn’t just a place to grab a meal. It’s one of the Best Things to Do with Kids in San Diego thanks to its pervasive 50s theme and arcade. Parents and grandparents can feel nostalgic about the halcyon days of poodle skirts and checkerboard patterns, and kids are sure to find the throwback theme fun and exciting too!

Keep the fun going at the diner’s Gamer’s Garage, an arcade with over 60 games to play. Selections include arcade cabinets, skee ball, pinball, and air hockey alongside more recent releases common to boardwalk arcades.

Book Reservations at Corvette Diner
The Delicious Richard Walkers Pancake House in the Gaslamp
The Delicious Richard Walkers Pancake House in the Gaslamp

2) Taste Richard Walker's Pancake House

Neighborhood: Gaslamp Quarter
Address:
520 Front St, San Diego, CA 92101

Many of San Diego’s best hotels, especially the best picks for families, offer guests complimentary breakfast! But if your hotel doesn’t offer this amenity, or you’re looking for a change of pace, there are few better ways to start the day than with a heaping stack of pancakes at Richard Walker’s Pancake House.

This is a family-owned and family-operated business that prides itself on serving up an array of breakfast staples, from their famous baked pancakes and french toast to omelets and hash browns. Light lunch fare including sandwiches, salads, and quiches are also available.

Richard Walker’s Pancake House has 6 locations in total, 4 of which are located in San Diego. These can be found in La Jolla, Del Mar, Carlsbad, and the Gaslamp Quarter close to Downtown San Diego.

All locations are open daily from 6:30 am-2:30 pm. Both breakfast and lunch are served from open to close, so even picky eaters will have no problems.

Book Reservations at Richard Walker's Pancake Hous

3) Best Filippi's Pizza Grotto! Great for Kids

Neighborhood: Little Italy San Diego
Address:
1747 India St, San Diego, CA 92101

San Diego County is highly culturally diverse with influences from around the globe. Nowhere is that easier to see than in Little Italy, where families can feel like they’re really walking through the streets of Italy, all without ever leaving the country. If you’re in the mood for Italian, head to Filippi’s Pizza Grotto.

Filippi’s Pizza Grotto is part of a family-owned line of businesses that date all the way back to the 1950s. There are 10 locations around San Diego but the Little Italy location is the best in my opinion. This restaurant chain is currently owned by family members of the original founders, so you can be sure you’re getting authentic Italian recipes that have been passed down through generations!

Kids can try real Italian pizza with an array of toppings sure to catch the eye of even the pickiest eaters. Other options on the menu include pasta, sandwiches, and salads, plus Italian desserts like cannolis and tiramisu.

Filippi’s Pizza Grotto is open Sunday-Thursday from 11 am-9 pm and Friday-Saturday from 11 am-10 pm.

Book Reservations at Filippi’s

4) Dine on the Beach at The Shores Restaurant

Neighborhood: La Jolla
Address:
8110 Camino Del Oro La Jolla, CA 92037

San Diego’s year-round sunny weather makes it ideal for outdoor dining with views of the Pacific Ocean, especially in beachy neighborhoods like La Jolla. In fact, why not dine right on the beach? At The Shores restaurant, you and the kids can relax by the beach while eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Enjoy delicious seafood and Baja-inspired options with locally-sourced and farm-fresh ingredients. The Shores Restaurant seasonal menu ensures there’s always something new to try. Stop by for weekend brunch and treat the family to an upscale, hacienda-style dining experience.

Parents can enjoy a variety of drinks from the beachside bar including cocktails, wine, spritzers, and craft beer. Nibble on happy hour bites from 2-5 pm each day or order off the full menu. There’s also a kids menu with child-friendly options and smaller servings.

The Shores is open daily from 7 am-8:30 pm. If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience, make a reservation for dinner in the early evening so you can watch the sunset over the beach.

Book Reservations at The Shores Restaurant
Enjoying a Chile Relleno at La Playa Taco Shop
Enjoying a Chile Relleno at La Playa Taco Shop

5) Best Tacos Ever! Visit the La Playa Taco Shop

Neighborhood: Mission Beach
Address:
3973 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109

Southern California’s shared border with Mexico and the state’s early roots as a Spanish colony have contributed to a lively Mexican culture in many cities. As a result, San Diegan neighborhoods like Mission Beach are a great place to get authentic Mexican food at spots like the La Playa Taco Shop.

Eat delicious tacos made with delicious tortillas and filled with a variety of meats, cheeses, beans, and more. La Playa Taco Shop also serves up Mexican favorites like burritos, quesadillas, chile relleno, nachos, and of course the classic breakfast burrito. This is in my opinion the best Taco Shop in San Diego!

If you’re looking for a delicious and affordable place to eat with the family, La Playa Taco Shop is an excellent choice. It’s one of our picks for the Best Things to Do with Kids in San Diego because of its quality of food and its beachside location in Mission Beach.

The Popular Station Tavern in South Park
The Popular Station Tavern in South Park

6) Enjoy Outdoor Dining at the Station Tavern

Neighborhood: South Park
Address:
2204 Fern St, San Diego, CA 92104

There are plenty of options for outdoor dining in San Diego, from beachside patios to sidewalk cafes. If you’re looking for a restaurant with outdoor seating and classic pub-style eats, head over to Station Tavern in South Park.

Station Tavern’s menu is filled with American classics, from burgers and fries to salads, sandwiches, and quick bites. Vegan and vegetarian dishes are available, and the restaurant has a full bar complete with cocktails, beers on tap, craft beers, and wines.

Bring the whole family, as pets are allowed in the outdoor dining area too! If you’re coming from Dog Run Beach at Coronado Island or staying at a dog-friendly hotel, Station Tavern is an excellent place to grab lunch where everyone is invited.

After you eat, let the kids run around in Station Tavern’s outdoor play area. The attached playground is within view of the patio, so you can chat over drinks while still keeping an eye on your little ones.

Book Reservations at the Station Tavern

7) Best Desserts at Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream

Neighborhood: Pacific Beach
Address:
4475 Mission Blvd San Diego, California 92109

On a hot day, there’s nothing better than cooling off with a refreshing ice cream cone. If you’re in Pacific Beach and looking for something sweet, Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Handel’s serves up a variety of ice cream flavors, from staples like Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Rocky Road to unique options such as Blue Monster, Horchata, and Taro. Their menu features over 100 different flavors that rotate seasonally, with both ice cream and sorbet options.

While you can get a classic cup or cone at Handel’s, many people like their Sundaes, Shakes or Hurricanes.

Visit Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream

8) Amazing Pies Right at Moms Pie House

Address:
2119 Main Street Julian California 92036

It’s always time for dessert at Moms Pie House! With two locations in Julian, California, this quaint bakery has made a name for itself with its delicious pastries, pies, cakes, and other desserts. Stop in after dinner to satisfy your sweet tooth, or pick up something to go that you can enjoy later.

All of the desserts at Moms Pie House are made with high-quality ingredients, including fresh, locally-sourced fruits. Their famous apple pies are baked with apples grown right in Julian. Additionally, full lists of ingredients for each dessert can be found on their website, so parents of children with allergies can dig in without any worries.

Pies are the star attraction here, with both full pies and slices available. Most days, you can even see the owner rolling out a homemade pie crust from the front window. There are plenty of other confections available too, plus coffee, tea, and fresh-pressed cider. Lunch options including chicken pot pie, sandwiches, and soup are also offered for dine-in meals.

Visit Moms Pie House
Inside Pizza Port in Solana Beach
Inside Pizza Port in Solana Beach

9) Get Great Pizza with the Kids at Pizza Port in Solana Beach

Neighborhood: Solana Beach
Address:
135 N Hwy 101, Solana Beach, CA 92075

Solana Beach surfers know that when they’re in the mood for pizza, Pizza Port is the place to go. This pizzeria serves up classic California-style pizzas with dozens of topping combinations to choose from, including a specially selected pizza of the month. They also offer salads and munchies like mozzarella sticks and mac and cheese bites.

What makes Pizza Port a favorite among families is its dedication to exceptional customer service. This is reflected in its motto of, “Good food and good beer bring good cheer!” Whether you choose to visit the original Pizza Port or any of its four other locations across Carlsbad and Ocean Beach, good vibes are ahead!

The Carlsbad location in particular is one of our favorites as it’s not far from great shopping in Carlsbad, LEGOLAND California and a fantastic San Diego water park we love, that of LEGOLAND® Water Park!

Parents are sure to enjoy Pizza Port just as much as the kids do, especially for fans of San Diego’s craft beer scene. This pizza place has its own brewery, Port Brewery, and it’s some of the best beer San Diego has to offer. Wash down your pizza with ice cold beer on tap, or pick up a few cans for home.

Pizza Port is open 11 am-9 pm Sunday through Thursday and 11 am-10 pm on Friday and Saturday.

Visit Pizza Port
The Famous Hodads Burger Joint in Ob
The Famous Hodads Burger Joint in Ob

10) Burgers and Fries at Hodad's in Ocean Beach

Neighborhood: Ocean Beach
Address:
5010 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA 92107

Hodad’s is a beloved burger joint that’s been in operation in the San Diego area for over 50 years. Originally opened in 1969, the restaurant has remained a family business passed down to its current third-generation owners. Through these years, Hodad’s has remained a local favorite, serving hot and juicy burgers alongside cold, refreshing milkshakes to thousands of loyal customers. Hodad’s was actually featured on Food Networks Drive in Diners and Dives with host Guy Fieri!

In addition to its classic and specialty burger menu, Hodad’s also brews award-winning craft beer. Parents can chat over ales, hard ciders, and lagers while kids sip shakes made with heaping scoops of ice cream.

Hodad’s original location is in Ocean Beach, but there are also locations Downtown San Diego and in Snapdragon Stadium. There’s even a Hodad’s in PETCO Park, so you can watch a ballgame or take the Petco Park tour before grabbing a burger.

Consider picking up a Go City San Diego pass to save on the park tour. With the pass you’ll also receive admission to dozens of other nearby family-friendly attractions such as the USS Midway Museum and Maritime Museum, both right along San Diego Bay!

Visit Hodad’s
Sidewalk Cafes in Downtown South Park
Sidewalk Cafes in Downtown South Park

11) Come to Big Kitchen Cafe

Neighborhood: South Park
Address:
3003 Grape Street, San Diego, CA 92102

Big Kitchen Cafe in South Park has all the hallmarks of a hidden gem of a diner: great food and even better company.

This cozy cafe has won recognition as one of San Diego’s best restaurants and an excellent spot for families. It’s been featured on the Food Network and named as one of the best breakfast spots in San Diego by multiple magazines.

While the food is outstanding, that’s not all this spot has to offer. Big Kitchen has become a hub for the community, with a welcoming atmosphere of camaraderie that invites people of all ages and backgrounds to dine together. Its local fame has even made it the inspiration for its own performance, Big Kitchen: A Counter-Culture Musical back in 2015.

Big Kitchen Cafe is open Thursday to Monday from 8 am-2 pm and closed from Tuesday to Wednesday. If you’re looking for some entertainment while you eat, plan to stop by on the weekends, as Big Kitchen Cafe has live bands in the outdoor seating area on Saturdays and Sundays.

Visit Big Kitchen Cafe
Save big using Go Pass!
Maritime Museum of San Diego
Maritime Museum of San Diego
The Maritime Museum of San Diego is famous for restoring, operating and maintaining historic boats from all around the world. Use your Go Pass and enjoy public tours of their collection of ships. These ships are National Historic Landmarks.
Buy Now
Local Tips
What is the cheapest way to buy a Go City San Diego pass?

The cheapest way to purchase a Go City San Diego pass is to combine Go Visit San Diego’s exclusive 5% discount with the Go San Diego passes already great deals!

Simply follow our link & use code GVSD5OFF to purchase your pass and begin saving!

What to Know Before You Visit These Eateries

How Affordable Are Meals for Families?

If you’re planning on feeding a whole family, the last thing you want is to be surprised by a massive bill! Don’t worry; each of the restaurants on this list offer affordable options, and many have kids menus with smaller portions and cheaper plates too.

What’s Nearby These Restaurants?

Refuel at one of the above restaurants in between visits to top attractions in each of San Diego’s neighborhoods. For the best deals, make sure to buy a Go City San Diego pass with our discount code, GVSD5OFF.

Local Tips
Enjoy Burgers and Shakes at Corvette Diner
Experience 1950s nostalgia at Corvette Diner in Liberty Station. Enjoy classic diner fare, burgers, and milkshakes in a retro setting. The arcade, featuring 60+ games like skee ball and arcade cabinets, offers extra fun for the whole family.

This pass nets you savings on admission to popular family-friendly attractions including the San Diego Zoo, the museums of Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Birch Aquarium at Scripps, SeaWorld San Diego and many more!

What Options Are on the Menu for Picky Eaters?

Plenty of kids like to stick to the classics of chicken fingers, grilled cheese, and other simple meals. Luckily, many of the listed restaurants have kids meals designed with less adventurous eaters in mind. Check their websites for more information about their current menus.

Popular Activities

The World Famous San Diego Zoo
The World Famous San Diego Zoo
Discounts Available
Learn More
Visit SeaWorld San Diego
Visit SeaWorld San Diego
Discounts Available
Learn More
Visit the San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Visit the San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Discounts Available
Learn More
LEGOLAND Hopper Ticket
LEGOLAND Hopper Ticket
$127 per person
Learn More
Featured Hotel
Legoland Castle Hotel
Legoland Castel Hotel
Families
Families
Near Beach
Near Beach
Shopping
Shopping
3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars
Kid-friendly fun, LEGOs, treasure hunts, and medieval and fantasy themed rooms are just some of the great features you’ll experience at LEGOLAND Castle Hotel.
Prices Starting at $339
Check Availability
Looking to Save on Tickets?
Save on Tickets
Explore all that San Diego has to offer & save up to 55% on attractions
This Month's Forecast
62°F / 76°F
Partly Cloudy in June
Jul
66°F / 81°F
Sunny in July
Aug
68°F / 83°F
Sunny in August
Sep
66°F / 82°F
Sunny in September
Tours & Adventures
The World Famous San Diego Zoo
The World Famous San Diego Zoo
Discounts Available
Learn More
Visit SeaWorld San Diego
Visit SeaWorld San Diego
Discounts Available
Learn More
Looking for Something Different?
More Best of Things to Do