There are so many options for toting your tots to dine out and about in Lamorinda. Little and big kids alike have favorite restaurants as we are not short on options. Ask any child and they will tell you the reason why they have a favorite restaurant and they know exactly where they want to go for their birthday dinner. Ask any parent, and they know which restaurants are ‘kid-friendly’ and where they can find value, variety and...a place noisy enough where they won’t stand out!
Nice Outings With The Kids
For a nicer night out, most every restaurant around town realizes that Lamorinda is a family community and restaurants either have a kids menu or make accommodations for kids. Amaroma in Rheem will do a half order of pasta or add cream to red sauce to make it ‘pink’ for kids. Cooperage in Lafayette has a kids menu with dignity and even includes some gluten-free options for kids that have a special diet. Family style meals served up at Boneheads BBQ in the forge in Lafayette are fun to either dine out or take in for a celebration or easy dinner. Uncle Yu’s in Lafayette and Chef Chow in Rheem are two favorite Chinese restaurants that make family meals fun with a lazy susan in the center and creative kids drinks, complete with a cherry. Both are also great for take out. Next door to Chef Chow in Rheem is Town Bakery, a casual and fresh bakery that serves breakfast and lunch everyday and dinner some days, with a nice outdoor patio with room for kids to wiggle and a walk up coffee and pastry bar for those mornings that waiting to be served is just too much!
Noodle Theory in Rheem is a hit for tots and parents alike. The kids ramen bowl is basic and so good! It’s great, healthy broth and just noodles. However, for the more adventurous young eater, any veggie can be added. The serving size is huge, so it can be split amongst two kids. For take out, they take care to pack the noodles on the side so they don’t get soggy. There are vegetarian and gluten-free choices, too. Plenty of delicious options for the accompanying adults at Noodle Theory to, like handwrapped dumplings, soup noodles and dinner entrees over saucy noodles, to name a few.
Speaking of noodles...what kid does not like noodles? Cooperage and Chow, both know this and have pasta options on their Kids’ Menu, and Cooperage even has gluten-free pasta available upon request. The mac and cheese at Sideboard is a stand out and the rest of the kids’ menu includes a burrito, quesadilla or chicken and dip, dip. Kids love to dip! The other thing kids love about Sideboard is that there is enough hustle and bustle that they won’t be noticed for being a little loud and there is a shelf full of games to play while the grown ups chit chat. In the summer, it’s an option to order food as a picnic (From the restaurant! With a blanket!) and go across to the Plaza Park to run around and play some of Sideboard’s outdoor games. Chow, in Lafayette, also has a similar kid-friendly vibe and both indoor and outdoor seating. The kids menu honors the seasonal and fresh ingredients you can find on the regular menu. There are plenty of crayons and coloring pages waiting by the door for young patrons, too.
Oyama Sushi in Lafayette, Sushi Fighter in Moraga (Rheem) and Serika in Orinda Theater Square are three stand out sushi restaurants that are very kid-friendly. They all have Japanese sodas where kids can drink straight out of the bottle and make it easy for kids to use chopsticks rigged up with rubber bands just for their little hands. Serika even has their own kids plastic plates they bring out when they see little ones. Most will even wrap the seaweed on the inside of their rolls for sushi eating kids that have trouble biting through the outer seaweed layer!
Chips, Salsa and Cheese Please
El Charro in Lafayette is a great place to gather with a playgroup or family. Both the outside patio and inside tables can be made to work for a crowd. The endless chips, salsa and their famous cheese dip keep everyone happy until the food arrives. Ice cream at the end for kids is a highlight while parents finish up their margarita. Lafayette in particular has many other Mexican restaurants like Rancho Cantina (great patio seating) and El Jarro (very authentic) in addition to Casa Gourment Burrito and Chipoltle for a more casual step up from fast food.
For Those Burger Cravings
Delicious and kid friendly burgers can be found at Roam, Bistro Burger, Batch and Brine and Nations, each with a different specialty. Chow and the Park Hotel both boast a burger to remember with fries galore. At Batch and Brine, be sure to sit within a short distance of the hall leading to the restrooms, where you can send kids to play with magents and chalk on a floor to ceiling board just for them. Since they have a creative beer list, this is a win-win for parents and kids alike!
A Weekend Pastime
Breakfast with kids is a favorite weekend pastime, often families can be found propping up bikes and bike trailers outside the many great entities found troughout Lamorinda. Millies boasts its world famous (or Lamorinda famous) coffee cake along with a multi-page menu. Dining family style at big tables creates a feeling of community. A lollipop is availabe at check-out, making kids extra happy! The Village Inn in Orinda has a family friendly menu any time of the day, but the waffles are a real stand out item for a big breakfast or brunch.
Yep, there's Pizza
It’s hard to find a kid that does not like pizza so hit up Paxtis, Mangia or Pizza Antica in Lafayette, Penninis in Moraga or Village Pizza or Zambonis in Orinda for some great family fun. Mangia passes out homemade dough for kids to use like play dough while waiting for the food to come while Penninis has just a few contained video games in a small room visible to the restaurant tables.
Lamorinda parents tend to place a high value on table manners and healthful eating. Many parents want to expose their children to experiences beyond the Happy Meal and Lamorinda is the place to make this happen with all of the kid-friendly dining options!