10 Family Friendly Eateries
Not every Newport Beach restaurant experience has to be luxurious, with Champagne on ice and caviar by the kilo. Sometimes, it’s better just to kick back with family and enjoy a multi-generational meal. A number of area restaurants offer a kid’s menu (and alcohol). Discover 10 family friendly dining options in Newport Beach.
Bear Flag Fish Company
Thomas Carson’s fast casual seafood spot started in 2007 in Lido Village and spawned a Crystal Cove Promenade spinoff. The original Lido location is spacious, with indoor and outdoor seating, plus some fun design flourishes. For instance, fish-shaped door handles greet diners, and a case with pristine fish like opah, grouper and swordfish certainly draws eyes. They also offer a Kids Guppy Special, two fish sticks with grilled tortillas and a choice of side. Parents can enjoy poke (ahi or salmon) with scallions and black sesame seeds. Grilled albacore tacos with creamy slaw, pico de gallo and fresh-shucked avocado are a hit for any age range. Parents can also enjoy a beer or wine respite.
Fashion Island is a boon to families, given all the dining options. CUCINA enoteca provides children 12 and under with a special Bambini menu. Executive chef Brent Omeste lets kids build their own pizza or order a mia meal with choice of entrée, scoop of ice cream and either bottomless soda or a glass of milk, depending on how lenient parents get. Dessert involves an ice cream sundae, which Mom and Dad can enjoy as well. Bonus: the cartoon bird on the menu invites kids to “color me.”
This English-style gastropub from the Lawry’s group resides right next to Five Crowns in Corona del Mar. Look for a big red key and ivy-covered walls. The interior features exposed wood beams, high seating, and wrought iron lanterns. Every Tuesday night starting at 4:30 pm, the SideDoor patio and garden hosts Toddler Tuesdays on the patio. The experience includes free stroller valet and a menu with $5 children’s items like grilled cheese with celery sticks, crispy chicken fingers with French fries, and a fudge sundae with almonds and whipped cream. Of course they’ve also got food and adult beverages for parents.
California Pizza Kitchen
This L.A. born chain offers an award winning CPKids menu for children 10 and under at their Fashion Island outpost. Whether you order BBQ chicken pizza, curly mac ‘n’ cheese with edamame, crispy chicken with baby broccoli and herb ranch dipping sauce, their meal includes a choice of drink. That could mean fountain beverage, lemonade, apple juice, and milk or chocolate milk, all with complimentary refills. Cartoon kids are all over the multi-page menu, which also features an intergalactic word search, Sudoku, connect the dots, and Mad Lib style ability to “create your own planet.” Parents can draw from an even deeper menu, which also includes wine flights and cocktails, but there’s no guarantee kids will share their game pack.
Jeff Weinstein’s highly customizable burger concept has a Westcliff Plaza Shopping Center location with industrial chic design, colorful surf photos, and patio shaded with rust colored umbrellas. Their Kids menu contains mini cheeseburgers, grilled cheese, ham and cheese, or PB+J, all available with a choice of all-natural applesauce, shoestring fries, or sweet potato fries. Of course, there are plenty of dishes for Mom and Dad, including burgers and salads, plus adult shakes, cocktails and craft beer.
Joe’s Crab Shack
Located on Newport Harbor along “Mariner’s Mile,” Joe’s is the ideal spot for waterfront dining with kids. Don’t let the well-worn corrugated metal façade fool you. The space features colorful tile flooring, wood tables, and unobstructed water views. Their Kid’s Menu includes cheesy mac, grilled shrimp, chicken dippers with celery and ranch, pizza, mini beach burgers, fish fingers, rockin’ popcorn shrimp and captain’s catch, a combo of mozzarella sticks, popcorn shrimp, fish sticks and fries. Build your own sundae sandwich or paint (and devour) a Rice Krispies crab.
At Fashion Island, Great Maple isa a seasonal dinette that features reclaimed wood, elaborate red lanterns and a planter-lined patio strung with bulb lights. Their menu has become synonymous with comfort food. In addition to Burgers For the People and Greens From the Earth, dessert is a big focus, which will please humans of any age. For example, apple pie comes with spicy pecans and salted caramel, and doughnuts sport a maple bacon glaze. Kids will love dishes like silver dollar pancakes with Fruity Pebbles or pigs in a blanket. Parents will be happy to learn that Great Maple serves six different bloody Marys and six different Mimosas during weekend brunch.
P.F. Chang’s China Bistro
The Newport Beach branch of this Chinese chain from Paul Fleming and Philip Chiang features twin horse statues flanking the stone-lined entrance and expansive views of the ocean from the dining room. Inside, the space includes a full bar (the first stop for parents?) along with wood tables and teardrop shaped chandeliers. Expect a sprawling menu of recognizable Chinese classics, plus some P.F. Chang’s originals. Kid’s Menu for children 12 and under features dishes served with a kid’s drink. Dishes include sweet and sour chicken, sweet and sour chicken, fried rice, lo mein, or Buddha’s Feast, a stir-fry of snap peas, carrots and broccoli. Unlike most Chinese restaurants, you’ll find dessert at P.F. Chang’s, including rich Great Wall of Chocolate, a chocolate cake with chocolate chips, mixed berries and raspberry sauce, which is a boon for the family.
This casual Balboa Peninsula restaurant located near the entrance to tiny Bay Island features a red and smooth-coat stucco façade, shaded patio, basic blackboard menus and counter service. This is a prime place to take kids after a day at the beach. Recharge with hearty breakfast burritos, panini sandwiches and smoothies. Yes, they have acai bowls topped with granola and sliced bananas, which are popular with surfers. Parents will also enjoy caffeinating with coffee or tea after expending energy with kids in the sand.
This Balboa Island restaurant looks like it was plucked from the English countryside, with a peaked roof and planter-lined patio, though the marble bar and mural of shorebirds and frolicking dolphins speak more to Newport Beach. Maurice and Wilma Staudinger debuted Wilma’s Patio in 1975, and the Staudinger family still owns and manages the restaurant, which serves three meals per day. They feature a Kid’s menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner, including French toast or dollar-size pancakes with one egg and a choice of bacon, ham or sausage. Lunch brings hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, fish & chips and more. After 5 p.m., kids can score spaghetti with marinara sauce or melted butter and Parmesan. Parents can choose from dozens of dishes throughout the day.