Where to Take the Kids Out to Eat in Newport Beach
When choosing where to go out to eat with young children there are a few things on every parent’s checklist that can make dining out much more enjoyable. Comfortable (non-stuffy) atmosphere? Check. Great kids’ menu? Check. Good chance you will see other families dining alongside you? Check.
Here are a few family-friendly restaurants in Newport Beach that definitely fit the bill. Have more to add? Please comment below!
Ruby’s on the Balboa Pier
When dining with kids in Newport Beach, the first spot that comes to mind is Ruby’s Diner, a universal favorite of kids (and parents) everywhere! Newport Beach is home to the very first Ruby’s Diner which opened at the end of the Balboa Pier back in1982 and has been delighting diners of all ages ever since. When you walk into a Ruby’s, you are immediately transported back to a day where 40’s songs played on the jukebox and soda jerks mixed up milkshakes at the soda fountain. Their all-American menu of burgers, fries, hot dogs, rings and chicken fingers cover all major kid food groups. Add on one of Ruby’s signature milk shakes, and you will have some pretty satisfied kiddos. The ocean views from the restaurant are incredible, not a bad seat in the house. If the weather cooperates, you might even be lucky enough to get a table on the open-air rooftop overlooking the sparkling waters of Newport Beach. After your meal, let the kids burn off some of their milk shake sugar with a trip to the playground adjacent to the Balboa Pier, or take a walk across Balboa Blvd. for some time in the Fun Zone.
The Old Spaghetti Factory
The vintage grandeur of The Old Spaghetti Factory on Newport Boulevard will make your kids ohhhh and ahhhh at the chance to eat at such a fancy restaurant, however parents will appreciate you don’t have to pay fancy prices for great food and a unique dining experience. The restaurant’s vaulted ceilings, intricate stained glass, shiny brass fixtures and antique decor give the feel of a Grand Central-ish type of station, including a life-sized old-fashioned trolley smack in the middle of the restaurant that actually holds dining tables! Offering “Complete Meals” for both kids and adults, every entree comes with fresh bread, soup or salad and ice cream or dessert. Noodles are a staple for most family’s so you can’t go wrong with this kids’ menu, just take it from me and ask for a little side of their famous Mizithra cheese to sprinkle on top. AH-mazing. And, their side order of broccoli, roasted to perfection and dressed with the same dreamy cheese might covert even the pickiest of eaters into broccoli-lovers!
Lighthouse Bayview Cafe
Lighthouse Bayview Cafe at the newly opened and utterly fantastic Marina park is a wonderful family-friendly restaurant with dazzling views. Situated on the beautiful Newport bay, Lighthouse Cafe provides guests waterfront dining in a relaxed, light-and-bright nautical atmosphere. Offering breakfast, lunch, dinner, happy hour and weekend brunch, there is a little something for everyone. The Lighthouse kids’ menu features new twists on old classics, like Cheese Toasties or French Toast Sticks. They even offer the kids an option of a Crispy Chicken Salad with romaine, cheddar cheese, potato chip croutons, tomatoes and ranch. I have to say, it is really refreshing to see a salad on a kids’ menu! Bravo Lighthouse! Just make sure to carve out time before or after your meal for a visit to the Marina Park playground, one of the best playgrounds in all of Orange County. Between the restaurant and park, your family will be entertained for hours.
BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse
When taking about family-friendly dining, it would be remiss to not include a great pizza place, so if your family is in the mood for a pipping hot pie, BJ’s Restaurant on Main Street is the place to go. BJ’s pizza is not your typical, run of the mill pizza, but rather, decadent, thick-crust Chicago-style pizza so fresh and yummy just thinking about it is making my mouth water! On the off chance you have a kiddo in tow not feeling like pizza, their kids’ menu includes a wide variety of options, including grilled chicken pasta, mini corn dogs, burgers and tenders. Tip for visitors, please take note, a meal at BJ’s requires saving room in the belly for their out-of-this-world famous dessert, the Pizookie. What is a Pizookie you might ask? That would be a massive deep-dish fresh out of the oven cookie in the flavor of your choice topped with fresh vanilla ice cream. Heaven in a dish. By the way, BJ’s offer $3 Pizookies every day, all day on Tuesdays. Just sayin…
When talking about family-friendly restaurants, Wilma’s Patio has to be on the list because Wilma’s is all about family. Founded in 1975 by the Staudinger family, Wilma’s is family owned, managed and even considers their guests family! Located at the most prime location on Marine Avenue, the main drag on quaint Balboa Island, a visit to Wilma’s is like going into the cozy home of your great aunt, comfortable and nostalgic. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, Wilma’s is especially known for their famous breakfasts. You know the food has to be good when you see the number of people patiently waiting outside Wilma’s for their name to be called on any given weekend morning. But believe me, the wait will be worth it. With hosts and servers that greet you and welcome you in like family, Wilma’s is the perfect spot to take the kids for some homemade pancakes or french toast, and then spend some time exploring the Island after.
Hope this gives you some ideas of where to take your kids next time you want to go out for a bite to eat. Like I said, please comment below with your favorite family-friendly restaurants!
Written by: Jennifer Scheumann