What are the best kid-friendly restaurants in Orange County?

Answers from Our Experts (3)

These beach towns are home to some great, casual gems that welcome the entire family. Watson’s Drugs and Soda Fountain, located in Old Town Orange, has been around for over 100 years. The 1950s diner is decked out with white-and-black-checkered floors, red leather booths and a jukebox. Nostalgic aesthetic aside, the restaurant serves quality eats — burgers, fries and shakes to be specific — that appeal to kids of all ages. We think both you and your hungry munchkins will love their tasty chocolate malts. Balboa Island, a tiny, densely populated man-made island, is one of Orange County’s most popular attractions. Its main street, Marine Avenue, is lined with boutiques, restaurants and ice cream shops selling the popular Balboa Bars, vanilla ice cream dipped in chocolate and then covered with nuts or candy, as well as frozen chocolate bananas. Dad’s Donuts & Bakery Shop and Sugar ´┐ŻN Spice are two local stalwarts in Newport Beach that both claim original ownership of these sweet treats. Both are quaint and serve the aforementioned refreshing desserts and then some, but many locals constantly compare the two, claiming one is better than the other. Regardless of which shop does it better, Balboa Bars and frozen bananas are an Orange County staple — one your kids will be begging you to try.

Jean-Pierre Dubray

As a father of three children under age 12, I take my family to restaurants that kids and parents can all enjoy. Coliseum Pool & Grill at The Resort at Pelican Hill is one of those restaurants, with wholesome choices that keep the entire family happy and healthy. For the kids, there’s endless pizza, pasta and gelato for just $10 per child, plus special beverages like Palladian Punch and the Newport Cooler. For the parents, Coliseum Pool & Grill serves seasonal cuisine with locally sourced ingredients in a spectacular ocean-view setting.

The St. Regis Monarch Beach is a very family- and kid-friendly resort, especially when it comes to dining at Motif restaurant. A wonderful kids menu and attentive service greet families here, along with a world-famous Sunday brunch. Off-property, kids enjoy the 1950s-style diner Ruby’s (several OC locations) and the Beachcomber restaurant on the sand in Crystal Cove. 

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