What’s a parent to do when the day is over, the fridge is empty and you are stuck in traffic with a bunch of hungry monsters? Fret not frazzled parents; we discovered some fantastic restaurants (no golden arches here) and cafes around town that offer curbside pick up and convenient (read: free on-site parking!) grab ‘n go options. Follow us around the city as we snag healthy and scrumptious meals on the fly that will keep your gang’s belly full of healthy, yummy food.

Curbside Pickup

photo: Carolyn E. via Yelp

Cookbook LA
This friendly neighborhood market and deli packs that perfect punch for families on the go. From tasty prepared salads and sandwiches to sweet treats, everyone will be more than satisfied. Kids rave about the Proscuitto Dan breakfast sandwich.

Little ones along for the ride, won’t let you drive away without getting their hands on the peanut butter cookie, and the homemade popsicles are a refreshing treat (just ask for extra napkins!).

Parents are big on pint-sized salads and enjoy a rotating menu of options like couscous and beet salad and lentil-carrot-almond salad. Best of all, Cookbook LA is a full-on (though tiny) grocery store, so if you’re running low on time and provisions at home, call ahead with your deli order and market list!

Insider Tip: They’ll deliver your grub and groceries right out front to your car. You’re welcome.

1549 Echo Park Ave.
Echo Park
(213) 250-1900
online: cookbookla.com

photo: Andrew T. via Yelp

Clementine
Rainy day in LA? Let the kiddos know you’re heading over to this cafe and they’ll reply with three words: “grilled cheese, please!” Parents, be sure to request avocado and roasted cherry tomatoes on yours, you’ll never look at grilled cheese the same.

Though Clementine is well known for their assorted and elevated deli salads, like crunchy bok choy, curry roasted cauliflower and soba noodles with chicken; parents would be remiss not to order this decadent sandwich as these folks are grilled cheese connoisseurs and even celebrate National Grilled Cheese Month every April.

Looking for something delicious to wash down that irresistible snickerdoodle cookie? Their ginger limeade is everything.

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Insider Tip: Park in one of their designated curbside spots and kill some time taking a family selfie — we guarantee your food will arrive at your door faster than everyone can say “cheese.”

1751 Ensley Ave.
Century City
(310) 552-1080
online: clementineonline.com

photo:  Gracie J. via yelp

Coral Tree Café
Jam over to this crowd pleaser where casual dishes reign supreme, and kids can’t get enough of the mac ‘n’ cheese. Named for the coral trees that line San Vicente Blvd., Coral Tree Café is a must when cruising the westside.

The delicious ahi tuna Nicoise, cobb and kale salads are perfectly portioned for hangry parents. And if you’re in need of a little jolt, with a lot of flavor, try their signature banana latte. If everyone’s been on their best behavior that day, order a slice of the Godiva chocolate cake to share. That alone will have you putting Coral Tree on speed dial.

11645 San Vicente Blvd.
Brentwood
(310) 979-8733
online: coraltreecafe.com

photo:  Jaimie W. via Yelp

Sun Café
Meatless Mondays? Stop by this vegan hotspot where plant-based foodies get their fix. Kiddos will devour quesadillas and Margherita pizza with marinara, cashew cheese, and fresh basil while slurping down kale shakes. Parents might have a hard time deciding between the monthly special, like saffron infused garbanzo stew or sandwiches loaded with tempeh bacon, like the BLT or Cubano but that just means you’ll have to go back again and again.

Insider Tip: Pull up curbside for your order and drive away happy.

10820 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City
818- 308-7420
online: suncafe.com

Grab ‘N Go

photo: Janelle Connor

Tosai
Shopping on an empty stomach is the pits, and that’s why we found the perfect stop for you to grab lunch on the go. Located in the food court of the Century City Westfield mall, this brand spanking new eatery is a sushi lover’s dream.

There’s counter service for made-to-order rolls, but the real winner here is the rainbow of premade sushi rolls — everything tastes as fresh as it looks! Our pick for little ones is the Aloha salad roll (skip the sauce, it’s a bit spicy) which features strawberries/pineapple with carrots, cabbage, and lettuce wrapped in rice paper. Kids love the sweetness imparted by the fruit and hardly notice the vegetables.

Parents, if you don’t have any peanut allergies in your crew, the crunchy kaffir lime shrimp roll is to die for — it’s both exotic and refreshing.

Insider Tip: Parking at the mall is a cinch these days and the first 60 minutes are free.

10250 Santa Monica Blvd.
Century City
(424) 343-0440
online: tosaisushi.com

photo: Miranda T. via Yelp

Cafe Gratitude
We are eternally grateful for Cafe Gratitude (Larchmont Village), and all of their outposts around the city. Whenever you need a quick and super healthy vegan meal on the go, look no further. They boast a dedicated kids menu full of the usual favorites like pizza, quesadillas and mac ‘n’ cheese. And parents can choose from conveniently prepackaged salads and decadent desserts.

Insider Tip: There are a few designated to-go parking spaces in the adjacent lot, but if that’s full, parking underneath the building is always available and totally free.

639 N Larchmont Blvd.
Larchmont Village
(323) 580-6383
online: cafegratitude.com

photo: Atif T. via Yelp

Food Lab
Whether you’re between kids’ practices or on carpool duty, grabbing a yummy meal from Food Lab is genius. Meals come complete in the form of a “picnic box” which includes a sandwich of your choice, a vegan salad, a side salad, a cookie by Deluscious Cookies, a bottle of water, and eco-friendly utensils.

Their famous Wienerschnitzel sandwich pleases almost every palette, even fickle kids. And though the Garden sandwich with hummus, avocado, sprouts, tomato, cucumber & carrot on 5-grain bread seems plain, it’s anything but. Trust us.

Insider Tip: Enjoy on-site complimentary parking in the back.

7253 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood
(323) 851-7120
online: foodlab-la.com

Where do you go for your food on the fly? Let us know what’s cookin’ in the comments below!

—Janelle Connor

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