photo: True Food Kitchen

Seen one kids menu, seen them all: bright orange mac and cheese, lackluster chicken nuggets, buttered noodles… how would you like to eat off that menu every time you went out for a meal? Check out our list of restaurants elevating kiddie cuisine to the next level: think pan-seared salmon, build-your-own pizza pies and Lil’ Buddha bowls. You may discover your “picky” eaters are actually budding gourmands!

photo: Cohn Restaurant Group

BO-Beau Kitchen + Garden
This French casual eatery is a favorite among locals in La Mesa. The interior is cozy and hip, while the outdoor patio is relaxed. Parents love the extra space for kids to burn off energy before dinner — there’s even an old school bus for climbing, crawling and exploring. Older kids (12+) are also able to enjoy a decidedly more grown-up menu including pan-roasted fish and broccolini, seared salmon or a mini order of steak frites.

BO-Beau Kitchen + Garden
8384 La Mesa Blvd.
La Mesa, Ca 91942
619-337-3445
Online: cohnrestaurants.com

photo: Hun Minoda Photography

Cucina Enoteca
This airy, brightly decorated restaurant in Del Mar is sure to catch your kid’s attention and so will the menu. The Modo Mia Pizza lets kids build their own pies. A par-baked crust and choice of toppings are delivered tableside. Junior chefs can design it as the please and then walk the pizza to the oven! Nothing tastes better than making it yourself.

Cucina Enoteca
2730 Via de la Valle
Del Mar, Ca 92014
858-704-4500
Online: urbankitchengroup.com

photo: Jim K. via Yelp

Naked Cafe
This local chain bases its menu on whole, natural foods and it shows even in their kids menu. The pancakes are made with whole grains, just like the adult versions. Classic peanut butter and jam sandwiches are elevated with carrot zucchini bread. Each kid’s meal comes with a choice of cow’s milk or soy or almond milk instead.

Naked Cafe (multiple locations)
3555 Rosecrans St.
San Diego, Ca 92110
619-226-7866
Online: thenakedcafe.com

Mr. A’s
Mister A’s, the timeless dining destination which boasts panoramic views of the city and the sparkling San Diego Bay, has revamped and refreshed its children’s menu, elevating options for kids to a whole other level: Mister A’s style. Currently on offer for young patrons: roasted Gonestraw Farm chicken breast or breaded chicken tenders with a choice of seasonal vegetables, mashed potatoes or housemade fries, mini Kobe Burgers on a brioche bun, with french fries, or a selection of handmade pasta with choices of butter, tomato sauce or parmesan cream sauce. And for dessert: an ice cream sundae with vanilla ice cream and homemade chocolate chip cookies made by pastry chef extraordinaire Amy Simpson.

2550 Fifth Ave.
San Diego, Ca 92103
619-239-1377
Online: asrestaurant.com

photo: True Food Kitchen

True Food Kitchen
True Food prides itself on serving healthy, delicious meals based on seasonal ingredients. For your little health nuts, this means the burgers are grass-fed and served on flax seed buns. Chicken teriyaki bowls come with peas, broccoli, and carrots over brown rice and quinoa. And the typical PB&J is actually almond butter with fresh bananas and apples on seeded grain bread.

True Food Kitchen
UTC
4303 La Jolla Village Dr., #2100
San Diego, Ca 92122
858-431-4384

Fashion Valley
7007 Friars Rd., #394
San Diego, Ca 92108
619-810-2929
Online: truefoodkitchen.com

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Native Foods
This vegan chain serves up food so tasty we promise your kids won’t know the chicken strips are actually meat-free. Also on the menu are Mac ‘n’ Cheese made with a vegetable and cashew cream sauce that come with a side of brown rice, steamed veggies or french fries. The Lil’ Buddha Bowl comes with teriyaki sweet potatoes, avocado, roasted corn and cilantro jasmine rice. If your kids love nothing more than PB&J, try the sunflower butter and chia jam sandwich served on crisp plantain bread with a cinnamon-sugar coating.

Native Foods
5604 Balboa Ave., #107
San Diego, Ca 92111
858-278-2855

3369 Rosecrans St.
San Diego, Ca 92110
619-225-1155
Online: nativefoods.com

photo: Stone Brewing via Facebook

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens
When you hear “great kids menu,” brewery might not be the first place that comes to mind. Yet Stone Brewing seems to have been created with families in mind. Both locations feature ample outdoor space for lounging and exploring and they feature a kids menu you just won’t find anywhere else. Think braised pot roast, Jidori chicken breast, pan-seared salmon teriyaki and Bavarian sausage with ricotta mashed potatoes. Menus may vary by location.

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens
1999 Citracado Parkway
Escondido, Ca 92029
760-294-7866

2816 Historic Decatur Rd.
San Diego, Ca 92106
619-269-2100
Online: stonebrewing.com

photo: Puesto

Puesto
Puesto’s menu was recently expanded to better cater to kiddos. For $10, young diners can choose two items from the options of chicken, veggie or carnitas tacos and a quesadilla, all featuring Puesto’s signature crispy melted cheese and mini flour tortillas. A side of rice and beans is also included. To wash it down, kids dishes come with a choice of a scratch-made jamaica, piña melón or mango limón agua fresca and for an additional $4, mini dessert tacos will satisfy kids’ hankering for a sweet treat.

Puesto
789 West Harbor Dr.
San Diego, Ca 92101
619-233-8880

1026 Wall St.
La Jolla, Ca 92037
858-454-1260
Online: eatpuesto.com

Kura Revolving Sushi Bar
If you’ve always wanted to introduce your kids to sushi, but weren’t sure how to do it, Kura may have the answer. Sushi turns into instant fun when it comes by on a conveyor belt. Simply pick the dishes you want to try as they roll by. If your little ninjas aren’t ready for unagi yet, they can still sample egg sushi (tamago), premium American beef sushi, or full cooked eel. California rolls and Kappa Maki (cucumber) are also available.

Kura Revolving Sushi Bar
4609 Convoy St.
San Diego, Ca 92123
858-715-4605
Online: kurausa.com

photo: Flower Child

Flower Child
Flower Child offers a healthy and enticing menu for kids 12 and under. Young diners can custom-make their meal by choosing between a protein (steak, chicken or tofu) and two sides. We love the gluten-free mac and cheese which tastes like a made-in-heaven gourmet side dish. Sweet corn and quinoa and broccoli with parmesan are also tasty options. Make sure the littles save room for a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie.

Read our full review of Flower Child restaurant here.

Flower Child
2690 Via De La Valle
Del Mar, Ca 92014
858-314-6818
Online: iamaflowerchild.com

Where are you impressed with the kids menu? Let us know in the comments!

—Michelle Franklin

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