Chicken nuggets or a hot dog? These seem to be the staple choices for kids at many restaurants—not that there’s anything wrong with these yummy favorites—but what if your kiddos want to spice it up (hello, baba ghannouge)or try something new and different (beginner sushi, anyone?)? We’ve put together a list of six D.C. restaurants that take the kids menu to a whole new level.

boy-with-menu

Chef Geoff’s
There are so many reasons to love Chef Geoff’s, from the bacon bar (yes, it’s ALL about bacon!) to the ridiculously friendly waitstaff. Your little ones can choose from an 8-oz NY strip steak with a side of roasted asparagus, BBQ chicken breast with pineapple, pan-seared salmon with roasted potatoes and spinach, plus favorites such as cheeseburgers and pizza. The Sunday Kid’s Brunch menu features mouth-watering entrees including citrus-cured salmon on a bagel with cream cheese, French toast with berry compote, and the Sunday egg scramble with cheese and sausage. It really is a place for the whole family to enjoy. Did we mention the bacon bar?

3201 New Mexico Ave. (Archives)
Online: chefgeoff.com
(Other locations on 13th street between E and F; Vienna, VA; Rockville, MD; and Chevy Chase, MD)

Passionfish
Yes, gone are the days when sushi-loving parents have to get a sitter to enjoy some sashimi. Passionfish features a holistic approach to seafood dining and that includes creating an accommodating space for your children, too. It’s clear from the get go that your kids are welcome here, from the playful, nautical-themed décor to the innovative kid’s menu. In addition to burgers and pasta choices, Passionfish lets adventurous types try some beginner sushi rolls, which feature manageable mouthfuls of cucumber, avocado and fresh cooked crab. It also comes with soy sauce in a shell-shaped bowl (score!).

11960 Democracy Dr. (Reston, Va)
Online: passionfishreston.com

matzo-ball-soupFirefly
Firefly is serious about featuring modernized comfort food made from fresh and mostly local farm ingredients. Some say it’s like Grandma’s cooking with a little pizzazz. You’ll find classics like pot roast, eggplant parmesan, and mac-n-cheese…but always with added finesse and flare. For the kids there are no chicken fingers or pizza here, just plenty of yummy, healthy and delicious options. Featured children’s entrees include peanut butter and banana on multigrain bread, a BLT with avocado, and chicken matzoh ball soup. Younger kids can order The Giving Tree with baby shrimp, macaroni and cheese, iceberg wedges with blue cheese, or The Very Lonely Firefly with buttered noodles and parmesan, apple wedges, and grilled chicken bites. A-la-cart options include carrots and celery sticks, a fruit plate, and golden raisin swish card. Bonus: all kids meals include a decorate-your-own cookie surprise.

1310 New Hampshire Ave., NW (Dupont Circle)
Online: firefly-dc.com

Lebanese Taverna
If you’re in-the-know about kid-friendly places in the DMV, then it’s no surprise to find Lebanese Taverna on our list. This mecca of mid-east flavor features a welcoming atmosphere for kids with free coloring books and crayons, and a kid-friendly menu that’s true to the restaurant’s style. Options include grilled chicken with rice or roasted potatoes and a mini-sampler with hommos and kibbeh (a pastry of ground beef and pine nuts). You can also do an appetizer combo for the kids with some seriously delicious chickpeas with tahini, baba ghannouge, falafel and grape leaves.

2641 Connecticut Ave., NW (Woodley Park)
Online: lebanesetaverna.com

founding-farmers

Founding Farmers
This place is so kid-friendly, your little ones won’t even need a separate menu. Dedicated to seasonal and regional ingredients, Founding Farmers boasts farm-to-table comfort cuisine prepared in an eco-friendly way. If you’re looking to tap into your kid’s green sensibility, a visit to Founding Farmers might just do the trick. You can choose from small, tapas-like dishes that make perfect kid-portions. Kid faves include bacon-wrapped dates, baby cheeseburgers, fried green tomatoes, farmhouse soup and skillet corn bread (with honey, butter and sea salt). There are also plenty of sandwiches to choose from, plus pastas and flat breads with delicious toppings (proscuitto and fig, brie and apples).

1924 Pennsylvania Ave. (Foggy Bottom)
Online: wearefoundingfarmers.com

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Grillfish
Surf and turf can definitely be a family-friendly dining experience at this downtown favorite known for using fine, local and sustainable ingredients. In addition to staples like chicken fingers and mac-and-cheese, the kid’s menu features yummy catfish sticks, grilled sirloin steak, and a seafood mixed grill with swordfish, salmon, mahi mahi, scallops and shrimp. There’s a kid’s surf & turf with sirloin steak and shrimp kabobs. You can finish the meal with ice cream and brownies or a root beer float. Dine here on a Monday and 15% of your dinner proceeds will go to City Dogs Rescue.

1200 New Hampshire Ave. NW (Dupont Circle)
Online: grillfishdc.com

Have you come across any cool kid menus? Tell us about them in the comments section below. 

—Jamy Bond

Photos courtesy of Ian T. McFarland via Flickr , Founding Farmers via Facebook, Firefly via Facebook