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8 Swell Spots to Dine Al Fresco with Kids

With rainstorms out the wazoo this year, it’s easy to forget that LA is usually blessed with some of the most magnificent weather in the country—making it the perfect city to dine outdoors with kids. Thinking sunny thoughts, we’ve rounded up the most kid-friendly dining spots in Los Angeles to relax and nosh outside.

photo: Victoria S. via Yelp

Back on the Beach Café: Set on a beautiful stretch of sandy beach overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the view really doesn’t get better than Back on the Beach in Santa Monica. Your beach babes will get a kick out of dipping their toes in the sand while gobbling up a kids menu filled with favorites like burgers, hot dogs, penne pasta and chicken tenders. Parents will love a fab selection of seasonal fare like shrimp tacos, fish and chips, grass-fed burgers and summer kale salads.

Back on the Beach is open for breakfast and lunch most of the year while adding dinner to their roster from May-Oct. only. Reservations are accepted for parties of six or more inside. Outdoor tables can not be reserved so expect a bit of wait on sunny weekends and summer days.

Insider Tip: Check the seasonal pool schedule for the Annenberg Beach House before you go. Open Memorial Day through Labor Day, this historic pool is just steps away from Back on the Beach. Not up for swimming? The splash pad is just as fun too.

445 Pacific Coast Hwy.
Santa Monica
Online: backonthebeachcafe.com

photo: Rowena H. via Yelp

Neptune’s Net: If you have a pint-sized seafood lover on your hands, iconic Neptune’s Net in Malibu should be top of your list for many reasons. Since 1956, Neptune’s Net has been serving up some of the tastiest seafood in town with a killer view of the ocean right across PCH. Not only will kids love dishes like New England Clam Chowder, fish tacos, lobster, calamari, fried shrimp and clams, but they’ll dig the people watching too.

A favorite hangout of bikers, surfers, exotic car clubs and celebs, you never know who you might see while grabbing a bite. No reservations are accepted and tables are first come, first served. Because the restaurant is under a septic system and has to limit their water resources, the on-site restrooms are port-o-potties, so plan accordingly for wary kiddos.

42505 Pacific Coast Hwy.
Malibu
Online: neptunesnet.com

photo: Landy E. via Yelp

Home: For one of the yummiest lunches and loveliest patios in LA, your family may quickly become regulars at Home restaurant in Los Feliz. While they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week, lunchtime is our fave meal to stop by. A craftsman style house with a huge patio nestled under big beautiful trees encourages you and your littles to linger a while.

Go-tos on the diverse menu include a mouthwatering short-rib pot pie, bacon mac and cheese and tuna tartare. Kids can also choose from a wide variety of burgers, sandwiches and fish and chips. Home also features a fab drink menu if parents want to get their cocktail on. Reservations are accepted and encouraged, especially on busy weekends.

1760 Hillhurst Ave.
Los Feliz
Online: homerestaurantla.com

photo: Salazar by White Oak Communications

Salazar: In the hipster heart of Frogtown next to the LA River, is Salazar—a former auto body shop turned booming outdoor foodie destination for some of the tastiest Mexican fare in the city. With colorful seating and a welcoming desert feel reminiscent of Arizona, families can a enjoy variety of aguas frescas, killer salsa and guacamole, quesadillas, carne asada fries and a selection of tacos served on house-made flour tortillas.

Come dinnertime, the menu expands even further. Parents will appreciate a great selection of beers, wines and specialty cocktails with a Mexican twist. Salazar is open every day of the week, now including Mon.! Reservations are only accepted for parties of eight or more.

Insider Tip: Parking here can be a challenge when it gets busy, so allow extra time on weekends.

2490 N. Fletcher Dr.
Frogtown
Online: http://www.salazarla.com

photo: Marco T. via Yelp

Spoke Bicycle Café: Frogtown is coming in hot with yet another gem on the al fresco dining scene. We love Spoke Bicycle Café because of their unique vision to help create a more bikeable, walkable and liveable Los Angeles. Located along the LA River bike path, Spoke offers a super friendly, one-of-a-kind outdoor space for families to enjoy quality cuisine and crafted beverages while also being able to rent a bike on-site or even bring one in for repair while you eat.

The spot also sells records, t-shirts, art and bike accessories as well. But back to the food—because it’s great. Spoke utilizes local producers whenever possible and features a vegan-friendly menu. We especially dig their selection of yumtastic toasts, as well as a variety of sandwiches, salads, and burgers (including a fab veggie option).

3050 N. Coolidge Ave.
Frogtown
Online: spokebicyclecafe.com

photo: Ray’s & Stark Bar via Yelp

Ray’s & Stark Bar: Set in the heart of Miracle Mile’s museum row, Ray’s & Stark Bar is the perfect place to grab a bite with the family after a day of exploring LACMA, the Peterson Automotive Museum or even the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures set to open later this year.

The restaurant patio offers a wonderful view of LACMA’s famous Urban Light installation and the surrounding grounds where tikes can burn off extra energy after your meal. A special kids menu features everything from mac and cheese and grass-fed hamburgers to chicken fingers and pizza. Parents will appreciate a variety of pizzas to choose from themselves, as well as pasta, burgers, and salmon.

Insider Tip: On weekends from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Rays & Stark Bar offers a “Barky Brunch” where four-legged friends are welcome to join the fun and indulge in dog-friendly delights.

5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Miracle Mile
Online: patinagroup.com/rays-and-stark-bar

photo: Rose Cafe via Yelp

Rose Café: A Venice Beach icon for decades, the Rose Café has been bringing Angelenos together for great food and a sense of community since 1979. Recent renovations have given the massive outdoor space a totally fresh, modern feel that utilizes vibrant artwork by local Venice artist Craig Stecyk.

Meanwhile, the menu features seasonal local SoCal cuisine with a global influence from Chef Jason Neroni’s travels abroad. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, there’s something to please even the pickiest pint-sized palettes. We especially love the Korean Fried Chicken sandwich and Killer Bee pizza. If you don’t have time for a long, relaxing meal, never fear. There’s a to-go counter and coffee bar with delish pastries on site as well. Reservations are accepted.

220 Rose Ave.
Venice
Online: rosecafevenice.com

photo: Carlos A. via Yelp

Sweet Butter
If you’re searching for lovely outdoor dining in the Valley, look no further than Sweet Butter in Sherman Oaks. The adorable, cozy patio feels like it was built with love and hugs. We highly recommend coming here for breakfast or brunch as their bakery is truly turning out some of the most stellar croissants in the entire city—if that’s your jam.

Speaking of jam, Sweet Butter sells a variety of homemade jams and jellies in the market inside. Other morning standouts include the chicken and waffles, eggs Benedict and Emma’s avocado toast. On your way out, be sure to pick up some of their to-die-for cookies —you’ll thank us later.

13824 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks
Online: sweetbutterkitchen.com

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–Kim Orchen Cooper & Jennifer O’Brien

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