The team at BabyFriendlyDC.com scoured our restaurant lists and spoke with friends about which restaurants in Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia have unique, healthy, and fun kid’s menus. We think of a kids menu as a menu that has smaller portions of food at an appropriately reduced price.
Many restaurants will make to order a special kids portion upon request (just don’t be afraid to ask), but below is a list of some of the restaurants that stood out to us as having a great permanent kids menu. These restaurants clearly thought beyond the mini burger or hot dog (which our kid does love) as a satisfying meal for your child so check them out.
Let us know if there are more restaurants we should add to our list and happy dining!
Argonaut: The Argonaut on Capitol Hill in Washington DC features both a kid’s dinner and brunch menu that is hard to compete with. Their menu is uniquely organized around Milder Flavors, Medium Flavors, and Strong Flavors. Here are some of the great dinner options for kids:
Milder Flavors: Apple Slices & Sauce; Pasta with Butter; Mac and Cheese; PB & Honey Sliders
Medium Flavors: Fish taco with steamed broccoli and apple slices; Fish and Chips with Sweet potato fries and lemon curry sauce; Mini Burgers
Stronger Flavors: Loaded nachos to be configured to your child’s liking; Fish, chicken, or tempeh tacos with cheese, pico de gallo, and cabbage-cilantro slaw and remoulade; Black beans and rice.
Lebanese Taverna: With full service restaurants in Arlington, Washington DC, Baltimore, Bethesda, Pentagon Row, and Tysons Corner and quick service cafes in Rockville, Annapolis, Silver Spring, this local chain is a great introduction to kids for traditional and flavorful middle eastern food. All kid’s menus at this restaurant are served with rice, hummus, celery, and carrots. Here are some of the great options for kids (with descriptions for those who may be unfamiliar with a few options):
* Chicken, Lamb, or Beef Shwarma– This is a style of preparing meats where meat is placed on a vertical spit and grilled for as long as a day.
* Grilled Kafta– In the simplest form, koftas consists of balls of minced orground meat (usually beef or lamb) mixed with spices and/or onion.
* Falafel– This is adeep-fried ball made from ground chickpeas that are served with a side of Pita to place it in.
* Kibbeh– The best-known variety is a torpedo-shaped friedcroquette stuffed with minced beef or lamb.
Matchbox: With 3 Washington DC locations’ (Capitol Hill, Gallery Place, and U Street), Rockville, a Maryland location, and a Fairfax, Virginia location this vintage pizza bistro shows how simple kid’s favorite meals can be elevated with just a few simple substitutions. Here are some of the great options for kids:
Mac & Cheese: Johnny Mac n Cheese with house made cheese sauce
Grilled Cheese: Grilled Cheese Sandwich on toasted brioche bread
Captain Healthy to the Rescue: Includes apples, strawberries, celery, carrots, mozzarella, gouda, and peanut butter.
Ted’s Bulletin: This family restaurant with locations on Capitol Hill, 14th Street in Washington DC, Reston Town Center and Merrifield, that has breakfast available all day and has been expanding throughout the region covers the usual kids menu options of pasta, PB&J, Mac and Cheese, Burgers, and Chicken Fingers. What made them stand out is that they serve a kids menu dish called Mr. Breakfast that is a single pancake with a berry happy face. It’s a simple dish, but someone from the restaurant clearly knows how to make little kids happy… I know ours loves it.
Mon Ami Gabi: This Bethesda, Maryland restaurant features many children’s favorites with a French twist that “little frites” will love. We love that the kids meal is served in divider tray as our little one like many kids hate when different foods touch. All kid’s options at this restaurant are served with baby carrots and dip as an Amuse Bouche and fresh green beans and apple slices with their meal. Here are some of the great options for kids:
French Bread pizza
Pasta: Pasta with Butter or Tomato Sauce
Chicken Fingers: (Grilled or Fried) and Frites
Steak: Steak and Frites
Nandos Peri Peri: This restaurant chain first came to the U.S. through its DC locations which now number include more than 13 restaurants in the District, Virginia, and Maryland. Nando’s offers mouth watering Peri-Peri marinated and basted chicken (sweet and tangy sauce) that will make you and your kids fall in love at first bite. This has become one of our go-to restaurants for quick, healthy, and kid friendly meals. Their kids meal include fries, coleslaw, corn on the cob, garlic bread or sliced apple with bottomless frozen yogurt. Here are some of the great options for kids:
Sandwich: Nandino Chicken Breast Fillet Sandwich
Chicken: Either 3 chicken wings, grilled chicken breast strips, or a grilled drumstick and thigh.
Firefly: Located in the bustling Dupont Circle neighborhood, Firefly is a quintessential urban neighborhood restaurant offering contemporary American comfort food. This restaurants kids menu stood out as having a little kids menu (under 6) and a big kids men (6 and up). Clearly someone in the kitchen has kids of differing ages as the meal options, sizes, and prices fit exactly with the likes and dislikes of the ages.Here are some of the great options per age:
For little kids (under 6): Baby Shrimp; Mac & Cheese; Iceberg Wedge & Blue Cheese; Decorate your own cookie; Grilled Chicken bites; Buttered Noodles
For big kids (over 6): Chicken Matzo Ball Soup; PBJ & Banana with choice of fries or fruit; Mac & Cheese; Iceberg Lettuce and Blue Cheese; French Fries; BLTA- Avocado sandwich with choice of fries or fruit; Braised Greens; Fruit Plate; Cheese Burger that’s bigger than your head; Banana Split
Dino’s: This Shaw establishment which once graced Cleveland park treats kids as like they are just small diners who want the same good stuff that the restaurant serves their parents… just toned down a little for developing palates & small appetites. Once unique about this restaurant is that pricing is based on the age of your child. For kids age 6 to 12 a meal costs $6 per dish, but for kids under 6, the cost is only $3 per dish. As a parent whose kid often only wants a few bites of something before becoming full, the quality of food for this price is hard to beat. Their kids menu is organized like a regular menu so here it is:
Antipasti– Prosciutto & Mozzarella, Calamari, or veggies cheese
Secondi- Pasta fusilli, linguine, fettuccine. pappardelle, corn spaghetti or fusilli; Burger ciabatta or potato bun; Panini grilled or not; Fish or Shrimp & Potato
Dolci– Gelato or Kid Tiramisu
American Tap Room: American Tap Room offers a premier, first-class dining experience that exemplifies the concept of casual sophistication. Ranging from weekend brunch, to a casual lunch outing, each dining experience is uniquely enjoyable. With 2 locations in Northern Virginia (Reston and Arlington) and 2 locations in Maryland (Bethesda and Rockville), American Tap Room stands out for its super affordable 3 course dinner menu for kids and $9.95 Sunday brunch (free for kids under 5). They also feature a number of kid friendly drinks that most parents want to try (Darknight featuring coca cola, grenadine, orange slice, cheery or the Light Bright featuring cranberry juice, pineapple juice, OK, a splash of lemon, and cherry. Here are some of the great kids menu dinner options that include a side of either seasonal veggies, fries, mashed potatoes, or butter noodles and then for dessert a mini sundae, dirt in a jar (crushed oreos) or cotton candy:
Grilled– 2 mini cheese burgers
Chicken– Mini chicken & waffle; 3 chicken fingers with ranch dip; Simply grilled chicken breast
Fish– Simply grilled salmon
Steak– Flat Iron Steak
Acadiana: Acadiana is a contemporary Louisiana fish house, the only restaurant in the nation’s capital to serve Louisiana cuisine at a heightened level of elegance. Featuring the finest of seafood and premium meats, the chefs employ various cooking techniques from the colorful ethnic areas spanning southern Louisiana. In addition to a Sunday brunch kids menu that includes New Orleans Style French Toast, Scrambled Eggs, a Cheese Omelet, and Chocolate Chip Pancakes, their dinner menu stood out to us as unique for the area. Here are some of the great dinner kids menu options that served with a choice of milk, juice, or soda and can have sides of carrots, apple sauce, or fries added to:
Bayou Basket– Bayou Basket (Fish, Shrimp, or Chicken with fries)
Fish– Grilled fish of the day
Old Glory BBQ: Old Glory, located on Historic M Street in Georgetown, (Washington DC), captures the food, flavor and feel of the great Bar-B-Que restaurants of America and offers representations of each style of BBQ served in different parts of the country. Old Glory offers both a Sunday brunch kids menu that has (French toast sticks or an old Glory egg scramble). Their kid’s dinner menu includes a soft drink, crispy fries or carrots and an ice cream sundae. Here are some of their great kids menu options:
Sandwiches– BBQ Sandwich (pulled pork or pulled chicken)
From the BBQ– Kids BBQ Ribs, hot dog, Hamburger or Cheeseburger