With a diverse culinary scene born of multiple cultural influences, San Diego is an excellent dining destination for the discerning palate.
Of course, not everyone can handle Asian fusion or updated Mexican cuisine, especially young kids. To help you out, we put together a list of a few of our favorite family friendly restaurants in San Diego.
If you are looking for something more exciting and foodie-centric, we’ve got some suggestions for you, too.
These restaurants are located in San Diego or nearby surrounding areas, and are within walking or short driving distance of a few great attractions, so they can be easily worked into your family vacation itinerary.
Kid Friendly San Diego RestaurantsNote: the below ads are not affiliated with SmartDestinations.com
Bread & Cie
Often called the best bread bakery in San Diego, this spot is a great place to pick up food for a picnic before heading out on a daytrip with your family.
Their menu features fruit bowls, muffin baskets, and delicious salads and sandwiches. This fresh-made food is sure to satisfy the taste buds of even the pickiest eater.
Broken Yolk Café
A favorite among natives and hungry travelers, this café serves up a tasty breakfast or brunch.
Enjoy high-quality omelets, pancakes, waffles, French toast, or breakfast burritos at this casual and comfortable restaurant. Salads and sandwiches are also available on the lunch menu.
Kids will love the restaurant challenge to finish their meals in an hour or less. Those that complete the challenge get their names engraved on the large wall plaque!
Looking for a place to take the kids for a quick bite? This unique local chain serves up fast food of the highest quality, made fresh to order!
You and the kids will love the classic burgers and French fries cut from potatoes right on site. Finish up with a vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry milkshake made from 100 percent real ice cream.
Nearby Attractions: SeaWorld San Diego, Old Town Historic District, Mission Beach
For an exciting, inexpensive dinner destination, head over to this ’50s style rock ‘n’ roll diner.
Tons of memorabilia, sassy waitresses in poodle skirts, and a live DJ playing the decade’s hottest hits make this diner a fantastic stop for good grub.
A terrific kid’s menu provides great options for the younger travelers.
Nearby Attractions: NTC Park, USS Midway Museum, Point Loma Light
This restaurant is the perfect combination of carefully crafted cuisine and kid-friendly atmosphere.
Featuring a California comfort food menu (think soup & grilled cheese, burgers, grilled chicken, deviled eggs, and more), Waypoint Public has a wide variety of dishes to suit every appetite.
Plus, it’s got an indoor play area for kids, so you can let them cut loose when they’re done eating without worrying about them.
Venga Venga Cantina & Tequila Bar
Who doesn’t think of amazing, authentic Mexican food when they think of San Diego’s dining scene? Venga Venga is a great place to try out a variety of traditional and innovative Mexican dishes without worrying about breaking the bank.
They’ve got everything from creative “street tacos” and tortas to plain quesadillas for the picky eaters. If you pop by late at night or without the kids, be sure to check out their killer tequila selection!
Rockin’ Baja Lobster
Your other local mainstay is, of course, delicious, fresh seafood. This local chain offers a tasty variety of all your favorites, from the titular lobster to delicious ahi tuna and their signature “Baja Buckets,” which pack a ton of different kinds of food into one dish (definitely feeds more than one person!).
While most menu items are served with a Mexican flair, you can also find some more conventional seafood.
Nearby Attractions: South Harbor, Oceanside, LEGOLAND California
Vegetarian & Foodie Options
Known for their absolutely delicious desserts (bonus: gluten-free!), Peace Pies is also a vegan café serving mostly raw food. Menu items include bruschetta, salads, lasagna, quesadillas, wraps, pizza, and much more.
Kids will love the tasty variety of conventional items, and you’ll love that they’re healthier versions of their favorite dishes. Do not leave without trying a piece of their famous coconut cream pie!
Nearby Attractions: Port Loma Lighthouse, Cabrillo National Monument, Sunset Cliffs Park
This is another great healthy option that will please the whole family. This inexpensive restaurant features only the freshest ingredients in their vegan offerings, which include everything from salads and sandwiches to vegan ice cream.
It’s also in a super convenient location, so it’s easy to pop in for a quick lunch while you’re exploring nearby Balboa Park and its many cultural offerings.
Nearby Attractions: Balboa Park, San Diego Museum of Man, Balboa Park Fountain
Juniper & Ivy
Want to explore a little bit of San Diego’s chicer side? Then pay a visit to Juniper & Ivy, a local favorite run by a Top Chef winner. Featuring American small plates, flatbreads, a raw bar, and more, you’ll love everything they have to offer.
Plus, the interior design of this “left coast cookery” is really cool, too! While older kids may enjoy this dining destination, they don’t offer much in the way of little kid fare, so this might be best for a parents’ night out.
Nearby Attractions: Japanese Friendship Garden, Balboa Park, Little Italy