Family-Friendly Restaurants in San Diego

by: Suzanna Kincaid | March 12, 2018

Eating on vacation can be an adventure, especially when traveling with kids. While you can look forward to new treats and locations, finding family-friendly restaurants that everyone will like and that won’t send your vacation budget over the limit can take the fun right out of traveling. Plus, restaurants with play areas for kids don’t always have the delicious food you need for a truly great family dining experience. Luckily, we’re here to help you find the best family restaurants in San Diego.

One Place for All Your Needs

Kid-friendly restaurant near San Diego - Canyon Grille

At Welk Resorts San Diego, we’re proud to have the Canyon Grille serving guests and visitors of all ages in North San Diego County. We also have new and exciting changes coming! Our new chef, Daniel Garcia, is focused on creating healthy dishes using organic, locally sourced, and sustainable ingredients. Your family can enjoy a range of delicious salads, vegetarian options, fresh pasta, and other great options sourced with healthy ingredients that are better for young and growing kids. Our friendly staff, comfortable surroundings, and full menu that includes kids options from breakfast to dessert ensure we have everything needed for a great meal and even better memories with your children.

But if you can’t eat with us at Welk Resorts, you can still choose a hearty meal from a variety of options when out and about in San Diego.

Breakfast Options That Are Adult & Toddler Friendly

Start your day off right and get energy for all your activities with a delicious breakfast!

Kono’s Cafe

family friendly restaurant in San Diego - Kono's

Photo by Team T

Kono’s Cafe is the family-friendly restaurant for you if you’re looking for hearty portions and good prices. A favorite for surfers, locals, and visitors alike, this restaurant is located right on the boardwalk in Pacific Beach, providing easy entertainment for kids. With a smaller menu but large portions, your family can enjoy breakfast basics like french toast, Kono’s potatoes, and a number of other delicious items while people watching or looking out over the ocean. Lines can get long, so get here early if you don’t have time to wait—but know that the line moves quickly.

Waffle Spot

toddler friendly restaurant San Diego - Waffle Spot

Photo by Waffle Spot

For a diner-like feel and a friendly, fun ambiance, the Waffle Spot is a great location near downtown San Diego, the zoo, and SeaWorld. This kid- and toddler-friendly restaurant has a great atmosphere with illustrated characters like Sir Wafflelot and Sir Robin Flapjack decorating the walls and menu as well as chances to take a picture with the live, human-sized Waffle King in the lobby. The menu is filled with both sweet and savory options to meet the expectations of every palate. Get traditional pancakes, chicken and waffles, or variations like their mini and churro waffles.

The Cottage

kid friendly brunch restaurant San Diego - The Cottage

Photo by John C.

If you are looking for a great brunch spot, The Cottage is a top family restaurant in La Jolla. This location has indoor and outdoor seating, a varied menu and full kids menu, and free coffee and small snacks to enjoy while you wait to be seated. Pick from traditional fare and options with a twist, like the Baja Chicken Hash and Crab Cakes Benedict. Because this is a popular location and lines can get long, especially on the weekends, you can check wait times and put yourself on the waitlist before arriving through the Yelp app.

Kid Favorite Classics with a Twist

San Diego has a number of options to choose from if you’re looking for some traditional fare or new takes on old classics to keep kiddies satisfied but your tastebuds interested.

Rubicon Deli

Family friendly restaurant San Diego - Rubicon Deli

Photo by C.R.

Planning a picnic but want to bring something better than plain PB&J? Rubicon Deli is located in Mission Beach with easy access to the nearby beach and bay and offers large portions and creative menu items. Famous for sandwiches on fresh breads made from high-quality ingredients, this restaurant also offers some lighter but still unique dishes. From açaí bowls to soups made from scratch, you can find the savory or sweet foods you’re looking for, especially with their signature gluten-free mini cookies. Kids are also sure to enjoy the unique soda flavors like Snozzberry and Shirley Temple and you can call your orders in for a quick pit-stop before more fun with your family.


Kid friendly restaurant San Diego - Hodad's

Photo by Hodad’s

If your kids want a trusted hamburger but you’re looking for something more than regular fast food, Hodad’s is the answer. This small, local chain offers classics like bacon cheeseburgers with thick-cut fries and fresh onion rings. Kids can have fun trying to find your home state amongst the number of license plates and stickers adorning the walls and surfboards hanging from the ceiling. Having been featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, this family-friendly restaurant is a favorite amongst locals and visitors alike with locations in Ocean Beach, Downtown, and Petco Park.

SuperNatural Sandwiches

If your kids are into seafood, SuperNatural Sea to Sandwich offers unique dishes with amazing flavor and a fun nautical theme sure to keep little ones fascinated. From scallop bacon chowder and spicy garlic shrimp to Korean BBQ with kimchee, your family can enjoy a creative, delicious dish with an even more creative name. While the menu may list many sea-related items like the Ogopogo, Nahuelito, and Cthulhu, the food includes a wide range of fresh seafood, international inspirations, and some non-seafood options made from local, sustainable ingredients.

Corvette Diner

Have a blast from the past by taking your family to Corvette Diner in Liberty Station. This restaurant is more than a place to eat, it’s a true experience! Retro decorations, car-themed booths, music, and wait staff full of character and decked out in full costume make this a place treat to remember. Enjoy American classics like burgers, shakes, and fries, listen to vintage tunes, and let the kids spend some time playing arcade games at this unique location.

A Mexican Family Dinner

A visit to San Diego would not be complete without some delicious Mexican food!

La Vecindad

Kid Friendly Restaurants San Diego - La Vecindad

Photo by Christina E.

Get tacos with unforgettable flavors wrapped in homemade tortillas from La Vecindad in Hillcrest. Open for lunch and dinner, you can get delicious, traditional al pastor and carnitas as well as new takes like chile relleno and a California burrito, but in taco version! Enjoy special deals for Taco Tuesdays, daily specials, and rotating menu items. With picnic-bench seating, vibrant decorations, and indoor hopscotch, your family can enjoy the delicious food and a budget-friendly outing at a truly fun place to eat in San Diego.

Las Cuatro Milpas

Family Restaurants San Diego - Las Cuatro Milpas

Photo by Vince P.

Do your kids have a hard time deciding what to eat? Your family can enjoy a simple menu with delicious foods at Las Cuatro Milpas right by Downtown San Diego. While this restaurant is only open for breakfast and lunch and has a hole-in-the-wall in feel, fresh flour tortillas, quality ingredients, and traditional cooking make it a great option to try. Las Cuatro Milpas offers a smaller, more intimate affair with delicious street-style food served in a converted house. Know that this is a popular location, especially on the weekend, that only accepts cash.

Kid-Friendly Desserts

A spoonful of sugar helps make the vacation amazing. A parent’s job is always easier when you are able to bribe kids with the promise of dessert. If you need a little ammunition, try these sweet stops in San Diego.


Kid-friendly restaurants San Diego - Pappalecco

Photo by Pappalecco

Famous for delicious gelato, Pappalecco is a Little Italy mainstay also offering freshly baked items, coffee, and light meals. Indulge in fresh cakes and sweets, enjoy a warm panini, or go for something lighter with a salad. With other locations in Cardiff, Del Mar, Hillcrest, and Kensington, as well as long hours, your family can easily find quick, easy, and delicious treats here that are sure to hit the spot.


Family restaurants San Diego - Azucar

Photo by M.M.

Find unique and Cuban-inspired treats baked daily at Azúcar in Ocean Beach. Here, you can find cookie flavors to please the pickiest kids and adults with options from salted toffee to mojito. The menu also includes items like mango cheesecake, red velvet cupcakes, and turrón. If you’re all sugared out, this spot also offers a smaller range of savory dishes inspired by international delicacies. You can satisfy any sweet tooth or adventurous eater with these special treats!

Visit These Family-Friendly Restaurants Today

We hope your next family vacation to sunny Southern California is full of adventure and delicious food. Book a stay at Welk Resorts San Diego today and be sure to bring the kids to our child-friendly Canyon Grille Restaurant for some delicious culinary fun!

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6 Responses

  1. Irene says:

    When will the new Organic options be available at Canyon Grill?

    • Welk Resorts says:

      Hi Irene! Canyon Grille is currently using some organic produce, local and sustainable seafood, and natural meats in it’s meals. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  2. James Rees says:

    None of these establishments appear to be anywhere near the resort, why are there none close to the resort?

    • Welk Resorts says:

      Hi James! We chose to feature the best family restaurants in the greater San Diego area. While they may require a short drive if you’re staying at our resort, they’re well worth exploring if you get the chance!

  3. Patrick says:

    Does the Canyon Grill do a special Christmas Day menu?

    • Welk Resorts says:

      Hi Patrick! In the past, the Canyon Grille has revealed a special menu for Christmas Day. Please feel free to check in with us closer to the holidays and we will have more details on this menu. We look forward to seeing you in San Diego soon!

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