Looking for a restaurant that welcomes children with open arms along with high chairs and booster seats? The following places fit the bill, and provide appealing food and drink for grownups as well. From casual counter service at the docks, to great downtown treats, these family-friendly restaurants offer something everyone will love.
Anthony's Fish Grotto on the Bay (various locations)
This local chain features locations all around the county, with a signature location over San Diego Bay.
Corvette Diner, Point Loma
Established in 1987 as San Diego's original 1950's diner, this restaurant is famous for its Rock n' Roll vibe, burgers, shakes and sassy servers. Located in the historic community of Liberty Station, the diner embodies fun, food and the 50's with a live DJ, dancing and singing staff, and a menu filled with comfort food. Nostalgic menu items include a daily blue plate special and an assortment of burgers, floats, malts and shakes.
Dave & Buster's, Mission Valley
Though it's best known as an entertainment arcade, D&B's offers noteworthy food as well as fun for folks of all ages. Kids will appreciate the burgers and chicken fingers, while adults will find the assorted steaks, pastas, salads, and other dishes (not to mention the cocktails) both well-prepared and appealing. Private rooms available for parties.
Filippi's Pizza Grotto, Little Italy
Nestled in the heart of Little Italy, this is as authentic as it gets. Great pizzas, pastas, and a real Italian market make this a great family choice.
The Old Spaghetti Factory, Gaslamp Quarter
Known for friendly family dining and meals at a great value, all pasta entrees come with fresh-baked bread, soup or salad, dessert and coffee, tea or milk.
Old Town is a great place to learn about California's early history, it is also a dining destination. Many authentic Mexican restaurants are located within steps of each other offering endless options.
Sammy's Woodfired Pizza (various locations)
With locations throughout San Diego, Sammy's stylish but comfortable eateries are great for casual dining with or without the kids. You'll find pizzas of every stripe along with pastas, salads, sandwiches, main-dish salads and desserts (kids love the signature Messy Sundae). Outdoor dining available at most locales.
Seaport Village provides fun shops, free entertainment, and great dining choices for families, alongside San Diego Bay.
Buca di Beppo (Downtown, Mira Mesa, Carlsbad)
Enjoy generous family-style portions in this festively decorated Italian eatery. Great features include the Pope's table and a great chef's table.
D.Z. Akins, La Mesa
Home to the best deli food in San Diego, this restaurant near San Diego State University has a gigantic menu with something to tempt each family member. Hundreds of selections, from mile-high sandwiches and vast breakfast platters to old-fashioned hot fudge sundaes and matzo ball soup. Extensive take-out deli and bakery selection as well.
Ghirardelli Chocolate & Ice Cream Shop, Gaslamp Quarter
Located right in the heart of the historic Gaslamp Quarter, this old-fashioned soda fountain offers up some truly indulgent treats.
Point Loma Seafoods
Located right on the docks where the fishing boats return with the day's catch, kids will enjoy watching all of the action. This very casual counter service restaurant has been featured on the Food Network.
Red Sails Inn, Point Loma
A local hangout for decades, this Shelter Island restaurant offers a harbor-side patio that's especially good for family dining. In addition to an enormous fountain that's nectar for kids, the patio offers views of the bay, the boat docks and plenty of inquisitive seagulls. All-American breakfasts are a good bet, as is the reasonably priced seafood at lunch and dinner.
Ruby's Diner (Mission Valley, Carlsbad, Oceanside)
The bright, modern soda fountains offer a festive diner atmosphere. A special children's menu complete with corn dogs, chicken fingers and mac 'n' cheese makes menu selection a snap for the little ones. For older kids and grownups, the lengthy menu ranges from breakfast specials to dinner items such as fish 'n' chips and assorted burgers. Check out the extensive list of shakes and sundaes, too.