5 Real Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Northern California

Every time we go to Portland to visit my sister's family we are AMAZED at the kid-friendly restaurants and specifically breweries that they have. And when I say "kid-friendly" I don't mean they have high chairs, a kid menu and hand your kid some broken crayons. I mean really kid-friendly. With train tables and chalkboards and books and toys for your kids to play with while you eat. In there own area. Its amazing.

There isn't much of that in Northern California that we have found. We have places we like to go with the kids. Lucille asks for Spaghetti Factory at every chance she gets and it works because it is loud, inexpensive and has food the kids will eat. But these restaurants listed below - go beyond that.

Cricket Country Kitchen - This little hole in the wall restaurant on Auburn Blvd may not look like much from the outside. But if you have kids and want a good breakfast joint, check it out. Kids eat free on weekdays (which considering how cheap the kids menu is - isn't necessarily a big deal.) They have a Teddy Bear shaped pancake that my daughter loves. They have a train that goes around the ceiling that both kids love to watch and they have a treasure chest where kids can pick a prize when they are done eating. Plus all the stuff on the walls and shelves make a lot for little eyes to explore. Staff is super friendly and provides coloring books too. Worth the stop.

Duke's Plates & Pints - I don't know that being kid friendly was their initial goal - but with a great patio that has a water fountain, bean bag toss games and giant Jenga blocks plus a kid-size picnic table it really is kid friendly. They also have a great selection of beer for mom and dad. We love this place and the outdoor patio always has a handful of kids playing it seems so we aren't the only parents who like it. I highly recommend especially if you are a beer fan. The turkey burger is amazing too.

Mamma Susanna's - This Italian restaurant in River Park may not stand out as a place for kids - but if you sit in the back section there is a bookshelf that is stocked with books, coloring books and toys for kids. Mine love running back and forth grabbing different things to play with. The staff is super friendly and the food is great. My husband loves the gorgonzola gnocchi and I've loved everything I've had.

Sam's Hof Brau - Ok, while probably all hof brau's are fairly kid-friendly this one has something extra going for it. It is right next to a Goodwill store. Why is that an added bonus you ask? Well here is how the night out can go. Take your kids into Goodwill and buy them a 99 cent (or less) toy or book - than proceed to Sam's order them a Turkey leg and a side of peaches for $3.99 and BOOM! you've got something to entertain the kids plus a great, cheap meal. Extra bonus - the staff will help you to a table if you've got your handful with kiddos. We had an amazing experience. Just try it. Trust me.

Bike Dog Brewery - I've done a review on Bike Dog before -- but I just want to emphasize you can go places that you like and your kids can have a good time too. I always say, to give everything a try at least once and you might be surprised.

Stay tuned for more wine and beer tasting options with kids. And if you have any special places you like I'd love to hear about it!

Ellen Martin

I'm a west-coast mama of two little ones, 15 months apart. This is our family story with reviews and recommendations along the way. Thanks for joining our journey.

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