Healthy Restaurants, Healthy Kids

Ana Picazo - San Francisco Bay Area
January 21, 2014

Every parent has a kid-related restaurant nightmare story, usually involving bored whining, temper tantrums, huge messes, screaming children, and frazzled grown-ups. Keeping children occupied and on their best behavior can be challenging, and sometimes it seems like the most kid-friendly restaurants are also the ones with the unhealthiest kid's menus.  

Here are five restaurants around the Bay Area that combine a kid-friendly atmosphere with healthy (and kid-friendly) eats:

Yummy Yummy, San Francisco

This clean, no-frills eatery serves the tastiest Vietnamese food around. Little ones will be kept busy making their own spring rolls while the grown-ups feast on Lemongrass Chicken, Salt & Pepper Crab, BBQ Pork Chops, Five Spice Chicken, and steaming bowls of Chicken Pho.  

Play Cafe, Oakland

At Oakland's Play Cafe, good food and fun come together as naturally as peanut butter and jelly. Forget pizza and fries, and think grilled turkey panini with avocado, cheese and sundried tomatoes; or hummus and pita. With fruit smoothies, a fruit-and-cheese platter and teriyaki chicken bowls on the menu, it's hard to know whose mouths will be watering more: yours or your child's. But even the delicious food might not be enough to keep your little ones from getting up and exploring Play Cafe's play area. There's a dress-up room, puppet-show stage, ball pit, train room, art room and more, so kids can have a blast while parents watch from the sidelines.

Bumble, Los Altos

This farm-to-fork restaurant is a great place for the whole family to enjoy a delicious meal with locally sourced, organic ingredients. The kids' menu features grilled salmon and seared trout along with buttered pasta and hot dog bites, as well as sliced fruit, avocado slices, edamame, pita and hummus on the side. The best part about Bumble? Once the kids are done, they don't have to sit and fidget while the grown-ups linger over coffee; check them into Bumble's bright, cheerful playroom where they can amuse themselves while you relax.

Plant Based Pizza, San Jose

What child wouldn't want to order from a menu featuring a SpongeBob Square Pants sandwich pizza, Jenga Garlic Sticks, and an Albert Einstein Burger? This all-vegan pizzeria serves gluten-free crust, soy cheese, and vegan toppings. Other kid-friendly menu items include paninis, vegan burgers, and vegan hot dogs.

Veggie Grill, San Jose

The SoCal all-vegan cafe chain has found an eager audience at San Jose's posh Santana Row. The Veggie Grill serves burgers, sandwiches, salads, tacos, and hot dishes, all free from meat, dairy, eggs, antibiotics and trans fat. Little ones will be happy to find their favorite dishes on the kids' menu, like Mac-n-Cheese, Chicken Quesadilla and Chicken Nuggets—except their "chicken" is made from organic, non-GMO soybeans, wheat and peas. Gluten-free and soy-free options are also available.

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