Having lived through this scenario many times -- almost always resulting in a trip to the No. 1 spot on this countdown -- we've come up with a go-to list of parent-approved spots you and your friends and relatives of all ages will enjoy. Where all of the adults present can dine on lovely food and sip thoughtfully made cocktails without once having to break out the flashlight app on their smartphone to make out the menu.
Our criteria for selecting five places everyone would like wasn't so simple. Each spot needed to have easy parking, good lighting, comfortable seating, not be too loud, not serve precious portions or cause sticker shock, not be stuffy and -- most of all -- the food should be terrific. Right.5. Babita's:
Sophisticated, beautifully prepared, intriguing plates in an intimate setting. Smoky-spicy shrimp and chicken in banana-chipotle sauce for you, a perfectly braised beef cheek stew for your father. Breezy parking, genteel, friendly service. Adult-child tested, mother approved. (Our mother, anyway.) 1823 S. San Gabriel Blvd., San Gabriel; 626-288-7265.4. Marino Ristorante:
Seasonal and farmers market-driven Italian food served in a beautiful room with truly attentive service. Family-run, and it shows. Nothing makes us happier. It's the kind of place people go back to again and again, for good reason. It's like home. 6001 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles; 323-466-8812.3. Taylor's Prime Steak House:
Strong martinis (because some family dinners require them), flawlessly charbroiled steaks and a feeling you've stumbled into the past. Oh, and don't skip the French onion soup. As a bonus, you can get as dressed up (our preference) or down as you like and you won't feel out of place. If Grandma wants to wear her tracksuit, no worries. Everyone is welcome. Except, maybe, vegetarians. 3361 W. Eighth St., Los Angeles; 213-382-8449.2. Boxwood Café:
As expected in a chic hotel, the something-for-everyone fare is dreamily executed and the service is quiet and efficient. Everything is so pretty, the light is just right for reading the simple menu and the din is kept to a minimum. The burger also happens to be outstanding. 1020 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood; 310-358-7788.