Sometimes eating out with kids is all about the path of least resistance, which if you peruse OpenTable Diners' Choice list of the country's 100 most kid-friendly restaurants, seems to be the prevailing philosophy of those who voted. In response, the SF Weekly published a selection of San Francisco's Most Kid-Unfriendly Restaurants. Turns out we can think of quite a few of these in our town, too, and not just ones that routinely win Most Romantic awards.
We understand wanting to expand children's horizons and push comfort zones. That's great — until they push back. And when that happens, parents and caretakers feel it, hard. So let us spare you some pain by sharing our picks for L.A.'s top 10 least family/kid-friendly restaurants, aka where people without children are sure to keep going.
10. Soho House
“Mommy, why are those men with the big cameras chasing the tiny lady in that black Range Rover?” Paparazzi and other L.A. life lessons can be explained in the Soho House valet area. Same goes for Katana, Koi and wherever else the Entourage scene is these days.
We don't have to declare Father's Office to be kid un-friendly. That's already been taken care of. Both locations are licensed as bars, meaning no one under 21 can visit dad at work. Lukshon doesn't seem to have this legal restriction, but between the open flame outdoors and those pristine creamy banquettes inside, we recommend splurging on a sitter and saving this venue for a night out. Hey, here's a crazy thought: restaurants known for terrific burgers and beverage programs such as the Golden State and Umami Burger allow kids AND seem to be doing just fine.
When a strict “changes and modifications politely declined” policy means pizza pomodoro is coming with that chili come hell or high water, this might plan not work out so well. If they won't honor Posh's special request, then they certainly won't do it for little Jack or Zoe. Plus why stress over the long waits and open fire pit? Maybe this all explains why Gjelina Take Away seems to be popular with the parent and toddler set.
Oooooh, glowing coals and open fire… You get where we're going here. Some Korean BBQ restaurants might be better designed for families, but Soot Bull Jeep, with old school grills and a less-than-state-of-the-art ventilation system, is not one of them. Better keep burn relief cream and gauze handy if we haven't successfully deterred you.
It's entirely possible that your eight-year-old appreciates an amazing $300 omakase dinner better than many adults would. Some other patrons at this cozy exclusive Beverly Hills restaurant might even find your young dining companion adorable. Hey, it's not our money.
Hear that? You might need to sit extra still to pick up on the gentle reverb coming from elegant silverware slicing through impeccably prepared seafood, and the murmurs of couples celebrating anniversaries and multiple decade birthdays. We're not saying this restaurant is overly grown up, but you probably don't want to be the ones to test that boundary.
The din might be a bit louder at Cut, thanks in part to the constant underlying hum of the Hollywood Agent Hustle. Just because the Herman Miller office chairs are super fun to spin around in, however, doesn't mean Richard Meier-designed restaurants with gleaming white walls and pricey steaks are a good place to drag the brood.
3. Son of a Gun
If communal dining has reached its crest — as we certainly hope it has — no restaurant better illustrates why this trend needs to end more than Son of a Gun. And as kid un-friendly as this packed-as-sardines space already is, oddly enough, the diminutive scale and punishing, nearly insulting discomfort of the table and those stools designed for smallish tushies make sense ONLY as a kids' table. But that's definitely not what they're going for here.
Patience-busting waits, crowded narrow room, huge bowls of steaming ramen. Awesome? Um, no. Sounds like a one-way ticket to Whinersville. Population: your kids. Best to do this one on your own, or hit the less crowded new Arcadia location.
1. The Bazaar
“Stay away from the liquid nitrogen canister.” “Save some foie gras cotton candy for your little sister.” “Stop blowing the foam off of my cocktail.” “What do you mean you're still hungry after the jamón ibérico and cheese air bread sandwich?” If this sounds like fun dinner conversation, then an all-ages meal at The Bazaar is just for you. In all fairness, José Andrés' funhouse of a restaurant could be an awesome experience for well-behaved children who are game for modernist cuisine. Or things could go disastrously, terribly wrong.