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Kids can order slow-roasted meatloaf with ketchup and a side at Tupelo Honey in Arlington.
Tupelo Honey

Kid-Friendly Restaurants Around D.C. That Adults Actually Enjoy

Where to please picky eaters of any age

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Kids can order slow-roasted meatloaf with ketchup and a side at Tupelo Honey in Arlington.
| Tupelo Honey

Many parents want their kids to grow into civilized diners with good palates, but children often don’t start out that way. Taking them out to eat requires patience — from parents, servers, and of course, nearby patrons. But many area restaurants are working hard to keep dining fun for kids and sane for parents.

These family-friendly restaurants are designed to impress kids and adults alike, with takeout and delivery options to solve dinner. These D.C. area restaurants give special consideration for the District’s youngest diners.

—Updated by Tierney Plumb

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Comet Ping Pong

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The free ping pong tables, legit pizza, and classic desserts like sundaes and tiramisù are perfect draws for families at this neighborhood favorite in Upper Northwest. The back room is a popular children’s birthday party spot, and a fire pit on the back patio keeps diners warm all year. Sibling spots Buck’s Fishing & Camping and Muchas Gracias offer respective options for upscaled grill fare and colorful Mexican food on the same block. Place pickup orders here.

Comet Ping Pong’s parade of pies.
Comet Ping Pong

A longtime standard-bearer for Neapolitan pizza in the District, 2 Amys has “kid-friendly” down to a science. In addition to the pies and a rotating menu of excellent Italian small plates, the restaurant offers crayons and paper to ward away boredom. Its well-known pizzas promise to please hungry kids and parents alike. Walk-ins only; place pickup orders here.

Cactus Cantina

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At this longstanding Tex-Mex spot in Northwest, parents sip margaritas and dig into fajitas as kids play with tortilla dough balls and choose from a generous children’s menu. Options include quesadillas and enchiladas; tacos al carbon; and (of course) chicken tenders. All are served with Mexican rice and beans. Dine-in, takeout, and delivery are all available.

Tex Mex food Weekend cover story
Cactus Cantina is open for indoor and patio dining.
The Washington Post via Getty Images

Open City

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The popular Woodley Park cafe with free Wi-Fi and all-day breakfast and lattes is an ideal spot to camp out with the little ones. A morning menu for kids includes pancakes (plain, chocolate, or blueberry), scrambled egg and home fries, or challah French toast. Lunch and dinner brings burgers, pizza, and grilled cheese to the table. Dine indoors or out, with pickup or delivery available too.

Sakura Japanese Steak, Seafood House & Sushi Bar (Multiple Locations)

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Kids of all ages can enjoy the spectacle of flaming onion volcanos catching grilled pieces of steak with their mouths at this regional chain of hibachi grills. Well-priced children’s specials like $9.95 chicken teriyaki and $14.95 filet mignon make attractive takeout or delivery options. Sakura also has a long menu of grill options and a full sushi menu.

Sakura [official]
Sakura [official]

Emmy Squared Pizza (multiple locations)

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This hip, Detroit-style pizzeria out of Brooklyn offers a cute kids’ section full of pizza sticks, chicken strips, and Impossible meatballs alongside carrot sticks and a small drink ($8). Its original D.C. location in Shaw is joined by newer Navy Yard and Alexandria outposts.

Chaplin's Restaurant

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Shaw’s popular cocktail bar introduces diners to ramen noodles at an early age. Order a small kids’ bowl with wakame broth ($5) with the option to add toppings and sides of bite-sized gyoza. There’s also a big dog-friendly patio out front. Order online or dine in.

bartaco (multiple locations)

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The trendy pan-Latin taqueria recently unleashed “lunch box” meals for kids, featuring a quesadilla, guacamole and chips, and a taco of choice neatly assembled in a retro metal box ($14). An easy ordering process includes checking off items with a pencil. The D.C. location also just debuted weekday happy hour for the first time.

Old Ebbitt Grill

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Families making the rounds downtown can show off this iconic D.C. restaurant to the whole family. A kids’ menu that comes with crayons includes the usual suspects (chicken fingers, cheeseburgers, pizza), and occasionally more interesting fare like fish and snack plates. Reserve a seat online.

Dining Review - Old Ebbitt Grill
Crab cakes from Old Ebbitt Grill.
Washington Post via Getty Images

Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar

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Young Arlington parents are big fans of this casual, Asheville-based chain that wins extra points for free diapers in the bathroom. Cocktails, all-day brunch, and Southern comfort food for grown-ups join an abundant kids’ menu ($6-$9.50) full of blueberry waffles, grilled or fried chicken, slow-roasted meatloaf, and all kinds of sides (mac and cheese, Brussels sprouts, goat cheese grits, chicken tortilla soup, and braised green beans).

Waffles for kids are made with fresh blueberries, whipped cream, and powdered sugar.
Tupelo Honey

Ted's Bulletin (Multiple Locations)

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Giant pastry pockets and oversized cinnamon rolls make breakfast a blast at the D.C. chain of nostalgic diners. All-day pancakes from the kids’ menu come in a “Mr. Breakfast” shape, with bacon for the mouth and bananas and berries for the eyes and nose. The kids’ menu breaks from the basic tenders-and-fries rut, with options like teriyaki salmon and an assortment of nutritious sides. Order here for pickup or delivery at six area locations, with more on the way.

Boardwalk Bar & Arcade

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With two bars, arcade games, shuffleboard, and pinball, there’s no shortage of entertainment at the Wharf’s new waterfront hangout. During daily happy hour (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.), adults can order a “Happy Meal” combo ($8.95) complete with a mini Miller High Life, shot of whiskey, and popcorn. A kids’ menu includes mac and cheese, pizza, tacos, cotton candy, and ice cream sandwiches ($4.95-$9.95). FYI: The bar is cashless, and kids are only allowed with a 21-and-up guardian.

Boardwalk Bar offers two levels of fun.
Daniel Swartz for Boardwalk

Silver Diner

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With flexible hours and wide-ranging menus, diners are generally good places to take children. This Rockville-based institution, around since 1989, opened its first D.C. location (and No. 20 to date) on Wednesday, October 5 across from Nationals Park. The local chain has a kids’ menu of nutrition-focused classics, taste-tested by kids. Tykes can collect a series of “Kids Club” buttons, and get free birthday mains and shakes. Dine-in or order here for pickup and delivery.

An abbreviated menu at Silver Diner encourages efficiency and simplicity during slammed game and event days at Nationals Park. 
Silver Diner

Caboose Commons

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This sprawling brewery in Fairfax checks a lot of boxes, with two separate areas for outdoor dining. Caboose’s casual setting includes a dog-friendly patio and a large common area great for strollers or kids who need to walk around. In addition to the beer selection, the food menu offers beer-friendly food like nachos and burgers, plus healthier options like Buddha bowls and poke. The children’s menu features grass-fed burgers and organic chicken tenders. Reserve a spot here for indoor or outdoor dining.

The fast-growing counter for standout Indian bowls in D.C. and Arlington broke into suburbia this summer with a new color-soaked location in Fairfax’s Mosaic District complex. At this location only, little ones can choose from vermicelli rice noodles with tomato garlic sauce (with the option to add chicken tikka or mixed veggies); an adorable build-your-own option; and basmati rice and tikka bowl with toasted cumin yogurt and juice. Adults can enjoy canned wine, bottled Taj Mahal and domestic beers, and masala gin and tonic cocktails. Order online for pickup.

Rasa, which translates “to taste,” welcomes Fairfax diners with its bright logo and leafy patio lined with bucket swings. 
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

The Salt Line

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The lively seafood shack in Navy Yard (and now Ballston) has menu items just for tykes: a cheeseburger, hot dog, and fish sticks — all served with fries and fresh fruit — or buttery pasta ($6-$8).

Blackwall Hitch (Multiple Locations)

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At this waterfront restaurant in Old Town, kids can choose from a special menu and run around the harbor while parents take in views of the Potomac River. Blackwall Hitch is known for its expansive patio and oversized bloody mary — complete with (for better or worse) crab meat and bacon. Even better: charming, perennial favorite Pop’s Old-Fashioned Ice Cream is steps away for dessert.

Comet Ping Pong

The free ping pong tables, legit pizza, and classic desserts like sundaes and tiramisù are perfect draws for families at this neighborhood favorite in Upper Northwest. The back room is a popular children’s birthday party spot, and a fire pit on the back patio keeps diners warm all year. Sibling spots Buck’s Fishing & Camping and Muchas Gracias offer respective options for upscaled grill fare and colorful Mexican food on the same block. Place pickup orders here.

Comet Ping Pong’s parade of pies.
Comet Ping Pong

2 Amys

A longtime standard-bearer for Neapolitan pizza in the District, 2 Amys has “kid-friendly” down to a science. In addition to the pies and a rotating menu of excellent Italian small plates, the restaurant offers crayons and paper to ward away boredom. Its well-known pizzas promise to please hungry kids and parents alike. Walk-ins only; place pickup orders here.

Cactus Cantina

At this longstanding Tex-Mex spot in Northwest, parents sip margaritas and dig into fajitas as kids play with tortilla dough balls and choose from a generous children’s menu. Options include quesadillas and enchiladas; tacos al carbon; and (of course) chicken tenders. All are served with Mexican rice and beans. Dine-in, takeout, and delivery are all available.

Tex Mex food Weekend cover story
Cactus Cantina is open for indoor and patio dining.
The Washington Post via Getty Images

Open City

The popular Woodley Park cafe with free Wi-Fi and all-day breakfast and lattes is an ideal spot to camp out with the little ones. A morning menu for kids includes pancakes (plain, chocolate, or blueberry), scrambled egg and home fries, or challah French toast. Lunch and dinner brings burgers, pizza, and grilled cheese to the table. Dine indoors or out, with pickup or delivery available too.

Sakura Japanese Steak, Seafood House & Sushi Bar (Multiple Locations)

Kids of all ages can enjoy the spectacle of flaming onion volcanos catching grilled pieces of steak with their mouths at this regional chain of hibachi grills. Well-priced children’s specials like $9.95 chicken teriyaki and $14.95 filet mignon make attractive takeout or delivery options. Sakura also has a long menu of grill options and a full sushi menu.

Sakura [official]
Sakura [official]

Emmy Squared Pizza (multiple locations)

This hip, Detroit-style pizzeria out of Brooklyn offers a cute kids’ section full of pizza sticks, chicken strips, and Impossible meatballs alongside carrot sticks and a small drink ($8). Its original D.C. location in Shaw is joined by newer Navy Yard and Alexandria outposts.

Chaplin's Restaurant

Shaw’s popular cocktail bar introduces diners to ramen noodles at an early age. Order a small kids’ bowl with wakame broth ($5) with the option to add toppings and sides of bite-sized gyoza. There’s also a big dog-friendly patio out front. Order online or dine in.

bartaco (multiple locations)

The trendy pan-Latin taqueria recently unleashed “lunch box” meals for kids, featuring a quesadilla, guacamole and chips, and a taco of choice neatly assembled in a retro metal box ($14). An easy ordering process includes checking off items with a pencil. The D.C. location also just debuted weekday happy hour for the first time.

Old Ebbitt Grill

Families making the rounds downtown can show off this iconic D.C. restaurant to the whole family. A kids’ menu that comes with crayons includes the usual suspects (chicken fingers, cheeseburgers, pizza), and occasionally more interesting fare like fish and snack plates. Reserve a seat online.

Dining Review - Old Ebbitt Grill
Crab cakes from Old Ebbitt Grill.
Washington Post via Getty Images

Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar

Young Arlington parents are big fans of this casual, Asheville-based chain that wins extra points for free diapers in the bathroom. Cocktails, all-day brunch, and Southern comfort food for grown-ups join an abundant kids’ menu ($6-$9.50) full of blueberry waffles, grilled or fried chicken, slow-roasted meatloaf, and all kinds of sides (mac and cheese, Brussels sprouts, goat cheese grits, chicken tortilla soup, and braised green beans).

Waffles for kids are made with fresh blueberries, whipped cream, and powdered sugar.
Tupelo Honey

Ted's Bulletin (Multiple Locations)

Giant pastry pockets and oversized cinnamon rolls make breakfast a blast at the D.C. chain of nostalgic diners. All-day pancakes from the kids’ menu come in a “Mr. Breakfast” shape, with bacon for the mouth and bananas and berries for the eyes and nose. The kids’ menu breaks from the basic tenders-and-fries rut, with options like teriyaki salmon and an assortment of nutritious sides. Order here for pickup or delivery at six area locations, with more on the way.

Boardwalk Bar & Arcade

With two bars, arcade games, shuffleboard, and pinball, there’s no shortage of entertainment at the Wharf’s new waterfront hangout. During daily happy hour (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.), adults can order a “Happy Meal” combo ($8.95) complete with a mini Miller High Life, shot of whiskey, and popcorn. A kids’ menu includes mac and cheese, pizza, tacos, cotton candy, and ice cream sandwiches ($4.95-$9.95). FYI: The bar is cashless, and kids are only allowed with a 21-and-up guardian.

Boardwalk Bar offers two levels of fun.
Daniel Swartz for Boardwalk

Silver Diner

With flexible hours and wide-ranging menus, diners are generally good places to take children. This Rockville-based institution, around since 1989, opened its first D.C. location (and No. 20 to date) on Wednesday, October 5 across from Nationals Park. The local chain has a kids’ menu of nutrition-focused classics, taste-tested by kids. Tykes can collect a series of “Kids Club” buttons, and get free birthday mains and shakes. Dine-in or order here for pickup and delivery.

An abbreviated menu at Silver Diner encourages efficiency and simplicity during slammed game and event days at Nationals Park. 
Silver Diner

Caboose Commons

This sprawling brewery in Fairfax checks a lot of boxes, with two separate areas for outdoor dining. Caboose’s casual setting includes a dog-friendly patio and a large common area great for strollers or kids who need to walk around. In addition to the beer selection, the food menu offers beer-friendly food like nachos and burgers, plus healthier options like Buddha bowls and poke. The children’s menu features grass-fed burgers and organic chicken tenders. Reserve a spot here for indoor or outdoor dining.

RASA

The fast-growing counter for standout Indian bowls in D.C. and Arlington broke into suburbia this summer with a new color-soaked location in Fairfax’s Mosaic District complex. At this location only, little ones can choose from vermicelli rice noodles with tomato garlic sauce (with the option to add chicken tikka or mixed veggies); an adorable build-your-own option; and basmati rice and tikka bowl with toasted cumin yogurt and juice. Adults can enjoy canned wine, bottled Taj Mahal and domestic beers, and masala gin and tonic cocktails. Order online for pickup.

Rasa, which translates “to taste,” welcomes Fairfax diners with its bright logo and leafy patio lined with bucket swings. 
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Related Maps

The Salt Line

The lively seafood shack in Navy Yard (and now Ballston) has menu items just for tykes: a cheeseburger, hot dog, and fish sticks — all served with fries and fresh fruit — or buttery pasta ($6-$8).

Blackwall Hitch (Multiple Locations)

At this waterfront restaurant in Old Town, kids can choose from a special menu and run around the harbor while parents take in views of the Potomac River. Blackwall Hitch is known for its expansive patio and oversized bloody mary — complete with (for better or worse) crab meat and bacon. Even better: charming, perennial favorite Pop’s Old-Fashioned Ice Cream is steps away for dessert.

Related Maps