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12 Family-Friendly Restaurants & Places to Eat Your Kids Will Love
The nation’s capital has become a foodie’s paradise with a range of restaurant options fit for diners of all ages.
Thanks to the international entrepreneurs who’ve opened restaurants in the area, Washington, DC now offers cuisine from around the world, and many of these restaurants welcome children with open arms. Here’s a guide to some of our favorite family-friendly restaurants, where you’re sure to find a menu that pleases both you and your kids.
A favorite of tourists and locals alike is Founding Farmers. The Foggy Bottom restaurant serves up a healthy, seasonal menu inspired by and sourced from family farms in neighboring Maryland and Virginia. While the name conjures signers of the Declaration of Independence, the dishes are all modern comfort food. Make sure to check out Farmers Fishers Bakers in Georgetown, too.
The charming Cafe Berlin is located in a historic townhouse in Capitol Hill. Specializing in German favorites, dine inside or in the outdoor beer garden. Keep your eyes open, because you might see a few recognizable faces among the Hill types who regularly patronize this popular cafe.
The iconic Old Ebbitt Grill is one of the oldest restaurants in DC. Established in 1856, it has catered to politicos and journalists for a more than a century, including former regulars like Presidents Grant, Cleveland, Harding and Theodore Roosevelt. This DC institution is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with to-go sandwiches, shareable desserts and signature raw bar.
Carmine’s is an ideal gathering place for families. Located in Penn Quarter just a few blocks from the National Mall, Carmine’s serves heaping plates of pasta, meats, garlic bread, salads, meats and desserts. After lunch or dinner, they’ll store your leftovers in a fridge until you come back to pick them up later.
Bolt Burgers, located near the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, offers gourmet burgers in a high-tech, fast-casual setting. It stands out for offering unique features such as artisan cheeses, brioche buns, spice rubs and homemade relishes.
You can enjoy the delicious burgers at Shake Shack in Dupont Circle, Union Station and Penn Quarter (and coming soon: Logan Circle). The chain is also adored for its creamy, irresistible shakes made with premium custards featuring rotating flavors. Everyone will want one of their juicy burgers, with hot dogs or chicken sandwiches serving as alternate options.
Oyamel Cocina Mexicana is one of local celebrity chef José Andrés’ most popular restaurants, located in the Penn Quarter neighborhood. Specializing in fine Mexican cuisine, kids are enchanted by the tableside preparation of guacamole, while parents will relish the margaritas and mojitos. Dining here will elevate your experience with Latin American food.
Union Station, DC’s main transportation hub, has lots of family friendly restaurants. One stand out is Bold Bite DC, a locally owned burger, hot dog and Belgian fries restaurant. Located in the lower level food court area, every item from its kitchen is handmade and fresh, including their donuts. Insider tip: give the DC Guac Dog a try.
After visiting the National Zoo, stop in Baked by Yael. Kids adore the rainbow of cake pops, delicious cookies and the freshly made bagels. Take a seat in the colorful shop and sample one of their many cake pop flavors, including Birthday, Cookies & Cream, Raspberry and Lemon. The bakery is nut-free and kosher, and also features gluten-free products.
The decor and beautifully presented Japanese dishes at SEI will delight. Don’t be intimidated by the all-white furnishings; families are welcome here. The lunch special is sure to be a hit: $20 for soup, salad, sushi, short ribs and veggies, with caramel pudding for dessert, is quite the bargain.
The name says it all: Fuel Pizza & Wings serves up pizza, by the pie or the slice, and chicken wings that fill you up and get you back on the road for more sightseeing (notice the fueling station-themed decor). Step up to the counter at the Downtown or Penn Quarter locations to order your fuel of choice, and await table-side delivery. The experience is quick, affordable and delicious.
There’s something reassuring about finding a Hard Rock Cafe in a new town. The menu, filled with American classics, is sure to satisfy a hungry family. The Hard Rock in Washington, DC is no exception. Kids will also be dazzled by the fun, star-filled decorations and memorabilia all over the restaurant.
Looking for more family friendly things to do in DC? Check out our favorite family friendly free (and almost free) things to do.