Los Angeles is a busy city with a lot of fun destinations for the perfect family vacation. Some visitors will stick close to Hollywood hoping to sneak a peak at a movie star or they will tour on busses that will take them by beautiful mansions that belong to the actors that live in the area. Others will head straight for Disney Land and then take side trips to Knotts Berry Farm and Sea World. Still others will be enamored with a more cultural sense and will start their trip with the Griffith Observatory, the Natural History Museum and the DeVorzon Gallery. What ever your pleasure sooner or later you will have to stop for a meal. Whether you are traveling with your family or just prefer casual dining, you will find the best choices here.
Giggles ‘N’ Hugs is a favorite restaurant for children because they can just be themselves. This is an excellent choice if your child’s birthday happens to come during vacation. Half of the restaurant is a play area with other half a dining area. Their special Macaroni and Cheese dish has hidden butternut squash for extra nutrition. They also have freshly baked pizza and gourmet salads to choose from. There is a kid’s disco night on Friday evenings and a puppet show on Saturdays.
Gauchos Village calls itself a little bit of Brazil. Featuring the all-you-can-eat Brazilian Buffet with salads, pastas, bread, fried bananas and skewers of beef. The staff, dressed in gaucho costumes will serve your every cuisine need. Roberto Montero will play the best of Bossa Nova on his guitar every Thursday. Similar wonderful live Brazilian music is played Saturdays and Sundays.
Big Mama’s Rib Shack offers original southern American food. They are completely family friendly and give great service as only a family owned and operated restaurant can. The Los Angeles Times Newspaper calls them “A Louisiana Dream.” Try their fried catfish, chicken or shrimp creole, spicy jambalaya and, of course, their barbecue ribs. The best soul food and they serve it all with free cornbread. When the family is starving for rib-sticking food, this is the place – and easy on the budget too.
Ocean Seafood offers the freshest of Cantonese sea cuisine including familiar and unfamiliar fish, shrimp, crab and lobster. The staff has been meticulously trained to offer the customer suggestions while giving excellent service. Beside seafood, they offer general Chinese and Dim Sum fair. They are located in the heart of China Town and offer family style serving with an “A” rating from the Health Department. They also offer take-out if you’d like to eat back at your hotel.
Side Street Café attracts an eclectic group of patrons that always feel at home in the décor of mismatched tables and family photos of barbeques, picnics and little league games. For breakfast try the Side Street Sampler which includes sourdough French toast, a giant pancake, two eggs and potatoes. Sounds like the one dish could feed the whole family. The kids will love the fresh hot chocolate with whipped cream or fresh squeezed orange juice. For the adults, Side Street Café boasts the best coffee in town. If you’ve brought the family pup on the trip, sit in their outdoor patio and enjoy the sunshine.
Casa Bianca Pizza Pie will send you back in time to the 50s as you walk through the door and sit down at a red-checked table clothed table and posters of old Italy on the walls. If your not in the mood for their delicious cheese dripping pizza, they also offer traditional Italian cuisine of spaghetti, lasagna or homemade sausage. For a fun idea for the adults, bring your own wine. This is allowed with a $2.50 corkage fee. Of course, they have a perfectly good selection of wines at Casa Bianca’s. If you should have a chance to eat there on a Saturday night try their complimentary deep-fried Sicilian rice balls (arancini di riso).
Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles is a local institution, immortalized in movies such as “Pulp Fiction” and “Swingers.” It’s true the décor is rather bland, but customers aren’t here for the ambiance, but for the food. Most popularly, people pack the restaurant for Sunday brunch. They offer such fair as fried chicken and gravy smothered hash browns, Roscoe’s specialty dish, called Scoe’s Special, is chicken and waffles. You’ve never seen such fluffy waffles, with just a hint of cinnamon, no matter how you decide to eat them. Roscoe’s is great for the budget too.
The Cheesecake Factory, although they can be found at other parts of the country as well as L.A., if you are a cheesecake lover there are none finer than here. If your adventuresome try the Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple Cheesecake. If not, stick with the original cheesecake. Either way you can’t go wrong. If you get a chance ask for an outdoor seat so you can enjoy the marina views. This kid friendly restaurant serves a delectable cuisine, not just cheesecake. So plan on ordering great pasta, tacos, salmon and more from their book sized menu.
Grinder Restaurant serves just plain old good American food for the budget conscious. The décor is nothing fancy, but if you’re just looking for great service and good food and a good price Grinders is a good meal stop. If you stop by their webpage before leaving for your trip you will be able to print off some discount coupons. Some of their popular dishes are their Heavenly Hamburger ( choice of French fries or fruit and add soup or salad for just $1,59, Wild Alaskan Salmon Burger or for breakfast try creating your own omelet.
Los Angeles Casual Dining
No matter what activities you choose to enjoy during your trip to Los Angeles, you are bound to find one or more of these restaurants a match to your personal and cuisine style. And when you come back to visit this busy city, be adventuresome and try some of the other casual dining experiences at Napa Valley Grill, Frisella’s Roastery or the West Coast Pizza.
(cc: photo credit: DidiPop Music)