99 Kid-friendly Restaurants in the East Bay - 510 Families

99 Kid-friendly Restaurants in the East Bay

Best Restaurants for Kids & Families in the East Bay

Changing tables? Kid-friendly menu? Noise-tolerant? If you’re a parent in Berkeley, Oakland, or some other part of the East Bay, odds are pretty good that you’ve been to a handful of the following restaurants with your kids– over and over and over! Consider this your community-generated cheat sheet for a diverse variety of kid-centric eats.

Thanks to Public Market Emeryville for sponsoring today’s guide to family-friendly dining. With more than 20 purveyors and ample choices, there are lots of reasons to bring the kids out to dinner at Public Market. Don’t forget the excellent playground nearby, too!

Jump around by category to find a new favorite restaurant: Public Market Favorites | Asian | | Breweries for Families | Burgers + Hot Dogs| Diners + Cafes | Italian/Pizza | Mexican | More Favorite Restaurants

foosball children big tv
Families can play foosball or watch games on the giant screen | Photo: Public Market Emeryville

Mexican Restaurants & More

The smallest of new eaters can usually manage some mashed-up avocado or soft black beans. Even picky toddlers will go for quesadillas. Our family-favorite taquerías around the Oakland area:

  1. Cactus (N. Berkeley + Rockridge) | Cactus is my go-to. Those tiny burritos and the great prices bring me back over and over again. It is the place I turn to when I don’t want to cook. – Whitney  Website.
  2. Casa Latina (W. Berkeley) | Taqueria and a panaderia in one. The food is amazing, and the space is lovely.  Yelp.
  3. Cancun (Downtown Berkeley) | Committed to fresh ingredients; lots of salsa choices. Website.
  4. Cholita Linda (Temescal + Alameda) | Farmers’ Market stand turned brick-and-mortar with delicious Peruvian flavors. Website.
  5. Juan’s Place (W. Berkeley) | My son had a beef taco and he LITERALLY attempted to lick the plate clean until I told him it wasn’t polite. – Lisa. Yelp.
  6. La Mission (Berkeley) | Small restaurant with friendly service, outdoor seating, and tasty tacos. Yelp.
  7. La Penca Azul (Alameda) | Take-out, delivery, pickup, and dine-in are all available for this local favorite. Also have a taco truck in Oakland. My daughters love the chips. – Rebecca. Website.
  8. Picante (Berkeley) | Drive-through carry-out and outdoor dining. I am a big fan of online ordering and easy pickup. My kids can’t get enough of their food. – Heather Website.
  9. Tacubaya (Berkeley) | This Fourth Street taqueria is a delicious respite from shopping and errands. Outdoor seating lets sound escape and don’t forget the trainspotting. – Heather Website.
  10. Taqueria Talavera (Berkeley) | We come here for the adjacent tot lot and outdoor seating. Plus, one burrito can practically feed your entire family. – Anna. Yelp.
kids and adult grabbing chips and guac at cholita linda restaurant
Grabbing a chip with guacamole at Cholita Linda | Photo: Anna Azimi

Tasty Asian restaurants kids dig

You guys had way more go-to sushi joints than I was expecting with a strong emphasis on the boats (AKA bune). The Bay Area has a huge variety of Asian food, but here are some of our kid-favorite joints:

  1. Bowl’d (Albany + Alameda) | Korean pick-up, delivery, & dine-in. I love that they give little smoothies and kid chopsticks and bowls. – Anne C. Website.
  2. Breads of India (Berkeley + Oakland) | A mango lassi and a plate full of naan and my sons are very happy. My husband and I love the fresh ingredients. – Heather. Menu changes daily. Website.
  3. Burma Superstar (Alameda + Oakland) | Also offering a smaller to-go operation one block down on Telegraph. My children will both eat coconut rice and mango slices. Protein? No thank you. But the grown ups are more than happy, so it’s all good. – Whitney. Website.
  4. Café Raj (Albany) | Great N. Indian + Pakistani. Call ahead for take-out or dine indoors. My daughter will eat Chana Masala and my son will eat Chicken Tikka Masala, hold the raisins. – Whitney. Website.
  5. China Village (Albany) | This Szechuan place is huge and always packed, I think that speaks for itself. Website.
  6. Dumpling Time (Berkeley + others) | Delightfully small portions of dumplings and gyoza for little appetites. This tasty spot can get very busy at peak times. Website.
  7. Hana Japan (Berkeley Marina) | For a birthday splurge, my kids love the flying knives, choo-choo onion, and fire show on the hibachi grill. – Heather. {Our take on Hana Japan} Website.
  8. House of Curries (Albany + Berkeley) | Cheap Indian take-out food, but some of the best naan around. Also available for delivery. Website.
  9. Kim’s Cafe & Sandwiches (Albany) | Probably the cheapest place around. Four bucks for a bahn mi. Extra points because it’s super good too. Website.
  10. Kirala 2 (N. Berkeley) | This carry-out sushi place has frequent rotation with grab-and-go or custom options. Just as important, its dining area is a multi-level staged platform with a little stream. Website.
  11. Manpuku (Elmwood) | Really affordable, tasty sushi and Japanese fare. Website.
  12. Monster Pho (Temescal) | Tasty Vietnamese served by robots in a colorful, inventive atmosphere. My kids giggled in amazement as the Monster Pho robot moved across the room, stopped next to our table, and talked to us. — Maureen. Website.
  13. Mint Leaf (W. Berkeley + Alameda) | Vietnamese restaurant serving take-out, delivery, and dine-in with outdoor seating at the Berkeley location. Try the Cha Gio rolls. Website.
  14. Ohgane Korean (Oakland + Alameda + Concord) | Korean BBQ for take-out and dine-in. Website.
  15. Oori Rice Triangles (Albany + Berkeley + Oakland) | Popular rice triangle chain open for takeout and dining in. My family and so many friends LOVE the takeout from Oori Rice triangles – Carol B. Website.
  16. Renee’s Place (Albany) | Delicious Chinese. Wonderful neighborhood restaurant where Renee herself enjoys greeting the regulars of all ages and knows how to accommodate multi-generational parties very well. – Holly L. Website.
  17. Samurai Sushi Boat (Grand Ave. Oakland) | Sushi boat restaurant to delight you and your children both. Website.
  18. Shiba Ramen (Emeryville) | Kids love to slurp big bowls of ramen noodles in a flavorful broth. Portions are large and include enough noodles to share. Website.
  19. Sweet Basil (Berkeley) | Thai. Website.
  20. Toss Noodle Bar (Berkeley) | Dine-in or carry-out mixed Asian flavors. Dress your noodles or rice however you like. {See Whitney’s review of Toss} Website.
  21. Vik’s Chaat House (Berkeley) | Indian take-out or delivery, or enjoy your food inside their cafeteria-style seating or at their outdoor patio. With over 2800 Yelp reviews, this place has got to be good. Website.
two adults and three children sit at kid sized tables at public market emeryville
Public Market Emeryville has child-sized seats and tables available | Photo: Public Market Emeryville

5 restaurants kids love at Public Market Emeryville

With more than 20 eateries under one roof, everyone in the family will find a meal they will love at Public Market Emeryville. You can enjoy your meal in the food hall or the spacious outdoor patios. After your meal, families enjoy gaming tables and live music. See the calendar for free monthly pop-up events like origami making, cookie decorating, or face painting.

You can also send the kids to play at the sweet playground while the grown-ups eat soft serve.

  1. Super Duper Burgers | There’s everything a kid would love: from a mini burger to kid-sized shakes and soft-serve cones made with organic Straus Family Creamery soft-serve, plus fries, and house-made pickles. Other locations are in Berkeley and Concord. Website >
  2. La Vida Fish & Chips | New at Public Market, La Vida offers a full menu of fresh and sustainable options including a children’s menu with chicken strips, grilled cheese, and of course, fish & chips. Website >
  3. Jayna Gyro | Offering exciting Mediterranean eats, Jayna Gyro has a delicious assortment of gyros in bowls or wraps, including a tasty chicken gyro pita and Greek fries (with or without feta). Website >
  4. Mr. Dewie’s Cashew Creamery | Serving “we can’t believe it’s vegan” creamy, cashew-based, dairy-free, soy-free ice cream like Heavenly Chocolate, Strawberry, and Golden Spice. Natural, healthy, and tasty! Website >
  5. Pizzeria Mercato | Serves up authentic Neapolitan-style pizzas cooked in a traditional brick oven, plus fresh pasta dishes, salads, and a full bar for the grown-ups. Website >
children's entertainer, a fairy, and the backs of children at a wide open space
Look for free monthly pop-up events for kids at Public Market | Photo: Public Market Emeryville

Pizza & Italian places that welcome families

Can’t go wrong with cheese pizza, am I right? Well not for my kid but for 79.5% of East Bay kids, it is the easy choice. Parents and kids like these places for getting tomato sauce on their faces:

  1. Arizmendi Bakery (Oakland + Emeryville) | Worker-owned cooperative serves pizza by the slice in a daily flavor for takeout or dine-in. The menu changes daily, so call ahead.
  2. Benchmark Pizza (Kensington) | Menu aimed at kids and adults. The entire menu is available for take-out. Website.
  3. Cheeseboard (N. Berkeley) | The refined tastes might be too much for some little ones but the noisy grab-and-go ambiance can’t be beaten. You can often ask for toppings to be left off, but not the core cheese or sauce. Check the pizza flavor before you go. Often busy! Website.
  4. Drake’s Dealership (Oakland) | Wood-fired pizzas, excellent beer, and a huge outdoor seating area. Website.
  5. Forge (Jack London Square) | This pizzeria has fire pits plus a pretty view of the docks. The kid’s pizza is huge. Soft serve sundaes to top it off. Website.
  6. Gioia Pizzeria (N. Berkeley) | Take-out New York-style pizza by the slice.  Squash for the adults. My family lives on this stuff! – Whitney. Order online for take-out or delivery. Website.
  7. iSlice (Albany + Concord + Walnut Creek) | Pick up a slice or a whole pie. Reasonably priced, fast, and delicious. Website.
  8. Italian Homemade (Elmwood) | This family-friendly casual eatery has all the pasta and sauce combinations a picky child could want. The kids love watching the fresh pasta being made daily. – Caitlin. Website.
  9. Jupiter (Berkeley) | Terrific patio for casual summer evenings with wood-fired pizza and lots of beer on tap. Website.
  10. Little Star Pizza (Albany) | The deep dish is the star here, but don’t overlook the solid thin crust. Definitely my kids’ first pick. – Holly L. Website.
  11. Lucia’s (Berkeley) | Tasty pizzas, salads, and veggies in the cutest little shop. Website.
  12. Mission Pizza + Pub (Fremont) | With a huge selection of craft beers, arcade games, and live music every Saturday night, you’ll all have fun. Plus gluten-free pizza and beer. Website.
  13. Sliver Pizzeria (Berkeley + Oakland + Fremont) | Follows a weekly pizza menu where different pizzas are served each day, check the website to find out when your favorite is being served. Website.
  14. Tomatina (Alameda) | Pizzas, pasta, brussels sprouts, AND kids eat FREE on Thursdays after 4 pm. Website.
  15. Zachary’s (Berkeley + Oakland) | My family’s favorite deep-dish place offers half-baked pizzas to cut short the waiting game. – Heather. Website.

Find lots more pizza places East Bay families love “sliced” by kind of crust >>

Family-Friendly Breweries & Beer Gardens

Relax at one of these kid-friendly East Bay beer gardens and brew pubs.

  1. Arthur Mac’s Tap and Snack (Oakland + Emeryville) | Pizza, wings, video games, and a chill vibe for gathering. Website.
  2. Backyard (Richmond) | An outdoor space with live music, a food truck, community gathering, and beer for the adults. Check the events calendar. Website.
  3. Line 51 Taproom (Oakland) | Housing a real-live bus that kids can explore and hosting kids’ nights, this place is a gem. Also, there’s some food. Website.
  4. Ocean View Brew Works (Albany) | With games, toys, events, and a welcoming vibe, families enjoy this spot and its kitchenette. Website.
  5. Westbrae Biergarten (N. Berkeley) | Enjoy an eclectic outdoor atmosphere and Brazilian cuisine. Website.

Diners & Cafes that kids love

  1. Beauty’s Bagel Shop (Oakland) | My child loves their plain bagels or anything with avocado or hummus – Heather. Website.
  2. Berkeley Bagels on Gilman (Berkeley) | Our go-to breakfast on the weekends. – Whitney (and she’s a bagel snob!). Check out their reviews on Yelp.
  3. Black Bear Diner (Emeryville + Oakland + more) | American comfort food with big portions and a mascot bear in uniform. Look for the ice cream concierge. Website.
  4. Boichik Bagels | Popular Elmwood bagel spot. Give a bialy a try. Website.
  5. Cafe Leila (Berkeley) | High quality, fresh food and offers a large patio with enough room for dogs and strollers. Service can be slow. Open for breakfast and lunch. – Whitney. Website.
  6. Fatapples (Berkeley + El Cerrito) | Known for breakfast, burgers, and baked goods, this diner has lots of choices for food and even more for dessert. The El Cerrito location has much more dining space and parking. Website.
  7. Lama Beans (Berkeley) | Magically delicious pancakes and plenty of other items on the menu. A big stack of shared coloring books to entertain the kiddos. Website.
  8. Oceanview Diner (Berkeley) | This Fourth Street favorite is going strong under new ownership serving breakfast & sandwiches all day for indoor & outdoor seating. Website.
  9. Rick and Ann’s (Elmwood) | Beloved by locals. Always a line. Website.
  10. Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe (Emeryville) | Favorite breakfast and lunch specials with dinner some nights. Lots of colorful things to entertain kids. Website.

Find the best milkshakes in the (510) >>

Hamburgers & Hot Dogs

My own kids love the local burger joints. Many of our sit-down dinners are at these places:

  1. Al’s Big Burger (Albany) | I love this place for its old-school feel. My kids love the juicy burgers, fries, and creamy milkshakes. – Anna On Yelp.
  2. Barney’s Burgers (Berkeley + Oakland + Piedmont) | Patio and indoor dining available. Burgers are made with high-grade beef; other options include chicken, turkey burgers, and portobello. The kids’ menu also includes a decent hot dog. Website.
  3. Cato’s Ale House (Oakland) | This pub on Piedmont Ave has just the right blend of kid-friendly for those family dinners & cool for a date night. {Our review of Cato’sWebsite.
  4. Gott’s (Walnut Creek) | Burgers, salads, sandwiches, seafood, and shakes. Yum. Website.
  5. In-N-Out Burger (Alameda + Oakland + more) | Burger chain with drive-thru, takeout, and indoor & outdoor seating available. My family’s hands-down favorite fast-food burger place. – Heather. Website.
  6. Park Burger (Oakland) | A neighborhood favorite burger place with killer onion rings. Website.
  7. Station Burger (Elmwood) | Creative, fresh burgers with a bare-bones kids’ meal to please all palates. Website.
  8. Top Dog (Berkeley + Oakland) | The Top Dog is Old SKOOL in the best way – Sarah. Website.
  9. The Habit Burger Grill (Albany + Oakland + Alameda + more) | Fast burgers, outside seating, and a kids menu that features all the favorites. Website.
  10. True Burger (Oakland) | Good burgers, better milkshakes. Website.
Stealing fries at Cato’s in Oakland | Photo: Anna Azimi

More Favorite Restaurants for Families (A to Z)

So many of our favorite restaurants defy categorization so I lumped them all together and alphabetized them. Bon appetit!

  1. Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen (Berkeley) | Jambalaya for you, mac & cheese for your little one, sweet beignets drenched in powdered sugar for all. Website.
  2. Asmara (Oakland) | Asmara has a very friendly family atmosphere; it’s our go-to for great Ethiopian/Eritrean food. – @UUBerkeley. Website.
  3. Cafe Colucci (Oakland) | Ethiopian with outdoor patio. Cafe Colucci has always been great for us. – Dave Website.
  4. Cafe Platano (Berkeley + Oakland) | Salvadoran for carry-out and dine-in. Website.
  5. Crepevine (Berkeley + Rockridge) | Many flavors to pick from as well as the basics. The N. Berkeley location passes out Wikki Stix instead of crayons to mix it up further. Website.
  6. Fentons Creamery (Oakland) | Kids love it here– they know their meal will end with a huge sundae! Pretty standard diner food. Website.
  7. Hashtag Poki (Berkeley) | Hawaiian seasoned raw fish salad (like sushi deconstructed, but the Asian section already has so many restaurants!) created to your exact specifications in front of you. Website.
  8. Homeroom (Berkeley + Oakland) | Mac & cheese but fancy! Website.
  9. La Méditeranée (Berkeley) | Fresh fruit, pita, and hummus on the menu and patio seating for noisy families. Pro tip: Order a pair of combination plates to feed a young family. – Caitlin. Website.
  10. Saul’s Deli (N. Berkeley) | Large Jewish deli with many tasty options; favorites include matzo ball soup and potato latkes with applesauce. Website.
  11. Telegraph Oakland Beeryland (Oakland) | Family- and dog-friendly beer garden where the ‘rents can grab a coffee OR beer (and food) on the patio and my daughter sweet-talks the cooks into fancy-shaped pancakes. – Ruby. Website.
  12. Wahpepah’s Kitchen (Fruitvale) | Indigenous flavors change seasonally. Eat tasty blue corn waffles while you watch the BART go by. – Heather Website.

Have you tried any new places based on our suggestions? Did we miss your kid’s favorite meal? Please share in the comments!

It takes a village. This list of restaurants was generated by Heather, Whitney, Julie, Helena, Maureen, Carol, Anna, and our reader community. We didn’t skip your favorite place on purpose.

[Photo credits indicated; all rights reserved]

Thanks to Public Market Emeryville for sponsoring today’s guide to family-friendly dining. We love all the choices and lovely outdoor dining options. We love playing at their sweet playground and enjoying the events & live music together.

Related:

Global Cuisine restaurants for the whole family
East Bay restaurants with play areas
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