Best “Kids Eat Free” Restaurant
Ruby’s Diner wins for the 18th time. The retro restaurant started out as a small shack on Balboa Pier in Newport Beach and is now serving up burgers, fries and shakes throughout America. The menu includes kids’ classics such as macaroni & cheese, grilled cheese, kids’ French toast and kids’ small shakes. On Tuesday family nights, kids under 12 years old eat free from 4 p.m. until closing. Check your local Ruby’s Diner for details.
rubys.com | Multiple Locations
Best Birthday Cakes
Nothing Bundt Cakes
Nothing Bundt Cakes sets out to bring joy to their guests. The cakes come in a wide variety of sizes and flavors, including gluten-free options. They are handcrafted in every bakery to fill the needs of just about any kind of celebration. Plus, with an offering of gifts, decor and party supplies, Nothing Bundt Cakes bakeries could easily be a one-stop-shop for the special day.
nothingbundtcakes.com | Multiple Locations
Best Family Restaurant
The Cheesecake Factory
While The Cheesecake Factory started out with just cheesecake and other desserts, it now serves more than 250 dishes, so there’s a good chance anyone in the family can find something delicious. The restaurant is known for its very generous portions at a reasonable price and the dessert selection is bigger than other places. There’s also brunch served on weekends.
thecheesecakefactory.com | Multiple Locations
Best Healthy Snack — TIE
Whole Foods Market Salad Bar
Whole Foods Market is all about natural and organic foods, and the salad bar makes it easy to grab a quick and healthy meal on-the-go. You can either create your own salad from fresh and seasonal ingredients or, to make things even faster, load up on one of the prepared pasta or grain salads. Some options are available year-round, others show up only seasonally.
wholefoodsmarket.com | Multiple Locations
You might have to wait a bit to get your Banzai bowl, but that’s because they’re all made with fresh ingredients (nothing pre-packaged or pre-made) in a process that takes some time. The company is a labor of love, and the ingredients and menu reflect that. The bowls are fresh and healthy, a perfect snack before or after surfing.
banzaibowls.com | Multiple Locations
Best Kids Menu
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews
Red Robin’s kids’ menu is full of children’s favorites such as burgers and bottomless steak fries plus bottomless steamed broccoli to add a healthier side. Kids also get free birthday sundaes as the staff sings to them in front of everybody. While they wait for the food, children 12 and under can entertain themselves with a full-sized activity menu. You can also get 50 percent off kids’ meals on Wednesdays at select locations.
redrobin.com | Multiple Locations
Best Pizza Place
Round Table Pizza
The restaurant has been around for more than 60 years, and today, it’s still committed to using the freshest ingredients available and following some of the original recipes. With more than a dozen pizza variations to choose from as well as wings, salads and desserts, it’s no wonder our readers chose Round Table Pizza for the top spot again.
roundtablepizza.com | Multiple Locations
Best Place to Satisfy a Sweet Tooth
Family-owned Crumbl Cookies has more than 300 bakeries in 36 states. Crumbl wins over customers and keeps them coming back with a weekly rotating menu and inventive sweet concoctions and flavor combinations, all in the bakery’s famous pink packaging. The one cookie that’s always on the menu is the famous thick, soft milk chocolate chip.
crumblcookies.com | Multiple Locations
Best Dine & Play — TIE
Dave & Buster’s
It’s a two-in-one combo of the best kind. Come to play anything from old-fashioned arcade games to billiards and virtual reality and stay to relax and enjoy the food from an expansive menu of burgers, pastas, wraps, salads, ribs, sandwiches and more. There’s a kids’ menu, including kids’ drinks such as Blue Raspberry Sno Glowb or Grape Candy Chill.
daveandbusters.com | Orange and Irvine
The fast-food chicken joint, which first opened in 1946, is one of the largest restaurant chains in the U.S. It’s known for its chicken sandwiches and some renegade mascot cows trying to get more people to the restaurant. Since chicken is the main ingredient in most of the dishes, Chick-fil-A promises to deliver it at a high quality.
chick-fil-a.com | Multiple Locations
Best Vegan Food
True Food Kitchen
The eco-chic chain restaurant caters to health-conscious diners and can accommodate a variety of diets. There are plenty of vegan options throughout the menu of salads and bowls, pizzas, burgers and sandwiches, entrees and desserts, including dishes for kids. Each restaurant has its own culinary team preparing the food with sustainably sourced ingredients.
truefoodkitchen.com | Newport Beach
Best Fast Food
The first drive-through in California, In-N-Out has been serving up burgers and fries for more than 70 years now, developing an almost cult-like following and becoming a favorite fast-food spot for plenty of hungry customers. The restaurant promises to deliver on quality by making their own patties (no frozen or pre-packaged foods) and sourcing the freshest ingredients possible.
in-n-out.com | Multiple Locations
Best Food Truck/Stand
Crepes Bonaparte Food Truck
Crepes Bonaparte brings a taste of France to your tastebuds. Aside from the food trucks, which have been featured on Food Network, Crepes Bonaparte has a restaurant location in Fullerton. The savory and sweet crepes are made-to-order and aim to recreate the experience of eating crepes on the streets of France.
crepesbonaparte.com | Fullerton
Best Pet-Friendly Patio
It’s not often you see a dog menu at a restaurant, but that’s what makes Lazy Dog stand out. Your pooch is welcome in the patio dining area and only has to follow a few health and safety rules. The menu for dog owners is pretty impressive too and includes so many options, it’s pretty much impossible not to find something that will hit the spot.
lazydogrestaurants.com | Multiple Locations
Best Pet-Friendly Cafe
The Park Bench Cafe
The family-owned outdoor cafe in Huntington Beach Central Park has become a hidden gem among locals and dog owners, and the canine cuisine menu — with dishes such as Hot Diggity Dog or Peanut Butter Bone — has been a hit for years. While the owners enjoy breakfast or lunch, the dogs can stay next to them under umbrella-shaded tables. The Huntington Beach Dog Park is nearby, which makes the outing even more dog-friendly.
parkbenchcafe.com | Huntington Beach
By Magda Hernandez, Jessica Peralta and Nathan Davis