Oceana Coastal Kitchen at Catamaran Resort
For adults: Oceana features modern California cuisine. Ask for a table by the bay for a great view. The seafood options are exceptional including the California white seabass with ancho chili, orange, beets, farro and baby kale. We also loved the breakfast menu, which includes a frittata of smoked ruby trout.
For children: The kids pointed out the jellyfish aquarium inside the restaurant, which also provides a jellyfish coloring sheet with its kids menu. The pancakes and french toast were a consistent crowd-pleaser. For dinner, the sushi-shaped PB&J rolls were a hit.
Cannonball Restaurant in Belmont Park
For adults: This seaside restaurant, which is the largest rooftop restaurant in San Diego, offers fabulous sushi and the best beach views in Belmont Park. It’s a great place for a big group (we met up with cousins and we were all seated together). We started with an abundance of an appetizer Ahi Poke, a mix of cucumber, onions, avocado, taro root chip, chukka and sesame ponzu served with the trendy taro chips. We also tried the Spicy Lobster Roll with yamagobo, tempura panko, jalapeno rings and eel sauce, which was spicier than the Enfuego made of crab, avocado, torched seared salmon, spicy aioli and eel sauce.
For children: The kids menu isn’t as adventurous as the main menu but had a good selection of child-friendly fare and my son’s burger was well-cooked and flavorful.
Tidal at Paradise Point Resort
For adults: The view of the sunset from the patio is spectacular, which makes this a great couples’ destination. Set in a former 1960s beach house, Tidal offers locally sourced dishes with Italian and French influences. The olive oil poached halibut was sublime
For children: This is a special occasion restaurant. Thus the kids menu plates are priced at about $20 per child. However, this includes an appetizer and a dessert. My child chose the cheese and crackers, spaghetti with marinara and the fruit dessert.
Corvette Diner in Liberty Station
For adults: This is one of San Diego’s most popular family restaurants. It’s a loud and boisterous experience where the waitstaff enjoys torturing mild-mannered parents. But prices are reasonable and happy kids mean happy parents.
For children: They will love with a capital “L” this place. The waiter immediately threw a handful of straws at our two 5-year-old boys who promptly deluged their shakes with straws in fits of laughter. The 1950s style comfort food with some twists is great for young palates but the sing-a-longs, dancing and goofy good time keep them distracted. As one waitress told us: “Oh, honey. No one’s eating dinner tonight.”
Casa de Bandini in Carlsbad
For adults: After a day of park food at Legoland, you may want to unwind at this popular Mexican restaurant with a great mix of traditional combination plates and eclectic dishes such as crispy shrimp and mango tacos.
For children: The kids menu has a good selection of mini-sized Mexican fare including Tiritas de Pollo and beef rolled tacos as well as two healthy food options: healthy Mexican pizza and chicken tacos.