In New Orleans, we like to think that all menus are kid-friendly—who doesn’t love gumbo or fried shrimp? Though some people luck out with children who eat (or will try) anything—oysters, bleu cheese, duck confit—at least once, not every child has the palate of a 50-year-old gourmand. Where is the middle ground—restaurants where kids who eat like kids and food-obsessed adults can both get what they want? It’s all there—a little something for everyone is just a forkful away. Here is a taste of some great New Orleans restaurants for families.
Sure, most restaurants in the Quarter will cater to kids with buttered noodles or a downsized fried-shrimp platter, but at Camellia Grill there is a menu just for kids. Right-sized burgers, pancakes, waffles and, of course, the signature icy, cool “Freeze” is pretty much a rite of passage. The fine-dining gem Pelican Club has a famously fantastic kids’ menu that offers everything from panéed Gulf fish to fried chicken to a 4-oz. petite filet mignon with “baby” vegetables and mashed potatoes.
Home to the Louisiana Children’s Museum, this part of town is packed with dining and dessert options. Sliders and hot dogs at Cochon Butcher, gooey mac ’n’ cheese at St. James Cheese Company and "Beignet Bites" (get the chocolate) at New Orleans Coffee & Beignet Company are all terrific. At Company Burger, the much-lauded cheeseburgers sit side-by-side on the menu with a killer grilled cheese, tater tots and creamy milkshakes. At The American Sector, potato chip-crusted fish and chips or homey spaghetti and meatballs is perfect for sharing. With numerous locations throughout the city, The Ruby Slipper is a breakfast hot-spot. It's Kids Meals (for ages 10 and younger) include small sizes of the usual morning suspects, and a slider with fries.
City Park has tons of kid-friendly attractions attractions (miniature golf, an amusement park, a century-old carousel) and food for all appetites. Morning Call, best known for beignets, also serves traditional dishes beloved by all: red beans and rice and jambalaya. Nearby, the New Orleans Museum of Art houses Café NOMA where there is a dedicated kids’ menu with cheese-and-red sauce flatbread pizza, along with a grilled cheese sandwich on fluffy challah bread.
In need of fortification while strolling Magazine Street? There’s District Hand Pies for a quick bite to walk and munch. Head a couple blocks away from Magazine Street toward the river, and stop in at Octavia Books (great kids and teen selection), then round the corner to Toast, where a special kids menu has aebelskivers (pancake balls) with jam or syrup, biscuits, grits and toast with Nutella and banana. Over on Freret Street, High Hat Café has a bar and menu for Mom and Dad and five-item kids menu. The catfish or chicken fingers are where it’s at.
New Orleans restaurant dining isn’t exclusive to the adult crowd. Bring the kids and wander with confidence knowing that, when hunger hits, there is always a place at the table and a dish of comfort for everyone.