Wanted to respond to an earlier post about not finding any place to take your kids in downtown to eat. When I hear kids, I think "entertainment from toddler - 11 years." I have a three year old and was a former children's librarian with the L.A. Public Library working with kids of all ages. Here are some suggestions.
Criteria: will a three year old be just as intrigued as the 10 year old? Is there space to move around for a short after dinner walk around the place for the little one, without getting thrown out or dirty looked by others? Finally is the food good and affordable?
Clifton's Cafeteria - No one thinks about going here with their family because of the dingy neighborhood. But when you enter, your family will be stunned by this historical & magical two-story alpine palace, complete with water wheel, waterfalls, and a moose! It's buffet style, so cart younger active ones in a stroller until you've selected and paid for the food. The food is standard American fare, perfect for young palates, maybe a bit unexciting, yet still tasty and filling for us adults. No complaints here. The hours can't be beat: Clifton's Cafeteria 648 South Broadway, Los Angeles, California 90014 Telephone: 213.627.1673 Open 7 days a week - 6:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Suehiro's (Little Tokyo) - a perfect lunch or early dinner spot. Try to get here before 7 PM, it fills up fast for dinner. The place itself is unremarkable, but the location and food outstanding for a family. Less than 1/2 a block away is the Japanese American Heritage Museum and MOCA, which share a large, interesting space for young kids to run around in. Send Dad and the younger ones out to the museum area to run around and climb the architechturally fascinating steps. Let Mom and teen puruse all those People magazines you've missed out on (lots of magazines & manga to read at Suehiro's), while waiting for the food. Bathroom has a changing table. Wonderful, affordable lunches and dinners, well-prepared Japanese fare, teriyaki, & tempura, and green tea ice cream. Suehiro's 337 E First Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012-3901, Open Hours: 11a-1a Su-Th, 11a-3a F-Sa
La Parilla - Terrific Mexican food and cute Mexican kitsch atmosphere, across the street from Good Samaritan Hospital, just a few blocks from the downtown area. They had no problems dealing with my toddler roaming around the place, checking out the special rental hall decked out for a fiesta, balloons everywhere, and all the little nooks and crannies that this multilevel place has. Do come early for dinner, as it gets filled up with adults & bustling waitresses after 7 PM. Freshly made tortillas, savory meat dishes, delicious rice and beans. There is a tiny bar, but I have rarely seen anyone sit there. Not a place that tolerates nasty drunks. Corner of Wilshire and Witmer near the Good Samaritan Hospital, usual Lunch-Dinner hours 7 days a week.
Would love to hear more ideas, thanks! Jeni and family.