Dining Out with Kids

Family Dining in Marin: Celebrate Five Years of Finnegan's Marin

May 30, 2011

Finnegan's Marin exteriorNovato family favorite Finnegan's Marin celebrates its fifth anninversary this month! With its old world atmosphere, Irish-inspired fare, and extensive and inexpensive (everything's $3.99!) children's menu, Finnegan's is a family friendly pub located in the heart of Novato's Old Town. They're also famous among local parents for their kids-eat-free Sunday nights, where children 12 and under can dine for free with the purchase of each adult meal from 5 to 10 pm.

In celebration of their fifth anniversary, Finnegan's is extending their kids-eat-free deal to the entire month of June, 2011. That's right—come on in at any time during the month (Father's Day, June 19, and the Novato Art, Wine and Music Festival weekend, June 11 and 12, excepted) and kids can eat lunch, dinner, or weekend breakfast for free.

Finnegan's Marin was opened by Novato resident Henry Hautau in 2006 and quickly became a gathering spot for families in the community. Finnegan's has the warm inviting atmosphere of a traditional pub, with lots of dark wood, cozy booths, and a large bar dominating the front room. Further back you'll find a more open dining room with tables for larger parties, and a outdoor patio for use on nice days. The walls sport mirrors, and sports memorabilia, as well as plenty of flat-screen TVs for use on game day. You'll also find photos of community sports teams, groups, and schools decorating the rooms—we even found our son in a group photo from his preschool a few years back!

Family Dining in Marin: Mulberry Street Pizzeria

February 16, 2011

Mulberry Street Pizzeria Greek PizzaThere are plenty of pizza places in Marin, but one that comes up as many families' favorite is Mulberry Street Pizzeria in San Rafael. It's one of our favorite family friendly places for pizza, too. This award-winning restaurant has been flinging dough and dishing up gourmet pizzas for 25 years. Mulberry Street Pizzeria has won a whole slew of awards, ranging from the Pacific Sun's "Best of Marin" to the 2005 Food Network Challenge Pizza Battle, where their "For the Love of Mushrooms" pizza took home the top prize.

Mulberry's atmosphere, despite its strip mall location off Lucas Valley Road, is a bit nicer than your run-of-the-mill pizza joint. This is no trendy thin-crust minimalist pizza—Mulberry's pizzas are huge and loaded with toppings; we rarely finish one, which of course means there's some to take home for lunch the next day or a midnight snack. The only drawback of such a hefty pizza is that the crust sometimes gets a little soggy near the center, but we're happy to overlook that. You can always ask for less stuff on your pizza if you like.

Family Dining in Marin: Anohka Cuisine of India

January 19, 2011

Indian food at AnohkaWay back in the days before children (BC), we used to love to go out for Indian food. This happy trend continued even after our son was born; until he hit about three he would eat just about anything we put in front of him, but eventually he entered his "white food" stage and it was all over. Fortunately, kids eventually outgrow their seemingly carbohydrate-only diet, so we decided to check out the lunch buffet at Anohka Cuisine of India, a restaurant located since 2009 on Grant Avenue in Old Town Novato.

The lunch buffet is a great strategy when dining at Indian restaurants with children, because there are usually more than enough items offered that will please little picky eaters, and the grownups with more sophisticated palates can indulge in their favorite dishes without worrying if the kids are going to eat it or not. Anohka's buffet is pretty cheap at $8.95 a person, and with kids at half-price it's really a win-win situation for everyone concerned.

Family Dining in Marin: The Cantina in Mill Valley

December 13, 2010

The Cantina in Mill ValleyThe Cantina, a blast from Marin's recent past, has re-opened in Mill Valley's Blithedale Plaza. If you grew up in Marin you probably spent some time at this Mexican restaurant, renowned for its margaritas and family friendly setting. I loved coming to this restauant in my younger years. The Cantina closed in 2007, and was turned into a branch of musician Carlos Santana's fancier, pricier Maria Maria. Well, Mill Valley's Maria Maria is history, and the Cantina is once more open for business. We visited a short time ago with our own kids, and are happy to say that it hasn't changed much, despite the restaurant's three-year hiatus. The Cantina's current chef was even with the restaurant way back in 1983.

Special Offer from Brick & Bottle

August 18, 2010

Corte Madera's new family-friendly Brick & Bottle restaurant is offering Marin Mommies readers a free dessert for the table! Just mention that you heard about Brick & Bottle on Marin Mommies.

Read our review of Brick & Bottle here.

Family Dining at Corte Madera's Brick & Bottle

August 16, 2010

Duck confit pizza from Brick and BottleLast week we had a chance to try out the restaurant Brick & Bottle, which recently opened in Corte Madera in the spot Izzy's once occupied. At the helm of Brick & Bottle is acclaimed chef and Marin resident Scott Howard. Locals may remember his previous efforts at the highly regarded Fork in San Anselmo, and Scott Howard in the city. Brick & Bottle offers what it terms "simple California cooking" using super fresh local ingredients (no processed or frozen foods here) in a warm, family-friendly setting.

The staff at Brick & Bottle really go out of their way to make families welcome, although the restaurant is elegant enough to make a great "date night" spot as well. On this trip, we took the children along.

Upon arrival our kids were given coloring sheets and crayons, and we were seated in the cozy (but somewhat dark) main dining room. We all got a look at the open kitchen on the way to our table, with special attention paid to the wood-burning pizza oven. The kids were also given temporary tattoos with the restaurant's logo, which made them happy, as did the Shirley Temples that we let them get in lieu of the normal milk or water. These are all-natural, concocted with house-made grenadine and seltzer and devoid of any corn syrup. Grown ups can partake of numerous local wines, including wines on tap, and beers, if they're so inclined. We both got pints of Kent Lake Kölsch from Fairfax's Iron Springs Brewery.

Two New Family Friendly Restaurants in Novato

March 31, 2009

It's been a few months now since the new Hamilton Marketplace shopping center was completed, and slowly but surely new tenants are starting to occupy all of the spaces. There are a few restaurants in the mix, notably the recently-opened Sonoma Latina Grill and Toast.

We had a chance to check out Sonoma Latina Grill for lunch the other day. It's kind of a hybrid Mexican/California place and definitely a step up both in price and quality from your typical taqueria. Quality of food is really the emphasis, with fresh organic produce, handmade tortillas, and locally sourced meats and cheeses being the order of the day. Sonoma Latina Grill's other standout feature is their wood-fired grill which they use to cook meats and their signature flatbreads. The restaurant is owned by the Tamayo family who run La Tortilla Factory in Santa Rosa. Apparently this is the first in what they hope is a regional chain of restaurants and has the well thought out design and stylish decor befitting a flagship location.

What's Your Favorite Family Breakfast Spot?

August 30, 2008

Classic American breakfastI can't think of anybody who doesn't love going out to breakfast. It's a road trip ritual as well as just the thing for a lazy weekend morning. Besides, pancakes and eggs and all those breakfast goodies always taste better at a great breakfast restaurant. So our question to Marin Mommies readers is: What's your favorite Marin County breakfast spot? Restaurants specializing in breakfast are everywhere, from the old standby chains like IHOP to local legends like the Dipsea Cafe. So which ones stand out about the rest?

Let us know your choice or choices for the best family breakfast places in Marin by leaving a comment here. You'll need to be a registered user to do so, and if you're not, register today for free. When we get enough suggestions we'll publish a list of everyone's favorites.

Playdate Café Now Open in San Anselmo (has closed)

May 12, 2008

Playdate Cafe castleUnfortunately, Playdate Café has closed it’s doors due to the poor economy.

Syndicate content