What are the best kids meals in Orange County? We were thinking this very thing. Although we’re not fans of the typical fast food kid’s meals, except of course when they’re free, there are many restaurants that offer kid’s meals that are either a good value, higher quality, or healthier.  Here is list of restaurants that serve our favorite kid’s meals that are delicious and beautifully presented:

*Indicating beer/wine/bar/happy hour available for accompanying adults

Best Kids Meals in Orange County (Last update: 9/10/17)

Chipotle – For under $5.00, you can get a quesadilla or a nifty little build your own kit in a bento like container.  First, choose a protein.  I love the carnitas or the chicken, but be aware that the chicken is a little peppery, in case your little ones have sensitive taste buds.  Saranya’s kids like the chicken and carne asada (steak) and MaryAnne’s girls like the vegetarian taco meal with the oh so good cilantro lime rice, beans, and two toppings.  The kits come with two soft tortillas or crunchy taco shells, a cute mini bag of tortilla chips or a package of blueberries, and juice or organic milk.  This is a great little deal for an affordable price.

Best Kids Meals Chipotle

The Counter – This is one of our local watering holes.  Solid happy hour and kid’s meals make us regulars.  Although the options are the familiar kid’s menu items such as chicken tenders, grilled cheese and pb&j, they do it well.  The best value and tastiest choice is the 2 mini cheeseburgers with American cheese and pickles on Hawaiian buns.  Every combo comes with choice of a side – you can certainly choose the healthier applesauce or carrot sticks, but we always choose either the shoestring fries or sweet potato fries – both are so addictively crunchy and delicious!  It also comes with a juice, milk or lemonade.  Let’s also mention that one of the choices is a veggie kabob, a colorful and appetizing dish for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.  The manager gave us a great tip:  you can ask for a veggie pattie in lieu of the meat patties in the mini burger.  These are refreshing non-meat alternatives from places that always seem to offer plain pasta as the vegetarian choice.  Another option for multiple kids who are opting to share:  an order of their chili comes in a huge bowl.  The chili is hearty,  rich and meaty. Order a side of curly fries and you have chili fries for several happy mouths!  *Come in during Happy Hour (see our Happy Hour review for details) Mon-Fri/3-6 to feed the whole family!

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Kids Eat Free Restaurants

Kids Eat Free Restaurants

Below you’ll find a list of kids eat free restaurants in the OC for every day of the week. We created this list because we couldn’t find a good list of meal deals for our youngsters. Our families eat out a lot!  We are so often on the go:  running from one sporting and kid’s activity to another, so it’s just easier to grab a bite out with no dishes or cleanup.  We prefer to eat family style, whether at home or away. I am not a huge fan of most kid’s meals; and really for the price of two kid’s meals, it’s better for them just to order a regular entree to share.  First, they have a much wider range of options.  I cannot tell you how much I hate to pay for Kraft’s mac n cheese!  The exception to family style eating:  kids eat free deals!  No, I don’t want to pay for that Kraft’s mac n cheese or the sad little chicken nuggets, but I’ll take a free one! We are on the hunt for better deals for better meals. You can pretty much find a kid’s eat free deal most days of the week, and a few on the weekends.  This is great for those dinners with friends when you have one table for kids and one for adults, and they can just order their own meals.  Make sure you come back to this list and check for updates and comment! Enjoy!

Sunday

Back Bay Bistro – Kids 10 and under eat free after 4pm on Sunday Family Pasta Night.

Dickey’s BBQ Pit – Kids 12 and under eat free all day with the purchase of an adult entree.

IHOP – Kids 12 and under eat free from 4pm-9pm with the purchase of an adult entree.

Ways & Means Oysters – Kids eat free with each paid adult.  Although the kid’s menu is limited with just 3 options: fish and chips, mac n cheese, or grilled cheese; they have a decent happy hour Mon-Fri from 2pm-6pm, with their 5 for 5 deal: 5 selected booze and bites for $5.  Also, check their online daily bulletin board for the deal of the day like the $9.99 Maine lobster or $2 fish or shrimp tacos.

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