10 Kid-friendly Alt. Eats in Cbus

Please welcome my friend Bethia Woolf, owner of Columbus Food Adventures. Because she is also a mother, I asked her to tell us a little bit about the "Alt eats" of Columbus, particularly those places that are most family-friendly. 

We were lucky enough to join her family one night for dinner at Hoyos', which is pictured below. Get out there and try something new; you might love it!

Note: I write this list a little tentatively because kids vary a lot in their tastes and willingness to try new things. If your child likes rice and/or noodles and is willing to try some new things then I think you'll find that these restaurants are at best welcoming and at least tolerant of small people. All have high chairs, some have changing tables. 

Chinese - Check out Sunflower's dim sum meals, served on weekends. They have a huge, busy dining room; as such, there's plenty of hustle and bustle to keep kids distracted and enough noise that a little fussing won't disturb anyone. If your child needs a break from sitting down, the fish tanks by the entrance are a fun diversion. There are lots of options on the carts that are wheeled around and you can point to what looks appealing on the carts, order from a menu, or both. We've had success with the sticky rice and various dumplings as well as the coconut jello dessert. Go early (they open at 11am) to get a table without waiting. (Sawmill) 

Vietnamese - We have found Huong to be consistently kid friendly. For little ones, try taking some noodles and meatballs out of the pho and let them dip them in the hoisin sauce or order one of the rice plates. Our little one also enjoys the shrimp cakes folded around sugar cane sticks. (Morse)

Somali - At Hoyo's, the owners are very warm and their own children are often there. We have found the menu to be an easy win, with rice, pasta, and chicken, although our daughter also enjoyed goat, camel(!), and chickpeas on our last visit. Nothing is too spicy, save for some of the side sauces. Somali restaurants always have bananas and will happily give you one if you ask. (Cleveland and 161)

Persian - Jeddo Kebab has a variety of meat kebab options served with rice as well as some dips served with pita bread. This stop could be tricky if your child isn't much of a meat eater, but the ground meat kebabs are easy to chew. (161 and Maple Canyon)

Japanese - There are many great family friendly options at Japanese restaurants such as BaSho.  Edamame and salmon onigiri (rice ball) are consistent favorites for our daughter, and she also loves the yellow radish pickles served as a condiment. Sampling from our dishes round out the experience for her. Other family friendly Japanese restaurants include Akai Hana (which can be very busy) and Tensuke (can also be crowded, but the huge fish tank centerpiece is a great distraction). Cooked sushi items with vegetables, crab stick, or tamago (sweet omelette) can also be great for kids. (Sawmill)

Korean - We often go to Arirang and get the kimbap (similar to sushi rolls but with no raw ingredients) for our daughter. Bibimbap and bulgogi are both menu options that adults can order with an eye towards sharing with little ones. Some of the Korean dishes are very hot in temperature (particularly the bibimbap) and a few can be on the spicier side (though none of the aforementioned are). (Bethel)

Bakeries - Belle's is a Japanese bakery and cafe that is very family friendly; you'll see a lot of Japanese families with small children there. Belle's lunch menu specializes in the weird, wonderful world of Japanese versions of European and American dishes, and also features a wide variety of pastry, cakes, and more. (Arlington)

Ramen - Sure, this could fall under Japanese, but we're singling Menya noodle house out because it is one of the most kid friendly restaurants we've visited, featuring a surprisingly well equipped kids play area complete with a play kitchen. The staff are very well prepared for kids and provide a plastic plate, bowl, and cutlery for each child. Ramen noodles are fun to slurp, and most of their range of apps has definite toddler appeal. (Dublin)

Indian - Udipi cafe is a popular stop with Indian families, and with good reason given the wide range of child-friendly menu options. We'd recommend trying the fried idli (they look almost like french fries, and are an easy sell) and the chana batura - a soccer-ball sized hollow bread served with chickpea curry (kids love watching the steam escape as you stab the bread). Uttapam, essentially savory pancakes, are another child-friendly option. Most of the spicy heat is found in the sauces and chutneys served on the side. (161 and Maple Canyon)

*Diaspora  (Korean) is another place that has been recommended for great food and being kid-friendly, but we haven't visited. 

Bethia also wrote this helpful article, and her sweet girl is the picture of a happy dining toddler!

Thank you, Bethia for helping me step out of the typical food scene and to try something new. We can't wait to try some more. Visit Bethia at Columbus Food Adventures, or better yet, take a tour!


Bethia Woolf said...

Thanks Stacie!
You'll find more information about these restaurants and others on our website alteatscolumbus.com

Melissa said...

Thanks for the round-up Stacie! We're always looking for new restaurants to try and with an 11-month old, it's nice to know of a few that are family friendly!

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