My family is always looking for fun restaurants in Howard County that offer the best experience and best quality food for our family lunch and dinner outings.
It’s easy to go to the usual suspect restaurants such as Friday’s and Red Robin (which actually is a fun family restaurant!), but there are other great restaurants that you and your kids may enjoy. Below find a few of the favorites my family enjoys.
- Cava Grill (Columbia) – This is currently my favorite fast-casual restaurant. They offer Greek food Chipotle-style. You and your family get a healthy meal and they have great beverages such as cucumber mint or rosemary blackberry.
If the line is long, don’t worry, it moves fairly quickly and even if you have to wait 10 minutes or so, it’s worth the wait. Kid’s meals are available. It may be a small stretch for some kids to enjoy the food here, but it’s fresh, delicious, and high quality.
Check out the menu and location. There are several other options in that shopping center just in case (Noodles and Company, Chipotle, Modern Market, and Jimmy Johns).
- Chipotle (Columbia) – I always enjoy a meal at Chipotle. If your kids like Mexican food, especially burritos or quesadillas, they’ll like it here. They are conveniently located right next door to Cava Grill off of Dobbin Road in Columbia.
- Red Robin (Columbia) – The onion ring tower here is a lot of fun. Known for its gourmet burgers, Red Robin offers a kids’ menu and a free balloon for each child (usually).
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- Cheesecake Factory (Columbia) – Aside from the amazing desserts, some healthy options exist here. Kids enjoy the atmosphere and love checking out the cheesecake case and whip cream dispenser behind the counter.
- Noodles and Company (Columbia) – If you’re feeling like pasta, this is a great choice. Also in the same shopping center as Cava Grill and Chipotle.
- Jason’s Deli (Columbia)- I like the menu at this restaurant in Columbia. There is plenty of good quality food and even a salad bar. I always enjoy going here, and my kids do too. The fact that they offer free soft-serve ice cream cones is a fantastic bonus. Imagine: All you can eat soft serve ice cream. Living the dream.
- Uma Uma (Ellicott City) – We enjoy Ramen Noodle Night at home and certainly do like to go out to a restaurant that adds an authentic experience. The only thing on the menu here is variations of Ramen Noodle soup, and there isn’t really a kid’s menu, AND you won’t find much in the way of your typical dessert items either, but still a great experience.
Having said that, I’d have to warn you that this could be a bit risky with some kids. The food here is different, and your child at least needs to like soup with noodles to like this place!
- Great Sage (Clarksville) – Get your vegan on. Friendly atmosphere for kids and families. Great menu. Nice staff.
- Seasons 52 (Columbia) – Upscale. Great food quality in a cozy atmosphere. Suitable for older kids. It might be “too much” for younger kids. The dessert’s here are terrific. I recommend the pecan pie glass.
- Maggiano’s Little Italy (Columbia) – Upscale Italian. Nice atmosphere, decent kids menu (provided your kids like pasta). Sometimes they even have classes for kids on Saturday mornings.
- Silver Diner (Columbia) – Silver Diner has been around the Maryland-DC-VA area for decades. And lucky for us, they finally have a Columbia, MD, location near Costco and Lowe’s. Silver Dinner offers a tremendous farm-fresh menu with more unusual options for kids’ meals. They have one of the best kid’s menus of all… and it is a fun, traditional diner atmosphere.
- PLNT Burger (Columbia) – Inside Whole Foods, this all-vegan burger stand is a great place to pick up some food, then head outside and sit at the outdoor tables near Lake K. For added fun, take a walk around the lake, and consider going to AppleCore’s Bake Shop for dessert – a short walk/near Sushi Sono.
Olive Garden (Columbia) – This Italian-style chain offers a kids’ menu with smaller portions of their popular dishes
- Bonus 1: Toby’s Dinner Theatre – This can be a great experience for kids, depending on what’s playing. They change the offering regularly, so if the show isn’t specifically a kid’s show, your best bet would be to “Google” it to see what other parents are saying. The food at Toby’s is “okay” buffet food. It’s underwhelming to say the least, and I’ve never felt the urge to go back for 2nds. That said, this can be fun and enriching.
- Bonus 2: The Meadows Custard – This is a well-kept secret in Hickory Ridge. Amazing custard and Italian Ice. Better than competitors. It is highly recommended.
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