Some nights you don't feel like cooking for the family, takeout seems like a cop out, and no one can agree on where to order from on Caviar. Don't worry, there are plenty of new kid-friendly restaurants where everyone will have a great meal.
Naomi Gallego first gained recognition – including a RAMMY Award nomination – for her pastry work at Blue Duck Tavern and Neighborhood Restaurant Group. Turns out, she can handle the savory side of the kitchen equally well. As executive chef of this Chevy Chase bistro dotted with adorable monster murals, she turns out primo pizzas (little ones will be happy with a classic cheese or pepperoni za, while spice-loving parents should try the diavola), hearty entrees (think braised short ribs and orecchiette lavished with a thick lamb ragu), engaging small plates (honey-drizzled, whipped ricotta speckled with cracked hazelnuts is a must) and, of course, absolutely wonderful desserts (the fudgy chocolate cake is worth every last calorie). Coloring sheets of fantastic beasts and crayons are available, so junior can stay engaged in an art project while parents savor their meal.
Wondering what the name means? Repeat the phrase really fast and you’ll hear how Italians say Americano. It’s a fitting moniker since the Chevy Chase trattoria splits its menu between classics from Bel Paese and Italian-American favorites. The venture comes courtesy of front of the house maestro Massimo Papetti (Assaggi Osteria and Cafe Milano) and former ThinkFoodGroup executive chef James Gee (Jaleo and China Chilcano). Many of the dishes have cross-generational appeal, such as thin zucchini fries dusted with Parmesan and spritzed with lemon for an acidic lift, nonna spaghetti and meatballs, and chicken parm topped off with a sphere of melted mozzarella. Bonus: kids are given bendable wax sticks to keep them amused during your visit.
Here’s a baller option for adults and children alike, because everyone can customize their meal at this 14th Street fast casual concept. Begin with starter spheres inspired by mozzarella sticks, buffalo chicken wings and crab cakes. Then move onto more substantial rounds, which form the basis of the entrees: classic beef ‘n’ pork, 100 percent pork perked up with pickled cherry peppers, vegetarian, lobster, salmon and chicken. Get them simply sauced – options include Parmesan cream, tomato, pesto, and yogurt dill – in a bowl, packed in a sandwich or topping a salad.
There’s something for everyone in this multi-concept food hall on the third level of Tysons Galleria in the space once occupied by Isabella Eatery. In the mood for a slice? Hit up Andy’s Pizza. Stomping Ground serves up blue-ribbon biscuits split open to bookend fried chicken or to be doused with spicy sausage gravy. Wash either down with Lost Socks coffee. At Donburi, you can build your own bowl or stick with a signature setup -- we’re partial to the barbecued eel. Chef Seng, who owns D.C.’s Thip Khao and Padaek in Falls Church, is the driving force behind the Lao-focused Sen Khao, where you can savor deeply flavorful noodle dishes. For a sweet finale, choose between Ice Cream Jubilee and Lady M Cake Boutique. Either way, you’re leading your best life.
Whether you’re a kid or just a kid at heart, this place is heaven. The sprawling three-story arcade/bowling alley/karaoke joint/funhouse/pool hall/board game hot spot in Ballston offers up hours of entertainment. In between all the (hopefully) friendly competition, there is a bounty of comfort food to be enjoyed. Think double patty burgers, bologna sandwiches, tacos, and chicken and malted waffles swimming in chipotle-citrus maple syrup. Half-pints have plenty of options, such as a cheeseburger, pepperoni flatbread, chicken tacos and a honey banana almond butter sandwich.