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12 Affordable L.A. Restaurants to Please the Whole Family

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This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

When restaurants first closed in March, it seemed — for many people — like a fun time to break out some recipes for the entire family. “Let’s get creative in the kitchen, try out some new dishes, and see what we like!” Remember those days?

Now it’s September, and the “fun” of creating new meals at home might have faded for most. And with many families still working from home, schooling from home, or both, getting a break from the same four walls — even if it’s in the form of grabbing a quick meal — is necessary. Thankfully, with restrictions easing up, there’s a wide selection of restaurants with either socially distanced outdoor seating or fun takeout ideas for the entire family, and at budget points that make it possible for everyone to stay out of the kitchen for the day. Put the cookbook back on the shelf, and take a look at these 12 affordable options across greater Los Angeles.

A number of Los Angeles restaurants offer patio service. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for outdoor dining, as there are still safety concerns: for updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit covid19.ca.gov. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Sweet Butter Kitchen

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A gorgeous little courtyard-like patio is a big draw for this Sherman Oaks all-day café, giving the entire family a chance to escape the home dining room. The kids’ menu includes the usual favorites, slightly elevated — a grilled cheese sandwich with specialty bread, sliders instead of a hamburger — along with an order of veggies to somewhat balance out the meal. The bakery provides great desserts to go, including chocolate croissants.

Open Sesame

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This Lebanese-Mediterranean spot feels nourishing and indulgent all at once. Start with the mezze sampler to share (it comes with grape leaves, olives, hummus, tabouleh, labneh, and yogurt dip), and choose from mains ranging from chicken shawarma to beef kabob. Those mains come with pita bread and your choice of two dips, meaning there’ll likely be leftovers to go around.

A plate of assorted dishes, including salad and hummus, from the L.A. restaurant Open Sesame.
Courtesy of Open Sesame

With a maximum entrée price of $12 and servings large enough for leftovers, this Chinese spot is a rare gourmet-on-a-budget entry. Noodles and fried rice will feed the pickiest of eaters, while the pork belly and tofu bao appeal to more adventurous palates. Don’t forget a Coca-Cola to wash it all down.

A variety of dishes on a table at the Chinese restaurant Woon in Los Angeles.
Courtesy of Woon
Cody James

Philippe The Original

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The home (maybe?) of the French dip, Phillippe’s has turned one of its parking lots into outdoor seating for diners. But the Family Pack might steal the show, with enough meat for four beef dips, four sides, au jus, and even eight pickle spears. Pick one up and take the family to the nearby State Historic Park for an afternoon of picnic fun.

A French dip sandwich on a plate from the L.A. restaurant Philippe The Original.
Courtesy of Philippe The Original

Maharaja Cuisine Of India

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This Westwood spot has all the classics, from curries to paneer dishes to kebabs. There are six types of naan breads on the menu to keep kids happy (and full), plus mango and coconut sorbets to finish off the meal. Try a mix of everything, and share among the whole family.

Lucky Bird

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The close quarters of Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles might not feel like a first choice for dining right now, but with Grand Park just half a mile away, the collection of restaurants and vendors there can make for a great first stop on the way to a picnic. And there are few foods easier to take outdoors than fried chicken. Pair a five-piece bucket (or some sandwiches) at Lucky Bird with a couple of sides, and you’ve got a picnic meal with minimal fuss.

Four chicken sandwiches from the Los Angeles restaurant Lucky Bird.
Courtesy of Lucky Bird

Hide Sushi

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Hide Sushi is a foolproof, affordable option. A number of rolls here are under $10, and you’ll find combination dinners, with mixes like tempura and teriyaki chicken, for under $20. Don’t forget to order a few miso soups and Cokes to complete the meal.

Roberta's

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This beloved pizzeria started in Brooklyn, but its Culver City outpost is just as impressive (and delicious). Their Famous Original pie, just $20, features tomato, three types of cheeses, oregano, and chili. You also won’t want to miss the Bee Sting, which adds toppings like soppressata, basil, chili, and honey to the classic tomato-mozzarella mix.

Mariscos Jalisco

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Boyle Heights’s nationally-known taco truck has a menu that’s loaded with seafood in different forms: ceviche, tostadas, aguachile. But the star of the show is the taco de camarones: shrimp inside a corn tortilla, fried, and then topped with salsa and avocado. Grab enough for the entire family, and let your kids taste one of Los Angeles’s signature dishes.

Mel's Drive-in

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The West Hollywood diner might be the most family- and budget-friendly dining option on the Sunset Strip. There are hamburgers and chicken fingers for the kids, but another reason to bring the entire family here is its old-school milkshakes, malts, and sundaes, each of which satisfies the most demanding sweet tooth. 

Dinah's Family Restaurant

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The Culver City favorite has created more patio space to allow families to gather over its classic fried chicken. Family meals here can feed up to eight, with chicken, sides, rolls, and even a full pie included. But almost any item on the menu, from a box of fish all the way to a gallon of chili, can be part of a family-friendly trip out.

Dulan's Soul Food Kitchen

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Dulan’s has family in its DNA: It’s now run by the founder’s children, after restaurateur Adolf Dulan’s passing in 2017. It should not be a surprise, then, that there’s a family meal special, including a full chicken, three sides, and cornbread muffins. Don’t drive off without a couple of servings of the peach cobbler, either. 

This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

Sweet Butter Kitchen

A gorgeous little courtyard-like patio is a big draw for this Sherman Oaks all-day café, giving the entire family a chance to escape the home dining room. The kids’ menu includes the usual favorites, slightly elevated — a grilled cheese sandwich with specialty bread, sliders instead of a hamburger — along with an order of veggies to somewhat balance out the meal. The bakery provides great desserts to go, including chocolate croissants.

Open Sesame

A plate of assorted dishes, including salad and hummus, from the L.A. restaurant Open Sesame.
Courtesy of Open Sesame

This Lebanese-Mediterranean spot feels nourishing and indulgent all at once. Start with the mezze sampler to share (it comes with grape leaves, olives, hummus, tabouleh, labneh, and yogurt dip), and choose from mains ranging from chicken shawarma to beef kabob. Those mains come with pita bread and your choice of two dips, meaning there’ll likely be leftovers to go around.

A plate of assorted dishes, including salad and hummus, from the L.A. restaurant Open Sesame.
Courtesy of Open Sesame

Woon

A variety of dishes on a table at the Chinese restaurant Woon in Los Angeles.
Courtesy of Woon
Cody James

With a maximum entrée price of $12 and servings large enough for leftovers, this Chinese spot is a rare gourmet-on-a-budget entry. Noodles and fried rice will feed the pickiest of eaters, while the pork belly and tofu bao appeal to more adventurous palates. Don’t forget a Coca-Cola to wash it all down.

A variety of dishes on a table at the Chinese restaurant Woon in Los Angeles.
Courtesy of Woon
Cody James

Philippe The Original

A French dip sandwich on a plate from the L.A. restaurant Philippe The Original.
Courtesy of Philippe The Original

The home (maybe?) of the French dip, Phillippe’s has turned one of its parking lots into outdoor seating for diners. But the Family Pack might steal the show, with enough meat for four beef dips, four sides, au jus, and even eight pickle spears. Pick one up and take the family to the nearby State Historic Park for an afternoon of picnic fun.

A French dip sandwich on a plate from the L.A. restaurant Philippe The Original.
Courtesy of Philippe The Original

Maharaja Cuisine Of India

This Westwood spot has all the classics, from curries to paneer dishes to kebabs. There are six types of naan breads on the menu to keep kids happy (and full), plus mango and coconut sorbets to finish off the meal. Try a mix of everything, and share among the whole family.

Lucky Bird

Four chicken sandwiches from the Los Angeles restaurant Lucky Bird.
Courtesy of Lucky Bird

The close quarters of Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles might not feel like a first choice for dining right now, but with Grand Park just half a mile away, the collection of restaurants and vendors there can make for a great first stop on the way to a picnic. And there are few foods easier to take outdoors than fried chicken. Pair a five-piece bucket (or some sandwiches) at Lucky Bird with a couple of sides, and you’ve got a picnic meal with minimal fuss.

Four chicken sandwiches from the Los Angeles restaurant Lucky Bird.
Courtesy of Lucky Bird

Hide Sushi

Hide Sushi is a foolproof, affordable option. A number of rolls here are under $10, and you’ll find combination dinners, with mixes like tempura and teriyaki chicken, for under $20. Don’t forget to order a few miso soups and Cokes to complete the meal.

Roberta's

Read Review |

This beloved pizzeria started in Brooklyn, but its Culver City outpost is just as impressive (and delicious). Their Famous Original pie, just $20, features tomato, three types of cheeses, oregano, and chili. You also won’t want to miss the Bee Sting, which adds toppings like soppressata, basil, chili, and honey to the classic tomato-mozzarella mix.

Mariscos Jalisco

Boyle Heights’s nationally-known taco truck has a menu that’s loaded with seafood in different forms: ceviche, tostadas, aguachile. But the star of the show is the taco de camarones: shrimp inside a corn tortilla, fried, and then topped with salsa and avocado. Grab enough for the entire family, and let your kids taste one of Los Angeles’s signature dishes.

Mel's Drive-in

The West Hollywood diner might be the most family- and budget-friendly dining option on the Sunset Strip. There are hamburgers and chicken fingers for the kids, but another reason to bring the entire family here is its old-school milkshakes, malts, and sundaes, each of which satisfies the most demanding sweet tooth. 

Dinah's Family Restaurant

The Culver City favorite has created more patio space to allow families to gather over its classic fried chicken. Family meals here can feed up to eight, with chicken, sides, rolls, and even a full pie included. But almost any item on the menu, from a box of fish all the way to a gallon of chili, can be part of a family-friendly trip out.

Dulan's Soul Food Kitchen

Dulan’s has family in its DNA: It’s now run by the founder’s children, after restaurateur Adolf Dulan’s passing in 2017. It should not be a surprise, then, that there’s a family meal special, including a full chicken, three sides, and cornbread muffins. Don’t drive off without a couple of servings of the peach cobbler, either. 

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