Sunday brunch has always been a staple of my weekend. It is a necessity in order for me to feel relaxed, collect myself from the week before and prepare to take on Monday. In fact, as a new mom, after I mourned my life BC (before child) and moved to acceptance –I still needed some small part of my pre-baby life to remain.
For me, this was Sunday brunch. Of course, Sunday brunch with a baby was uncharted territory for me. There are plenty of guides and articles for family friendly spots, but they are mostly missing an important member of our family – our first baby. Like many families, our first baby is our fur baby. And with all the changes and demands of a new baby in the house, he was definitely feeling left out and even a little neglected (he was, after all, the center of attention for 8 years before this tiny human showed up). So Sunday brunch would have to include this guy. After a year of exploring some new spots, and old favorites, I’ve come up with five favorites where all babies are welcome.
5) Shorehouse Kitchen, La Jolla: This spot has a great patio, but it is pretty small and fills up fast, so be prepared to wait. This is part of the reason for me this spot is on the bottom of my favorites list. The other reason – it seems to be the top of others’ favorite list. There are a lot of children and a lot of dogs here. I get it, I’m looking for family friendly spots who don’t discriminate against the fur baby so it’s expected there would be a lot of dogs and children. My first baby is not the best behaved if he can’t have his personal space though, so tight patio with lots of dogs and kids doesn’t make for the most relaxing/enjoyable experience. That’s just us though – I love the location, the food was great and they even have a dog menu! Stick with coffee here, don’t bother with the Chai latte.
4) Spice and Soul, Clairemont: They just started serving brunch. The menu is small. I am a vegetarian and I had to order what I wanted, leaving off the meat – so no veggie options. Coffee options very basic. What I LOVE about it is the local, neighborhood vibe and the open space on the patio. The patio is small and only fits a few tables, so it has potential for a wait to be seated outside. I love that they didn’t try to squeeze a lot of tables though and have plenty of space for kids and dogs to have lots of room out there. The staff is very friendly, food is great, and you feel like you’re at your friend’s restaurant when you go here.
3) Fig Tree Café, Pacific Beach: This is an old favorite for me. The entire restaurant is outdoor seating, and they’ve expanded so there are even more tables! Now, there are definitely spots in this restaurant that would be too tight for a stroller, maybe even too tight for a highchair or a dog. BUT there are lots of spots on the front patio and even some in the back with plenty of space for the whole family. They run a little slow here sometimes, and there’s almost always a wait. It’s clear why though – great atmosphere, lots of delicious food choices and plenty of drink options. This one will always remain a favorite.
2) Nate’s Garden Grill, City Heights: I ventured out of my typical area to try this spot because I heard from so many moms about the many child-friendly features. I think it was strictly due to all the hype, I was initially underwhelmed. There is a play area, but not that grand play structure I had somehow created in my mind. There is an outdoor patio, though it’s not completely covered and we happened to be here on an extremely hot day. Also, tables fill up fast. We were forced to choose one in the sun.
However, there are many reasons this place moved towards the top on my list. If it were in my neighborhood, I’d definitely make this a new regular. I will even be sure to come back sometime for a date night (sorry, babies) as I feel it is much more fun for live music and drinks without the whole family. Still, sticking to brunch reasons to love this place, the number one is the food. They grow a lot of their own veggies and eggs! And that’s all organic. That’s huge for me for my daughter. I also loved their veggie hash – there was so much great variety in the veggies. Small menu but all the options you really need. Although the coffee seemed underwhelming, the taste was actually great. It’s a self-serve type of place mostly, but the staff is all friendly and very helpful. There is live music (though we only stayed through set-up and warm-up of the band). Overall, I understand the hype but needed some time to fully appreciate this place.
1) Swami’s, Point Loma: I love this spot so much I truly debated listing it even. I don’t want my personal favorite to become too busy! But, I have to share the love for this place. First off, self-serve coffee bar. Need I say more, moms?! They offer about twelve different coffee options on the bar! There is so much more to love about this place, though. They have two patio/seating areas that are pet-friendly and there’s lots of open space between tables, so plenty of room for the whole family. There’s tons of options on the menu, the food is great, and the staff seem to all love kids. We also have never had to wait for a table!
About Elizabeth Dodson
Prior to becoming a mom, Elizabeth had managed press at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, swum in the open ocean with orca whales, and survived an emergency evacuation out of Morocco. Her fear that parenthood would end such adventures kept her from becoming a mom for quite some time until she finally realized parenthood was actually a new adventure. Though, she thinks she maybe should have considered fears like the effects of significant sleep deprivation, the digestive anomaly that is baby poop, or having her heart forever hopelessly entangled in this munchkin’s tiny hand.
You can find out more about her adventures in motherhood here.