Late evening work nights: THIS Denny's. Yes, I know it is known as the "Jail Dennys" because of it's proximity to Twin Towers. Here's why it is such a great place: the evenings, it is usually dead. Maria, our usual waitress is simply the best. The changing table is clean AND there's usually the changing pad liners. When you think of Denny's, you don't typically think of a fully stocked changing table...
Just home from work nights: This Wolfgang Pucks. First things first: the servers from top to bottom are awesome, and are great with our daughter. The see through kitchen keeps Iolani distracted. And, she can eat everything on the menu. A testament to the staff's know how: Iolani barfed one evening on her way out the door, and like magic - a mop appeared so no one saw a thing. Better service than what the White House gives President Obama!
Friends-with-kids in town: El Cholo has a great children's menu, big bathrooms, and that back patio is awesome. It's walkable from the Blue Line's Pico stop, and it's a much cheaper alternative to the latin cuisine at LA Live.
After Church: LA Market at LA Live is a great place to eat, however no one on staff that we've talked to has every had the same answer twice in regards to when breakfast service ends. And, who ends breakfast so early on a Sunday. This place would be over the top awesome if Sunday Brunch lasted until 3 or 4 or something. I mean, come-on (!!!) It is LA, and Sunday's are meant for relaxing, egg benedict at 2 p.m. and just one more (please) mimosa for Mommy and Daddy?!?!
Nice evening dinner-with child(ren) in tow: Hands down, without any hesitation, Roy's. #1, make a reservation. #2, refer to the number of children in your party. #3, bring an appetite. Our last trip to Roy's included Lola and Lolo (aka - the grandparents). From the moment we walked in the door, we were greeted and felt so welcomed. Our stroller was set aside in a safe place, and Iolani got the opportunity to take an item from the treasure chest. The treasure chest had a bunch of different toys for different age groups. While I tend to bring markers with us on meals, they had a new toy for her. This kept her occupied long enough to avoid any kind of meltdown.
Once we ordered food, Iolani's food came out quickly and first. Which is great on multiple levels: as a kid she's a slow eater, she was hungry, and she was ready for a new distraction. The waitstaff was all about making Iolani's evening awesome, which left her in a good mood, the parents in a good mood, and Lola and Lolo thought we were amazing parents because our child was so well behaved at such a nice restaurant. Added bonus: ice cream was included with her dinner.
A couple of things to keep in mind: We do eat out on a regular basis, so Iolani is used to walking into a restaurant and knowing that we sit (not stand, bounce or scream) in a booth. We will go out for dinner if she's in a good mood. If she's in a pissy mood, we stay in and order in either Pizza, Daily Grill, or Maria's. Alex and I are fairly patient when it comes to Iolani turning things over at the table. Yes, she will move the salt shaker, attempt to singe her hair with the candle, but she's not running around the restaurant. And, most importantly - there's just one of her. Having grown up as one of three and sometimes four children - I know that when there's more than one child involved it is a totally different story. But - hopefully - some insight into Downtown LA dining with a child in tow.