Cold fries and cardboard-tasting pizzas for kids have gone the way of tuxedoed waiters and toque-wearing chefs in Baltimore-area restaurants. Kids' palates are being taken seriously these days, with menu items that are as good as their parents' choices, just cut down to size.
Grilled salmon, farm-fresh vegetables, tot-friendly latte drinks, hummus and Nutella sandwiches are just some of the offerings we found around town.
The focus on good food makes sense. Serving healthful kids' meals is a top trend this year, according to the National Restaurant Association. It predicts more fruit and vegetable side dishes, oven-baked items like fries, 100-percent juice drinks options and kids' entree salads will be introduced.
Not that our area menus are too upscale for the younger set. Most include kid favorites like mac and cheese, burgers and chicken fingers. Some even have fun with the lists, like Alexander's Tavern in Fells Point.
All the kids' items there are $6, except for one dish described as boiled squid, liver and Brussels sprouts. What? The punch line: It's $1,000. We like the restaurant's sense of humor.
Here are our 10 of our favorite kid-friendly restaurants. Some entertain with decor, others offer nutritious and budget-friendly options. All are just plain yummy and fun. Your kids will gobble this up.