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Best Children's Menus in Southwest Florida

Where to take the kids—or grandkids—for a nice meal out

BY January 26, 2016

Moving beyond chicken fingers and fries, these restaurants cater to kids raised on episodes of Chopped and MasterChef Junior.

The Bay House (799 Walkerbilt Road, Naples; 239-591-3837, At this gathering place for American coastal cuisine, pimento cheese and golden raisins give “ants” on celery logs a Southern accent—one of several $4 appetizers. Mains, including a well-seasoned fresh catch with green apple-sautéed sweet potatoes, are healthy and tasty.

Chez Boët (755 12th Ave. S., Naples; 239-643-6177, To chef Lisa Boët, instilling a love of food should start early. She did that with her own daughter, Isabella, who, now a teenager, helped develop le menu de l’enfant for their French restaurant. The attention to detail is admirable with clever touches that appeal to kids and impress their parents, like plating beef bourguignon in a mini-cocotte.

Fancy's Southern Café (8890 Salrose Lane, Fort Myers; 239-561-2988, Chicken and waffles, cheddar grits and sweet potato souffle—what's for kids carries the same culinary sensibility as adults with a culinary adventure beyond the Mason-Dixon Line.

The Local (5323 Airport-Pulling Road N., Naples; 239-596-3276, Getting kids to eat farm-to-fork staples is easy when they’re presented with fun-to-digest games, jokes and trivia on agriculture peppering the menu.

Thistle Lodge (2255 W. Gulf Drive, Sanibel; 239-472-9200, The fine-dining oceanfront establishment at Casa Ybel Resort makes the children's experience mimic that of their parents': From mini crab cakes, soups and salads to a choice of 10 entrées, such as lobster tail with jasmine rice, there are surprises at every step—including sweet endings, like milk and freshly baked cookies.

Extra Credit: Osteria Tulia will tailor any regular entrée to be kid-sized and kid-priced (half off) … Jimmy P's Charred, known for its wagyu steaks, serves petit filets, hot dogs and sliders of the heritage breed … Thinking ahead, we also love Sur La Table's summer cooking camp.

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