rainforest cafe mall of america
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Mall of America – Top 10 (+ 10 more!) Kid Friendly Restaurants Beyond the Food Court

rainforest cafe mall of americaWhen you think of mall food, thoughts immediately turn to the food court.   Luckily for families who crave something better, Mall of America® has several great restaurants that please kids AND their parents!   Most of the restaurants in the Mall offer free* lunch or dinner for kids under 6 on Tuesdays in honor of Toddler Tuesdays (noted with TT). Here I’m listing our personal favorites along with the other choices.

1.  Rainforest Cafe (102 South Avenue see on map, 952-854-7500) is hands-down our favorite kid-friendly restaurant at the Mall.  With all the animatronic animals from the crocodile at the door, to the gorilla in the back, this is one dining adventure.  It’s where my son discovered ‘dinosaur chicken’ when he was 2 and has been addicted ever since.  The kids menu here has many tasty offerings to please a wide variety of little palettes.   This place is an attraction unto itself, as well, and includes an extensive gift shop complete with rainforest Build-A-Bear animals, jungle themed books, toys, clothes and more.  (Print the kids menu for a surprise coupon to use at the store!)

2.  CRAVE (TT, 368 South Avenue see on map, 952-854-5000) is my personal favorite because the food is much more grown up, yet still approachable for kids.  Here you can find everything from sushi to pizza and gourmet options in-between.   The kids menu even offers sushi options for kids, along with favorites like chicken tenders and peanut butter & jelly.  When you have a group that includes both picky and adventurous eaters, this is the perfect spot!

3. Tucci Benucch (TT, 114 West Market see on map, 952-853-0200): Who doesn’t like Italian food, right?  Casual and upscale offerings, along with great service, make this a personal favorite.  If you happen to come on a day other than Tuesday, you can still get a great deal from the Happy Hour menu (2-6pm) or the Tucci To Go (2-for-1 after 6pm).

4.  American Girl Bistro (TT, 5160 Center Court see on map, 1-877-247-5223):  Although I have a son, and therefore have never actually been allowed to eat here (he just won’t do it), I secretly keep wishing I could!  How fantastic to have high tea with your friends and favorite American Girl dolls!  Reservations can book up fast, so book online early!

5. Famous Dave’s (TT, 321 South Avenue see on map, 952-854-0225) is a Minnesota-original local favorite for ribs, chicken and all the great barbeque sides like cornbread, mac and cheese, and (believe-it-or-not) the best steamed broccoli I’ve ever had!  Items from the Lil’ Wilbur kids menu are generous, affordable, and sure to please.  Bonus, as with all barbeque joints, you get wet-wipes to keep the littles clean.

6. Kokomo’s Island Cafe (TT, 320 South Avenue see on map, 952-698-3072) has fish and chips (my son’s favorite) on their kids menu along with other popular items.  Since we love traveling to tropical locations, and my son’s all-time favorite meat is fish, this is a big hit with our family.  We also love the tropical island theme and decor complete with boardwalks, huts and many fun photo ops!

7. Cadillac Ranch (TT, 352 South Avenue see on map,952-854-1004) is a new favorite of ours.  When you see the mechanical bull you instantly think country, which then sends my mind to barbeque.  But, there is also a rock-and-roll theme, along with every sport playing on the big TV’s all around.  So, there is really something for everyone here.  I went with the barbeque theme and had the pulled pork sliders, and they were perfect.

8. Cantina #1 (TT,406 East Broadway see on map,952-854-6500) has a Mexican beach theme with casual and upscale dishes that will please kids and adults.  If you get a park view booth, you will have a great view of the log ride, roller coasters and the entire Nickelodeon Universe®.

9. Bubba Gump Shrimp Co (396 South Avenue see on map, 952-853-6600) is another favorite place for fish and chips on the kids menu (of course there are plenty of non-fish items available like pizza and chicken strips).  With it’s Forrest Gump theme, there are plenty of photo ops including sitting on the bench wearing Forrest’s shoes, and of course the giant shrimp mascot walking around greeting kids throughout the Mall.

10. Dick’s Last Resort (TT, 402 South Avenue see on map, 612-276-6995) is one that I was worried was not kid-friendly because of it’s in-your-face sassy attitude, but it really is fun for all ages.  Prepare for a good ribbing along with your ribs!  Actually, you can relax and watch or you can join in the jokes in this humor-themed restaurant.

Plus,  here’s 10 more that participate in Toddler Tuesday discounts! (the addresses are in parenthesis so you can find them on the map)

*One adult meal must be purchased for every child’s free meal. Valid for lunch or dinner every Tuesday Child must be six years or under. Not valid with any other offer.

Do you have a favorite Mall of America® restaurant?  Please share it with us in the comments below! 

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