Kid-friendly Restaurants and Dishes in the Lake Minnetonka Area

Creating enlightened foodies for the next generation.
You can't go wrong with food on a stick, like these lobster corn dogs from Ike's in Minnetonka.

Of course you want your kids to eat well, but you also want them to taste a variety of flavors and experience the simple pleasure of enjoying meal. Easier said than done—kids are notoriously picky when it comes to dinner, and sometimes it’s more convenient to let the box of Kraft mac ’n’ cheese win. On nights you’re feeling intrepid, take the tykes out on the town and you’ll discover many kid-friendly foods in restaurants that typically cater to grown-up taste buds. Skip the predictable “kids’ menu” and you’ll find many fun, yummy dishes that engage the imagination as well as the palate. Here are eight local foodie adventures that will captivate and satiate your budding gourmet.


Ike’s Food and Cocktails

Minnesotans of every age love the state fair, and the most emblematic food of our great state get-together is the mighty corn dog. Ike’s version is made from a chunky lobster sausage dipped in a sweet corn batter before deep-frying. They arrive in a dainty group of four on long wooden skewers, lounging in a pool of bright pink sauce. It’s a chili aioli that’s gentle enough for a tender tongue, and it’s a terrific companion to the lobster dogs. The fun part is swapping favorite state fair stories and comparing the two different takes on the corn dogs. $14.95. 17805 Hwy. 7, Minnetonka; 952.681.7099;



One of the fun things about eating with kids is weaving together stories and food. Ethnic restaurants present the perfect opportunity to regale young minds with dramatic tales. Greek history and mythology is rife with intrigue and adventure: Who wouldn’t be captivated by the Trojan horse, the bow-wielding huntress Artemis and Hermes’ winged feet? Christo’s offers a lot of kid-friendly fare, and once again we turn to the ever-pleasing food on a stick. Their chicken kebabs are steeped in a light oregano, garlic and lemon concoction, threaded with alternating pepper, onion and mushrooms, then char-grilled. They come with country-style rice pilaf, warm pita bread triangles and a fresh salad or soup. $16.95. 15600 Hwy. 7, Minnetonka; 952.912.1000;



Lord Fletcher’s Old Lake Lodge

This classic lake lodge with its sweeping view of the water and expanse of volleyball courts is always entrancing for kids, even in the depths of winter. Lord Fletcher’s servers are charmingly accommodating and indulgent of little guests, going as far as to serve an order of juice in an adorable sippy cup. The crispy chicken tenders and basket of golden fries we ordered comes with a side of ranch dip; the whole shebang was gobbled up while the adults enjoyed a luscious steak. Too bad the grandparents weren’t along as well. This is the perfect cross-generational restaurant, with something delicious to tempt every age and inclination. Chicken tenders, $9; French fries, $8. 3746 Sunset Dr., Spring Park; 952.471.8513;


Jake O’Connor’s Public House

Jake’s kids’ menu is not only cute, it’s also smart: It offers kid-sized portions of classic Irish cuisine, so kids and adults can enjoy the same food, but in appropriate doses. Jake’s turns out an excellent version of classic fish and chips. An order consists of a crunchy chunk of deep-fried breaded cod and a tidy pile of crispy French fries. Kids love to dip bites into ketchup and tartar sauce, and the cozy “snugs”—or booths, to us Yanks—make a fort-like hideout. The lore of the Irish (Leprechauns! Pots of gold! Four-leaf clovers!) is sure to delight a budding imagination. $5.95. 200 Water St., Excelsior; 952.908.9650;



Yumi’s Sushi Bar

You’d be surprised at how many kids like sushi—probably because it’s mild, slightly sweet and the categorization of “bait” is far from their as-yet unformed minds. But as yummy as the sushi is, we all fell for Yumi’s tempura chicken. The appetizer size is just right for small bellies, and as ever, fun to dip in the sweet and tangy ponzu sauce. Yes, they are basically chicken fingers, but in a fascinating setting of black lacquer and red lanterns. The yelling, knife-flourishing sushi chefs provide ample mealtime entertainment.  $9.95. 217 Water St., Excelsior; 952.474.1720;


Punch Neapolitan Pizza

“Bambini” means “children” in Italian, so the bambini pie at Punch is a natural choice for the little ones. This smaller-sized pizza is simple: just San Marzano crushed tomato and fresh mozzarella, both of the highest quality. You can add extra ingredients upon request, such as some thinly sliced pepperoni or a handful of mushrooms, should your progeny so desire. While you feast on prosciutto, artichokes and a glass of good red wine, your diminutive companions will not only delight in the combination of tomato and cheese on a toothsome crust but love watching the powerful magic of a hand-crafted, wood burning, 800-degree oven that turns out pizzas in just 90 seconds. You might set your stopwatch to confirm the cooking time for yourselves while marveling at the showy pie-making process with long-handled pizza paddles and a roaring fire. $4.95. 1313 Wayzata Blvd., Wayzata; 952.476.7991;



Kids love eating with their hands, and Bacio has a great selection of appetizers that will thrill those busy little fingers. Steamed edamame (soy beans) are a hoot to pop out of their shells, full of protein and deliciously buttery. A pile of parmesan-crusted shrimp comes with cocktail sauce and a mild aioli. The half-size order is plenty, and the tail is already removed for easy eating. The crispy wontons are filled with a mild and creamy mixture of cream cheese, bacon and a little bit of spinach (which will likely pass unnoticed). They’re accompanied by three colorful sauces: sweet and sour, sesame mustard and a soy reduction—all tasty, and also fun to mix and match. The best thing about the wontons may be that they look like little hats or perhaps miniature boats. Perhaps you and yours can conjure up some other comparisons. Edamame, $7; shrimp, $9–$13; wontons, $9. 1571 Plymouth Rd., Minnetonka; 952.544.7000;


Bukhara Indian Bistro

Indian fare may sound like a hard sell for the small set—maybe even for some in the big set—but I will never forget the enchantment of my first meal at an Indian restaurant when I was little. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that’s well worth sharing. The exotic smells, music and décor are very much in evidence at our own Bukhara; to walk into the dining room is to enter another realm. It’s also a wonderful opportunity for a history and geography lesson: Bukhara was once the seat of the Mughal Empire, an important stop on the Silk Route, and is now in modern-day Uzbekistan. Let your thoughts run wild with those images while enjoying matar paneer made from cubes of appealingly mild creamy cheese, green peas and a mild curry, or the paneer makhami, cheese in a creamy tomato sauce. Be sure to ask for a big slab of naan—a made-to order, oven-puffed flatbread. Choose plain, potato, cheese, onion or garlic versions. Matar, $9.99; paneer, $10.99; naan, $1.99. 15718 Wayzata Blvd E.., Wayzata; 952.476.7997;