8 Family Friendly Restaurants in Houston That Won’t Break the Bank

As a mom with a teenage son and friends with small kids, we frequently are looking for the best restaurants in the Houston area that are family-friendly, fun for the kids, and fun for the grownups too. When we first moved to the Houston area, all we could find were chain restaurants, upscale restaurants or local dives. After a bit of exploration, we managed to find eight excellent family oriented fun restaurants in the Houston area, and I’m going to share them here.

My Favorite Family Fun Restaurant Near Houston: Samurai Steakhouse
Samurai Steakhouse
133 W Bay Area Blvd.
Webster, TX 77598

Located off Bay Area Blvd. and Highway 3, Samurai Steakhouse is a great place to take kids that’s also easy to get to from most any location in the suburbs just south of Houston. Samurai has kid-friendly foods, such as french fries and chicken and ice cream, but they also put on a great show on the hibachi grills that both kids and grownups will enjoy. For birthdays, kids even get to wear a special hat and get their picture taken with a samurai sword.

Try the seafood combo dinner, with the green tea ice cream for dessert (included). And the hot sencha green tea is amazing.

Family Fun and Fish at Sudie’s: My Son’s Favorite Houston Area Restaurant
Sudie’s Seafood House
352 N. Gulf Freeway
League City, Texas 77573

With the all-you-can-eat catfish, my son’s favorite dish, teenagers who like to eat and eat and eat can get their fill of breaded catfish or baked catfish, plus sides, all served family-style in big family bowls to the table. For kids who don’t like fried fish or seafood, there are chicken choices and fries too. Our favorite here is the banana pudding, served in mason jars with long spoons to get every last bite. Their fried shrimp is scrumptious too. Little something for everyone, but it won’t break the wallet.

Dinner and a Movie Fun Near Houston, Texas
Star Cinema Grill
1020 Nasa Road 1, Suite 152
Webster, Texas 77598

For one price, about the same as watching a movie at a regular theatre, you can get dinner and a movie at the same time at Star Cinema. The seats are super comfortable, more like sitting in a desk rocker than at a movie theatre, and dinner is brought right to your table. These aren’t old shows either; new releases are regularly available. Every time my grown daughter comes to visit, she loves to go to Star Cinema and my son had his first date there too.

The Chocolate Bar Eatery, Worth the Drive from Anywhere in Houston
The Chocolate Bar (Two Houston Locations)

River Oaks
1835 West Alabama

Rice Village
2521 University Blvd

The smell of chocolate will greet you at the door. We ordered a seven-layer chocolate cake here that was bigger than my head, and I’ve got a big head! We had chocolate coffee, chocolate ice cream, chocolate cake, and in the chocolate shop, there is chocolate covered everything, from fruit to Oreos to Twinkies to cereal to just about anything you can dip in chocolate. Kids will love this, and Mom will be hero for the day!

Family Fun for Hours Plus Food at Dave & Buster’s in Houston
Two locations in Houston on either side of the big city, there’s a quick trip for anyone:

Dave & Buster’s: Houston-Galleria
6010 Richmond Avenue
Houston , TX 77057

Dave & Buster’s: Houston
7620 Katy Freeway
Houston, TX 77024

My son begs me nearly daily to take him to Dave & Busters in Houston, and most of the time I don’t mind. With a standard menu that has both adult fare and foods for kids, there’s something to please everywhere there. Then it’s time for the game room, where both kids and adults can find something pleasurable, from pool to arcade games to mini-amusement rides and much more. It’s a bit pricey, but for a special occasion or a reward or treat for good grades or special behavior, this is definitely a great place to consider. Visit their website for free game credits before you go.

Sports-Minded Adults and Kids will Love Skeeter’s Restaurant in Houston
Skeeter’s Grill
Nine (9) locations in Houston, visit website for more information.

If the kids like to draw on the wall with crayon, Skeeter’s might just be the best family-friendly restaurant in Houston. Moms will love the $3.99 kid’s menu, but kids are going to love the butcher paper tablecloths and crayons, so their imagination can soar. The food is good, but the menu is slim. They are mostly grilled foods and Tex-Mex cuisine, but they do have salads and lighter fare too. The price is right for a family-fun outing though, especially for kids, and the entire restaurant is perfect for the toddler to pre-teen families.

Fish for Fun, Fish for Food, Visit the Downtown Aquarium
Downtown Aquarium Restaurant
410 Bagby
Houston TX, 77002

The first time we went to the Aquarium Restaurant, we visited the one in Kemah, Texas, which is a suburb of Houston, right off the lake. There was a grouper in the tank that was at least 250 pounds, and he looked mean and big and old. There were also stingrays in the man-made reef, and after dinner, we fed them and were able to pet and play with them, which was an awesome experience. We haven’t been to the Aquarium in Houston yet, but we understand, since they are the same company, that they are similar. However, the tanks at the Downtown Aquarium Restaurant in Houston is bigger.

The food is pricey and the atmosphere tries to be upscale. It’s not really geared toward kids on the menu, but they did have an Icee machine, and a commemorative cup with a fish straw. The food wasn’t the best especially for the price. However, it’s really worth it at least once to take the younger kids to the Aquarium Restaurant and enjoy the fish and the tanks while dining.

Buffet, All You Can Eat, Pizza and Game: A Family Favorite Houston Restaurant
Gatti’s Pizza
16607 El Camino Real
Houston, TX 77062

With an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet, with soup, salad, breadsticks, desserts, sodas and more, the kids get their favorite foods and it’s not bad for the adults either. Then after dinner, the game room has rides for the toddlers and games for the adults and older kids, including pool, shuffleboard, ping pong, air hockey and arcade games. My hometown’s Gatti’s in West Texas was actually bigger and much nicer than the one in Houston, so in that respect, we were disappointed. However, judging it just against itself, the Gatti’s in Houston is still a fun place for an afternoon out with the kids, and hours of fun playing games at a fairly reasonable price.

So there you have my favorite family fun restaurant picks for taking the kids and having a good time at a decent or reasonable price, unless noted. One last thing to mention is that any restaurant on the Boardwalk at Kemah is a fun place to go, with their windows looking out over the water, fireworks every night, and the amusement park right there on the Boardwalk. So if any of these family-fun restaurants don’t sound ideal to you, head out to Kemah and spend the whole day having a great time and choose from the numerous restaurants on the Boardwalk there.