Samantha's Restaurant

Mexican, Salvadoran
$$$$ ($15-$24)
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Editorial Review

Samantha's looks a little nicer than your average kid-friendly restaurant, at least once you get past the neon in the window. Deep red walls and white tablecloths add a touch of romance to the 65-seat Silver Spring eatery. But parents have learned that children are welcome here. A half-dozen kiddos traipsed in within an hour on a recent Sunday night. A pair of sisters even brought their own markers to doodle on the white paper that overlays the tablecloths. (The restaurant supplies crayons if you ask for them.)

The children's menu is pretty standard -- cheeseburgers, chicken tenders and mini quesadillas -- but many families opt for the restaurant's wide variety of pupusas. Parents can sup on Mexican, Salvadoran and South American dishes such as carne asado, pollo saltado and yucca con chicharron. Go early to get one of the few spots in the parking lot alongside the restaurant.

-- Julia Beizer (Feb. 19, 2010)