Open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays until 11 p.m., closed Mondays. Parking in rear. Accessible to persons in wheelchairs.American Express, Diners Club, Carte Blanche, Master Charge. Reservations not necessary.

We kept the pre-outing briefing for the children to a minimum, for it would have been tricky selling them on a Cuban restaurant with a Greek-letter name fofering Mexican specialties and Filipino beer in the Latino heartland of Washington's Adams-Morgan neighborhood. But like the many children whose families frequent the Omega Restaurant on Columbia Road NW, ours would take to the place with gusto.

On weekend evenings, the Omega's two old rooms with ceiling-level air conditioners and hanging gas meter are quite cozily peopled. But after a short wait alongside the beer refrigerator between the front door and the cashier counter, we were seated in the sea of red-vinyl-covered tables.

It was not waht you'd call quiet, yet the happy-chatter din seemed to muffle any shrill sounds from children.

And in no time flat, one of the free-spirited brothers in this family operation had delivered two soft drinks, two San Miguel beers and a large basket of crusty bread with butter.

The menu, in Spanish and English, is frustrating, for there are just too many tantalizing offerings. I stopped first at Spanish sardines ($1.25) and wasn't disappointed. But our son, 10, and daughter, 7, really scored in the 90-cent soup category.

Our daughter's chicken noodle was homemade, stocky and snappy.

Our son tried the weekend-only special, caldo gallego, on the advice of my wife, who was banking on him to take about two spoonfuls and give her the rest. She lost. It was one of those all-inclusive soups - beans, pork, spinach and everything else healthy - and the adults were held to mere tastings.

Among the varied main dishes are eggs and omelettes of all kinds from $2.75 to $4.50, chicken every which way from $3 to $3.50, steaks and pork in the $3 to $4 range and a mixed seafood platter at $5, all with black beans and rice.

Our daughter's choice, fried pork chops ;costillas de puerco) turned out to be two large, gently browned and slightly spiced tender chops.

Our son elected bistec empanizado, which translates to breaded club steak.

My wife and I shared an order of Paella Valenciana ($5) and one of enchilada de pollo a la Mexicana $3.25). The paella was a fine conglomeration of rice, chicken, clam, shrimp, peas and mystery morsels in one dish. In the other dish, soft chicken bits were wrapped in enchiladas. The paella serving alone could easily do for two, so the kids helped out.

Kids, incidentally, seem to get special, fun-loving attention from the family management. At one point, younger-brother-waiter ceremoniously removed our son's empty soft drink can, then two minutes later, delicately and with a straight face, redelivered said can - completely flattened.

Yes, there are desserts - puddings, cheeses and so on - but we were already satisfied. Two regular sized cups of espresso and we were ready for a stroll. For a bill of $23.70 plus tip, the four of us had enjoyed not just a meal, but a festive occasion.