Eating Out With Children......(30 Posts)
Hi...I have a two year old girl, 5 year old boy and one more very much on it's way! I love eating out but always worried about the reception I may recieve when I bring in my brood !
They are well behaved but at the end of the day they are kids! Any suggestions for family friendly places that aren't the usual 'pubs'? Thanks xx
ps I am in the West Yorks area
Hi. I don't know your local area at all I'm afraid, but in terms of good quality chains, we love Pizza Express, Carluccios, and Jamie's Italian, if that's any help . Also most of our local Chinese, Thai, Indian restaurants are very child friendly.
Pizza Express now do mini pizzas and staff are told to offer one immediately when people with toddlers come in.
Fab! And they have pencils and activity books.
I've found Indian places are great - ask for some poppadums when you go in and you can keep a toddler entertained for ages. Dim sum Chinese is also fun - sticky rice and pork buns etc.
Anywhere that opens early! We end up going places for 'high tea' ie dinner at 5pm, as less crowded and kids not yet tired...
I have found almost everywhere very friendly to children at lunchtime and early evening. We eat out a lot and have continued to do so since having children. In my experience the smarter the restaurant the nicer they are to children.
Another vote here for pizza express, so nice to ds1 and let him take his leftover pizza in a box which he loves.
Also find the victory pubs inside village hotels great, fab kids pack and good meals for them.
Frankie & bennys is another we take them to, the kids meals are very good value
Me and my little one regularly meet up with my friends (and their little ones!) at Revolution Bar Electric Press in Leeds City Center. Great location, excellent service and great menu, for the little ones and grown ups alike!
They do 'kids eat free' with every adult too so it's really good value. Staff are really friendly and always make a fuss over the kids. They provide a colouring pack and pencils too which keeps the kids happy and means me and the girls can have a good catch up.
Another big up for pizza express! We went in just after my DS was born with my DD and whilst most of the other pushchairs were put away in this small restaurant, my DS was in the back of the Phil and Ted so obviously needed to be next to us. The manager went out of his way to accommodate us, we had a childrens menu, crayons etc, the chefs gave my DD a little hat to wear and even though I was in the middle of the restaurant trying to get my tiny baby to latch on they were very pro-breastfeeding. Big thumbs up.
pizza hut, same as pizza express, warm welcome, activity pack, your local itallian or greek, our dc are always made welcome, sat at the head of the table etc, even a glass of "wine" (soda and squash) love eating out with mines dc
Wagamama is great if there is one in the area - it has a childrens menu. And we took ours to a tex mex (may have been called Chiquitos?) and they loved that - it was very lively and full of families at 5pm.
Like other people have said, the pizza chains tend to be great for young families.
Chiquito's is generally popular with children because it's quite heavy on the Tex-Mex theming, but IME it varies tremendously. The last time we went (and it will be the last time!) we waited for over an hour for our food.
We went to Cafe Rouge on Sunday and that was very family friendly - no colouring or activity books or anything, but a good choice of things for them to eat, prompt service, children's drinks included with their meals, that sort of thing.
Oh, and this is nowhere near West Yorkshire, but my top Family Friendly award of the year so far goes to the beach bar / cafe at the Tunnel Beaches in Ilfracombe, North Devon.
Whatever you might want when you've come off the beach after a busy time rock-pooling and paddling was there. If you wanted a big platter of chilli and nachos and guacamole to share, and a very big glass of icy cold white wine, you could have it. If you were 5 and really wanted a glass of milk and a Nutella sandwich, you could have that too. Very cool 'Grand Designs' type glass and cedar building, imaginative and safe play area for children, and lunch for 2 adults and 3 DCs for £31.25. What's not to like?
IAmRubyLennox, we're off to that part of Devon in July so I'll take your tip - thanks!
We also like pizza express but find chiquito great for kids especially out of typical meal times ( was almost empty on Sunday at 3pm ) had excellent service
Oh heavens, knottyhair, the responsibility!!
Probably a lot busier in July than it was in April but I hope it's nice for you. Another good one in that area for quick, cheap and cheerful pub food straight off the beach is the Red Barn on Woolacombe sands. Gets packed but very big and nice beachy / surfy feel to it.
Have added to my list IAmRuby. Yes I'm sad and have a list .
Also National Trust cafes - some places you have to pay to enter if you're not a member, others you don't but members get a food discount.
Excellent food and there's card 'lunchboxes' for kids which you can fill with various items or just buy a couple. They provide microwave, toddler cutlery, usually some play table etc.
My parents live near a NT place where loads of local elderly people go for lunch as there's a loyalty scheme and it works out better to get the bus there for a good meal rather than pay for meals on wheels! So they provide easygrip cutlery too.
Wagamamas OK if not too crowded - my 2yo had a meltdown in one recently as it was very hot and noisy.
I get annoyed with people who get annoyed with young children in pizzarias at 6.30! ykwim!? As long as you're not in a really swanky restaurant at 8.30 then I think it's fair game. If the restaurant is family friendly then they want your business.
I had somebody give out to my daughter in bella pasta at about 6.45 once. I was a bit this is hardly the ivy mate. ANd now that my children are older and will sit like gourmands dabbing the corners of their mouth with their linen napkins, I STILL feel the same! Other families with younger children than mine?? phew! nobody's going to be looking at us.
The only places I take my two at the moment are Pizza Express, Frankie and Bennys and Harvester. Everything else can wait until they can sit still for a bit longer
DS has eaten out with us EVERYWHERE since he was tiny. Sometimes family-friendly sometimes swanky. A few things I've always found helpful:
1. Take stuff.
I mean drawing stuff, wee figures, a book, a wee puzzle even a game that doesn't take up loads of space. The boring bits are having to wait.
2. Make sure he/she is not starving as they walk in the door...and if they are order bread/olives or something IMMEDIATELY! Ask for this to come before you decide on the rest of your order.
3. Include him/her/them in your conversation. Lots of people seem to want to have an adult conversation that excludes wee diners from the experience of eating out. If that's your bag...get a sitter!
4. Let them try stuff off your plate even if they've ordered a kid's meal. Who wants to eat chicken dippers EVERY time they go out?! Alternatively, order a few dishes and let everyone swap and change about. Encouraging them to try something new (but not having to eat the whole thing if they hate it) will broaden their palate and make eating out as much a treat for them as it is for you.
Everything mamandouisti says - except possibly for palate-broadening. Ds ate anything until he was 15 months when he suddenly got hugely fussy and it became difficult to get him to eat anything other than bread and milk. Unlike dn who carried on trying everything.
18 months on we still offer ds everything and take him to restaurants, but in general he sticks to a multicultural range of bread-like products, with the odd bit of meat. Still, it means he's happy to be taken anywhere to eat.
We have always taken our children out to eat from a very young age and, as they always sat at the table for meals at home (apart from Saturday evening when they were allowed to watch a favourite programme on the tele and have dinner at the same time) they were well able to sit and chat to us and eat nicely. Some diners do look horrified when you arrive with 3 children but many have complelmented us on their behaviour over the years. They are now older so no-one bats an eye but I remember being annoyed by the disparaging looks some diners gave us in the past. We had the last laugh though!
The only problem with children eating out is the bill - mind you, 3 of ours are teenagers now! Agree with PE, Wagamama, Carluccio's, Zizzi, also Japanese restaurants a big hit. Our local Nepalese is the best ever - owner had his first dd a few weeks after we had no.4 and they always go out of their way to be helpful. Anywhere Mediterranean also - local tapas/wine bars good at the right time. Maxwell's/themed places good too. I find background music helps as the odd voice doesn't stand out.
frankie & bennies is good as well. we love that one. or the slug & lettuce - the platters are good for sharing.
but like others we've never shyed away from taking DS out to eat - even for carverys & the such - with those I just took c
one colouring books/toys/books for him to play about with. now he's of an age to know what's acceptable behaviour.
Pizza hut is a good choice. Children eat free and the salad bar is now free for everyone.
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