Child Friendly Restaurants(21 Posts)
Any recommendations for truly fantastic child friendly eating places?
I've always found Yellow River Cafe very friendly. They've always given us a balloon or two to take home, then again I'm just a sucker for anything like that, because I can't remember anything else about it being wonderfully special. They didn't mind me breastfeeding discreetly.
Bella Pasta is usually pretty good - again they give you balloons, and colouring in to do. And Harry Ramsdens is another good one - very friendly staff, and a play corner, with toys and videos.
Pizza Express. Wouldn't say it was truly fantastic but dd and friends love the garlic bread and mini pizzas and the kids squash that comes in a plastic jug - cue much admiration from people of between 2-7. Pencils and colouring in pix and last time we went dd got a balloon to take home.
Make mine a...can't remember the name, but its the one with spinach and egg. Can't believe I've forgotten the name, I've only ordered it every time for the past 10 years.
Browns - very child friendly(crayons etc), the foods not bad and they mix a mean Margarita! Branches in Oxford, Brighton, Cambridge and Windsor, and I expect in other places too.
I'm curious about what people think makes a place "child friendly."
I personally consider a place child friendly if it has a non-smoking section AND provides high chairs. As far as the food goes, I like to have good adult food and am not terribly interested in kids meals and children's portions. The only place I've been to in London that even remotely fits this description is the cafe at John Lewis/Brent Cross and even that is marginal in terms of food quality.
Lots of italian-run restaurants are child friendly because the italians are generally such a family orientated set of people. Our local restaurant - Roberto's, is run by an italian family and they are always pleased to see children, fuss over them and try to accomodate them with the food. I really hate eating out at places where children are seen as a nuisance who only make noise and mess. If children don't receive a warm welcome and are uncomfortable they won't be on their best behaviour anyway. Friendly staff can be such a help in encouraging children to eat up, try something new or just to sit still and be patient.
Somewhere where waiting staff and other diners don't tut when they see you have 2 cheeky little blighters with you. Somewhere that doesn't break the bank. Somewhere that doesn't expect endless waiting while the food is prepared. High chairs were essential when the kids were younger. So many places had only one and I'd end up with a wriggly obstreperous bratlet on my knee, thus ruining all chances of getting a bite to eat myself. And somewhere to dump a double buggy would have been extremely helpful in days gone by.
I'm ashamed to admit that fast food outlets- including the dreaded McDs- get more of my custom than I would like, purely because there's so few reasonable places to eat out with kids in my area, so I'm following this thread with interest.
Beefeaters tend to be v. child friendly - you also get the restaurants specifically targeted at families, the ones with soft play areas, etc... Charlie Chalks springs to mind (not sure if this is uk wide?)
I agree, a place is child friendly if they actively welcome children rather than sneering at you. Greek, Italian and Indian restaurants do tend to be good on this IME. Also agree about non smoking sections, friendly waiting staff, decent food - i.e not chicken nuggets and all that crap but small portions of things like pasta, garlic bread, and, OK, chips. Plus high chairs, colouring things, fast service when you need it to be fast (have some people no idea how long 10 minutes is to a hungry toddler?). Asking if you're in a rush for the children's food would be good, as would producing bread and drinks immediately if it would help.
I think Pizza Express is good for older children and is still nice for adults too. When ds was younger I did hate the feeling that I was condemned to Beefeater/Pizza Hut/Wacky Warehouse for the rest of my dining out days...
Although on the pricey side for a weekend family lunch I like TGI Friday's for a treat. The one in Crawley, which is the only one I have been to with DS, has quite a wide kids menu and the staff have balloons and wear funny hats and are really friendly. They have high chairs and don't mind if the kiddies walk around. My DH and I love the odd burger and chips and it's much nicer than McDonald's and Burger King!
At the high end of the market, raymond Blancs restaurants are very child friendly with great food. Le petit Blanc in birmingham near the aquarium is particularly good
The most 'child-friendly' restaurant ever was the tiny crepe restaurant that we went to in Brittany when dd was 18 months old. The proprietoress came out of the kitchen and played with dd for the duration of our meal, offered her bits of different types of crepe and then did an impromptu puppet show with some beautiful old puppets that she happened to have laying around. Oh, and the cider was good too.
I have yet to replicate this experience in this country
Don't know about "truly fantastic" but we enjoy these on the occasions when we go out. All are in London, some are chains:
Wagamama, Belgo, Rainforest Cafe and Marine Ices (Camden). The first 2 I like particularly as they're also grown-up friendly. Belgo has a "children eat for free" policy.
I second Wagamamas and there's one opening in Bristol soon, hurray!
Our local Turkish restaurant is wonderful. They cheerfully let the sluglet crawl around while we are eating. We first took her there when she was 6 months old and the owner (whose wife was 6 months pg at the time) spent the whole evening 'practising' with her.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now »
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.