After numerous readers asked for a blog post on child friendly restaurants, I volunteered to take the challenge. As someone who loves food but also regularly dines with a toddler, considering whether a restaurant is child-friendly or at least child-proof is something I regularly do. Nonetheless, when I went to write this article, I thought about how “child friendly” is going to mean something different to everyone. For example, to my friend with a picky four year old who only eats beige food (think fries, chicken fingers, pasta with butter) having “kid friendly” food is important. My other friend with four children seeks out restaurants where kids eat free and ranks places with paper place mats and crayons high on her list. Yet another friend with two children under three ranks high chairs as an essential item. For our family, none of these things are deal breakers. We judge whether or not a restaurant is child friendly simply on whether or not the children are truly welcome, allowing us to relax.
When it comes to family friendly restaurants, most Kitsilano residents swear by Rocky Mountain Flatbread. With decent food and wine, reasonable prices, and a little play area for children, parents and kids seem to love it here. It’s a bit too much like a playground for my liking, but this opinion definitely leaves me in the minority. I had to mention Rocky Mountain because even though it didn’t make my list, I suspect it is most readers number one.
My Top Six Picks for Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Kits
(It was supposed to be five but I couldn’t decide who to cut)
1) Las Margaritas, 1999 West 4th, offers fresh Mexican dishes and a fun environment to suit everyone from your family’s new addition to grandma. Like Rocky Mountain, it’s busy and loud, but at least they have tequila.
2) Connie’s Cookhouse, 2135 West 4th, is a super casual and well-priced Chinese food gem. Connie doesn’t have the bells and whistles of many family friendly restaurants, but she does have food that is delicious and fun for the kids to eat. The restaurant is also pretty child proof and the children are more than welcome. Their take-out is great too!
3) Modern Burger, 2507 West Broadway, is a fun little diner with delicious burgers and shakes. I can’t think of a family that wouldn’t enjoy dinner here. I would love to see them add salads or a veggie plate to the menu, but otherwise two thumbs up.
4) Aphrodite’s Organic Café and Pie Shop, 3598 West 4th, offers a whole lot more than great pie. With a commitment to local and organic ingredients, the food is delicious, healthy and reasonably priced. Our family eats here more than anywhere else in the city. Also, if anyone in your family has a food sensitivity, this is the place to be. For us, Aphrodite’s has everything we need to feel comfortable with small children while still genuinely enjoying our food and dining experience.
5) Sophie’s Cosmic Café, 2095 West 4th, is a no-brainer for brunch but don’t pass it by for a family dinner. In the evening, there are no lines and from 5-8pm they offer salads, pasta, sandwiches, burgers and a kids menu. We go to Sophie’s simply because it is fun and sooooo easy.
6) Harvest Deli, 2963 West Broadway, is truly a gem. When my son was born, we stopped by on our way home from the hospital and have been back on many, many nights since. Ramzi offers an overwhelming array of sandwiches, including various options for even the most critical toddler. At night, the deli offers their regular menu of soups, salads and sandwiches, plus a few special spur of the moment dishes (including a lamb dish my husband brings up every single time we walk by). The space is extremely casual and a bit tight (it is, after all, a deli), but the menu is perfect for the whole family and your children will be welcomed with open arms.
Other family friendly restaurants in the neighbourhood recommended to me include White Spot, East is East, Olympic Pizza, Burgoo and Boston Pizza.
Let us know: where do you dine out with kids in tow?
Last modified: November 27, 2012