Getting out to eat in the city with kids can be a challenge. Just getting out the door and to a restaurant can be exhausting; relaxing and enjoying a meal together before the kids meltdown is a whole other story.
Important in a family dining experience is a relaxed environment, kid-friendly service and, of course, kid-approved food. As a mom myself, I have a vested interest in choosing the right kind of place if I’m spending time and money on a dining experience with my children.
So, in the interest of providing parents with a well-deserved break from cooking, I checked in with friends, asked a few local parents, and compiled a list of the top picks for casual, relaxed and elegant eateries around Vancouver – all with a kid-friendly vibe and food that fits the budget and occasion.
For a casual lunch or snack, a coffee or play date with friends, or a short respite from the house, these three casual cafés will welcome your kids and offer a bit of extra entertainment and some fantastic food for all.
A local favourite, Darcy’s offers local, sustainable food, organic coffee and a wide selection of delicious baked goods. Featuring a great play area for kids that includes toys, crafts, and books, this casual little eatery is perfect for a relaxed meal, any time of day. Every Friday night is dessert night where parents and kids can come to mingle and enjoy new friends.
No website for this cozy café, but you’ll find them at 4462 – W10th Avenue, Vancouver (604) 336-6399
This relaxed café offers delicious homestyle baked goods and flavourful, light lunches and meals to please any crowd. Their recipes are created especially for Kokopelli by Vancouver area chefs, and they focus on healthy, delicious ingredients and a great assortment of kids options. Included free of charge is a large children’s play area so you can relax and have some adult time while your kids are entertained.
Nourish Café and Cooking School
My personal favourite for a casual meal with kids, Nourish offers warm hospitality and a friendly atmosphere that’s inviting and fun. Beautiful décor mixed with warm staff, leave you relaxed and ready to stay awhile. Created by husband/wife team Dan & Abbey after the birth of their first daughter, the duo was inspired to feed their children well and are dedicated to doing the same for yours. The food is fantastic, original, organic and local. Bonus – they offer cooking classes too!
If you’re looking for a longer, yet relaxed meal with your kids, the right atmosphere and food are important so your kids stay occupied and content. These three, full-service restaurants offer kid-style perks and food that will leave tummies happy and parents even happier.
Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co
For the ultimate family experience, Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co is the place to be. With specialty events geared toward moms and babies, to kids-only play kitchen, they’ve nailed the family dining experience. Sundays are family night, where kids can make their own pizzas start to finish – this place is family fun at its finest.
Sophie’s Cosmic Café
This cosmic favourite has been delighting locals and tourists alike since 1988. Full of eclectic flair, bright colours and bold artwork, Sophie’s is a feast for the eyes and for the stomach. Located on Vancouver’s exciting West 4th Avenue shopping strip, this delightful café is known for brunch but open through dinner. A fun little kids menu and friendly, enthusiastic staff make Sophie’s Cosmic Café the perfect choice for a meal with kids.
The Old Spaghetti Factory
A Vancouver favourite for both adults and kids, The Old Spaghetti Factory offers great value and a wonderful selection of all-inclusive meals. This means you get bread, soup or salad, ice cream and tea or coffee for one great price! Sit in caboose style seating for some extra fun and enjoy the upbeat atmosphere without fear of disturbing other diners.
For special occasions or just a special meal out, high-end eateries don’t have to be out of the question. These three swankier selections are big on service and will welcome you, and your kids, for an elegant experience, family-style.
YEW Seafood and Bar
This Four Seasons hot spot is a great option for families. Kids are offered a fruit plate while they wait for food, and the children’s menu has great selections ranging from good old chicken strips to fancier options like salmon and rice. Known for their excellent service, the YEW menu offers a special message to mom’s and dad’s, promising a great experience with delicious and healthy food as well as a cute contest for kids with an ice cream prize. They claim to “get kids” here – and it seems they do!
Located in the Parq Vancouver entertainment complex, Honey Salt is a great choice for a family meal out. Featuring food with locally and regionally sourced ingredients, Honey Salt is happy to host children and has a wonderful selection of menu options for kids and adults alike. From turkey meatballs to cornflake crispy chicken, your kids will leave happy, and so will you!
Market by Jean-Georges
Located in the prestigious Shangri-La hotel in downtown Van, this high-end eatery will welcome you and your children with open arms. With friendly, warm service and flexibility when it comes to food, this restaurant treats all its guests the same, no matter their age. Whether your child wants kid-type food options or is ready to get a little adventurous, Market by Jean-Georges has it all and more. You’ll all leave feeling important and cared for – a definite win if you’re ready for high end.
Whatever the reason, whatever the season, getting out to eat with your kids should end in celebration, not dissatisfaction. The right venue will offer you atmosphere, service, and food that will leave you feeling wanted, satisfied and filled with family time fulfillment.