15 Family-Friendly Dining Spots in Calgary
Calgary is a foodie heaven. Here are our favourite spots to head to for family-friendly fare and an atmosphere that's welcoming to the littles.
You don't see many farm-to-table restaurants in the suburbs, but even downtown dwellers make the trek to Starbelly, situated in the southeast part of the city. Serving up home-style cuisine made from scratch, the menu suits every member of the family, including kids who dig into crispy chicken fingers and cheesy pasta. Every children's dish comes with one side (warm tomato soup and loads of veggie options) and dessert for just $11. Sunday Market Brunch features a waffle station and their Sunday Supper comes with three courses for a set price. Find out more about Starbelly here.
We know our families and their love of the all-day breakfast. Protein pounders do well with the Montreal Smoked Meat Omelette, and they make really good, really thick shakes. While it's not specified on the menu, cooks make pancakes into fun shapes for the kiddies. Find out more about the Belmont Diner here.
This rotating restaurant at the top of the Calgary Tower keeps everyone happily entertained during dinner. Entrees include complimentary elevation to the viewing deck, where you'll work up an appetite stepping into the hurricane simulator. With a kid's menu, change table and high chairs this restaurant has all your needs covered.
Find out more about Sky 360 here.
The entryway at this casual Italian eatery is lined with Lira coins, and you can send the tykes off to hunt for the one Loonie in the mix while waiting for your order. A weekday happy hour (3-5 pm) makes for happy families with two topping pizzas and wine at $5 a pop. On the pizza front, wild boar bacon pizza is always a fave, while rotisserie chicken and hearty protein topped salads round out your meal.
Find out more about Cibo here.
If awards and accolades are any indication, this one of the city best restaurants. The good news is that it's not just for special occasions and is family-friendly too boot. Nestled in Prince's Island Park, this destination restaurant is designed like a historic fishing lodge. There's a special children's menu during weekend brunch, but during lunch and dinner service they can happily customize meals to suit young palates (flatbread is always a winner). Colouring pages and crayons are at the ready.
Find out more about River Cafe here.
While there's two locations in Calgary, you'll really love the convenience of the CF Chinook Centre location. Reward good behaviour at this two-level upscale pizza joint that dishes out pizzas, pastas, hearty salads and too many tempting desserts. The fish pizzas are thin crust and wood fired, all made with doppio zero or ‘OO flour', which is lower in gluten than regular Canadian wheat flour (and makes us less bloated). Aim to hit Happy Hour from 3-6 on weekdays for $5 appies (meatballs!) and wine for mama. Find out more about Double Zero here.
Geek chic is on full display at this hot dog eatery. Kids love getting their dogs topped with a variety of unusual condiments including peanut butter and Cap't Crunch. Best is the abundance of old school video games at old school prices. If you're lucky, they'll be projecting cartoons on the wall during your visit. Good to know: it's a cash-only joint.
Find out more about Tubby Dog here.
Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria
Famoso's Neapolitan pizza comes in two sizes: adult and ‘pizzetta', for little appetities, and flavours range from vintage Italian to classic pepperoni to the out of the ordinary (Moo Shu BBQ Duck
anyone?). The low-in-gluten crust is a bonus you can keep to yourself. Knowing that the tomatoes are imported from Italy, you'll be sure to ask for extra sauce. Kids will love watching their pizzas cook in the large, circulating oven while you'll love getting a gourmet experience without having to hire a babysitter. Find out more about Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria here.
Sushi Ginza is pleasing to all five senses. They offer large pieces of fish and a nice variety of rolls ready to go at the bar. There is a variety of seating: small booths, semi-private rooms and of course the sushi bar. The bar is table-height so no worries about kids tumbling off stools. The water fountain, wishing well and koi pond are first-rate distractions so you can finish your meal and pay the bill. Find out more about Sushi Ginza here.
Earls asks you to bring your own booster seats, bibs and toys but we're not put off by that or the fact that they don't have a children's menu. As long as your kids will eat chicken fingers and fries, edamame or even calamari off the appy menu, they'll be A-OK. Earls Calgary Downtown Tin Palace on 4th Street is our location of choice and comes highly recommended from savvy scouts and locals with kids. Find out more about Earls here.
If you like to refresh more than your palette between courses, we like the Raw Bar in the Hotel Arts. Located poolside, there is no charge for paying restaurant customers to indulge in a dip. Choose something from the full menu if you drop by in the evening or, if you're stopping in earlier in the day, enjoy some appetizers or mains from the afternoon menu. Find out more about Raw Bar here.
In Kensington, we love Pulcinella, for the authentic Napoletana Pizza. The decor is slick and the pizza kitchen sits mid-restaurant, so if you catch the chefs with some time to spare, your kids can go behind the counter to watch their pizza prep in person. Keep it simple and order the Margherita pizza followed by the Saltinbocca (dessert pizza with Nutella). Find out more about Pulcinella here.
Without Papers, located in trendy Inglewood, serves gourmet, handmade pizza with a deliciously thin, dry crust. There are other goodies on the menu like homemade ice cream and Grizzly Paw soda floats guaranteed to delight you and your children. Note: pizza crusts can be made gluten free. We like that they project silent movies on bare walls throughout the day for your junior image junkies. Find out more about Without Papers here.
Una Pizza + Wine
If ‘za' is the easy meal option for your family, try Una Pizza + Wine on 17th Avenue. It serves up delicious thin-crust pizzas, has a gluten-free option and offers real espresso and good wine (for those who will have more than 20 minutes to enjoy the meal). Find out more about Una Pizza + Wine here.
Kinjo Sushi & Grill
The sushi is tasty with a lot of varieties all ready to go at the bar. The red tuna and teriyaki chicken are highlights. Seating around the bar includes cozy booths for four and standard stools. Gregarious owner Peter Kinjo carries a pocket full of Pocky treats and makes a fun show of handing them out to all his juvenile and female guests. Find out more about Kinjo Sushi & Grill here.