The Best Kid (Family) Friendly Restaurants in Toronto
The best kid and family friendly restaurants in Toronto cater to the (often) fickle tastes and short attention spans of young ones, and allow parents and children alike to enjoy a meal out. While the kid menus offered at these restaurants deal in the familiar grilled cheese, butter pasta, chicken tenders and chips, there are subtle hints on the menus that suggest a child's palate can, and should be, pushed and developed. These family-friendly restaurants can help kids graduate into real diners, one bite at a time.
Here are the best kid and family friendly restaurants in Toronto.
The Ace is perfect for kids and parents alike - each has their own menu full of comforting favourites. For kids, order up the Little Ace (a cheeseburger and French fries), or the mac 'n' cheese (with cauliflower florets for a hidden vegetable), while parents will love the Ace country-fried chicken or the steak frites.
The Danforth location of Pizzeria Libretto is particularly good for families. They have all of the great pizzas, the salads, the kid-friendly arancini and ricotta gnocchi, but they also accommodate a child's level of focus by providing paper and crayons, speedy service, and change tables.
A smokehouse might not be the first place you'd think of taking your kids to, but Barque has a separate menu of bites for ankle-biters. Kids can choose one item from each menu list - drinks, "Moo, Cluck, Oink" (with chicken wraps and grilled cheese are among the items), "Trees and Stuff" (greens), and "If I Eat My Trees and Such" (dessert).
In places like Denmark, kids love liver sandwiches and pickled fish; back here in Canada, maybe not so much (though hopefully times are changing). That's why Zane Caplansky was wise enough to create a kid-friendly side menu for his famous deli staples. While parents dine on smoked meat, gefilte fish and meatball subs, children have their choice of grilled cheese, butter pasta, hot dogs and breakfasts.
Starting kids off eating local and organic is important to many parents these days, and with a family-focused neighbourhood like the Junction as your 'hood, it's no wonder The Beet caters to children and even babies. Kids can enjoy baby-sized pureed portions of banana, apple sauce or sweet potato, a nibbler platter, vegan mac 'n' cheese or a Beet Box (a choice of grilled cheese or PB&J), while parents nosh on lamb burgers and tofu wraps.
The pub is the traditional centrepiece of English family life, and Prohibition Gastrohouse carries the torch in Riverside with its family-friendly atmosphere and menu. Their in-house smoker and pub favourites are sure to delight any parent, while kids can enjoy the games on TV and feast on cheese or pepperoni pizza, mac 'n' cheese, Caesar salad and soft-serve ice cream. Just don't keep them out until last call, OK?
Uncle Betty's Diner is a popular family-friendly spot near Yonge and Eglinton. Brunch is a real hit, with pancakes, donuts and stuffed French toast on the menu that will have them running around hopped up on sugar for hours. Lunch and dinner are a bit more chill, with mac 'n' cheese and Cap'n Crunch chicken fingers for kids and the Ultimate Grilled Cheese for adults (though the pulled pork and mac 'n' cheese sandwiches might be a hit with all ages).
Kids can get up really early, and It's a pain to wait around for places to open with hungry and cranky mouths to feed. The Lakeview takes care of the worry since it's open 24 hours and offers a great children's menu that kids can colour in and play with while you wait for your meal. Kid-friendly faves include fish and chips, grilled cheese, hamburgers, waffles and scrambled eggs plus old-time root beer floats (come on, every child should experience a root beer float at least once in their lifetime).
Leaside's Against The Grain (there is also a location at Sugar Beach) supports neighbourhood families by offering a relaxing environment for both parents looking for a cool micro-brew and burger as well as their fussy children. Kids dine on pepperoni and mozzarella flatbread or mini cheeseburger sliders, while moms and dads get baby beet salads, pulled pork, fish tacos and burgers.
The blend of beer and babies shouldn't scare parents away from the Mill Street Brewpub, as they do their best to bring families into the fold. Parents can sample the beers, like Tankhouse and the Organic, while the young ones eat up pasta with chicken and vegetables in a creamy alfredo sauce or butter or tomato sauce, mini burgers and fries, chicken tenders, or the ever-popular grilled cheese.
Italian favourites are usually a hit with kids and parents alike. At Famoso they just scale back the portions on some of the dishes, making a Margherita or Marinara 'pizzetta' with a pop and a scoop or gelato just for children, while parents enjoy full-sized grease wheels complete with adult flavours like white truffle oil, sopressatta and gorgonzola cheese.
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