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Best of Toronto

The Best Kid (Family) Friendly Restaurants in Toronto

Posted by Erinn Beth Langille / October 31, 2014

kid friendly restaurants torontoThe 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.

See also: The top 10 kid friendly brunch restaurants in Toronto

The Ace

The Ace

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. More »

Pizzeria Libretto (Danforth)

Pizzeria Libretto (Danforth)

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. More »

Barque Smokehouse

Barque Smokehouse

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). More »

Caplansky's Deli

Caplansky's Deli

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. More »

The Beet

The Beet

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. More »

Prohibition

Prohibition

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? More »

Uncle Betty's Diner

Uncle Betty's Diner

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). More »

This End Up

This End Up

I love This End Up. I dream about their roast beef sandwich, and it's great to see children in there, looking around at all the cool stuff and enjoying such delicious eats early on. Their top-secret kids' menu has chicken fingers, fish fingers, a grilled cheese and a kid-size burger, and if it is anything like their Better Mac (for grown-ups) they are in for a real treat. More »

Lakeview Restaurant

Lakeview Restaurant

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). More »

Against the Grain

Against the Grain

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. More »

Mill Street Brewpub

Mill Street Brewpub

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. More »

Famoso

Famoso

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. More »

Discussion

42 Comments

Twee / October 31, 2014 at 11:57 am
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"Hey Junior, isn't this $35 organic slop delicious? Much better than Pizza Nova, right?"


*disgusted kid*
chris / October 31, 2014 at 12:18 pm
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I have never seen kids in Caplanslky's. Let's keep it that way. Please remove it from the list.
Great list! / October 31, 2014 at 12:26 pm
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Thanks for the list! Gives me some restaurants to avoid. Children are rarely as interesting to other diners in a restaurant as they are to their slavishly devoted helicopter parents.
freddietwostep replying to a comment from Great list! / October 31, 2014 at 12:45 pm
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Ha, I agree. I was going to say that the title should be "Restaurants to Avoid".
two cents replying to a comment from freddietwostep / October 31, 2014 at 01:10 pm
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You mean, "Restaurants to Avoid Dbags like you" (and "Chris" and "Great list!").
Bob / October 31, 2014 at 01:20 pm
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Hipsters don't have no kids!
linden / October 31, 2014 at 01:25 pm
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actually a family with two children can spend much more on meals in a restaurant, especially if the kids order from the regular menu. It could be a smart business move to provide kids friendly environment. Besides, they will finish a dinner/ lunch much faster compare to someone who orders few drinks.
parental unit replying to a comment from Great list! / October 31, 2014 at 01:40 pm
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Hey "Great list!", you're right. Children are rarely interesting. We should avoid them at all cost. I hate when there are kids in my local! We should ban them from public places. In fact, why not ban them altogether? I saw some kids being annoying at the park the other day when I was trying to be ironic and drink shitty beer. Kids should not be allowed in parks. I'm busy trying to be as interesting as I can be, and nothing cramps my style like kids being uninteresting (except for me when I was a kid...that was different because I was a cool kid -- not like the others.) And those slavishly devoted helicopter parents...i know right! When I have kids I'm gonna be so un-devoted to them because I'm not going to let them interfere with my brunching and park hangs at Trinity with cans of PBR. They can look after themselves and stay indoors at all times. Except for me when I was a kid...that was different. And now that I'm an adult...to hell with the rest of kids. They're gonna get in the way of me vibing out.
Duncan / October 31, 2014 at 01:40 pm
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The issue is never with the children but with the children's parents, how they let their children behave while in a restaurant and their (the parents that is) lack of concern & courtesy for the other guests in the restaurants. Having a child friendly restaurant doesn't give parents a license to not ensure that children behave properly. Not that it matters at all but I am a parent of 2 boys.
Wow replying to a comment from parental unit / October 31, 2014 at 02:12 pm
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Great List just got served!
B replying to a comment from chris / October 31, 2014 at 02:27 pm
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Caplansky's should just be removed from Toronto - nay, existence! - all together.
Laura replying to a comment from Great list! / October 31, 2014 at 02:39 pm
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So obvious your parents never loved you.
BOO / October 31, 2014 at 02:55 pm
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As a parent of a young child, the issue is rarely about the kid-friendliess of the food but the amount of space available for stroller/high chair, and if the chairs are booster-seat friendly. There are a lot of restaurants on the list that are definitely too small for a stroller & highchairs.
Burgers / October 31, 2014 at 03:17 pm
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The Burger Cellar is also a great place for the family. I always see lots of families whenever I eat there. How can you go wrong with burgers when it comes to kids? Plus, the more gourmet options allows the adults to have something more substantial than just fast food. Plus, the staff always seem to be really friendly, even when there's a bunch of kids running around.

Downside is that it's not going to be a cheap meal. But for a night out for the whole family, it might be worth it!
They / October 31, 2014 at 05:15 pm
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This is why we have Jack Astors, Kelsey's, Casesys, East side Marios, Montanas, Moxies.

Those are for families.. Enjoy them all.

These other restaurants are for when parents want a date night, or go out with friends and enjoy civilized interaction away from the kids.
Ryan / October 31, 2014 at 05:19 pm
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I have a solution to all this strife about children. If you are planning on having children, come see me for approval. I know what's right and best.
Meddling Kids! / October 31, 2014 at 10:28 pm
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I suggest if you dislike children that much then dine at very high end restaurants or at any other restaurant after 8pm, oh and restaurants with a lot of different foods no pasta, pizza ,chicken fingers or hamburgers, NUTS, NUTS AND MORE NUTS!! We can't forget about all the nut allergies! I dine out a lot with my children and the last thing I want is for a man or woman complaining to their date about how they dislike children or rolling their eyes.
jquery photo gallery / October 31, 2014 at 11:07 pm
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Piece of writing writing is also a fun, if you know then you can write if
not it is complicated to write.
Great List! / November 1, 2014 at 02:04 am
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I also enjoy avoiding thin-skinned Helicopter Parents who are filled with rage when anyone is not interested in their little Zoe and Alec's yapping at full volume while refusing to eat their plain spaghetti with butter and NO green stuff. You may have given your life over completely to hovering over your children, anticipating their every whim and imaginary need, but personally I enjoy other things when I dine out. My parents loved me very much, which is why I respected them and allowed them to eat and talk to one another as adults. I did not require them to drone on constantly to me in loud voices in case I might momentarily have nothing to do and therefore somehow suffer. We were actually able to quietly amuse ourselves when we were young and did not require to be endlessly entertained and amused.
Great List! / November 1, 2014 at 02:08 am
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Oh, and also we didn't have a lot of money, so we weren't rich enough to be allergic to every single thing. We just ate a well rounded meal of different food groups, and somehow managed to make it quite well to adulthood in those days of incredibly unsafe Gluten Zones.
@ Great List! / November 1, 2014 at 10:50 am
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I know exactly the types of parents you are talking about.They allow their children to act like wild animals, no control over them, mothers are so calm with their eyes wide opened the type of mother that wears UGGS boots when the weather is warm out ( l swear they must be medicated) husbands sit there without saying a word, child is having a temper tantrum, using their LOUD mommy voices annunciating their words, counting...... sound familiar? Those are the mangia cake parents! If you grew up in any European family you know that shit wouldn't go down! Senseable parents know exactly what restaurant is suitable for their children.Yes we hardly went out for dinner, but we didn't have the internet or blogs either. It is obvious you do not have children and dislike them but please do not generalize every child or parent. My children are really well behaved when we go out, and I think it is because I always brought them out to learn how to behave instead of leaving them with grandparents or sitters. Kids have their moments just like us adults.Blame the pharmaceutical companies for all the allergies that's my theory.
@ Great List! / November 1, 2014 at 11:47 am
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I wrote back but I guess blogTO didn't feel the word "Mangia Cake "was appropriate? Here I go again just cutting it short, those are the Mangia Cake parents!
Great list! / November 1, 2014 at 12:23 pm
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Don't be ridiculous; it has nothing to do with ethnic background. My parents were as "Mangia Cake" as they come. For those who don't know what that means, it is a term developed by Canadians whose grandparents moved here from the south of Italy. It is a derogatory comment referring to anyone who is not from the same background as themselves, as in "We = Good; Everyone Else = Bad" There are helicopter parents from every background imaginable, and there are sensible parents in control of their families from all backgrounds. Because you use that outdated term, you are probably middle aged. You should maybe consider it is time to give up labelling everyone "Mangia Cake"; that is so 1970's. Half of the population of Toronto was born outside of Canada. The last time one of my Italian/Canadian friends referred to others as "White Bread", I pointed out to him that no one eats whiter bread than Italians. No one. So, get with the program.
Mo / November 1, 2014 at 01:03 pm
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I find it amazing how clueless some people are when it comes to community living. With the way they talk about kids and their parents, it seems like they're still the bratty children they were before. Kids are generally difficult to deal with and need to be entertained and taken out just like all of us. I have no issues with a crying, bratty child in a restaurant/airplane/public place because most likely their parents are doing all they can to make through the toughest part of life. Everyone has a choice to either have kids or not, but we need to be respectful and accepting of different lifestyle choices. Toronto generally is not a very kid-friendly city when it comes to restaurants. Montreal and Quebec City are much more accepting of family dining.

Oh and "Great Article" needs to ask his/her parents about their restaurant experiences when he/she was a kid - I bet they have a few stories to share. Actually I'm thinking most adults that go out with him/her can't stand his/her bratty attitude in general. "Great Article" needs to stop going out.
We The Kids / November 1, 2014 at 04:43 pm
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Great Article! should just submit a list where he goes out for dinner, entertainment, buys groceries, for everyone to avoid him. Sounds like a grumpy, jilted, old man who is or will live the rest of his life alone and miserable.Hope he knows how to cook.
LC / November 1, 2014 at 07:52 pm
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Wow. OK, you guys? You condo dwellers? In my experience you are the loudest, most obnoxious group of people in this city. You stumble down my street in the middle of the night blathering on inanely. I'd kill for a crying baby at that point. I wouldn't be pointing no fingers at no kids.
Bullcrap Award of the Week / November 2, 2014 at 01:30 am
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"Montreal and Quebec City are much more accepting of family dining"
______

I've heard a lot of horseshit claims in my life about Montreal (99% of which are false, and the other 1% greatly exaggerated), but this little manufactured gem positively glows on top of the dung heap. What a ridiculous, pompous puff of hot air. Let me guess; they are so much more European than the rest of us. Is there ANYTHING in Montreal that is not superior to the rest of the free world? I suppose you people haven't the slightest idea how ridiculous you sound when you throw about invented statistics based solely on your inflated civic pride.
Momma Bear / November 2, 2014 at 09:26 am
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ME, ME, ME, ME, IT'S ALL ABOUT ME! Please, look at who is the helicopter. Instead of keeping his, oh and it is a him for sure,comments to himself, he had to make a comment about what HE expects other people to do because HE doesn't like it.... POOR BABY!, you want some milky? I hope that every parent finds interest and drowns their lives in their children to give their children the most loving, full life possible because you Sir are the result of what happens when not done, bitter, angry, miserable, self serving. I truly hope you find some happiness and love in your life, not for the sake of others for the sake of your own spirit.
Great list! / November 2, 2014 at 10:09 am
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LOL! You made my day, Momma! Thanks!! Happy to have struck a raw nerve. Next time you are in a public place nattering away non-stop to your offspring (endlessly forcing "entertainment" on bored, switched-off children), give some thought to the suffering people around you who are less interested in your brood than you may imagine.
"Liam! Liam!! Look over here, Liam!! Look at what Mommie has in her hand!! Here comes a little helicopter with a spoonful of food for little Liam!! Madison!! Madison!!! Leave Liam alone! He's getting ready for a helicopter landing! Liam!! Liam!! Over here. Look over here!!"

Repeat ad nauseum until the helicopter has spilled food all over the table and Liam and Madison have thrown crayons and bits of bread all over the floor.
DARE, DARE, DOUBLE DARE!!!💪 / November 2, 2014 at 11:24 am
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I dare dare, double dare "Great List!" to make his preferences known in any restaurant he eats at, directly to the parents of a child that he hates SO much, let's see what happens. Oh and let's throw him a curve ball, bring a date, and your mother and see how that plays out.
RULES:1. Must go to a restaurant, sit down that serves alcohol, no fast food joints.
2. Has to be between 6:30pm-8pm.
3. Must bring a date.
4. Bring your mother.
5. Make your preferences known to your date and mother at the same time.
6.Go up to a family that is pissing you off and make your preferences known.
7.Make sure they speak English so they understand exactly what you are saying.

You think this Ghomeshi character is being crucified ? LOL!!!! I'm waiting to see the post on this blog and every news station.
Great list! (I / November 2, 2014 at 03:49 pm
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Oh yeah, Momma? Well I Double Dutch Dare You to catch me at a restaurant where you are loudly playing Helicopter Mom with your bored and truculent kids. I'll have no compunction whatsoever asking you to keep your private family conversations private, because the rest of the world does not find it as scintillating as you. Why? Because we are adults having our own conversations, and don't need to hear all the drama at your table.
Well mannered children AND well mannered parents are a treat; everyone enjoys having them around. Too often, it is the ill-mannered ones however.
James replying to a comment from Great list! (I / November 2, 2014 at 04:08 pm
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Yawn. Stay in your corner and don't come the fuck near me, my table or my kids. You can do whatever you want and so can we.
@ Great list! / November 2, 2014 at 06:43 pm
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Great List! What you need to understand is that most parents do not purposely try to piss you off.Do you honestly believe these parents wouldn't want to sit down, relaxed, not having to repeat themselves and enjoy a nice time out with the family ? Even with well behaved kids they have their moments. How do you know if a child is just having a bad night? You obviously do not have children and will never understand the concept of a child. My family was on vacation,while at dinner a lady came up to me and complimented on how well behaved my children were compared to the other kids in the restaurant, my kids were 2 & 4 at the time. I took it as a compliment because she was a nice older lady who was not bitter and was just making an observation. I responded "Well thank God you weren't at the restaurant last night!!! It was a nightmare!!" Just like you wake up on the wrong side of the bed kids are the same. When you think everything is ok and you know your childs habits and have everything under control that's when they flip the switch on you. Let me know how that works out for you the next time you go out for dinner Great List! you may get your ass kicked!
Jim Smith / November 2, 2014 at 07:20 pm
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I laugh at all these anti-kid commenters knowing that over the next few to many years most of them will be the parents taking their kids out.

Sure, most will say they'll never be there. Just like almost every parent today used to say back in their 20's.
Great list! / November 3, 2014 at 12:21 am
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Yup. Whatever. I'm glad to have introduced a tiny fraction of fun into your mundane world! :)
Liam 20 yrs from now / November 3, 2014 at 08:01 am
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(Liam)"Mom, heading to the old age home" (Mom) "Ok hunny" (Liam) "Open up, I know you hear me Mr. Great List!, you have to eat!" ............Mr. Great List! Opens his mouth and eats all his dinner(Nurse) "Liam Tks so much for volunteering your time here, you are the only person Mr. Great List will eat for! "
Kick ass heels! / November 3, 2014 at 09:37 am
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Great List! Is gonna get his ass kicked by a GIIRRRRL!!!! Hope I'm at that restaurant! I can just invision it right now.........Great list approaches the family, gives them a piece of his mind, on the way back to his table trips on a crayon, smacks his head on a table, and little cute Liam runs over ( with milk in hands) to Great List! and spills his milk all over Great Lists Head! "OOOPPPSSY GWATE LISHT!" As Great List! struggles to get up slipping on the spilt milk, there's a hot momma standing over him with her $2000 designer heels and kicks his ass!!!
Great list (my finale) / November 3, 2014 at 11:26 am
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To the embittered old Gurrrl-Power person who has made it her raison d'être to respond to me here, I guess I should be honest and admit I've rather enjoyed goading you into eyeball bulging, steam coming out of the ears indignant responses, and wondering how long you would take the bait. Look, you've got your life with your little brood (don't forget Parent-Teacher is tonight so bake a gluten and peanut free cake for the teacher) and it is just about time to start making lunch for the family. Gluten free for Liam, dairy free for Megan, nut-free for Zoe, and fat free for Daddy. I know; give them all an apple to chew on. And treat yourself to one, too, because you are special! Mother's Day is only half a year away, so hang in there!!!!
Goodbye and enjoy life. Well, as much as possible, that is. It's been a slice (dairy free, that is) but I'll not be coming back. So, give it your angry best and have the last word! Something more about a senior's home, I imagine.
Maureen replying to a comment from Bob / November 3, 2014 at 11:30 am
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That's right, Bob. It is so embarrassing when my niece looks over her menu and asks me why is that bearded man dressed so funny. I always have to tell her that he is on his way to audition for a Japanese game show.
Janet Jonesfeld replying to a comment from Kick ass heels! / November 3, 2014 at 12:50 pm
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Tried anger management lately, hot momma? You seem very easy to goad into anger and pledge violence in a public dining establishment. I pity the server that is late with your child's food. just saying.
🎉🎊🎉🎊 / November 4, 2014 at 07:05 pm
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FINALLY!! YOU TWO!!!
nohelicopter / November 6, 2014 at 10:36 am
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Can we just talk about the actual list for a minute? First off, a restaurant with booths for TWO is NOT family-friendly. Unless we're talking about when the parents go out without the kids, is that a real entrant on the list? Secondly, STFU about people and their kids in restaurants you grouchy hipster aholes. I'm sure you were a perfect angel eating sushi and commenting on the latest New York Times sunday crossword when you were a kid. Get over yourself. Oh, and Chris - regarding Caplansky's - any restaurant that has a kids' menu is not all that surprisingly a kid-friendly place. Maybe your jerkishness prevented your eyeballs from reading that portion of the menu.

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