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Best of Toronto

The Best Kid (Family) Friendly Restaurants in Toronto

Posted by Robyn Urback / November 9, 2012

kid friendly restaurants torontoThe best kid and family friendly restaurants in Toronto are easy Sunday evening choices. Now, these are not your colour-on-the-wall, chicken-fingers-for-everyone, Raffi-over-the-speaker-system type places, but rather, restaurants that the entire clan can agree on, that have both grilled cheese for kids and grilled calamari and linguini for mom and dad. Or grilled cheese for mom and dad, too. These restaurants generally aren't afraid of the little bit of noise that comes with a family's night out, and can typically offer distractions à la crayons and toys so that you don't have to take that linguine to go. It should also be noted that all the below spots offer high chairs and booster chairs.

Here is the list of the best kid and family friendly restaurants in Toronto.

See also:

The best baby stores in Toronto
The best candy stores in Toronto
The best mac and cheese in Toronto
The best grilled cheese sandwich in Toronto

Barque Smokehouse

Barque Smokehouse

Lots of noise, lots of food, and lots of sticky, sweet smoky ribs. Where better to unload the whole family than at Roncesvalles’ favourite barbecue joint? Sunday at Barque Smokehouse is family night, offering huge platters and family-style sharing, along with a plentiful supply of crayons for when the kids inevitably finish first. A kids’ menu is available throughout the week, along with booster seats and highchairs on reserve. More »

Pizzeria Libretto Danforth

Pizzeria Libretto Danforth

Pizzeria Libretto, needless to say, offers something the whole family can agree on. The Danforth location is primed for young families, with an atmosphere where no one will look twice if you nix the slacks for sweats. The restaurant also makes a “bambini” mini margherita pizza for kids, which comes with a scoop of vanilla or chocolate gelato for $9. More »

Caplansky’s Deli

Caplansky’s Deli

Though you can challenge the wee ones to tackle a piled-high smoked meat sandwich, better to go with one of the kiddie options such as your standard grilled cheese, or the egg, beef bacon, latka and toast combo. Caplansky’s is loud and boisterous (as every good deli should be) so no need to worry about spoiling the vibe with the arrival of your troupe. Just order a plate of deep-fried pickles for the table, and sit back. More »

Uncle Betty’s Diner

Uncle Betty’s Diner

How can kids not love a place that comes with its own ice cream bar? Greg’s Ice Cream is, of course, a major part of Uncle Betty’s appeal, but so too is its eggs Benny on a doughnut, its dressed-up hot dogs, and its “ultimate” take on the classic grilled cheese. And that’s just the adult menu! Uncle Betty’s does a kids menu, too, with plenty of crayons on hand, plus sock puppets and toys, and ample room to play. More »

Lakeview Restaurant

Lakeview Restaurant

An option for those unfortunate 4 a.m. bouts of wakefulness. Try another nighttime story? Nah. Lakeview Restaurant is open 24 hours a day, offering you a little midnight breakfast, and perhaps more importantly, a change of scenery. The restaurant also comes prepared with booster seats, high chairs, and a kids’ menu of mac and cheese, fish and chips, and brussel sprouts (??). There are also crayons and a maze menu, of course. More »

The Ace

The Ace

Kids at The Ace needn’t resort to plain old mac and cheese (though they can, if they like, and rumour has it it’s pretty good). No, the children’s menu here includes petite filet mignon with gaufrette potato chips and a green salad for $11, though I doubt many kids could properly define “gaufrette.” Or filet mignon, for that matter. There’s also broccoli and aged cheddar for similarly refined palates, and incredible fried chicken for the rest of the family. More »

Lady Marmalade

Lady Marmalade

While Lady Marmalade doesn’t have a dedicated kids’ menu, per se, there are plenty of kid-sized all-day-breakfast options to keep everyone happy. The vibe at this Leslieville spot is super low key, to say the least, meaning families need not worry if they bring a little extra noise on their pursuit of the midday crepe croque monsieur. But since kids and long lineups are natural archenemies, parents should approach Lady Marmalade’s weekend brunch with caution. More »

7 Numbers

7 Numbers

7 Numbers is another spot without an autonomous kids’ menu, though it does offer any menu item at half the price (and a smaller size) for kids. That’s right, the refined child can indulge in a little braised veal shank with grilled zucchini on the side. The restaurant has high chairs and booster chairs available for tiny visitors, as well as a good supply of crayons to keep busy while that veal shank has some time to digest. More »

Stack Restaurant

Stack Restaurant

Stack Restaurant is the home of the hand-torched s’more doughnut, which is probably why you tend to see so many families eagerly entering its doors. The menu (including the kids’ menu) is an all-around crowd-pleaser, with options such as classic burgers, mac & cheese, and Stack “smmmoked” ribs. There’s also an in-store treasure chest for child perusal, as well as crayons and toys to keep little hands busy. More »

Against the Grain

Against the Grain

A tavern? For families? Well, you show me a family outing that doesn’t necessitate a cold beer (or three) and perhaps we’ll have to reconsider. But until then, Against the Grain by Sugar Beach offers an ideal spot to grab some grub after frolicking at Toronto’s most artificial beach. The kids’ menu offers all the childhood staples including pasta and tomato sauce and grilled cheese sandwiches, with each meal rounding off with a Popsicle for dessert. And Innis & Gunn for you. More »

Magic Oven Danforth

Magic Oven Danforth

Expect swarms of kids at Magic Oven Danforth on Monday evenings, when kids eat free between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. On all other days kids can count on a menu made just for them, featuring classic pizzas, chicken wings, Caesar salad with chicken, penne, and more. The restaurant has games and puzzles available as well, along with light reading on the merits of eating organic. It’s not Goodnight Moon, but it’ll do. More »

Lil' Baci Taverna Yonge

Lil' Baci Taverna Yonge

Lil' Baci does its own "lil" take on classic adult menu options. There's no physical kids' menu to scan, but this midtown outpost does a half-sized spaghetti, a half-sized plate of gnocchi, and a child-sized cheese pizza. High chairs are available but crayons have a tendency to disappear from the restaurant, so if you want guaranteed distractions, best to bring your own. More »

Discussion

22 Comments

David Robson / November 9, 2012 at 10:59 am
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Though I am loathe to give up the secret, we always have good luck with the kids at Hadley's @ College and Dovercourt. My 5 year old loves the kid's size Macaroni and Cheese, and my 8 year old is a big fan of the club sandwich. Always lots of families with kids in there for the early seating at dinner.
Daryl / November 9, 2012 at 11:18 am
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What's that a picture of?
MikeB / November 9, 2012 at 11:28 am
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Great list, not your typical kid-friendly places, so it is good to see a variety! Thaks for pointing out a few Danforth places, i love my neighbourhood, very family friendly.
opensource1111 / November 9, 2012 at 11:57 am
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Great suggestions! No fun to go to the same old places all the time. Also, it always feels mroe comfortable when you are surrounded by other families, not lonely, barren, hipsters.
missymiss / November 9, 2012 at 12:04 pm
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The Ace is AMAZING for kid friendliness. And don't worry kid haters, just come a bit later and it's adults-only fun too.
Khristopher replying to a comment from Daryl / November 9, 2012 at 01:12 pm
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I would love to know that as well. It looks delicious!
Khristopher replying to a comment from Daryl / November 9, 2012 at 01:15 pm
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Found it: http://www.blogto.com/restaurants/stack-restaurant-toronto
"S'mores doughnuts ($7) were too tempting to be turned down, even if we were rather stuffed. They arrived piping hot and covered in tiny marshmallows, crumbly graham crackers and a drizzle of chocolate. We didn't even finish half of them, but the few we managed closely resembled the iconic Tiny Tom doughnuts from the CNE, in a good way."
Winston / November 9, 2012 at 02:49 pm
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Fantastic list, thanks! In my experience "kid friendly" has more to do with the attitude of the staff than anything else.

From the outside, I had not considered The Ace to fall into this category, but now we will definitely check it out. I can say that Thai Chef Cuisine right next door to The Ace (on the north side, not the other Thai restaurant further south) is very welcoming to kids (and has great food too).

I wonder if one of the reasons some children behave poorly in "fancy" (i.e. non-McDonald's) restaurants is because they don't go out to these places enough??? I encourage parents to take your children to nice restaurants and give them the experience. Sure, there are a few people who may have trouble with this... but if it wasn't for the kids, these people would probably find something else to be angry with.

the lemur replying to a comment from Winston / November 9, 2012 at 03:18 pm
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You're probably on to something there. You can sometimes take a kid to a grown-up place (it helps to research the menu and/or call to inquire in advance), but it's worth remembering that kids get restless and you can't expect them to sit still (depending on their age), so a place where you can walk around and look at stuff (fish tank, pizza oven) can be good.
AP / November 9, 2012 at 03:34 pm
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Thanks for the list! We've been taking our daughter to non-McD's restaurants since she was a month old, and don't usually worry too much about kid-friendliness since she's used to being out; but, it's a bonus when there's a kid's menu. She loves going out to eat, even if her choice in food is usually chicken fingers.
More / November 9, 2012 at 08:28 pm
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There is no such thing as kid food, only stupid parents. Ban kids' menus everywhere.
moi / November 10, 2012 at 01:32 am
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Dr. Generosity is pretty good too!
http://www.drgenerosity.com/
2197 Bloor St. West
Toronto, Ontario
M6S 1N2
Josh replying to a comment from More / November 10, 2012 at 09:45 pm
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Who cares about kid menus. Were talking about kid friendly places not what the order you Moron!
Tuli / November 11, 2012 at 08:03 am
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IKEA ETOBICOKE!!! Best Kid friendly resto!
Rose / November 11, 2012 at 09:50 pm
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I sure do miss the Organgrinder on the esplanade. I used to take my boys there everytime we went to Toronto
james / November 12, 2012 at 09:35 am
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Seems silly that this list includes neither United Bakers Dairy Restaurant at Lawrence Plaza or Udupi Palace
Graham / February 22, 2013 at 10:17 am
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Not sure how The Old Spaghetti Factory didn't make the list. Far and away my kids favourite restaurant anywhere in the province not just when we are in Toronto. I find some of the spots mentioned above accept/tolerate kids but don't do as well a job as the Factory.
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andreas / June 6, 2013 at 05:20 pm
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Lakeview was decidedly un-kidfriendly when we went. I asked if there was a place I could change my daughter's diaper and was given a flat 'no' by the dandy serving us. I snuck over to an unoccupied booth and changed her there (on a changing mat, only God can judge me) and was chastised with an "um... Do you mind". I may have been in the wrong, but I don't think so, and I haven't been back.
Amyk / January 14, 2014 at 08:20 am
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You can check out the Napkins and Nappies website. It shows where baby friendly places are. People can add listings or write reviews on places. It's kind of like Yelp but for babies. You can see where there are change tables and high chairs in toronto.
www.napkinsandnappies.com

I really like pizza libretto on the danforth. Lots of kids in there, excellent wood fired pizza.
sarina valentina Nude / March 5, 2014 at 09:13 pm
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AmyK / March 10, 2014 at 03:11 pm
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Pizza Libretto is a personal fave of ours. We take our 10 month old, often for lunch, lots of other parents and babies there.

I wouldn't change my baby on my kitchen table, why would I do that when i am out. So we always try to find a place with a proper change tables.

We use www.napkinsandnappies.com to find restaurants with change tables. If they put a change table in, it is likely they don't mind having babies there :) Plus it's the only site we found that indicates if they change table is only in the ladies room.

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