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Restaurants & Bars, Food

12 awesome kid-friendly restaurants in Vancouver

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Darcy Matheson Feb 21, 2019 3:58 pm 195

A lot of things change in your life when you have a child, and eating out at restaurants is certainly one of them.

Gone are the days of leisurely two-hour brunches while nursing a mimosa or three. The new “dining experience” is a combination trying to entertain a busy little person while finding things they will actually keep in their mouths.

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Controlled chaos, really. There’s also the whole separate issue of whether the restaurant – or other diners – want your child there, and if the meal will end in tears (yours or theirs).

Thankfully, Vancouver has lots of great eateries where kids are not only allowed, they are welcomed with open arms and treated as members of the family. 

Pizzeria Barbarella 

 

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Head to this East Vancouver staple in the early evenings and you’ll find it chock a block full of families with kids. My latest visit saw no less than six high chairs being used. For the kiddos there are sippy cups, plastic utensils, and house-made ice cream sandwiches. For the adults, there’s a great selection of rotating craft beers, as well as prosecco and cider on tap. This spot also boasts some out-of-this-world pizza like the funghi or miele piccante, packed with grana padano and chili-infused honey.

Address: 654 East Broadway
Phone: 604-210-6111

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Savio Volpe

 

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If you hit this Italian eatery at opening time, you’ll find it full of young families and kids from the neighbourhoods. Kids get a cool cardboard fox mask to play with and take home (Savio means fox in Italian). Servers supply crayons so your mini Picasso can draw on the back of their mask. There are three pasta options for kiddos: cheese and butter, tomato sauce, and meatballs and tomato sauce. More adventurous young foodies can be included in their parents’ Alla Familia’ menu at a cost of $25 per kid.

Address: 615 Kingsway, Vancouver
Phone: 604-428-0072

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Sal Y Limon

The stage and play area at Sal Y Limon Kingsway (Yelp)

Chow down on authentic Mexican street food fare including tacos, burritos, tortas, quesadillas and taquitos while your wee ones let loose in the play area. The Kingsway Sal Y Limon location has a stage and play kitchen packed with toys for kids to enjoy.  It’s a rowdy and loud atmosphere, so if your children get a little raucous it’s not going to bother anyone. Parents can enjoy a margarita, chilled Mexican cerveza or rumchata while the younger ones can wash down their food with an agua fresca, horchata, or selection of Mexican sodas.

Address: #5, 701 Kingsway Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-385-2171

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Chickpea 

 

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Stop by this plant-based Main Street haunt on any given weekday and you will find it brimming with mamas, strollers and wee ones enjoying pitas, salads and hummus plates. There’s even dedicated stroller parking inside the eatery.  Restauranteurs Rotem Tal and Itamar Shani designed their Israeli cuisine specifically to be shared with friends and family, nestled in their cozy, funky space. With padded benches, indoor trees and menus tucked inside the covers of kid’s books, it offers a whimsical experience for kids. Pro tip: Wee ones love the Classic Chickpea Fries.

Address: 4298 Main Street
Phone: 604-620-0602

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Bells and Whistles 

 

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A fixture in the neighbourhood, kids are welcome in the “picnic” dining room side of Bells and Whistles, which is great for groups and families. There’s ample stroller parking inside and the kids’ menus are printed on colourable Origami square game sheets, so kiddos can fold it up for a fun game too. There are Hoop Hero and Skee-Ball arcade games and plenty of kid-approved tasty treats, including hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, fish sticks, and ice cream sundaes. For parents, there’s a selection of 19 beers on rotating taps. 

Address: 3296 Fraser Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-620-7990

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R&B Brewing Ale and Pizza House

 

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There’s something for all ages at this eclectic Mount Pleasant brewery. It’s family-friendly, especially during the day (nighttime gets pretty shoulder-to-shoulder busy). Mom and dad can enjoy a craft beer sampler or a pint of R&B’s signature brews, including the Dude Chilling Pale Ale and East Side Bitter. There’s also wood-fired, thin-crusted Neopolitan-style pizza (try the mushroom), and for the kids, there are complimentary roasted marshmallows, served tableside.  There’s also a big toy bin and games, and in the summer, there’s a narrow but sunny patio with turf green flooring, where the kids are nicely corralled behind the patio fencing.

Address: 54 East 4th Avenue, Vancouver
Phone: 604-336-0275

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Circus Play Cafe 

 

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As the name implies, this zoo cafe is where your wee one can really let loose. On the eatery side, grown-ups can enjoy strong coffee, in-house baked goods, as well as avocado toast, soups, and salads. For smaller people, there are all the above plus “tapas boxes” filled with all the things kids like to eat, like cheese and turkey rolls ups, mixed fruit salad, and healthy flatbreads and crackers. On the other side of the partition is a full on play gym filled with approximately a thousand things to keep kids busy. That includes, but is not limited to, dollhouses, a play kitchen with tubs of plastic foods, ride-on horses, slides, jungle gym, oversized blocks, play tables and activity/busy cubes.  There is a $6-9 fee (age dependent) for two hours of play time.

Address: 1650 East 12th Avenue, Vancouver

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Cafe Deux Soleils

 

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A longstanding fixture on Commercial Drive, Cafe Deux Soleils is a fam-jam friendly delight and welcomes play dates where parents can tip back a coffee or pint while kids play. It has a play area that doubles as a stage for evening events and features a giant chalkboard kids can doodle on. There’s also toys, blocks, and books to keep kids busy. The menu features comfort food favourites like pot pies and perogies, and kids offerings include oatmeal and french toast at brunch time, plus grilled cheese sandwiches, baby burgers and quesadillas for lunch and dinner. The cafe is a bit rough and ready, but if anything that makes you less paranoid that your child is going to cause any damage.

Address: 2096 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
Phone: 604-254-1195

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Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.

 

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With a toy kitchen for little foodies to play in while mom and dad scarf down one of its signature forno-fired pies, Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. offers family pizza-making nights to let kiddos get in on the pizza-making fun every Sunday from 5 to 7 pm at its Main Street and Kitsilano locations. Servers provide cups full of crayons and colouring books to keep little hands occupied at the table. In addition to a-la-carte offerings, there’s a three-course kids menu for $13.50, which includes a veggie monster bowl or soup to start, personal pizza or pasta, and a warm chocolate brownie or nut-free ice cream for dessert. And Shirley Temples to wash it all down, naturally.

Address: 4186 Main Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604 566 9779

Address: 1876 W 1st Avenue, Vancouver
Phone: 604-730-0321

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Pepino’s Spaghetti House

 

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Savio Volpe’s sister restaurant, Pepino’s on Commercial Drive, is very kid-friendly and have the cutest bibs that make every kiddo look like tiny fancy foodie. With the motto that every meal should be a family affair, there’s an expectation wee ones are expected to behave like they’re at nonna’s house while joining mom and dad for Pepino’s signature pasta dishes.

Address: 631 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
Phone: 604-685-7070

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Dockside Restaurant – Granville Island 

Dockside Restaurant (Facebook)

Just steps away from all the kid-themed fun at Granville Island, like the water park, Arts Umbrella and Kids Market, Dockside is family-friendly and has a special menu for the under 12 set. Offerings include fresh sliced fruit, veggies, and dip, in addition to mac and cheese, chicken fingers, and elbow noodles. Wash it all down with a Shirley Temple or Roy Rogers. The eatery features a 50-foot long tropical fresh water aquarium that is sure to delight the small people at your table. Its patio, which takes in views of False Creek and downtown Vancouver, is right beside the grassy amphitheatre, where kiddos can burn off some energy before sitting down to dine.

Address: 1253 Johnston Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-685-7070

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Old Spaghetti Factory

Inside the Old Spaghetti Factory in Gastown. (Kris Taeleman)

Inside the Old Spaghetti Factory in Gastown. (Kris Taeleman)

No list of kid-friendly restaurants can be complete without mentioning the OG of family restaurants: The Old Spaghetti Factory. The kind and patient servers here will not blink an eye if your child stands up at the table/shouts/throws spaghetti on the floor. They’ve seen it all before. And the odds are the same thing is happening at at least one table nearby. Just be sure to leave a nice tip. Kids meals are “all included,” meaning for $5.75 to $6.95, you’ll get a pasta or chicken finger meal complete with minestrone soup or green salad, and sourdough bread. Add a Cookie Monster ice cream smoothie or Italian cream soda and call it a day.

Address: 53 Water Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-684-1287

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