By Claire Philipson
Going out for a meal with tots in tow can be, well, stressful—from finding food that pleases younger palates to keeping energetic kiddies entertained enough to ward off major meltdowns. At these five Vancouver eateries, a range of menu options will appeal to diners of all ages and there is plenty to keep little ones occupied, so the whole family can grab a bite to eat together without incurring the wrath of calmer, quieter patrons.
Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co., which has locations in Kitsilano and Main Street, caters to the younger set so well that going out for meal with tots can actually be stress free for the whole family. A special kids menu offers surefire hits like cheese pizza and homemade chicken noodle soup, and parents can rest easy knowing that the restaurant uses mostly locally sourced and organic ingredients.
A wooden toy kitchen provides plenty of entertainment to budding young chefs, allowing parents to sit back and enjoy a tipple from Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.’s wide selection of BC wines and craft beers. As an added bonus, the restaurant hosts Sunday Family Nights when kids 12 and under can make their own pizzas (contact the restaurant for details and availability).
The restaurant’s commitment to serving children extends beyond the dining experience. The Rocky Mountain Flatbread Education Society is also the founder of EarthBites, a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching kids about gardening, nutrition, and food security.
The Naam is nestled in the heart of Kitsilano on West 4th Avenue, the city’s historic hippie enclave. It is Vancouver’s oldest natural foods restaurant, and its laid-back vibe recalls the Swinging Sixties when it was established. This warm and casual atmosphere makes it a great option for dining with little ones.
The Naam is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week (closed only on Christmas Day), so when hunger strikes and your little needs sustenance right away, you know it’s open. The vegetarian and vegan menu has plenty of options for kiddies, like pita pizza bread with cheese and tomato sauce, grilled cheese, and homous and pita.
Jackie Kai Ellis opened up Beaucoup Bakery & Café in 2012 after a stint in Paris studying at the École Gastronomique Bellouet Conseil, and her training in the art of French pastry making is apparent in every bite of Beaucoup fare. Realistically, the menu—which features elevated childhood favourites such as a peanut butter sandwich cookie, a Valrhona chocolate chip cookie, and a gluten-free Valrhona chocolate brownie alongside scones and sandwiches—will appeal to pretty much everybody (my own children would subsist entirely on the chocolate croissants if I’d let them). The bakery also has an Acts of Kindness Initiative that allows customers to contribute to providing school lunches to girls in Liberia.
The café is small and beautifully designed with a chalkboard wall where kiddies can do some drawing. There is a playground right across the street where little ones can tear around and burn off their sugar highs.
The Boathouse has made a name for itself serving up fresh seafood and fine steaks since 1981. Its two Vancouver locations—overlooking English Bay and Kits Beach respectively—offer up some of the most breathtaking views in the city and are equipped with heated decks for cooler Vancouver days. It’s a great place to stop in for a bite after a beach outing with the family.
The Boathouse Restaurants offer an early dining option on weekdays between 3 and 6 pm, and this menu has plenty of child-friendly options, such as fish and chips and tacos. The restaurant strives to use fresh local ingredients, and is committed to serving wild and sustainable seafood and Ocean Wise fish.
With its dedicated Kids Market, Water Park, and entertaining buskers, Granville Island is a must-visit Vancouver attraction for families. Perched next to the Island’s bustling Public Market and overlooking the water, Bridges Restaurant is the perfect spot to enjoy a meal on Granville Island.
The huge waterfront deck offers plenty of sights to keep kiddies entertained—watching the Aquabus is always a hit—and the restaurant’s bistro menu offers child-friendly options such as thin-crust pizza, fish tacos, and nachos.