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Kid-friendly in Toronto

We will be spending 3 nights in Toronto. Any recommendations for good dinner spots that are good and kid-friendly?

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  1. What area are you looking for, e.g. close to your hotel (where is your hotel), close to particular attractions? Any type of food? Any budget constraints?

    7 Replies
    1. re: cecilia

      We are staying at the Sheraton in downtown Toronto. We are pretty open to all cuisines and no budget restricitons - just not high high end. Walking distance is preferable but we will have our car too so travelling to a particularly worthwhile spot won't be hard.

      1. re: Lilybeth

        If you're staying in a hotel I'm guessing you're a tourist...in which case I would recomend 360 the restaurant at the top of the CN tower...kids love the revolving restaurant and view of Toronto. You get to go up the tower for free and bypass the lineups fr the elevator. Not expensive, but not cheap either. Dress is business casual

        Alternately there's a La Biftek in the Sheraton that does a decent steak, etc.

        Springrolls on Dundas just west of Yonge is good asian fusion (about a ten minute walk)

        1. re: Finnegan

          I have to disagree on Spring Rolls; it is arguably one of the worst Asian restaurants in Toronto. They can't even prepare a decent spring roll, and that must say something. Furthermore, with its attempts to be trendy, I don't know that it's a good place for kids.

          This city has a *lot* of Asian food, and almost any choice would be better unless you want a bland, completely watered down experience suited only for the most uncultured of American palates.

          My partner and I, who are both lovers of Asian cuisine of all sorts, tried different Spring Rolls on different occasions, and found dishes on their menu that are supposed to be quite flavourful if prepared correctly to taste like cardboard. There is nothing offensive about their food, but nothing appealing, either. I'm convinced that this is a place that people go for cheap, ill prepared food in a pleasant surrounding, largely to see and be seen.

        2. re: Lilybeth

          We have our two eldest grand-kids for a couple of weeks before camp.
          We have visited many ethnic areas, which they enjoyed.
          You didn't say how old the kids are.
          Mine are 12 and 14
          The most amusing meal by far was Tako Sushi, which is on Don Mills Rd. N. of Lawrence, and a short ride is it isn't rush hour.
          We sat at the cooking table and spent over two hours being entertained.
          The kids had the salmon and chicken dinners, and very much enjoyed the food.
          My husband gets a bit grumbly when he is taken to a "plastic menu" restaurant, so he didn't bother opening the menu and suggested I order.
          I ordered the "Toronto" complete dinner $20.99 p.p., and the courses just kept coming.
          This is not fine dining, but so much better than I expected.
          first serving was a perfect steamed shrimp on a soy custard which was excellent.
          Next was slightly overcooked but very tasty grilled shrimps and scallops
          Stir fried various chinese mushrooms, and next a mushroom soup.
          The next course was a surprisingly good foi gras on toast.
          Our mains lamb for me and strip sirloin for hubby were good.
          During this entire time the chef cooked and joked.
          He built onion rings into a flaming volcano.
          Several dishes were flamed, to their amusement.
          He threw food into the air, etc.
          We were full, and thought finished, when the next course a stir fried noodle dish was offered, the kids had some, and the rest we shared with others at the table.
          Next came stir fried veggies, and thought that we were finished for certain, but out came a large bowl of eggs poured across the long table and the omelette was chopped and thrown into the air and a giant fried rice was served to all.
          We couldn't touch it, but again, the kids ate some of it.
          He then asked the kids if they wanted to catch the omelette in their mouths and tossed them up to them.
          My hubbie kind of cringed, but not the kids.
          We chatted with the Chinese family beside us and the Japanese family across the table.
          The bill for 4 people, including 3 beers and two shirley temples came to $101. for the four of us including an evenings entertainment.

          1. re: erly

            Yes, it is a very kid-friendly place, but STAY AWAY from Sushi at Tako, I had some of the worst sushi of my life there. Cooked food is ok, don't like their teppanyaki eventhough the value is good, it is like upper class 'Made in Japan' to me.

            Also, from the ad, looks like there is some lobster special going on again there.

          2. re: Lilybeth

            From the suggestions so far, I would say
            - if you are planning to visit the CN Tower, then you may as well go to the restaurant for a meal since that gives you plenty of time to look at the view. Food is just ok.
            - I would say no the Le Biftheque. The steak there is not good at all. If you are interested in steak but not interested in a old school steakhouse, try the Keg Mansion. Keg is a chain but the Keg Mansion is an old mansion converted into a restaurant. The steak there is not bad and it's very kid-friendly. It's about 20 minute walk but a quick car ride.
            - I have never had a good meal at Springroll (at various locations). You can search for other poster's comments as there have been numerous discussions on this restaurant.
            - Never been to Tako but found this thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/101493
            - Distillery district: Definitely go to Soma chocolate for gelato and chocolate. Your kids would like it there. It's just a quick drive from your hotel.

            Otherwise, I would suggest Terroni for pizza. They have a few different locations, one of which is on Queen West about 20 minutes walk from your hotel. Mildred Pierce (sp?) is also very kid-friendly. The food there is fantastic.

            1. re: cecilia

              I'll second Terroni's ... I take my kids there quite frequently and they love that they can each order there own pizza (although large they are very thin). With respect to 360 the experience is the view, the food is secondary...though it is better than "ok". I'd avoid the keg mansion for the simple fact that they don't take reservations and it can get quite crowed...if you enjoy waiting in the bar with your kids for 1/2 hour of more then be my guest.

              Springrolls...is decent asian with no surpises...close to the Eaton Centre if you happen to be shopping.

        3. We have found the Mill St. Brewpub in the Distillery District to be very kid-friendly and the food is basically pub fare but pretty good. It's a bit out of your way but parking is plentiful and it's well worth the visit to the Distillery District itself. You can wander around before or after your meal and take a look a the shops or whatever activities are going on that evening.

          http://www.millstreetbrewpub.ca/

          http://www.thedistillerydistrict.com/...

          3 Replies
          1. re: JamieK

            There are some great suggestions here; thanks to all for your replies.

            1. re: JamieK

              Actually, there's a Terroni — often rated Toronto's best thin-crust pizza — at Queen and Victoria (#106), just two blocks east of the Sheraton. Just about every Chinese restaurant is kid-friendly and you're about an interesting 15 minute walk away from Chinatown. Go west on Queen past all the trendy shops (Gap, Le Chateau, American Apparel, FCUK, and a soon to come H&M — your kids will love it) to Spadina then head north two lights to Dundas. This board endlessly derides them, but you can get good Cantonese at King's Noodle, Happy Seven, and OK cheap dim sum at Rol San during the day (avoid weekends unless you like lining up).

              Kensington Market full of ethnic food shops starts one block west of Spadina north of Dundas and continues north to College.

              For cheap eats in the Market, try Jumbo Empanada (245 Augusta) for Chilean turnovers, Patty King (187 Baldwin) for take-out Jamaican buns, spice cake and roti, or go slightly more upscale with tapas at Torito at 276 Augusta (great backyard deck).

              On Queen West (#373), Peter Pan has a $4.95 kids menu in a funky bistro setting. Susur Lee started out there a LONG time ago.

              1. re: Dimbulb

                Just looked up the old reviews you kindly posted re: tako sushi, and there was my comment on Ganoe being excellent and right next door, but, this is not much fun with kids,
                Also, ganoe has gone downhill lately, although their sushi is still good.
                I was pleasantly surprised with the quality on our visit, and forgot to add that a sushi course was also part of our same fixed dinner, and was very fresh.
                Dessert was included but we passed on it.
                It isn't Kaji, but is isn't Memories of Japan either.

            2. Another vote for Terroni and King's Noodle House and Rol San - we go regularly with kid's and everyone enjoys themselves.

              There's a Korean BBQ place on Queen near McCaul St., walking distance from your hotel. I've never been to this one but I've been to other Korean bbq places and they are a great choice with kid's.

              You should expand your search to anywhere along Queen St. and just hop on the streetcar. The kid's will love it

              1. Already some good suggestions with "The Keg Mansion" & CN Tower Restaurant. I suppose the Mill St. Brewery would be alright. I've eaten there a couple of times and found the food to be subpar at best but YMMV. A good chance to check out the Distillery District which was the site for the largest distillery company in the world at one point. All converted into shops and restaurants.

                I would suggest going to Richtree Market(The Marche) at Yonge/Wellington. Very fun, concept being market style food stations that cover all types of cuisines. Everyone gets like a credit card and whatever food you choose are added to the card. You pay as you leave. Kids and parents alike will enjoy this place and its located in the beautiful BCE Place. I highly recommend.

                I would also suggest Hot House Cafe on Front. Very Kid Friendly with an enjoyable menu. Pizzas, Pasta, Sandwichs as well as lots of other things. Great Sunday Buffet also but will likely be a short wait as it tends to be destination of many.

                Shopsy's on Front also is decent. Great Patio. Hot Dogs, Deli Sandwichs etc.

                Lastly let me suggest that you leave the car at the hotel. Walk and use the wonderful public transportation system we have. The streetcars, buses & subway are really great way to get around this beautiful city. Parking is a pain downtown and a real rip off also.

                1. From the Sheraton, it's just a short streetcar ride to Spadina (and you can buy a family pass for the whole day for $7, IIRC), where you can wander up and down, and have your choice from dozens of Chinese and Vietnamese places. Also, if you go just a little north of Dundas, and head across to the west side, you can find the Kensington Market, which is not chock full of places to eat, but is still an interesting stroll, especially to visit the cheese shops, fruit stands, etc.

                  Pho 88 is one of the better Vietnamese places. Pho is a large bowl of soup filled with noodles, and your choice of various meats. (Stay away from beef tendon unless you're experienced with Asian food; I'd stick with the sliced beef.) They also serve very tasty BBQ beef, pork, and chicken.

                  For Chinese, Bright Pearl, Happy Seven, and Peter's Chung King (a little farther north) are all good choice, but any place with a line-up is usually good.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: KevinB

                    Just FYI, the family pass is $8.50 and only available on weekends and holidays (during the week, every adult must have their own pass), but it's still a great deal and equivalent to paying about four fares!

                    1. re: vorpal

                      Thanks, I stand corrected. Still, a streetcar ride might be exciting for kids who have never been on one, and there are many different dining choices.

                  2. Many great recs, but PLEASE don't go to Shopsys or Le Biftheque. They are just aweful in a city of great restos.

                    High marks to the mentioned Terroni, chinatown and 360. On a sunny weekend, Distillery District is a great outing, otherwise Hot House is a good brunch.