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Aug 1, 2007 12:47 PM

Kid Tolerant Restaurants in Toronto

I have family visiting next week - two adults with one son who will be five years old in December. He is used to dining out at nice restaurants [he lives in Belgium and travels a lot for a four year old - he has been many places in Europe and also to Japan!], but he is four years old and a bit of a "table slider." He is not an overly fussy eater - but likes pretty basic things.

I'm looking for some suggestions for restaurants that are kid tolerant [the term kid friendly makes me think of some really horrific restaurant chains] - as we adults would like to eat semi-decent food [it is a holiday after all], but not feel like everyone in the restaurant is staring at us because we have a child with us. They will be staying at the Sheraton on Queen Street, but any restaurants that are downtown are okay. Cost is not such an issue, but it would be nice to have a sliding well as options for all meals [they will be here for over a week].

Please save us from the Rainforest cafe!

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  1. Don't worry about the kid! Any restaurant with good service will serve you nicely with the child, and any one with crappy service will not. My only suggestion is wherever you are going, go early, i.e. 5:30, so that you can be seated and served quickly before the kid loses interest. Also any restaurant will make something plain i.e. pasta with just tomato sauce etc so don't worry about a kids menu. If you must go during prime dinner hours then maybe you can expect some stares, but otherwise I wouldn't even give it a second though.

    If you want a sure bet, the studio cafe in the four seasons is great for kids, they even have kids menus for different ages. Another option, although touristy, is the Il Fornello at Harbourfront, obviously not fine dining by any stretch but the food was perfectly acceptable and the location and view from the outside tables are great.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ddelicious

      Thanks for the suggestions - the Studio Cafe is great @ lunch and in my neighbourhood [for work] as well. Il Fornello is a good suggestion as well - I usually go to the Il Fornello that isn't anymore...on Elm? I like their pizzas and the location is nice.

      I've been surprised when travelling with him how accommodating some restaurants are as we generally don't eat places that have a kid's menu. And yes, we do plan to eat @ 6pm to hopefully avoid some crowds and such.

    2. My stand-by list for kid friendly and decent food (though not on the higher $ end)
      Salad King on Gould at Yonge - depends on his adaptability to Thai, but I always like it there and the cafeteria style room means he can be a bit noisy and not worry at all.
      Olympic Pizza on Gloucester at Yonge - great pizza, outdoor patio if weather permits.
      Patrician Grill on King East - old school diner breakfast
      Mezes on Danforth, east of Chester - my favourite Greek place in the hood (along with Avli at Chester, but a smaller menu there). Greek places all seem to be great with kids.
      Julie's Cuban on Dovercourt, south of Dundas. All about the patio. Very neighbourhood-y with some delicious food and fantastic drinks.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Julie McCoy

        I think I'm probably more fussy than he is, to be honest. I don't really like Thai food and have never had Greek food in Toronto...I'm also vegetarian [okay - sushi-tarian].

        Looks like I'm going to have to be a bit adventurous.

        1. re: Tabinet

          My son LOVES, likes cries for! Butter chicken on rice, he's all over Ghandi rotis... whoo-hoo! At-a-boy!

      2. I took my son to the Rainforest Cafe, he's 2, we had to go (fine by me!!) cuz he freaked when the gorillas started howling and the lights dim and thunder + lightning strikes, every once in awhile I mention going to a cafe for a coffee and he gets all serious and says he doesn't want to go to the gorillas...pretty much childhood trauma, when he needs an reason to rebel at 14 I wonder if this'll come up? Sorry dude!....although he still loves the zoo...anyway, I digress, alot...I often see a table of 2 adults and 2 young kids (pizza!) eating at Terroni...

        3 Replies
        1. re: Recyclor

          It's true - you never know what kids will be scared of - including things aimed @ kids! I really hated the Smurf Village @ Wonderland when I was little - too scary.

          But you are right - pizza is always a winner!

          1. re: Recyclor

            We had almost the same experience except my daughter wanted to leave just beause the gorilla was there so I thought I best leave before it starts screaming! I was thankful to leave - $12.99 for a kids menu with no other choice for a drink other than pop or juice (no milk!) and choices like frozen pizza or chicken fingers. Ridiculous. We were at Yorkdale so we walked over to Milestone's and were pleasantly surprised. $6.99 for kids menu that includes an actual chicken breast or leg with rice, veggies and unlimited milk. While it is a chain it does have a better rep in my head than places like East Side Marios (ie. no crayons to draw all over the table with). And I believe there is one downtown on John Street. Not half bad choices for adults either.

            1. re: Recyclor

              Hahahaha. My 90 year old mother was scared at the Rainforest Cafe. We went there because there were little kiddies in the group but the young ones were terrified and cried when the thunderstorm started and my mother was completely freaked and refused to eat anything. Never again. Never.

            2. Don't Forget Gretzky's, owned by the great one himself. They even brand a 99 on the burger. While it may not be the greatest food in Toronto, its certainly not the worst. If he gets bored, he can look at the little Wayne museum by the bathrooms.


              2 Replies
              1. re: Ira.B

                I'm sure he doesn't know what hockey is [I barely do and I was born/raised in small town Ontario]! However, we are going to a Jays game and that is in the neighbourhood.

                1. re: Tabinet

                  life long ranger's fan. sorry.

              2. In general, the restaurants in Little India (Gerrard, between Coxwell and Greenwood) are also very kid-tolerant, even kid-friendly. And great for vegetarians too.