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Apr 19, 2010 07:36 AM

Family friendly in Calgary

I'm looking for recommendations for family friendly AND good eats friendly places in town. Cheaper is better, but not necessarily a deal breaker.

We've got a hyperactive four year old and a recently mobile nine month old so our eating out dynamic has become a little different than it used to be.

Also, I think the Mrs. may be tiring of hamburgers...



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  1. Please, "kid friendly," not "family friendly." My partner and I are very much a "family."

    CFM is utterly kid-friendly.... as long as you mean lunch.

    5 Replies
    1. re: John Manzo

      CFM is only Fri/Sat/Sun...but it is definitely kid-friendly.
      I use to take the kids to Earls and Nicks a lot. Good food, kid portions and I could still have a drink. Just bring a few books, paper/crayons and a few small toys. I started taking the kids out to restaurants when they were babies...because they need to learn how to behave in a public location. When I see unruly kids being disruptive...I tend to blame the parents.

      1. re: John Manzo

        Yes, kid friendly. My apologies and I certainly wasn't trying to cause a fuss. Just looking for a place to take the kids!

        1. re: darelleats

          You didn't and I didn't mean to come off as the thought police- I actually lecture about the rhetorical uses of "family" in my intro soc class and the idea that it's a proxy for "with kids" is interesting. What's even more interesting is how back in the bad old days avant smoking bans, one place to always find an ashtray on the table was, that's right. a "family restaurant," like Humpty's.

          I often see kids at The Coup. And for reasons I haven't dissected, sushi places seem very popular with kids- maybe it's being able to eat with your hands as all sushi aficionados do! Oh, also, I see gaggles of families (with kids!) at pretty much every dim sum place I've ever been to.

          1. re: John Manzo

            S'all good!

            I think you're onto something with the sushi/dim sum suggestion. I think the participatory aspect keeps the kids interested... will check it out.

            I've also never been to The Coup, thanks for that idea too!

            1. re: darelleats

              Any Chinese or Vietnamese place is fine with kids. Usually lots of noise, so my kids fit right in. As you've observed already, sushi seems to work as well - in my case it was more making sure they would grow up looking at sushi as "normal" and McD's as "no-no". My kids are 11 and 9 now - seems to have worked - they crave sushi! Not on the cheap side though, hence Chinese & Vietnamese.

              Maplesugar's suggestions are bang on as well.

      2. Chianti's is reliable and kid friendly. I won't make any assertions that it's high brow but iirc there isn't a burger in sight. Their kids menu is decent and includes more than just the ubiquitous chicken nuggets. The staff & management (at least at the 32nd St NE & Crowfoot locations) are good with kids and service is prompt, and they're good about say subbing macaroni for the spaghetti in a dish because it's your 4yo's fave noodle or making up a 1/2 portion of an adult meal so a more adventurous little one can give it a try.

        Boston Pizza - not an imaginative menu, and it includes burgers but their children's menu is one of the best I've ever seen - the usuals plus baked salmon or pierogies. Bonus: booths mean you and your dear wife can sit on the aisle while the little ones have room to groove on the inside - just keep them from playing protracted games of peekaboo with the neighbouring booths... ;)

        Otherwise... anywhere with a good buffet is always a hit with the preschool set: no waiting, to place an order then be served, the opportunity to get up and walk (and have it be socially acceptable since everyone's doing it) a variety of foods so they can sample new things, and there's bound to be something they'll eat. We've always been partial to Sunday brunch at Thomsons at the Hyatt, and Oceans (at least I think thats the name) at Coast Plaza.

        Hope that helps :)

        1. For breakfast or lunch, Pfanntastc Pfannenkoek Haus is great for kids. They have loads of high chairs, toys and books. We've had dinner in Marathon, Niko's and Globefish with our 18 month old, and all went well - no raised eyebrows or impatience with her.

          Anyone have any thoughts on whether FARM or Una would be suitable/unsuitable for a kid of that age? Want to try one or both soon...

          4 Replies
          1. re: irishgirl

            East Side Marios is cheap and kid friendly. Kids love pasta, they get a free toy and small ice cream cones are included

            1. re: irishgirl

              In answer to my own question, FARM is small kid-friendly. We went this evening and our was one of 4 under-3's in there. The general noise level absorbed the kid noise nicely, they have booster seats and the mac and cheese went down a treat!

              1. re: irishgirl

                I have to second Niko's for "family" friendly with great food at a good price. I've experienced lots of kids in there with their families and all was well, no issues with people being disturbed or upset.

                I would also suggest Matador in Varsity on Shaganappi Tr. and Salt and Pepper in Bowness (I haven't been to the one down south). Lots of families in these places on a regular basis and each is a good restaurant in it's own right.

                1. re: irishgirl

                  I second Pfanntastic Pfannenkoak Haus as kid friendly. Lots of kids when I went and they were ALL really into their food...I also saw a bunch of kids books in the corner, so lots of fun stuff to keep them occupied!

                2. All good places mentioned so far. Also add Phil's if you have small children - they provide bibs, small toys, sippy cups (no valves inside though), high chairs, crayons and colouring sheets.

                  1. Earl's is great with children of any age. They are always happy to accommodate - including smaller portions and plate sharing for children. I have seen families with small children that are served plates of plain cooked vegetables and pasta. They may not advertise it on their menu but they do accommodate.