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Jan 24, 2012 02:19 PM

Toronto with young children ???


My wife and I will be traveling to Toronto, from Buffalo, with our two daughters (8 mos & 2 1/2 year olds) at the end of March. We'll be there for 3 or 4 days. And our definate stops will be the Toronto Aquarium and the Toronto Zoo.

Ive done a search on this great site for similar posts, but most threads are with kids a bit older.

Ive been to Toronto many times but mostly for Jays/Yankees games, and then to the bars. I do remember going as a kid and a routine stop was called the Spaghetti Factory, I believe. Is that still worth going to? I thought about the Science Museum, but Im pretty sure thats geared more towards older children.

Also, is Restaurant 360, atop the CN Tower, appropiate to take a 2 1/2 year old and a 8 month old to?

What other things are there that may be age appropiate for my daughters? Im looking for any suggestions, from hotels to stay in, activities/places to go, and most importantly, restaurants to eat at.

Thanks in advance,

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  1. Please keep responses focused on restaurant recommendations and discussion. Discussion of hotels and activities are off topic for Chowhound. Thanks!

    1. The Spaghetti Factory is still there but it's pretty bad, definitely a tourist spot.

      Here are some general downtown recommendations that are kid-friendly. Once you choose your hotel we can focus in better.

      Terroni - great pizza, go before 6:15 or there will be a line up.
      Rol San - great dim sum, go before 11am on a Saturday or Sunday.
      Udupi Palace - in Little India, a fun place to wander around. Kids can eat naan.
      Greek food on the Danforth - we used to go to Omonia when my son was little.

      BTW, the Toronto Aquarium hasn't even broken ground yet.

      8 Replies
      1. re: crawfish

        Ha. Thats very good to know. Thanks. Ive heard great things about Terroni.

        1. re: crawfish

          Good call on Udupi Palace - I recently went in for takeout, and they have this play area at the front, right by the cash. Hilariously loud kids having a ball, not so fun for the guy at cash though! My well documented favourite is the channa bhatura.
          Two other places that are usually lousy with kids are 10 Feet Tall on the Danforth, and Ferraro on Eglinton. You'd be perfectly comfortable with kids in both places, but whether or not the locations (not downtown) or quality are up your alley is your call.

          1. re: sgogo

            I believe 10 feet tall has closed

            1. re: bytepusher

              That's the unfortunate truth. 10 Feet Tall is no more.

          2. re: crawfish

            I'm not farmilliar with most places you want to go or the areas, however I have to somewhat disagree with The Spaghetti Factory being pretty bad.
            It really all depends once you take everything into consideration. The decor(merry go round, streetcar) is eyecatching and has lots of colours to keep kids entertained. Your main dish includes salad or soup, tea or coffee and dessert. Every table also gets fresh bread. We took our teenage daughter there a few months back and she loved it.

            Food is not great, however it is generally good and very kid friendly. Prices are very reasonable for all that is included. Check out their website....should have pics.

            1. re: fryerlover

              It's the Old Spaghetti Factory btw. Cringe-worthy.

              1. re: fryerlover

                One thing I found really odd at my last visit to the Old Spag - no mac n cheese on the kids' menu??? Although they were very accomodating for a chain and made up some penne with butter and cheese. If you order carefully (I like the spaghetti with brown butter and mizthra cheese) it can be okay but not something I'd choose given many other options. Although it is kid-friendly, the decor etc would be lost on kids that young (unlike say the Rainforest Cafe).
                Ten Feet Tall is closed.
                I wouldn't go to 360 simply because the food is bad and overpriced!

            2. Definately not amazing food, but Mövenpick Marché at Brookfield place is a market type restaurant and my kids love going there since there is alot going on, they enjoy looking at all the food and picking what they like. Definately kid friendly since it's such a large space, the kid produced noise gets lost :)

              1. The Toronto Zoo is located at the very eastern edge of the city (basically near the border of Scarborough and Pickering), so you may want to also search Scarborough in the threads to see if there is anything you want to eat in the area.

                It will be a little bit a drive, especially if you are staying in the downtown area.

                I would not suggest you eat in the zoo -- from what I remember they have a Harvey's and a couple of other fast food places, but they have no problem if you want to bring in your own food.

                Perhaps when you narrow down where in the city you will be staying we can give more focused recommendations as to where to eat. Toronto is a very large city and with two little children you wouldn't want to be driving 45 minutes solely for a meal (except of course if that if there is something specific you want to try that is not as readily available in Buffalo -- ie the excellent Chinese cuisine north of Toronto in Markham/Richmond hill)

                And regarding the Toronto Aquarium -- I was born here and in my 30+ years have never heard of it.

                4 Replies
                1. re: LearningHow

                  I respectfully disagree. Coyote Jack's at the Metro Zoo would be fine for kids. I ate there just this past summer. I'd say if the kids are hungry, then don't make 'em wait.

                  Close to the zoo and good for both the kids and their parents is Fratelli Village Pizzeria. It's small and they don't take reservations, but their pizzas, pastas, and appetizers are all delicious. You don't need to wait until you're downtown to have a good meal.

                  Titus0327, I didn't think Ripley's was opening the Toronto Aquarium until 2013. Either you're really, really prepared or you need to share the location of your aquarium.

                  Fratelli Village Pizzeria
                  384 Old Kingston Rd, Toronto, ON M1C1B6, CA

                  1. re: Googs

                    Funny story.... a friend of mine has kids a couple years older than mine, so I routinely hit him up for vacation spots and weekend getaways, etc. Well, the other night were enjoying a couple cocktails at our local watering hole when I mention taking the kids away for a weekend in late March. Without skipping a beat he says, "well it may be a bit chilly for the Toronto Zoo but they have an amazing Aquarium." Never stearing me wrong before I took him at his word. So, I made this post, with great anticipation, and you can imagine my surprise when one of you kind folks politely points out to me that there is no such a place. I quickly called my friend and asked him if he was aware that there is no such thing as the Toronto Aquarium. Of course, he says. When prodded why he might lead me astray, his only response was....I thought it'd be funny.

                    Im beginning to rethink that old can pick your friends, but you cant pick your family.

                    Anyways, were still following thru with the trip to Toronto, despite no Aquarium, and I look tremendously forward to trying some of these kid friendly restaurants that have been mentioned here. Ecspecially, the large variety of ethnic food that Toronto seems to have when compared to Buffalo.

                    1. re: Titus0327

                      We will have an aquarium it just won't be open until 2015 so he wasn't totally lying :)


                      The Art Gallery of Ontario has a great kids area and it's close to China town so could be combined with dim sum and/or a walk through Kensington Market for empanadas, churros, falafel, burritos, and other great food.

                      1. re: crawfish

                        I am not sure how good the Art Gallery is for kids under 3 - their programs are for bigger kids. We take our kids (2 and 4) to the ROM - they definitely have activities for little ones, including your eight month old. As for food - there is a food court downstairs but our kids like to go to Yamato for Japanese in Yorkville - the chefs cook right at the tables so this is fun. Kids can eat rice, teriyaki etc. Basically, most restaurants in Toronto are good with kids as long as you go early at dinner time - say, 6-6:30 - and don't linger so that the kids start running around.

                2. Restaurant 360 is a place you go to for the view, not for the food. But there is no problem taking young kids there. They do have a kids menu and have been very accommodating to my 2 little ones. If you go to the Ontario Science Centre (which the 2 1/2 year old will love - there is an area for young kids), don't eat there but try Genghis Khan Mongolian Grill which is just up the street from the Science Centre - for make your own stir fries and other fun Chinese buffet items. Or try Congee Star in the same plaza for authentic (and inexpensive) Chinese congee, noodle soups and snacks.