If white tablecloths and quiet, civilised conversation fill you with dread then check out our guide to some of the best family-friendly restaurants in London, much more exciting than colouring pencils and a mini chefs hat. And because we are calling them ‘family’-friendly and not just ‘child’-friendly, you won’t mind eating there either.
Colourful, fun and loud
A great way to teach that all-important life lesson; sharing. Lively Mexican favourite Wahaca welcome children with open arms. Spices are toned down for little tastebuds and portions can be smaller, but why not embrace their signature sharing style and introduce them to some new foods and potential future favourites.
A taste of adult dining
Definitely not one that would spring to mind, Hix Soho have a great kids menu which will introduce them to the wonderful world of adult dining. This isn’t just any kids menu, this is a ‘breaded corn-fed chicken’ and ‘De Beauvoir smoked salmon with Hix cure’ kids menu. Mark Hix is passionate about kids eating quality food and engaging in conversation, uninterrupted by TV.
Where: 66-70 Brewer Street, London, W1F 9UP, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus (0.2 miles)
Interactive dining and sushi making
Taking the word ‘interactive’ and giving it a whole new level of meaning. Watch chefs on a live stream preparing your food as it is projected on to your table alongside the placemats and menus. Inamo run sushi making classes great for birthdays they do adult versions too!
Fit for royal-tea
London never tires of the classic afternoon tea, but when the majority involve crisp white tablecloths and the finest bone china it is probably safer to enjoy sandwiches and cakes with the kids at home. If you want them to experience this properly, the 5 star Milestone Hotel, Kensington do a Little Prince and Princess Tea complete with milkshake, hot chocolate, donuts and scones, and cupcake decorating with the Pastry Chef, when arranged 24 hours in advance.
Eat watched on by elephants and lions
The food may not be the best in London but the Rainforest Cafe certainly is child-friendly. Transporting you to a land much more exotic than Regent Street, this birthday party destination never really fails to delight young diners and is probably the culinary equivalent of Disneyland – children will always feel slightly deprived if they haven’t been.
Where: 20 Shaftesbury Avenue, Piccadilly Circus, London, W1D 7EU, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus (0.1 miles)
Award-winning kids menu
Of course Jamie Oliver caters to children; his Jamie’s Italian restaurants are some of the best for kids in the country. Fussy eaters aren’t force-fed a salad – a cheesy pasta bake with homemade curly pasta and seven-veg tomato sauce will unknowingly provide a contribution to their five-a-day and organic lemony chicken fillet lollipops with baked hedgehog potatoes and DIY ‘shake-me’ salad make healthy eating fun.
Eating with fingers is entirely acceptable
Stock up on baby wipes; fingers will be sticky and faces splattered with sauce after leaving Bodean’s BBQ house. A loyal following believe Bodean’s to be the best BBQ in London and kids can enjoy mini versions of the hefty adult dishes including chicken wings, ribs and pulled pork. The best bit? Before certain times throughout the week, kids eat free with a paying adult.
One for you as well as them
One to plan for a full day out, after battling with pirates in secret passageways and underwater caves, children will need refueling and there’s not far to go. The onboard cafe has a varied selection of coffees and sandwich-type meal deals – not the most gastronomical but all homemade and hey, what could be cooler than sipping a hot chocolate inside a full sized pirate ship.