As a family of five, dining out usually means an early dinner at one of our local go-to kid-friendly dinner spots. We rarely stray from our standbys, because we never know if a new restaurant will have a suitable setting and the necessary supplies to host under-12 guests.
Each year, when the Dine Out Vancouver Festival list of participating restaurants is released, I browse longingly through the lineup, wishing I could enjoy some of the delectable dishes that are featured. I had always assumed that the festival was focused on an adults-only audience – until this year, when I recognized some familiar family-friendly food destinations. Here are 5 places where families can comfortably enjoy the ‘Dine Out’ experience with kids in tow.
Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.
With a farm to pizza focus, Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. sources their ingredients from local farms, creating drool-worthy pizzas, pastas, soups and salads using only fresh organic vegetables and free range organic meats and eggs. Their dishes will delight both adults and kids, and their unique play space for kids (featuring a cute wooden kitchen) makes it easy to maintain an adult conversation without fussing with fidgety little ones.
DINNER MENU ($20)
2 locations in Vancouver
This Italian home-cooking hangout is just as suitable for a date night or a girls night out, as it is for a family gathering filled with guests of all ages. While it’s a local favourite for traditional Italian comfort foods, the menu also boasts a variety of mouthwatering dishes that expand beyond the classic pasta favourites, such as the pan-seared salmon (pictured above). Trattoria offers a kids menu that will satisfy picky eaters, and colouring mats to entertain their youngest guests will they wait for dinner to arrive.
DINNER MENU ($30)
2 locations in the Greater Vancouver Area
The Old Spagetti Factory
For 47 years, The Old Spaghetti Factory has been a staple in Vancouver’s Gastown neighbourhood. Known for their all-inclusive meals at reasonable prices, it’s easy for an entire family to fill their bellies with quality food without breaking the bank. The main attraction for guests of all ages is the Trolley Car (built in 1904) that sits in the dining room. If you’re lucky, you might even get to dine inside the antique relic.
DINNER MENU ($20)
53 Water St (Gastown), Vancouver
If you have a meat-and-potatoes kind of palate, then this is the dining destination for you. But The Keg doesn’t just serve grilled steaks and twice-baked potatoes, there’s something for everyone on their diverse and delicious menu – including my personal favourite appetizer, the Baked Garlic Shrimp. They offer a kid-friendly menu, colouring sheets, and snack plates to keep the little ones busy while you wait for your food.
DINNER MENU ($40)
11 locations in the Greater Vancouver Area
Arms Reach Bistro
Nestled near the water’s edge of the quaint community of Deep Cove in North Vancouver, Arms Reach Bistro is a hot spot for out-of-towners and locals alike. The menu balances carefully-curated, high-end dishes with playful, hearty dishes (such as their famous Angry Chicken dish) to please the palates of every patron. The enchanting atmosphere is cozy and welcoming, and as a family-owned and community-oriented restaurant, children are always welcome.
DINNER MENU ($40)
Location: 4390 Gallant Avenue, North Vancouver
To learn more about the participating restaurants and featured menus, check out the Dine Out Vancouver Festival Home Page.