13 best family-friendly restaurants in Toronto

Whether they’ve got accommodating menus or a trusted reputation for going that extra mile, these restaurants are in a class of their own for family experiences that embrace our young diners.

Kid drinking a pink beverage with a straw

Photo: Courtesy of Justine Purcell

1. Astoria Shish Kebob House

A beloved family-spot with locations in Mississauga, New Market, Vaughan, Richmond Hill and on the Danforth, Astoria is an expansive Greek restaurant with lots of character and a friendly Mediterranean feel. Kids can choose from healthy options that include chicken souvlaki, rice, potatoes, plus a drink—and there’s usually a fun spectacle (look out for the flaming cheese!) to keep everyone entertained. astoriashishkebobhouse.com

outside shot of the restaurant's open window and street sign

Photo: Courtesy of Barque Smokehouse

2. Barque Smokehouse

Sign the whole family up for this one! Parents want to eat here and young ones are a part of the fun at this established Roncesvalles-area favourite (there’s now a second location in Burlington!). Kids get a colouring book, crayons, Play-Doh and a special menu that includes brisket on tortilla, smoked wings, and more. This restaurant deserves a special mention for their creativity—the  dessert menu is adorably labelled “If I eat my trees and stuff” and kids get to decorate their own cookie. barque.ca

plate of food with sandwich and French fries

Photo: Courtesy of Cluny Bistro & Boulangerie

3. Cluny Bistro & Boulangerie

A little slice of French heaven nestled in the busy Distillery District; the kid’s menu includes options like fish and chips and grilled cheese, but also knocks it out of the park with additions like gnocchi (why isn’t gnocchi on every children’s menu?), Caesar salad, and a daily fresh juice selection. There’s definitely a dash of grandiosity here, too, with the space’s elevated French design and approach, but it comes without the expected stuffiness. Check out their fun menu twists too, like Coq au Vin poutine. clunybistro.com

small child sitting at a big table in a restaurant

Photo: Courtesy of Justine Purcell

4. Ricarda’s Toronto

On weekdays, Ricarda’s Toronto location is home to the entertainment and ad agency crowd, but on Sunday, it’s all-you-can-eat buffet time, and kids are more than welcome. This vast Mediterranean venue turns out a spread with literally everything you could think of, from house-baked breads and pastries to fresh seafood. Beyond the dining, there’s lots to keep kiddos entertained, including live jazz, a bouncy castle, and an architecturally stunning atrium where they can have fun running around. ricardas.com

plate of pancakes covered in strawberries and blueberries.

Photo: Courtesy of Starving Artist

5. Starving Artist

Sandwich waffles, fruit-topped waffles, benedict waffles, dessert waffles–you get the theme here. We’re talking waffles beyond your wildest dreams. With six locations across the city, this menu offers a broad brunchy range from sweet to savory. Toronto-famous for a good reason, they’ve also got gluten-free and vegan options; and two-dollar mini waffles for the teeny-tiny tummies at your table. starvingartist.ca

small hands ripping off a slice of cheesy pizza

Photo: Courtesy of Justine Purcell

6. Queen Margherita Pizza

Toronto takes pizza seriously, which is good, because so do Toronto kids! With three locations in Toronto, “QMP” often gets called out for its kid-friendly efforts. The children’s menu offers a full-size pizza or pasta and ice cream for dessert for $10 and kids meals have been known to come out first (although there’s no guarantee, it’s extremely helpful when it happens). While they wait, even for a short time, there’s a fresh pack of crayons and a colouring placemat—or, perhaps, a visit to the miraculous brick pizza oven. qmpizza.com

interior of restaurant with long tables and chairs

Photo: Courtesy of Justine Purcell

7. Grenadier Cafe

High Park is to Toronto what Central Park is to New York; definitely a must do on any tour of the city, especially with children. And thankfully, there’s a place smack dab in the middle of all those rolling green hills and trees where you can stop and grab some food. Grenadier café has lots of space, indoor and out, with a choice of dine-in or take-out. It’s a great place to refuel busy little bodies between all the duck-feeding, swan-watching, cherry blossom admiring, choo-choo train riding and playing in the giant park.  grenadiercafe.net

kids sitting at their own table in nice restaurant

Photo: Courtesy of Justine Purcell

8. Piano Piano

It’s not every day that a chic two-floor restaurant dedicates an entire level to kids, complete with chalk-boards, arcade games, and, of course, a kid-friendly menu. Young ones can choose from pizza and pasta options, or combos that include three healthy choices served on a flip-proof plate. For the grown-ups, Piano Piano is a place to fall in love with food all over again (the egg yolk ravioli, for one, is to die for).  pianopianotherestaurant.com

interior shot of counter where you order food

Photo: Courtesy of Justine Purcell

9. Bobbie Sue’s Mac and Cheese

Ossington Avenue might not be the first place you think of when looking for kid-friendly options, but scratch its trendy surface and you’ll find dozens of ways to experience one of Toronto’s hippest strips. For family members who are strict mac-and-cheese-itarians (it’s a thing, and the struggle is real), Bobbie Sue’s vast variety of flavours is especially fun. Leave room for dessert—just down the street you’ll find the wildly popular Bang Bang Ice Cream and Bakery where you can tailor your own ice cream sandwich. bobbiesues.com

baby looking across table at plates of food

Photo: Courtesy of Justine Purcell

10. Pearl Harbourfront Chinese Cuisine

Planes, boats and hockey pucks. Ok, that last one is actually a delicious dumpling you’ll find on Pearl’s menu, but the planes and boats are what keep little ones entertained while enjoying this upscale dim sum restaurant in Harbourfront. Bringing a stroller? No problem. There’s an elevator up to this sprawling second floor spot where you’ll probably find a whole row of them. Tip: Make a window-side reservation! pearlharbourfront.ca

interior shot of booths in chain restaurant

Photo: Courtesy of The Pickle Barrel

11. The Pickle Barrel

Ever find yourself in a mall in the middle of winter (or any season, really) with a couple of kids about to totally meltdown? This is where “The Pick” saves the day, and has been saving it since 1971. With eleven restaurants dotted across the GTA, most of them mall-side, this family dining spot with deli-roots just gets it. Look for all your kid-fave staples here like spaghetti and meatballs, chicken fingers, and grilled cheese, but also nutritious variants like salmon, brown rice and broccoli, which can often be overlooked on children’s menus (but do get ordered according to the restaurant!) Plus all the high-chairs and space you could ask for. picklebarrel.ca 

sunny patio with umbrellas overlooking the lake

Photo: Courtesy of Against the Grain

12. Against the Grain

Eclectic options with water views, there’s something for everyone under those tempting patio umbrellas, or if weather is cooler, indoors at these spacious East Bayfront digs. The children’s menu includes a kiddie version of pub fare, like burgers, nachos, or grilled cheese, and comes with drink and a popsicle for $13. For the adults, there’s a good selection of options, like seared jerk chicken, mushroom risotto, grilled fish tacos and steak frites. fabrestaurants.ca

exterior shot of diner

Photo: Courtesy of Justine Purcell

13. The Lakeview Restaurant

Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, this retro diner honours the classic traditions of milkshakes, trivia, and kitschy superhero paraphernalia (Captain Canuck makes an appearance on the kids’ menu). Kids can get spaghetti, grilled cheese, or almost any other diner fare. It’s also a stroll away from Trinity Bellwoods, one of Toronto’s largest and most action-packed downtown parks. thelakeviewrestaurant.ca

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