22 Oct, 2009
Eating Out With Kids: A National Guide
Whether you’re in Dublin, Limerick, Galway, or Wexford, it can be hard to find child-friendly eateries. Today, we’ve joined by Jill Holtz of mykidstime.ie with this very handy guide.
www.mykidstime.ie is a free resource for families. With a full range of listings for activities, classes and clubs for children of all ages, as well as information on services and events for children and families. It currently covers Galway, Dublin, Wexford and Limerick with more areas coming shortly.
Taking the Kids Out
As parents of children of all shapes and sizes and ages, we asked the Mykidstime Team about eating out with children. Amidst mutterings of “Disaster…” and “Eating out? What’s that again?” we decided that our top priorities were as follows:
- Eateries where you know you can take your child(ren) and feel welcome. Places where you don’t have to feel stressed if your wee one runs up and down or cries.
- Kiddie Menus that don’t consist of the same old same old four options:
a. Sausages and chips
b. Chicken nuggets and chips
c. Burger and chips
d. Chips and chips
- Reasonable pricing. You thought it was pricey eating out with just two adults; wait till you add kids into the equation: soft drinks, something to keep them going because you forgot to tell the server to bring their main courses with your starters, desserts…
Here are a few of our favourite eateries around Ireland that scored highly on those three criteria…
Wagamama, St King Street, Dublin 2, Tel: 01 478 2152
Big, busy and bright. Wagamama is extremely family friendly, affordable, with a really tasty kids menu that makes a change from standard kids’ menus. Children love slurping the delicious noodles!
Thunder Road Cafe, Temple Bar, Dublin, Tel: 01 679 4057
Great spot for weekend lunch for whole family with a menu filled with tasty food and they are currently running a fantastic offer where kids eat free at weekends! You can’t ask for better than that!
Dublin North City
Casa Pasta 55 Clontarf Road Dublin 3 Tel: 01 833 1402
Casual, relaxed ambience and friendly staff serving modern food in a friendly atmosphere. Early bird menu and children’s menu on offer. The main menu is broad with salads and pastas being the main dishes on offer. Child friendly atmosphere. Restaurant is small so booking is advisable! I love the children’s menu, full of healthy things instead of your usual fishfingers/nuggets and chips. Kids can make as much mess as they want and nobody bats an eyelid. Kids also get colouring pencils and paper to keep them amused! Lovely food, very good value and very enjoyable.
Kay’s Restaurant Clarehall Shopping Centre (Dublin 17), Donaghmede Shopping Centre (Dublin 13) & Blanchardstown Shopping Centre (Dublin 15)
A personal favourite of mine, Kay’s Restaurant offers great food at affordable prices. The kids’ menu includes pasta, vegetables etc so the kids are getting something healthy and tasty too! The staff are super-friendly. If you shop at Tesco in Clarehall, and keep your receipt, you can get a selected main course for €5 which is super value. Although the kids don’t get colouring pencils, puzzles etc, they are made feel very welcome and there are plenty of highchairs so you don’t have to wait for one! Best of all, the three restaurants are huge so plenty of space for the kids to run around.
Dublin North County
Oscar Taylors Restaurant, Coast Road, Malahide, Co. Dublin. Tel: 01 845 0099
This restaurant has plenty of room, fabulous sea views, high chairs, baby changing facilities, very reasonable early bird and children’s menu with a couple of extra choices on top of the normal chicken nuggets, sausages etc. Very friendly service with crayons and colouring for the kiddies. My kids love this place!
Coachmans Inn, Cloghran (near airport), Co. Dublin. Tel: 01 840 1227
I love this place on a lazy Sunday afternoon when I want the roast dinner but don’t feel like cooking. Fantastic pub grub and carvery, or if preferred there is a 3 course meal for children in the restaurant. Superb food and excellent value for money. High chairs and changing facilities available, plenty of seating yet always busy, highly recommended!
Lohan’s, Salthill, Galway, Tel: 091 522696
Lohan’s in Salthill is a great family restaurant. We went with four children and three adults, the kids enjoyed colouring the menu, which is also as gaeilge. The service was quick and children’s food was tasty. The adults’ food was lovely and the choice of children’s desserts were a big hit. A large pitcher of diluted juice was provided for the children. Overall a very enjoyable and relaxing meal.
Basilico at The Coach House, Main Street, Oranmore, Galway, Tel: 091 483693
You can choose whether to eat in the bar at The Coach House or in the Basilico Restaurant. Either way, the Italian menu offers value and great food for families. On a recent outing, we adults ordered one pizza (fantastic thin crispy bases with great toppings) and one pasta carbonara (just about the best we have tasted recently), a second pizza margerita for the kids to share, three soft drinks, one glass of wine, two ice-creams and we had change from €50.
Timmy Macs Bar & Bistro, Adare, Co Limerick, Tel: 061 605100
Traditional Irish home cooking in an Irish cottage restaurant, their children’s menu has a great selection of the food we want them to eat and the food they want to eat i.e. Fish Bites but baked instead of deep fat fried. Most of the mains for children are healthy eating options and include vegetables. Gluten free options are also available, and that’s just the children’s menu! The Al la Carte is extensive with skillet menu, fish, poultry and vegetarian and healthy option all at reasonable prices. After dinner it has a magnificent cottage garden, complete with waterwheel, gazebo and thatched games area, for the kids to run around.
Kudos Resturant, Clarion Suite Ennis Road, Limerick, Tel: 061 444 100
I like this place because it’s just across the road for me, ample parking, very spacious, no fights to get prams in or out. There are always children around. My little fellow orders his play pack first. Asian and European food in relaxed surroundings. There is a child’s menu but we normally pick a couple of starters and mains to share which is enjoyed by all. When the little angels get restless there is plenty of room for them to move about without knocking the restaurant down which means we can enjoy our meal as well.
Da Paolo Restaurant, Curracloe, County Wexford, Tel: 053 91 37086
Great place all round. We go early evenings, they do fantastic pizza and pasta and you can order child portions of any of the adult meals. The staff are great with the kids. Best of all, there is a swing and crazy golf area outside with a terrace where you can take your coffee and keep an eye on the kids.
Café D’Lush, Wexford Arts Centre, Wexford Town, Tel: 053 9123795
More of an older kids option (e.g. 5 up), as not a lot of buggy space available. This is a great space though and the art centre is the added bonus so once you have eaten you can go and see what’s on. They do all sorts of interesting dishes using interesting ingredients, cater for coeliacs as well. We love their breakfasts, particularly their pancakes or sometimes take older son in for a smoothie and cookie in the afternoon.
My Kids Time Wishlist
Here is our Top 10 wish list for eateries who claim to be family friendly:
- Colouring books that have enough clean pages to keep our little ones going for a while when we have forgotten to bring our own plus crayons that work and don’t break. Comics or magazines for our older kids to browse as colouring is now beneath them.
- Kid sized cutlery as little fingers struggle with adult sizes.
- A space to put buggies out of the way so everyone passing doesn’t trip and kill themselves. Or an offer to put it somewhere quickly and efficiently out of the way until we need it again.
- Proper changing tables in both male & female toilets so that we are not forced to change baby on floor yet again. Some baby wipes and a nappy or two in case of memory loss are helpful too.
- Kids Menus with a bit of imagination. What about some carrot sticks and cucumber slices and baby tomatoes on the plate if you must serve those chips. Kids love finger food.
- Smaller portions for kids – we’re tired of huge adult sized goopy macaroni cheese that our kid takes one spoonful of and then pushes away.
- Kids are HUNGRY when they arrive. Bring their main courses with the adult starters without us having to remember to ask for this
- Short plastic tumblers please instead of long tall glasses that kids can knock over, and we’d love some healtheir drink options for kids.
- Extra napkins on tables with families for the inevitable drink spill.
- Oh yes, and a corner of the restaurant with TV, DVD and cushions….
- Parents can also sign up for free monthly e-newsletters with information and suggestions for things to do, as well as enter regular competitions, on www.mykidstime.ie. They also produce a monthly Mykidstime Food newsletter with an emphasis on family friendly recipes, Irish food producers, food events, and much more. Subscribe here.