Abeno’s fun-factor speciality is okonomiyaki – Japanese savoury pancakes that are made to order on a hot plate in front of you using all manner of theatrical gestures. Kids will love the final flourishes, especially the bonito flakes flickering in the heat.
If you’re tired of the pizza run and your kids are bored with plain-jane margheritas, try Alan Yau’s low-key Turkish joint for size. Babaji specialises in pide – Turkey’s boat-shaped answer to Italy’s wood-fired classics. From oven to table takes about one minute. Perfect for famished youngsters.
Don’t be fazed by the Michelin star: London’s best tapas joint is still approachable. Sit next to your little one at the counter and watch the chefs preparing all manner of snack-sized Spanish delicacies – their famed tortilla is a safe bet, even for nervous kids.
Cheese and Marmite straws; fish-finger sarnies; chocolate custard – the repertoire at this quintessentially British bistro could have been dreamed up for kids. Young ones also have their own mini menu (carrot sticks, mac ’n’ cheese, breaded cod and chips, ice cream), plus fruity, juicy drinks.
Caravan’s all-day menu is a whirlwind of big flavours done gently. Good luck snaffling one of the jamón croquetas with saffron mayo – they’re irresistible to humans of all sizes. Staff are as friendly as characters from ‘Balamory’, and kids will love the fountains on Granary Square.
They may have fancy-sounding names, but Herman Ze German’s dogs are some of the best ‘wursts’ in London – a world away from your average kids’ party or back-garden barbecue. Youngsters love ’em, especially when they’re liberally smothered in ketchup, mustard, mayo or German curry sauce.
There’s nothing scary about a ‘hopper’, especially when it has an egg in it. These Sri Lankan baskets of batter are decidedly kid-friendly, so spice things up with a sprinkle of sambal, a scoop of curry and (hopefully) a pickle or two.
Kids may be familiar with ‘growing patches’ at school, but this all-day British brasserie gives them a first-hand taste of farm-to-table dining – thanks to seasonal produce from the owners’ family enterprise in Sussex. Who knows, your picky darlings may even come to love salad.
Head to this counter-only joint straight after school, and you’ll be rewarded with London’s favourite plate of pasta in no time. But be warned: your kids may love this dinky-portioned, soft ’n’ squiggly comfort food so much, they’ll turn up their noses at supermarket pesto.
Relive that famous father-and-son moment from the movie ‘Bicycle Thieves’ by ordering a fried mozzarella sandwich for your little boy (or girl) at Pastaio – Stevie Parle’s artisan pasta joint. Bowls of the glistening handmade stuff come in small-sized servings too. Alfresco tables are like gold dust.
Family eating is second nature to the Chinese, so it’s no surprise that this palatial rendezvous is good with kids. Sit at a big circular table and share the spoils from some superior dim sum – ideal finger food for youngsters who haven’t yet mastered the art of chopsticks.
The good old days? Well not exactly, but eating fish and chips in Poppies’s kitsch, vintage chippy is still a treat for young and old alike – they even have a children’s menu (cod bites, fishcakes, sausages). Soak up the nostalgia – just don’t mention the war!
Bite-sized dim sum are brilliant for children, and Royal China’s distinctive black-and-gold venues are old hands at welcoming families – Chinese or otherwise. Challenge the little ones with chicken’s feet and squid balls or keep them sweet with char-sui buns, crispy spring rolls and custard tarts.
It’s not quite Old MacDonald’s farm, but kids will love the barnyard vibe at this playful British eatery. The menu keeps it small, with lots of ‘mouthfuls’ for curious little ’uns – mushroom Marmite and egg confit eclair, followed by a honeycomb crunchie, Johnny?
‘Small plates’, ‘half plates’, sweet plates’ all built for sharing and loaded with bright, bold Indian flavours – that’s the deal at this Covent Garden restaurant/bar. Kids can pick and choose to their heart’s content – just don’t let them near the pokey cocktails.
Venue says Have you booked a brunch date yet? Get 90 minutes of spicy plates, good vibes and bottomless prosecco every Saturday at Talli Joe, noon-3pm.
If Hamley’s did restaurants… a meal at this hotpot specialist is like an edible construction challenge. Snatch your favourite ingredients from the conveyor belt and dunk them into your own personal soup concoction. Given the opportunity for mess, grown-ups get to wear bibs too.
Marcus Wareing’s casual venture is formal enough for a special family meal, but also pro-youngsters – offering a seven-course tasting deal for adventurous ‘culinary kids’ alongside the regular children’s menu. Armed with the recipes, wannabe Junior MasterChefs can even try out the dishes at home.
Venue says Enjoy three courses from our seasonal set menu for £29, whilst you sip a specially crafted cocktail, on the house.
The relaxed ground floor of this cosy pub suits families refuelling after a runaround on Hampstead Heath. Little ones can point out doggy visitors from their high chairs, older kids can get stuck into the communal board games. The gastro grub, in adult and child’s portions, is spot-on.
It seems like every third customer at this friendly Italian in south-west London’s Nappy Valley is a child, and the lovely staff manage to fuss over all of them. The menu of trad trattoria classics is kiddie-appropriate, as is the casual, bustling atmosphere.
This Japanese café in Haggerston gets top rating from young customers thanks to its toy-filled playroom and canalside location. There’s no pressure to spend and scarper: while away the afternoon with as many matcha lattes as you can handle.
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Take the kids for an adventure in London's best parks and follow it with child-friendly eats to please the whole gang.
If ever proof were needed that all caffs are not equal, this Grade-II listed greasy spoon on Bethnal Green Road is it. The food may not be much more than reasonably above-average caff grub, but the atmosphere and decor are second to none. Opened in 1900, and still in the hands of the same family, Pellicci’s is an east London landmark. It has an almost opulent feel, harking back to a time when caff culture was king. Chrome-lined Vitrolite panels line the outside, and the wood-panelled interior is filled with Formica tables and art deco touches. Food is still prepared with pride every day by Mama Maria – queen of the kitchen since 1961. The kids, Anna and Nevio Junior, serve it up with a wink, a smile and as much banter as you can handle. Fry-ups are first rate, and the fish and chips, daily grills and Italian specials aren’t half bad either. Desserts, from bread pudding to Portuguese pasteis de nata, are worth a punt too. But it’s the vibrant welcome, served with a healthy helping of mickey-taking, that makes the place so special. Check out more of London's best breakfasts and brunches
Venue says We will be closed for four weeks from July 29. Re-open Tuesday August 28.