The best child-friendly restaurants in London

There’ll be no more tears at mealtimes if you take the family to these child-friendly family restaurants in London
Stracci with gorgonzola and onions at Padella
Andy Parsons
By Time Out London Food & Drink |
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Your kid doesn’t have to cramp your culinary style. From sushi joints, to pasta places, to restaurants spangled with Michelin stars, the London foodie scene is open to humans of all sizes. If you’ve ever been haunted by the nightmare of being stuck on the kids’ table at a wedding, have no fear – this list takes children’s food seriously. Strap your little one into a high chair, sink a cocktail and dig in.

Restaurants, Turkish

Babaji

icon-location-pin Soho

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.

Restaurants, Spanish

Barrafina

icon-location-pin Covent Garden

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.

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Best child-friendly restaurants in london, bistrotheque
© Paul Winch-Furness
Restaurants, French

Bistrotheque

icon-location-pin Bethnal Green

Want to prove that you can still manage a hip meal out, even with kids in tow? Staff treat little ones like regular diners at this Bethnal Green institution, so tuck into comfort-food brunch dishes and maybe even sink a daytime cocktail – just like old times.

Restaurants, British

Bistro Union

icon-location-pin Clapham Park

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.

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Restaurants, Cafés

Caravan King's Cross

icon-location-pin King's Cross

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.

Restaurants, German

Herman ze German Soho

icon-location-pin Soho

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.

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Restaurants, Grills

Hixter Bankside

icon-location-pin Southwark

Mark Hix believes children’s dishes should be as much of a treat as mum and dad’s, and he proves the point at Hixter – a relaxed open-plan venue where kids have their own selection and under-tens can eat for free from the grown-up menu (weekdays 4pm-6pm, weekends noon-6pm).

Restaurants, Indian

Hoppers

icon-location-pin Soho

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.

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Restaurants, British

Nutbourne

icon-location-pin Battersea

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.

Restaurants, Italian

Opera Tavern

icon-location-pin Covent Garden

Bang-on if you’re taking the kids to a show, this stablemate of Salt Yard offers a tasty mix of Italian/Spanish small plates in the cosy surrounds of a former theatreland pub. The famous stuffed courgette flowers drizzled with honey are a must-try for any budding foodie.

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Heloise Bergman
Restaurants, Pâtisseries

Ottolenghi

icon-location-pin Canonbury

Breakfast at Ottolenghi’s Islington branch – the one with the on-table toasters – is a rite of passage for posh kids who live locally. Evenings are more grown up, although small people will easily be won over by the colourful counter displays – plus cakes for the journey home.

Restaurants, Italian

Padella

icon-location-pin South Bank

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.

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Restaurants, Italian

Pastaio

icon-location-pin Soho

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.

100 best restaurants in London - Phoenix Palace
© Eric Lee
Restaurants, Chinese

Phoenix Palace

icon-location-pin Marylebone

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.  

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Restaurants, Italian

Pizza East Portobello

icon-location-pin North Kensington

We guarantee your kids won’t feel embarrassed eating pizza with mum and dad at this ultra-hip but bright and sunny eatery – there’s nothing like feeling part of the in-crowd. Parents should also bookmark breakfast and brunch for weekends and school hols.

fish and chips london, poppies
© Georgia Glynn Smith
Restaurants, British

Poppies

icon-location-pin Spitalfields

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!

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Restaurants, Japanese

Roka

icon-location-pin Canary Wharf

When the suits vacate Canary Wharf, this slick Japanese rolls out the red carpet for residents. Family brunch is a blast: under-tens can choose from a three-course menu and run riot in the play area. Helpful staff also mix excellent cocktails for parents.

Restaurants, Chinese

Royal China

icon-location-pin Bayswater

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.

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Restaurants, British

The Shed

icon-location-pin Kensington

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?

Restaurants, Indian

Talli Joe

icon-location-pin Covent Garden

‘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.

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Restaurants, Chinese

Shuang Shuang

icon-location-pin Chinatown

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.

Restaurants, Contemporary European

Tredwell's

icon-location-pin Covent Garden

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.

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Paul Winch-Furness
Bars and pubs, Gastropubs

Wells

icon-location-pin Hampstead

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.

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Restaurants

Rocca di Papa

icon-location-pin South Kensington

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.

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Restaurants, Japanese

Toconoco

icon-location-pin De Beauvoir Town

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.

Find more great child-friendly restaurants

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