Child Friendly Restaurants in Ireland – Our Favourites
This article first appeared on www.cheapeats.ie in October 2009, recently updated in July 2010.
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 cries.
Kiddie Menus that don’t consist of the same old same old four options:
Sausages and chips
Chicken nuggets and chips
Burger and chips
Chips and chips
Reasonable pricing. You thought it was pricey eating out with just 2 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 3 criteria:
Wagamama, St King Street, Dublin 2, Tel: 01 478 2152, www.wagamama.ie
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!
Extreme Pizza, 1 Upper Rathmines Road, Dublin 6, Tel: 01 4062626
Voted Best Fast Food in Dublin 2010 by the readers of InDublin magazine, Extreme Pizza in Rathmines is a family friendly restaurant serving a wide range of gourmet pizzas, calzones, sub sandwiches and salads. Great spot for weekend lunch for whole family and they even do kids birthday parties where they get to make their own pizzas.
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.
Oscar Taylors Restaurant, Coast Road,Malahide, Co. Dublin. Tel: 01 845 0099, www.islandviewhotel.ie
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, www.lohans.ie
Lohan’s in Salthill is a great family restaurant. We went with 4 children and 3 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, www.coachhousehotel.ie/basilicorestaurant.html
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 2nd pizza margerita for the kids to share, 3 soft drinks, 1 glass of wine, two ice-creams and we had change from €50!
Timmy Macs Bar & Bistro, Adare, Co Limerick, Tel: 061 605100, www.woodlands-hotel.ie/timmy-macs.html
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.
The Cornstore 19 Thomas Street, Limerick, Tel: 061 609000, www.cornstorelimerick.com
This is the only restaurant in Limerick to receive the “Improved Tasty and Healthy Menu for Kids’ sticker so far from the RTE’s The Afternoon Show. Any time I have been there I have always been happy with the food on the children’s menu, homemade chicken goujons or good quality sausages, half portion of the roast of the day.They always offer colouring page and crayons and their art work could win you a dinner voucher to return so get them colouring.
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, www.wexfordartscentre.ie
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.
Nash 19, 19 Princes St., Cork City, Tel: 021 4270880 www.nash19.com
One of Cork’s busiest eateries. It has recently been included in the Bridgestone Guide for the 10th year running. There is also a great food shop where you can buy Mella’s Fudge, West Cork Honey, wine, dressings, sauces and much, much more. The food is top quality, service is fantastic and the atmosphere astounding. High chairs and baby-changing facilities are available. Breakfast and lunches can also be ordered to go, so you can head off to the park if you so wish.
CaféBarDeli, 18 Academy Street, Cork City Tel: 021 4851865 www.cafebardeli.ie
This is another favourite of my kids. Children can pick soup, pizza, pasta etc from the children’s menu. Prices are very reasonable, high-chairs and baby-changing facilities available and they also provide colouring sheets. For mums and dads, the menu hosts a great range of salads, pizzas, pasta dishes, sandwiches and more. Great selection of beers and wines too.
Wagamama, 4 South Main Street, Cork City Tel: 021 4278874 www.wagamama.ie
Our absolute favourite in Cork City has got to be….Wagamama. Young and old leave here completely satisfied. Service is quick, food is FANTASTIC, prices are good…what else is there to say really??? Except there should be more branches throughout Ireland perhaps?
Stonecutters Kitchen, Doolin, Co. Clare, Tel: 065 7075962, www.stonecutterskitchen.com
A traditional stone built cottage with flagstone roof that has indoor and outdoor seating. They have toys for kids to play with inside and a walled garden with playground outside so the adults can enjoy their meal and still manage to have coffee and dessert while the kids are happily occupied. Home cooked, traditional Irish cuisine and they pride themselves on good food and good value. They have a lengthy kids menu and will do 1/2 portions of most dishes. For the adults, they have a selection of beer and wine, gourmet coffees and freshly made desserts. Open on the weekends in April, then open every day 12.30 pm – 9.30 pm from May through October.
Rowan Tree Café Bar, Harmony Row, Ennis, Co Clare, Tel. 065 6868669, www.rowantreehostel.ie
This café has a beautiful setting along the River Fergus. It’s in the newly renovated Rowan Tree Hostel which has been voted as the best Irish Hostel. It is nearly always busy and kids can be themselves in the busy atmosphere. The fare is a wonderful selection of Italian pastas, pizza and seafood. What makes it special is the competitive pricing and kids love the food.
Langs, Grange, Co. Sligo, Tel: 071 91 63105 www.facebook.com/langsgrange
Lovely children’s menu, with great selection and no problem doing most of the adult menu ½ sized. Excellent menu for mums and dads too! Crayons and pictures on tap, plenty of high chairs, changing facilities and great space for buggies especially in the huge new room at the back. Waiting staff great with the kids too.
Bella Vista Bar & Bistro, Strandhill, Co. Sligo, Tel: 071 9122222 www.bellavista.ie
Great spot for all the family with great pizzas and pastas mainly, but plenty of meats/fish etc too. Again colours and pictures for the kids and a cute touch with children’s plates and bowls and glasses! My little ones eyes light up when the ice cream comes because it usually has chocolate buttons or similar all over it! Plus a fish tank for entertainment – you can’t go wrong! Superb food and excellent value for money. High chairs and changing facilities also available.
Tobergal Lane – NOW CLOSED
La Bucca, Main Street, Ashbourne Tel: 01 835 7763 & La Bucca & Novello, Corballis Demesne, Ratoath Tel: 01 689 6040, www.labucca.ie
There are two branches of La Bucca in south Meath: La Bucca in Ashbourne and La Bucca & Novello in Ratoath. Both are fabulous Italian restaurants that feature a children’s menu that offers a much greater variety than many places that call themselves kid-friendly. Choose from burgers, chicken or pasta dishes, or put together your own pizza with your favourite toppings. La Bucca offers good value too: the current deal at €10 per child includes any kids’ main course, 2 scoops of ice cream and a soft drink. La Bucca in Ashbourne also hosts children’s pizza parties, where the birthday child and their guests can learn how to make their very own pizzas! Pre-booking is required.
The Ground Floor, Bective Square, Kells Tel: 046 9249688
One of our tried and tested favourites is The Ground Floor in the heritage town of Kells. This attractive and funky restaurant welcomes children and it is renowned for its pizzas. There is a separate and reasonably priced children’s menu, featuring favourites like ‘Pokemon Pizza’ and ‘Shrek’s Fresh Fruit Salad’. Baby changing facilities and highchairs are available, and the staff are good at exchanging friendly banter with their younger guests. Meanwhile, adults will enjoy the extensive range of dishes on offer, which include vegetarian, pizzas, pasta, chicken, steaks and daily seafood and blackboard specials. The Ground Floor is open seven days a week and also offers an early bird menu and Sunday lunch.
Zucchini’s Restaurant, 18-20 Blackcastle, Navan Tel: 046 9060459, www.zucchinisnavan.ie
This family-run and family-friendly establishment recently won the Best Casual Dining in Meath category at the 2010 Irish Restaurant Awards. Zucchini’s has an imaginative children’s menu that includes pasta dishes, cod, chicken curry and pizzas (priced from €6.95 to €9.95). Baby bowls (€3.50) are also available. For parents, the Early Bird menu is now available seven days a week, and offers good value at €18.95 for two courses or €22.95 for three courses, while takeaway food is another option. Zucchini’s is open from 5pm to 10pm, Monday to Saturday, and from 3pm to 9pm on Sundays.
Slieve Russell Hotel, Ballyconnell, Co Cavan Tel: 049 952 6444
A Truly Wondrous Hotel, situated in acres of gardens for exploring. An excellent menu with child size portions available from the adult options, this is one of the best options for a Sunday lunch when you don’t feel like cooking! Definitely one of my favourites… and we usually end up spending most of the day there afterwards too!
Little Sicily, Newcourt Centre, Cavan, Co Cavan Tel: 049 436 2558
A lovely comfortable Italian restaurant situated in Cavan Town. This is a family favourite with good food at reasonable prices, and friendly staff. There is plenty of parking in the area, so not too far to walk those little legs!
Errigal Country House Hotel, Cootehill, Co Cavan Tel: 049 555 6901
Excellent spot for Sunday lunch, very good carvery! Or for an evening meal, the bar food is highly recommended. The staff are incredibly child friendly and it’s great for little ones to take a stroll around between courses.
By the way, 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 healthier 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….