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Family Friendly Dining in Vancouver

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Just because you have children, doesn't mean you have to suffer a life of depressing dining options. With added crayons. We asked Anya Levykh to compile her favourite places.
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Travelling with kids can be one of the great joys—and tortures—of life. Eating with kids can be even more exalting/crushing. In Vancouver, there are plenty of chain restaurants and so-called family restaurants. For those who want more than 'meat product', here are a few truly family-friendly dining spots that should make your travels, however short or long, considerably more palatable.


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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

The Bakehouse

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After a day at Capilano Suspension Bridge or on Grouse Mountain, head to this friendly café/bakery for a hearty, comforting lunch. Ingredients are thoughtfully sourced, and the chicken pot pie is just like what your grandma would make, if grandma was a master pastry chef. Moroccan lamb stew is another winner, as is the three-cheese macaroni.

White Spot

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When talking about chains, one exception must be made in favour of B.C.’s own White Spot. With Pirate Paks, healthy choices for kids, and lots of colouring for kids, it’s the easy stop for parents on the go. Check out the Georgia Street location across from the entrance to Stanley Park. Bike riding and burgers, win-win for everyone.

Tableau Bar Bistro

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What kid doesn’t like tartare? Every family needs a go-to French bistro where the ‘rents can indulge in a few good glasses of Bourgogne and the kids can indulge in roasted chicken breast with fried polenta or mushroom papardelle (not to mention a killer burger).
Sausage. Lots and lots of sausage. Did we mention the sausage? Bestie is Chinatown’s equivalent to the meat-packing district in New York. Instead of a butcher, however, it’s just lots of currywurst with housemade curried ketchup, fantastic pretzels, pickled vegetables and other German-inspired feasts. The sausages are from local producers to Oyama and D-Original, meaning it’s lovely, and the casual atmosphere is perfect for a few beers (or iced teas) with some dogs and fries.

Yolk's Restaurant & Commissary

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Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially when it consists of truffle-lemon potatoes, perfectly poached bennies made from free-range sunset-orange yolks, double bacon sandwiches, organic fried chicken with waffles, and perfect beignets with salted caramel. This not-so-little resto on the corner of Hastings and Clark doesn’t take resos, but the line moves fast and the orange juice is freshly squeezed. Yes, it’s breakfast heaven for everyone.

Charlie's Little Italian

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It looks more like a lounge than pastaria, but don’t let appearances fool you. Everything is made from scratch in-house, and the atmosphere is relaxed but still adult-friendly. For parents there is the wicked carbonara, and stellar cocktail list, as well as a newly-installed pizza oven. There’s a separate kids menu and the desserts are made by the owners’ Italian grandmother.

Los Cuervos Taqueria & Cantina

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Tacos are what make the world go around, and tacos with tamarind-glazed pork or brisket marinated in achiote and beer make it light up like cinco de mayo. The duck flautas are fantastic and the quesadillas can be accommodated for any spice wimps along for the ride. Plus, the authentic margaritas will keep the grown-ups from getting too riled on the ride home.

Sun Sui Wah

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There’s dim sum, and then there’s Sun Sui Wah dim sum. It’s fast, hot and loud, and there are line-ups every weekend, and most weekdays. Definitely make a reservation and skip breakfast. This is the best way outside of Richmond to fill up the family on fried squid, siu mai and har gow without breaking the bank or worrying about the quality of the ingredients. Super-eaters only.

Dream Sushi Japanese Restaurant

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Sushi in Vancouver is du rigeur, and this happy place on Main Street offers a vast number of specialty rolls that range from the Paparazzi roll (spicy tuna with tuna tataki and onion) to the Jumpin Dessert Roll (cream cheese, fresh fruit and pop rocks). Dine in or take away.

KoKoPeLLi Café

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Places designed specifically for kids are always a win with families, but when the food is treated with equal respect, everyone’s happy. Kokopelli has been a Dunbar institution for over a decade, and is the purveyor of home-baked wonders, as well as a fantastic smoked bacon and pea mac ‘n’ cheese that parents will fight the kids over.

Moderne Burger

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This classic burger joint grinds its own meat and makes seriously good malteds. There are turkey, wild salmon and veggie burgers for those avoiding red meat and the floats are worth repeat visits. Did we mention the perfect fries?

Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company

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For the family looking for a guilt-free meal, there’s no better place than Rocky Mountain, with locations in Kitsilano and on Main Street. The children’s play area featured toys made from natural, pesticide-free wood, felt and cotton, the menu sources organic and local ingredients for everything from the flour for the pizzas to the chickens in the outstanding chicken noodle soup.

The Bakehouse

After a day at Capilano Suspension Bridge or on Grouse Mountain, head to this friendly café/bakery for a hearty, comforting lunch. Ingredients are thoughtfully sourced, and the chicken pot pie is just like what your grandma would make, if grandma was a master pastry chef. Moroccan lamb stew is another winner, as is the three-cheese macaroni.

White Spot

When talking about chains, one exception must be made in favour of B.C.’s own White Spot. With Pirate Paks, healthy choices for kids, and lots of colouring for kids, it’s the easy stop for parents on the go. Check out the Georgia Street location across from the entrance to Stanley Park. Bike riding and burgers, win-win for everyone.

Tableau Bar Bistro

What kid doesn’t like tartare? Every family needs a go-to French bistro where the ‘rents can indulge in a few good glasses of Bourgogne and the kids can indulge in roasted chicken breast with fried polenta or mushroom papardelle (not to mention a killer burger).

Bestie

Sausage. Lots and lots of sausage. Did we mention the sausage? Bestie is Chinatown’s equivalent to the meat-packing district in New York. Instead of a butcher, however, it’s just lots of currywurst with housemade curried ketchup, fantastic pretzels, pickled vegetables and other German-inspired feasts. The sausages are from local producers to Oyama and D-Original, meaning it’s lovely, and the casual atmosphere is perfect for a few beers (or iced teas) with some dogs and fries.

Yolk's Restaurant & Commissary

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially when it consists of truffle-lemon potatoes, perfectly poached bennies made from free-range sunset-orange yolks, double bacon sandwiches, organic fried chicken with waffles, and perfect beignets with salted caramel. This not-so-little resto on the corner of Hastings and Clark doesn’t take resos, but the line moves fast and the orange juice is freshly squeezed. Yes, it’s breakfast heaven for everyone.

Charlie's Little Italian

It looks more like a lounge than pastaria, but don’t let appearances fool you. Everything is made from scratch in-house, and the atmosphere is relaxed but still adult-friendly. For parents there is the wicked carbonara, and stellar cocktail list, as well as a newly-installed pizza oven. There’s a separate kids menu and the desserts are made by the owners’ Italian grandmother.

Los Cuervos Taqueria & Cantina

Tacos are what make the world go around, and tacos with tamarind-glazed pork or brisket marinated in achiote and beer make it light up like cinco de mayo. The duck flautas are fantastic and the quesadillas can be accommodated for any spice wimps along for the ride. Plus, the authentic margaritas will keep the grown-ups from getting too riled on the ride home.

Sun Sui Wah

There’s dim sum, and then there’s Sun Sui Wah dim sum. It’s fast, hot and loud, and there are line-ups every weekend, and most weekdays. Definitely make a reservation and skip breakfast. This is the best way outside of Richmond to fill up the family on fried squid, siu mai and har gow without breaking the bank or worrying about the quality of the ingredients. Super-eaters only.

Dream Sushi Japanese Restaurant

Sushi in Vancouver is du rigeur, and this happy place on Main Street offers a vast number of specialty rolls that range from the Paparazzi roll (spicy tuna with tuna tataki and onion) to the Jumpin Dessert Roll (cream cheese, fresh fruit and pop rocks). Dine in or take away.

KoKoPeLLi Café

Places designed specifically for kids are always a win with families, but when the food is treated with equal respect, everyone’s happy. Kokopelli has been a Dunbar institution for over a decade, and is the purveyor of home-baked wonders, as well as a fantastic smoked bacon and pea mac ‘n’ cheese that parents will fight the kids over.

Moderne Burger

This classic burger joint grinds its own meat and makes seriously good malteds. There are turkey, wild salmon and veggie burgers for those avoiding red meat and the floats are worth repeat visits. Did we mention the perfect fries?

Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company

For the family looking for a guilt-free meal, there’s no better place than Rocky Mountain, with locations in Kitsilano and on Main Street. The children’s play area featured toys made from natural, pesticide-free wood, felt and cotton, the menu sources organic and local ingredients for everything from the flour for the pizzas to the chickens in the outstanding chicken noodle soup.