Grub’s up: Our favourite kids’ menus
There’s nothing less inspiring than the classic ‘anything-with-chips’ kids’ menu, so luckily help is on hand as we reveal some of our favourite spots for dining with the kids. Complete with distractions in the form of crayons, colouring pages and other activities, eating out as a family has never looked so good! Serving up cuisines from around the world, your little ones will love tucking into Thai, Italian and Japanese favourites, from both national chains and local loves. So, grab a knife and fork and get stuck into these family favourite restaurants:
Quick, easy and convenient, chain restaurants provide the perfect pit-stop for busy families, and the chances are you have one of these pretty much on your doorstep. But whilst convenience is key, and you know that they’ll have plenty of table treats to keep your kids entertained, they’re also serving up some top-notch grub that even the fussiest of eaters will love.
Kids don’t have to miss out on the most popular Wagamama dishes, thanks to a kids’ menu brimming with mini favourites. Mini chicken katsu, mini ramen and mini noodle dishes are all on the menu, meaning they can have their own little taste of Japanese cuisine. With a fast-food feel and a casual signature restaurant set-up, you definitely won’t find burger and chips on the menu here. Just don’t get jealous when your kids are better at using chopsticks than you are…
From the man behind the kids’ food revolution, it’s not surprising to find Jamie Oliver’s Italian chain in our list of favourites. With 5 kids of his own, he understands exactly what parents are looking for when feeding their kids, and whilst it may not be the biggest menu, it’s filled with some pretty tempting dishes. Served in two sizes, one for little kids and one for bigger kids, you won’t have to worry about wastage, and all come served with a fresh shake-me salad & a drink of your choice. Voted best on the high-street it’s a great choice for little ones, and with unique viewfinder menus and an activity pack too, there’s plenty to keep them entertained – and we also hear that kids eat free during the school holidays!
“We’ve been going since the first one opened in Oxford. My son is now 13 and we've gone from the children's menu to the main menu with him. I just love the fact that it’s not nuggets and chips or fish fingers and chips!!” – Helen
Known for its naturally fast food, Leon is all about balance and nutrition for all diners, including kids. Choose from classic LEON meatballs, sustainable cod fingers or baked not fried falafel, all served with a side order of tasty brown rice, broccoli and peas and a pot of LEON’s very own tomato sauce. Packed full of nutrition and super tasty, we’ll bet these healthier alternatives will get a big thumbs up from the kids. Complete with a drink and an activity pack, we also love LEON’s Cook5 competition – do your kids have the culinary skills to win prizes?
Having launched last year, the new-look Thaikhun kids’ menu was a popular recommendation on Twitter. The ‘mix and match’ concept sees youngsters pick from a selection of dishes including Thai green curry, pad Thai and chicken satay, all served separately so they can have the freedom to experiment with new tastes. So far, so normal… but if your kids have a daring sense of adventure, they can even try some edible creepy crawlies! With a free mini mag by Nat Geo kids for every young diner, plus meal deals for just £5.95, it’s no wonder this Thai chain is quickly becoming a family favourite.
Dining at Harvester is as easy as 1, 2, 3 for kids, and with over 200 restaurants across the UK, it’s a great choice wherever you are. Step 1 is to choose your main, from smaller bites for under 5s to bigger appetites, dishes include the popular build your own burger (perfect for fussy eaters!), grilled salmon and mini sausage whirls. Step 2 is a choice of side, and finally, kids also have free reign of Harvester’s signature salad bar. With a meal deal available for just £5.99, plus a kids' pack including some seeds to grow at home, it’s perfect for the whole family.
Another Thai favourite of ours is Giggling Squid, which just last month launched it’s ‘Little Tapas for Little People’ menu! Available at all sites across the UK, kids get to choose two dishes from a selection of Giggling Squid favourites, from mild curries and noodles to rice dishes and finger food - perfect for the littlest of hands. Designed by owner and mum-of-three, Pranee Laurillard, the menu is designed to get kids trying something new and broadening their taste buds, all from a budget friendly £5.95. With adult classics transformed for little diners, they’re sure to find a new favourite cuisine.
We asked, and you delivered; naming ASK Italian as one of your favourite dining spots with the kids. Italian restaurants are typically great at catering for younger diners, serving up smaller versions of grown-up meals. With a slogan of fresh, authentic and family-friendly, it’s no surprise that you’ll find a pretty comprehensive menu for bambinos, from a selection of pasta dishes to a top your own pizza or calzone. Kids can enjoy a starter, main, dessert and a babyccino for just £5.95, and parents can rest assured that they’ll be getting a hearty and wholesome adult-style meal.
“My boy loves Ask (although he always goes off kids’ menu for a portion of Calamari to start), the kids’ menu is lovely”
Your local favourites
La Bocca, Bude
“My kids love La Bocca in Bude - small independent pizza restaurant that basically does the adult pizzas but made into a teddy bear face for the kids (I want one too if I'm honest, they're super cute)” – Kate
Ali sums up this favourite in just three words… “amazing kids’ pizza” – what more could you want? The custom-built barge also boasts incredible views!
“The children’s menu is really impressive. it offers a wide choice of dishes, many of which don’t fall into your typical kids’ menu category. We are given the choice of Chicken and Courgette Risotto; slow roast Duck Pappardelle and Chicken Milanese…great alternatives to tempt your more adventurous young diners.” – Zoe
“Rosie's on Crooklets Beach in Bude has a great kids’ menu, a big play area outside, colouring and the best milkshakes in the world. We go there every weekend because it's the best place for kids that I know of!” - Kate
“Bel & the Dragon (found in Hampshire and Surrey) have gorgeous home-cooked kids’ meals” – Kara
Meat, vegetables and all the trimmings – a mini roast is perfect for kids at carveries!