The best places to eat in London with kids
The best kids restaurants in central London
delicious. Head of Digital, Vic Grimshaw, recomends this Japanese restaurant near the British Museum for older kids and teens.”There’s lost of theatre at the table as the okonomiyaki is cooked on the hot plate in front of you. My daughter loves the tofu okonomiyaki with sweetcorn and spring onions. It does contain very hot plates, so you’d have to watch little fingers a bit.” Book ahead.
Abeno, 47 Museum Street, London WC1A 1LY
This mini chain of Indian restaurants is loved by Londoners of all ages. The Covent Garden branch is near the National Gallery, theatres and London Transport Museum (and a savvy alternative to Leicester Square tourist traps). Try Dishoom for breakfast (bacon naan for you, uttapam pancake stack for the younglings). For lunch and dinner, kids can order from the main menu or tuck into gently-spiced versions of paneer tikka or murgh malai.
Dishoom Covent Garden, 12 Upper St Martin’s Lane, London WC2H 9FB
This grand cafe gives families a warm welcome. There’s no separate children’s menu, but The Delaunay will adapt dishes to suit kids’ tastes and portion sizes. The menu is full of superior comfort fare. Pancakes, porridge and pastries for breakfast. Schnitzels (tell the kids it’s a posh chicken goujon), eggs Benedict, roasts and even a fancy hot dog on the all-day menu. There’s baby-changing and high-chairs for the smallest diners. Book ahead.
The Delaunay, 55 Aldwych London WC2B 4BB
“I’m a massive believer in afternoon teas for kids – the timing can be great, and lots of things to pick and choose,,” says Vic Grimshaw. The Mad Hatters afternoon tea at The Sanderson hotel is a stand-out experience. “We took my daughter when she was six, and she remembers it so clearly – great memories (and should be, for the price!). Lots of Alice in Wonderland-themed drinks and cakes, and the Sanderson is probably unlike any place kids would normally visit in terms of its interior design, art and furniture.” Book ahead.
The Sanderson, 50 Berners Street London W1T 3NG
A fun introduction to sushi for kids, and a must for tech-loving tweens. Inamo’s USP is its touch-screen tables. Once you’ve ordered (get the dragon roll), play space invaders, air hockey and more retro games on the table while you wait. Inamo has two branches in Soho and Covent Garden, and also has a gaming room for private hire and runs kids’ sushi-making classes.
Inamo, 134-136 Wardour Street, London W1F 8ZS
“At first glance, the London steak restaurant chain Flat Iron, with its Mad Men-style cocktails and quirk of giving you a meat cleaver to eat your dinner, isn’t particularly child-friendly,” says delicious. Managing Editor, Les Dunn. “There’s no kids’ menu either. On the other hand, the quality steaks are good value, they bring you popcorn when you sit down (albeit cooked in beef dripping) and, best of all, when you leave you get a little cleaver token to exchange at the bar for a posh Mr Whippy ice cream. There are good homemade fizzy drinks too, such as fresh mint and lime, if you’re resisting the “Please please please can I have a Coke?!” clamour.” 11 branches in Central London (the Borough branch is well placed for Shakespeare’s Globe and Tate Modern).
Flat Iron, Soho Wharf, Clink Street, SE1 9DG
Coal Drops Yard and Granary Square
Grab a Caravan coffee and watch the kids scamper in the fountains at Granary Square, behind Kings Cross station. The square, and neighbouring Coal Drops Yard are pedestrianised and ideal for a low-key family outing. Take your pick from an array of child-friendly spots: Happy Face for pizza, Morty + Bobs’ epic grilled cheese sandwiches, Ruby Violet ice cream parlour, street-food from various market stalls, or brunch at Caravan, Dishoom or Granger + Co (see below). Minutes away from the British Library and Platform 9 3/4.
Coal Drops Yard, Stable Street, London N1C 4DQ
Borough Market is a fantastic sensory experience: stalls piled high with colourful fruit, steaming pans of paella, sizzling street food, and cooking demos. If you’ve got young children, we recommend going mid-to-late morning on a weekday, before the lunchtime rush. Try goat-milk ice cream from Greedy Goat, pasta-to-go from La Tua, or next-level crumbles and toppings from Humble Crumble. Top tip: head to the Borough Market Kitchen zone to the rear of the market – there’s a tiered seating area.
Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street, London SE1 1TL
Heddon Street Kitchen
Kids aged 8 and under eat free at this Gordon Ramsay spot in Piccadilly. It’s a great choice for picky eaters – the kids’ menu includes kid-faves macaroni cheese, bangers and mash, burgers and meatballs. This is your need-to-know spot near the Lego Store, Hamleys, the Royal Academy, Green Park and Piccadilly Circus.
Heddon Street Kitchen, 3-9 Heddon Street, London W1B 4BE
Cafe Murano, Covent Garden
Angela Hartnett’s elegant Italian is our go-to for a pre-theatre treat with kids. The £10 children’s menu features three proper courses (no cucumber sticks and hummus starter here, thank you): chicken milanese followed by their choice of pasta and sauce/ragu, and ice cream and sorbets for pud. It’s perfectly placed for the Royal Opera House, West End theatres, London Transport Museum, ice skating at Somerset House and Covent Garden market. Book ahead.
Cafe Murano, 36 Tavistock Street, London WC2E 7PB
The Coal Shed
The Brighton import has kept the welcoming vibe of its seaside sister-restaurant. Excellent fire-cooking (south-coast fish, rare-breed steaks) and friendly service keeps the grown-ups happy, while kids can tuck into juicy burgers or grilled fish from the children’s menu. Ticks from us for colouring sheets, highchairs and baby-changing facilities. Book ahead.
The Coal Shed, 4 Crown Square, London SE1 2SE
The £6 kids’ menu at Pastaio is a steal for this part of town. At Stevie Parle’s laid-back pasta shop in Soho, kids choose half-size portions of fresh pasta from the grown-up menu, including spaghetti with slow-cooked Bolognese or tomato radiatori. The deal also includes fresh veg and ice cream.
Pastaio, 19 Ganton Street, London W1F 9BN
Another magical tea experience for kids. The Charlie and The Chocolate Factory afternoon tea at One Aldwych hotel has lots of mad-cap details for Dahl-fans. Foaming chocolate milkshakes, clouds of lemon candy floss, scones with snozzberry jam, and more delights. Perfect for a birthday treat. Book ahead.
One Aldwych, 1 Aldwych, London WC2B 4BZ
Best of the neighbourhoods
The best kids restaurants in North London
Parliament Hill cafe
This park cafe on the edge of Hampstead Heath is a favourite of Vic Grimshaw, and a surprising find for pasta-lovers. “Parliament Hill cafe dishes up very good pasta, and lots of it portion-wise. Right at the bottom of the heath, with play area, adventure playground, and Parliament Hill lido all within a short radius. Inside and outside seating,” says Vic.
Parliament Hill Cafe, Parliament Hill Fields. London NW5 1QR
Bear + Wolf
Play cafes are a lottery when it comes to decent grub for grown-ups. Not so at Bear + Wolf, a stylish spot that just happens to be child-friendly. Tuck into Portugese custard tarts, excellent eggs and brunch dishes and Ozone coffee while the nippers explore the well-stocked play area.
Bear + Wolf, 153 Fortess Road, London, United Kingdom, NW5 2HR
This friendly gastropub is a favourite of delicious. art director Joss Bowerman and her family. “The Maynard Arms in Crouch End has a nice kids menu and does great kid- sized roasts (including a vegan Wellington) on a Sunday. Good sized portions at good prices.” The pub also hosts Quizzy Bees – a ‘bring your baby’ daytime pub quiz.
Maynard Arms, 70 Park Road, London N8 8SX
The best kids restaurants in South London
Sticks n’ Sushi
There are two branches of this popular Japanese restaurant south of the river, in Wimbledon and Greenwich. Sushi and yakitori are the order of the day – you’ll find both on the extensive kids’ menu, with a pick-n-mix of bento boxes to choose from. Sticks ‘n Sushi also runs sushi-making classes for 8 to 12-year-olds in school holidays. Try the Greenwich branch after a visit to the Cutty Sark or Maritime Museum (we love Ahoy! – the kids’ play zone at the Maritime Museum).
Sticks ‘n Sushi, 1 Nelson Road, London SE10 9JB
Where the Pancakes Are
Every day is Pancake Day at this fun Battersea spot (one of three London sites). Kids can get creative by building their own stack. They choose buttermilk or vegan pancakes then load them up with sweet and/or savoury toppings. Adults can go as healthy or indulgent as you like. Try the vegan pancakes with roasted squash, pomegranate and cashews if you’re feeling virtuous, or banana marshmallow pancakes drizzle with salted caramel if you’re sleep-deprived and in need of a pick-me-up.
Where the Pancakes Are, Unit 227, Battersea Power Station London SW8 5BN
Miss those lazy pub afternoons from your pre-child existence? They’re still possible at The Avalon. This Clapham South gastropub goes out of its way to make families feel welcome. There’s colouring books while you wait, a kids’ menu with stone-baked pizzas, decorate-your-own fairy cakes and mini Sunday roasts, plus loads of buggy room, baby-changing and highchairs.
The Avalon, 16 Balham Hill, London SW12 9EB
The best kids restaurants in East London
A charming Italian restaurant inspired by Italy’s ‘agroturismos’ at Hackney City Farm. Frizzante uses ingredients grown on the farm for its simple, seasonal dishes. There are kid-sized portions on the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, and a pretty outdoor space. Combine with a visit to the farm and gardens.
Frizzante, 1a Goldsmiths Row, London E2 8QA
Burgers, tacos, craft beer and board games are all on the menu at this Hackney bar which welcomes families. Choose from hundred of games in the library (there’s Hungry Hippos, Dobble and Guess Who for younger ones, plus plenty of more obsure titles for older kids and game nerds) then play while you eat at the extra large tables. There’s also a shuffleboard table and garden games outside. Draughts has a second branch in Waterloo (good for the London Eye and Aquarium). Book ahead.
Draughts, 41 Kingsland High Street, London E8 2JS
Timber Lodge Cafe
A spacious park cafe next to the fantastic Tumbling Bay playground in London’s Olympic Park. Excellent coffee from Change Please, superior sarnies (try the Ginger Pig pork on foccacia with apple sauce and house pickles), and a strong kids menu, make this cafe a favourite with local families. Outdoor space, loads of room for buggies and changing facilities make it a great choice for brunch with babies and toddlers.
Timber Lodge Cafe, 1A Honour Lea Ave, London E20 1DY
The best kids restaurants in West London
T.Rex restaurant at Natural History Museum
We had low expectations for the food at T.Rex (it’s a dinosaur-theme restaurant in one of London’s most popular attractions), but were pleasantly surprised. Tasty carrot and lentil burgers, decent stone-based pizzas and golden, crispy fries, and that was just for the grown ups. There’s a seperate kids’ menu and colouring to keep them busy (along with a visit to the animatronic dinos at the restaurant entrance). The T.Rex is run by Benugo, which also operates restaurants at The Barbican, London Zoo and V&A, among others.
T.Rex Restaurant, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD
Burgers and bowling are the order of the day at retro mini-chain All-Star Lanes. The kids’ menu branches off into diner classics like chicken and waffles and turkey hot dogs, and all dishes are served with plenty of fresh veggies. All Star Lanes runs special family dining and bowling offers, so check the website before booking. Book ahead.
All-Star Lanes, Westfield London, Ariel Way, London W12 7FU
Granger and Co
Enjoy family brunch in style at Granger and Co in Chelsea. The children’s menu includes kid-size versions of Aussie chef Bill Granger’s iconic ricotta hotcakes and sweetcorn fritters.
Granger and Co, 237 Pavillion Road, London SW1 0BP
Our pick of the best child-friendly chains
Feed the kids in a hurry at the popular ‘healthy fast-food chain’, which has outposts all over central London. We love the pick ‘n’ mix kids hot boxes, which include halloumi fingers, grilled chicken or surprisingly tasty chicken nuggets with brown rice or baked fries, plus cherry tomatoes and peas.
We’ve found the eternally-popular Wagamama to be a reliable choice for kids with food allergies. A senior member restaurant team will come and discuss the menu with you, and ensure your child’s dish is cooked seperately. It’s quick, colourful, and there’s enough veggies on the kids’ plates to keep parents happy.
Fun Neapolitan-style pizzerias with a warm welcome for families. Several branches have fussball tables, but the ultimate destination for kids is the Pizza Playground, its large West India Quay pizzeria. Mario-inspired decor, a big outdoor terrace, classic arcade games, board games, fussball and SNES and Playstations for the gamers.
Affordable and tasty sourdough pizzas served up in a hurry. Crayons and colouring while you wait, plus baby-changing and decent Italian wine for tired parents. (Top tip: if you’re in hectic Covent Garden try the Franco Manca tucked behind the London Transport Museum on Catherine Street if you can’t get a seat at the Maiden Lane branch).
Miller and Carter
Steakhouse chain with lots of branches in outer London. “Miller and Carter has a lovely kids menu, ” says Joss Bowerman. “On a recent visit we had homemade nachos/nice prawn cocktail for starters, followed by really good steak and chips. Felt much nicer than the usual chicken-goujon type offerings.”
This US-import is a fun choice for older kids and teens (there’s no seperate kids’ menu or smaller portions for little ones). Think superior cheeseburgers, delicious hotdogs and epic milkshakes.