Hubby and I go on 2 date nights per week. We love trying new restaurants and dinner is ‘our time’ to unplug, talk about our day and spend quality time together without having to fuss over food prep and cleanup. So when we had CJ we were determined to keep this tradition.
So parents, fear not… you can still have kids AND a fancy dinner!
Of course our restaurant choices now have to be a little more strategic. It’s not always a leisurely romantic experience but we’ve made it work by timing dinners (and lunches) to when CJ slept. Or bringing lots of toys (and fortune cookies) to keep him entertained.
We live in downtown Toronto so there is no shortage of great restaurants but here are our favourites spots for family date nights…
Note: not all of these places have high chairs or change tables but they all have friendly staff that do an excellent job accommodating children. They are stroller-friendly and have delicious kid’s menus (or at least, a wide variety of food that cater to fussy little palettes).
Piano Piano, the former Splendido offers a kid’s menu that adults would also want to order from! Chose 3 items and create your own Happy Tray (see above photo) for $12. A play area with a chalk board, games and costumes will keep little ones occupied while you enjoy that second glass of wine. $$$
The Drake Hotel hosts Highchair Hangouts (check their website for the next event). Special guest appearances, art + culture exhibits and even a toddler disco party makes this hipster eatery a hit for the whole fam. Parents also get to indulge in a prix fixe lunch for $18. $$
Luckee by Susur Lee is our go to place for dim sum. CJ loves sharing and sampling the little dishes – the bite size portions are perfect for tiny mouths! They have high chairs and the bathroom is big. $$$
Marché Brookfield Place is the ultimate kid-friendly market style restaurant. Parents can finally take a breather and kids are actually allowed to run around (in the playground at the back)! They also recently launched a mini menu for one main, drink and dessert for $10. $
Montecito is a fine dining resto-lounge that is really great for late night dates. If we haven’t passed out yet, we pop CJ in his stroller and take advantage of their $8 cocktails and half priced special menu items (served after 10pm). $$$
Spice Route was the first restaurant that we brought CJ to (a week after he was born)! They have huge comfortable booths, serve well-priced Asian fusion tapas and boozy tea! This is a resto-lounge so the music turns up several notches later in the night. $$
Patria serves up traditional Spanish tapas in a beautiful setting with super high ceilings (lots for babies to look at). I love watching CJ as he experiments and tastes all the different authentic flavours and spices. Their Sunday Brunch (especially on the patio) is lovely! $$$
One is a trendy dining room at the Hazelton Hotel (Yorkville) offering Mark McEwan’s eclectic dishes. The tree-lined patio is perfect for cozying up by candle light and people watching. They don’t have a kid’s menu so just order one of their tasty sides such as truffle mac & cheese, risotto or crisp onion rings. $$$$
Against The Grain is an urban tavern (aka upscale pub) on the waterfront. A great spot to grab lunch before hitting Sugar Beach or Toronto Island. The $12 kid’s menu includes an entree, drink + popsicle. They have high chairs, booster seats and a lovely patio with lots of room. $$
Delysees is literally like being a kid in a candy store (for both you and your little one)! I love taking CJ here for mommy + son dates. I get my java fix and he gets a macaron or French pastry. There is also plenty of space for stroller parking. $
Do you also love dining out with your little ones? Let me know where you go!
Photo credit: EZPZ Happy Tray from Piano Piano.