Where to Eat in London With Kids
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Eating in London was once an afterthought to sightseeing, destinations and perhaps pub drinking. But in recent years, London has become a culinary destination in its own right with visitors flocking to the city to try the latest hot spots. So, where should you dine in London if young kids are along for the journey? As TPG‘s resident London mum, I asked around for restaurants where kids are not just accepted but welcomed when they arrive. As an added bonus, many of the restaurants below are located near points hotels that are good bets for families.
Location: 16 locations in London, including Covent Garden, Oxford Street, Shoreditch, South Bank, Islington
Tube stops: Covent Garden, Oxford Street, Old Street, Waterloo, Angel
No matter where you’re staying, you can’t be too far from a Wahaca with its 16 locations in London. You may have access to plenty of Mexican food wherever you are from, but Wahaca is London’s favorite sit-down Mexican restaurant that’s perfect for kids. The high chairs are brightly colored, the staff is friendly and the music is loud enough to drown out your kids — but not too loud to upset anyone. The Islington branch (tube stop: Angel) has a foosball table that kids can play while waiting for food or entertain themselves while you catch up with your other half over a margarita. The South Bank location is comprised of eight recycled shipping containers arranged over two floors with views of the Thames.
Pricing: The children’s menu is £5.75 ($7.50) and comes with a drink. The main event is either a quesadilla with choice of fillings or “build your own tacos” with soft tortilla, cheese, lettuce, salsa, meat or vegetable filling with a side of guacamole. For an extra £1.50, you can get a scoop of ice cream or sorbet for dessert.
Most main dishes run about £12 (15.60) with tasting platters from £15 per person ($19.50). The restaurant has plenty of gluten-free and vegan options as well.
Locations: Shoreditch, King’s Cross, Carnaby, Covent Garden and Kensington
Tube stops: Old Street, King’s Cross, Oxford Circus, Covent Garden and Notting Hill Gate
Dishoom is all the rage in London because of its nostalgic take on the Irani cafés of Bombay. Londoners and visitors love it so much there are now five Central London locations and for good reason — the food is delicious. Famously lacking a reservation system for dinner, the queue snakes around whatever block it is on. A lesser-known fact is that children are welcome, so you can get that hot-spot meal without hiring a babysitter. Also, they take reservations for breakfast and lunch and for dinner parties of six or more.
The King’s Cross location is especially great for a family brunch because of the water fountains around the corner in front of St. Martin’s that provide endless entertainment before or after your visit to Dishoom. Just bring a change of clothes if you think the kiddos may go for a splash.
If you really want to have dinner at Dishoom, my tip is to arrive no later than 5:30pm to stand in line. It’s worth the wait, but getting there early should lessen the wait and make it more bearable. Make sure you order the black dhal.
Pricing: Small plates averaging £9 ($11.70) each. A Kingfisher beer (from India) will set you back £4.50 ($5.85). Children’s menu for £7.50 ($9.75), including choice of two mild Indian dishes, potatoes, slaw and juice.
Mark Hix’s Restaurants
Locations: Bankside and Shoreditch
Tube stops: Southwark (Hixter) and Old Street (Tramshed)
Mark Hix may be a hip British restaurateur but he’s also a dad who makes sure his restaurants are welcoming to families and has hours when kids eat free. His two chicken and steak restaurants (yes, they basically only serve chicken and steak) Tramshed and Hix Bankside are particularly family friendly.
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At Tramshed, you can sit with your children in front of a prominent Damien Hirst installation while eating your chicken or steak in a converted tram generator building. Staying near Bankside? His location called Hixter, near Borough Market and Shakespeare’s Globe, offers the same chicken and steak menu with children’s menu choices such as a quarter roast chicken or mini chateaubriand.
The Kids Eat Free promotion is year-round and offered from 4–6pm Monday to Friday and noon–6pm on weekends.
Pricing: Prices are similar at both restaurants. The children’s menu (outside of the times that they eat free) is similar too — approximately £7 ($9). An entree in the evening runs around £16 ($21) with side dishes extra.
Tip: Tramshed has a fixed price lunch Monday to Wednesday from 11:30am–4pm when they serve two courses for £9.75 ($12.75). Hix has a pre-theater menu from noon–6pm for £10.95 ($14) and a bottomless brunch on Saturday and roast on Sunday each for £25 ($32.50).
Location: 333 Fulham Rd, Chelsea, SW10 9QL
Tube stop: Fulham Broadway
Parents can sit at their own table while their children enjoy a meal in another room at the Goat. How? “Kids Club Sundays.” A children’s entertainer works a children’s room, where parents can peek in, and then go back to enjoying their bottomless brunch. Erin Philips, an American mom from Charleston currently living in West London tipped me off about The Goat and told TPG Family “It is the best,” she said. “Reserve in advance.”
Every Sunday, the children’s entertainment group Froggle Parties does a different theme from Vikings to Hawaiian puppets from noon–2pm.
Pricing: Bottomless brunch is £40 (about $52) per adult, including drinks and tip. The children’s menu is £6.50 ($8.50).
Bread Street Kitchen
Location: 10 Bread Street, London, EC4M 9AJ
Tube: St. Paul’s
If you are a Gordon Ramsey fan and have children, this is the restaurant for you. Housed in a modern shopping building across from St. Paul’s Cathedral, Bread Street kitchen is large and industrial but kid-friendly. Gordon is even known to show up from time to time when in town.
Children up to 12 years old get a free two-course meal from a menu designed by Tilly Ramsey (Ramsey’s daughter).
On certain Sundays, the restaurant also offers a family brunch and “pizza masterclass,” where kids can learn to make pizza while the parents dine and have a glass of Champagne. Check the website for details and book ahead.
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Pricing: Prices start at £35.
Location: practically every street corner
Carrie Ann Roberts, owner of fashion brand Mre Soeur and podcaster, recommends a good old-fashioned pub like The Gun in Hackney (East London) built in 1860. Unlike many bars in the States, children are welcome in pubs at most hours.
“I think pubs are just so laid-back, friendly and totally charming,” Carrie told TPG Family. “There’s no pressure or shushing the kids,” she said. “Pubs definitely have more character and it’s just part of our culture. We all grew up in pubs didn’t we? Or maybe that’s just me,” she added.
After you’ve come all the way to England, you are entitled to sit back, have a pint and eat a traditional Sunday roast dinner or fish and chips with your children whiling away an afternoon in the pub.
From traditional pubs to industrial restaurants, London has many more restaurants for kids than you might have thought. At 5x points per dollar, the Citi Prestige Card is the best card for dining abroad as the American Express® Gold Card’s bonus is only for 4x points. The Chase Sapphire Reserve finishes in second place with a 3x points return on dining worldwide. As London has so many points hotels and ways to use miles, what are you waiting for? Take the kids for a fab overseas vacation and get ready to enjoy dinner almost as much as the sites.
Featured photo courtesy of Getty Images / Kevin Gorton.
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