I get to visit a lot of really cool dining joints because of the blog. But when it comes to eating out with the kids, I tend to visit the same familiar haunts pretty much all the time.
That’s primarily because of Piglet. He’s not very adventurous with his food and he’s still not at that stage where he will sit patiently while we eat. Of course, we have taken him to plenty of restaurants but we’ve ended up relying heavily on the iPad to keep him occupied. Not the best of situations. When we are all out together, I really like to have all devices put away as much as possible.
But there are some restaurants that hit the family friendly sweet spot just right, and we tend to visit them again and again. Here is a list of our favorite joints and why we love them.
California Pizza Kitchen
This is one of our favorite restaurants that we come to again and again. Practically every birthday or anniversary, Snubnose insists on California Pizza Kitchen.
Why? Probably because they have a small, but really delicious kids menu. They also give crayons and an activity chart designed to keep kids occupied for at least an hour.
As adults, we like the place because they tweak their menu now and then. For example, the last time we visited, they had a Mexican food fiesta going on. So, we ended up munching on Mexican starters – I don’t remember the exact name of what we picked, and it doesn’t matter either, as it was a special menu.
This one was a kind of dal vada with a Mexican twist.
We paired it with a pitcher of Mojitos, which works fairly economical when you go with a group of 3 or more.
Snubnose as usual went for her favorite margarita pizza, while we all shared a couple of pastas among the rest of us.
For dessert, Snubnose picked out something from the kids menu, which looked so gooey, and sweet, that all of us just decided to leave the entire thing up to her.
If you are wondering why I make no mention of Piglet, it’s because he was fast asleep the whole time. The traffic situation in Bangalore has gotten so bad, that what would normally be a 15 min drive has now turned into a 40 min+ stressful drive. Piglet has the best solution for this. He insists on bringing his favorite pillow and blanket, and toys with him in the car.
And as soon as we start, he arranges himself as comfortably as possible, plays a little with his toys, and then goes into a deep slumber.
This particular day, he slept through the drive and the entire lunch, only waking up to try a bit of the dessert.
And yeah, that’s another reason we love CPK – sofa style seating rocks. It’s great to keep frisky kids penned in for some time, and if Piglet wants to sleep, there’s nothing more comfortable 😀 .
Herbs and Spices
This is the Herbs and Spices located in Whitefield Road. I haven’t shown much love for this restaurant on the blog before, and it’s mostly because I rarely get an opportunity to actually sit quietly and eat and enjoy the really excellent food they have.
And the reason for that is – rabbits, duck, and geese.
Attached to the restaurant is a small farm with lots of small animals around. And of course, Piglet is not going to sit around in a restaurant when there’s so much animal goodness outside. So when we go there, I spend most of the time with Piglet outside, and using the distraction of the animals to coax our picky Piglet to try something new.
What’s more this strategy works pretty much all the time. For this reason alone, this restaurant gets all-stars from me.
Limelight, Royal Orchid
This is not my favorite – food wise. In fact, among all the restaurants listed in this post, this one is the weakest in terms of food. But they make up for it with their extensive lawns that allow kids to run about freely. However, to be on the safe side, before booking a table, make sure that there is no wedding or party on the lawns.
I’ve blogged about this place a couple of times here and here. It’s a nice place to hang out. At times they put out merry-go-rounds and sometimes there are magicians too. Pretty festive on Sundays. And great for large gatherings and catching up with friends.
Snubnose in particular loves that she gets to make her own pizzas :eye roll.
In style, CounterCulture is very similar to Limelight, in that, it has nice grounds for the kids to roam around in. But they don’t really have any other options to entertain kids. But who really needs any when there are such huge grounds for the kids to enjoy, right?
The food is also decent, and their alcohol is fantastic. Their sunday lunch buffet options are a really great deal if you are a non-vegetarian who drinks. For veggies, it’s not the greatest.
But, it’s very close to our house, the kids love the fresh air and freedom to run around after eating, and it’s a great place to just chill.
The kids love Barbeque Nation because of all the grilling action on the table. Snubnose in particular adores the place for its excellent choice of non-veg foods, and the frequent “specials” that they have. I am a bit wary of the place when I have the kids in tow – precisely because of the table-side grilling. They can get a little too excited and I worry that they will either poke or burn each other.
Still, in spite of my nervousness, we go, and go many times, because the kids simply love the place.
So what do all these restaurants have in common? A relaxed ambience and options to keep the kids distracted at the table, or safe playing options outside.
Invaluable for our peace of mind.
And now that I have nailed down 4 places that are kid-friendly, I now need to expand my search to restaurants that are dog-friendly. Tough ask in Bangalore, I say. Do you know of any?
And what do you look for in restaurants when going out with kids? Do you have some favorite places you like to visit often?
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