When it comes to eating out with my family and especially a young child, I alway’s like to do a little research when I can, to make sure the restaurant welcomes children. Not only would I be looking for a restaurant or café that has a decent kids menu but I also want to know if they’re happy to see us coming with our child in tow. I’ve seen places with signs on the door, saying ‘NO PRAMS ALLOWED’, or ‘FOLD PRAM’, it’s not ideal to fold a pram that more than likely contains a shit load of paraphernalia for my little one! I understand space is an issue in some premises so when signs are put up that just breathe hostility then I’m uncomfortable about entering, I like to steer clear of those places when I have Olivia with me. I feel a lot more relaxed in places that are quite big and have room for buggy’s and highchairs (even though Olivia is passed the highchair stage now).
We’re not ones for eating out all of the time, but when we do it’s nice to relax somewhere that the kids are alright in too. So I’ve picked my Top 6 favourite restaurants and cafes in the south east that we’ve been to (sometimes more than once) that welcome families with young kids.
6. The Strand Tavern Bar & Restaurant, Duncannon – When I sit down at a table and straight away my child is given colouring pencils and a colouring page then I know I can relax. They have a great kids menu too offering a variety of local fresh fish. It’s a relaxed pub grub atmosphere and right opposite the beach.
5. Arboretum Home & Garden, Leighlinbridge – I wasn’t here with Olivia but I could see how child friendly it was. It’s a spacious restaurant and it also has a play area and decent changing facilities too. During Halloween & Christmas season they have child friendly activities during the day. The garden centre itself is just stunning and they stock some amazing home and garden ware.
4. Il Primo Italian Restaurant, New Ross – Il Primo is quite established in New Ross and I like that they offer half portions for older kids and smaller portions for the younger ones. They have extremely child friendly staff and there’s a couple of fish tanks to keep them amused too, heck I even enjoy looking at them!
3. Harvey’s Coffee House & Bistro, New Ross – This is a warm and friendly place to go to for lunch or a cuppa. The staff are alway’s friendly and not only do they have a kids menu, they also offer babycinnos for the little ones which I find so adorable. That way, they can be just like mammy and daddy! Things like that keep them entertained at the table. There’s decent baby changing facilties here too which is sometimes hard to come by.
2. Courtyard Bar & Grill MacDonagh Junction, Kilkenny – We’ve been here a few times and the food is really good. They’re quite quick serving it up too and we all know that’s a good thing when you have a toddler with very little patience. There’s a few seating areas that are a bit more private than other areas and we like to sit there when possible, Just. In. Case. Oh and just like the name hints, it’s in a courtyard so there is outdoor seating too and it’s all weather proof!
1. No.9 Cafe George’s Court, Waterford – This place was made for children! I’ve not seen better than No.9 Cafe. It ticks all the boxes in regards to welcoming children and helping the family enjoy their time there whether we’re eating a full meal or just in for tea and cake you have the same experience. Upon entering you will see plenty of colourful highchairs dotted around the place, there’s an incredible baby and child menu (just as big as the adults one) with the award winning Pip and Pear chilled baby food on the menu for the bambinos. There’s an array of options for Olivia’s age and we chose Lamb stew for her and it was yummy. When we were served our complimentary water, Olivia was given hers in a plastic cup with a lid and straw! Now that was a first for us! All kids portions cost €3.95 which is the cheapest I’ve seen anywhere and the ultimate winner in this place (in Olivia’s eyes) is the play room complete with TV, just in case the numerous toy’s didn’t keep her occupied. I have to say O didn’t spend all of her time in there either, she happily joined us at the table to eat and then pottered around afterwards. I can honestly say I never felt as relaxed while eating out, as I felt in here and most importantly the food was delish!