Oh, and they just happen to all serve alcohol too. Total coincidence. Honest.
Let’s face it – with your small people in tow eating out just isn’t what it used to be.Whether you’re choosing somewhere for coffee & cake, a lazy brunch or a Sunday roast you’re less likely to be thinking of somewhere with great food and ambience and more likely will be trying to think of a place that has space for prams, somewhere the kids can at least eat SOMETHING, and (most importantly I think) somewhere you don’t get the dreaded ‘staff-eyeroll’ when you walk in with your not-so-quiet brood and their accompanied paraphernalia.
It seems to me that most places fall into 3 camps:
1) ‘Great food; Hate kids’ (they’ll always ask you to collapse your buggy knowing full well it’s a full travel system that’s harder to collapse than some high rise buildings, just for their own amusement)
2) ‘Love kids; Average food’ (there’s absolutely a role for these places but we all need a break from ANOTHER cheese and tomato panini from time to time).
3) ‘The mega chains’ (amazing and always a great choice and you can guarantee whatever your child does, they’ve seen worse… but sometimes it’s nice to go local)
Luckily, scratch the surface and Edinburgh has some amazing options that not only massively deliver on the food front but are also totally welcoming to families of all ages. I’ve picked my top 5 here based on my own experiences. I’ve never faced “the eyeroll” in any of these, in fact quite the opposite. They serve great food, treat you like Normal Human Beings (always a bonus), and all offer great kids’ options. And as I said, they all just happen to sell booze -you know, just in case…
I’m a regular here, going with my kids at least once a week and often more, which given I live the other side of town is testament to what a unique thing I think the Pantry team are delivering in Edinburgh. OK, there’s not space for 15 buggies but there IS a buggy park and the staff are always on hand to help you down the couple of stairs. One massive plus to The Pantry is the fenced in kids play area, full of toys which will keep little people entertained. But what makes this place really stand out for me is the amazing food – fresh, quality ingredients put together in a way that just feels… cool. My fave is LA eggs – chunky bread with smashed avocado, roasted pepper pico de gallo and an always-perfectly-poached egg. It’s a treat, especially when washed down with a Pantry mimosa. Nom. There’s a good varied menu for kids too, from pasta to flatbreads to hummus and veg sticks, and I love their milk served in a bottle with a straw – simple but just a bit more interesting than a cup. They offer family dining Thurs- Saturday… we did this in the run up to Christmas and my husband said it was the best turkey he’d ever had. Praise indeed! I’m just delighted they’re opening one Southside in May as this really is a family favourite.
1 North West Circus Place EH3 6ST http://www.thepantryedinburgh.co.uk
2.The Scran & Scallie
Given that scran = food and scallie = kids it’s no wonder that this place ticks all the boxes for fantastic family-friendly food. Not only is the food here AMAZING (I can’t ever look past the steak pie) but there’s a brilliant little room for the kids complete with mini sofas, a few toys and a TV with Peppa on loop which is guaranteed to keep your children entertained while you commence your journey to food coma heaven. The staff are always super-welcoming of guests of all ages, and the kids menu is classic but delicious. I only wish my son ate everything as eagerly as he does the S&S’s sausage and mash!
1 Comely Bank Road EH4 1DT http://www.scranandscallie.com
A less obvious choice but this is local to me and I’m a big fan. It’s owned by the same people as the Three Birds in Brunstfield where we spent many a pre-children night. Here, the food is the same excellent quality but there’s a hell of a lot more space meaning prams / hi chairs can be accommodated. They do a great lunch time deal of 2 courses for £12 and an early-bird menu for £15 meaning booking at these times is essential and the menu changes often but consists of modern twists on classics. There’s a great and insanely reasonable kids menu too, with special child-friendly plates and cutlery, and a big selection of ice cream + sprinkles which always goes down a treat. We were here when my son spilt his drink all over the table and the staff couldn’t have been nicer about getting him cleared up and sorted out (while he WAILED) which made me love them a little bit more!
33 Newington Road EH9 1QR http://www.apiaryrestaurant.co.uk
4.Osteria del Tempo Perso
If you’ve ever been on holiday to Italy you’ll know Italians are all about relaxed dining with ALL the family and this couldn’t be more true than at Bruntsfield’s Osteria. This is GREAT Italian food and brilliant service in a nice, authentic Italian atmosphere. The staff in here couldn’t be nicer to kids. Trust me, I had a baby with a full meltdown on a Friday night and nobody batted an eyelid, they just asked if there was anything they could do to help. And luckily it’s noisy enough to drown out the din of a tantrum anyway! The children’s menu is superb – huuuuge portions of pasta or Italian specials like Chicken Milanesa followed by Luca’s ice cream (always a winner) – all for a bargainous £4.50 or £2 for a mid-week lunch.
208 Bruntsfield Place EH10 4DE www.osteriadeltempoperso.info
I feel like I’m a bit late to the party with Akva, only really discovering it in the last couple of months. The food and décor here is skandi inspired, so you’re talking things like a smorgasboard platter and lots of smoked salmon, but equally there’s a good selection of sandwiches and burgers and a decent kids menu too with stuff they really love like tomato & cheese pasta or French toast. A massive plus point here is simply its size – there’s LOADS of space for prams and hi chairs, and there are some toys to play with or a view out the window to the canal barges for entertainment. They’re obviously doing something right as at a weekend lunchtime the place is chokka with families, so it’s not for you if you’re trying to get some peace! My big tip is the chocolate brownie – definitely the best I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a few 😉
129 Fountainbridge EH3 9QG http://www.bodabar.com/akva
So there you have it, 5 places right on our doorstep that not only serve up fine fodder but are welcoming to your sproglets as well. And sell booze, if all else fails! Please do let me know where your favourites are too and I’ll be sure to check them out. For research purposes only, obvs