For a lot of travelers, food is a huge part of the vacation experience and the sweet stuff of lifelong memories. For some of us, it’s even the reason we travel the globe in the first place. However, as much as we love our street food, market stands and serendipitous dining experiences, we also adore the indulgent artistry, creative genius and sensory thrills of dining at some of the world’s best restaurants.
Cut to life with kids and you won’t be surprised to know that the majority of multiple Michelin starred restaurants are far from child-friendly with their long drawn out tasting menus, sometimes unusual food and airs of decorum.
But not to worry, you can still indulge your bon vivant tendencies with your family in tow! We’ve called on friends, collected our own experiences and put together this list of a few of our favorite spots from across the globe:
Barcelona: Paco Meralgo – Probably the best Tapas in a city full of Tapas, best for lunch.
Dublin: Chapter One – One Michelin Star
Dublin: The Farm – Local, Fresh and Organic
London: Tamarind – Modern Indian, One Michelin Star.
London: Oxo Tower London – Modern British, Spectacular Views.
London: The River Cafe – A Classic, Innovative Italian, One Michelin Star.
London: St John – for the adventurous, One Michelin Star.
London: La Trompette – French, One Michelin Star.
Paris: Hiramatsu – highly creative Japanese chef does French.
Paris: Alain Ducasse in a HipTravelMama worthy hotel – Plaza Athénée
Rome: Il Pagliaccio – Traditional Italian w/Far East flair.
Seville: El Rinconcillo – Good Tapas in 30s setting, go early to avoid crowds.
Seville: Hacienda Benazuza – El Bulli Hotel, for breakfast, lunch or tapas.
REST OF WORLD
Dubai: Zuma – Contemporary Japanese, try their brunch.
Dubai: Asado – Argentinian Grill, Live Music.
Sydney: Icebergs – Italian, Great Ocean/Beach Views
Sydney: Pier – Modern Australian, Seafood, Views.
Chicago: The Gage – “Gastrotavern”, inspired comfort food.
Chicago: Café Spiaggia
Los Angeles: Spago – Two Michelin Stars
Los Angeles: Nobu
Miami: Nobu – in the surprisingly kid-friendly Shore Club Hotel.
Napa: Ubuntu – One Michelin Star, Organic, Vegetarian
Napa: Ad Hoc – Thomas Keller does Casual brilliantly.
Napa: Mustards Grill
Napa: Boon Fly Café – casual, at a HipTravelMama favorite resort, The Carneros Inn.
NYC: Café Boulud – One Michelin Star
NYC: Fred’s At Barneys New York
NYC: L’atelier De Joel Robuchon – One Michelin Star
San Francisco (Berkeley): Chez Panisse Café
San Francisco: Aziza – One Michelin Star
San Francisco: Oliveto
Seattle: Bastille – Brunch
Seattle: Volterra – Nationally revered Italian.
Seattle: Cantinetta – neighborhood gem, we think this chef is going places!
Seattle: Delancey – Perfect Pizza by famous food blogger, Orangette.
Seattle: BlueAcre Seafood – another HipTravelMama favorite. Chef Kevin Davis is a new dad – to twins and this restaurant!
Tips for Eating Out with Little Diners
- Lunch or brunch is a great way to experience these restaurants, as they are often not so formal and lengthy. If you’re doing dinner get an early reservation.
- Sit outdoors if you can. It’s often more forgiving of noise, and people watching is fun for all ages.
- Noisy, bustling places with a lot of atmosphere are great as any errant squeals go largely unnoticed.
- It’s always best to call ahead and check that kids are allowed, and on availability of high-chairs etc.
- Brush up on table manners with fun books like Good Table Manners for Little Monkeys. For older children check out Emily Post’s Table Manners for Kids. If they’re old enough to understand, teach them any country specific dining customs and faux pas.
- Kids age 5 or older can take etiquette classes like the Table Manners Workshop at the Emily Post Institute or The Art of Dining for Children at the Final Touch School.
Note: While you can certainly take children to all the restaurants mentioned, you should use your best judgment about acceptable noise/behavior relative to the tone of the establishment and have some respect for your fellow diners who may not find tiny antics so adorable.
Do you have a favorite and unexpectedly family AND foodie friendly spot you’d like to add to the list? Where did you have a great (or not so great) fine dining experience with your kids on your travels?