8 great restaurants for the whole family
by Christine Plante
Any parent can tell you it’s not easy to find a place where they serve good food AND where little kids are welcome. Fortunately, Montréal is brimming with eateries that are well equipped to show your kids a good time, without ruining yours!
With a stroller
Bursting with local flavours, Montréal’s large public markets all have numerous counters with ready-to-eat options. Babies will be happy to nap in their stroller or admire the myriad shapes and colours that adorn the aisles. Atwater Market and Jean-Talon Market both have family restrooms with changing tables and even nursing rooms.
The Laurier Park area is a magnet for families, and it’s home to the Middle Eastern café́-restaurant Byblos. Its famous feta omelette is a Montréal classic! At Byblos, you’ll find a variety of small dishes that are perfect for children, and you’ll often run into moms on maternity leave. There are high chairs, a changing table and an amazing children’s clothing and accessories store right next door!
For mini explorers
Villeray is teeming with strollers and its alleyways are full of children. Located in the heart of the neighbourhood, the bakery Le pain dans les voiles makes one of the best baguettes in the city, not to mention soups, sandwiches, pies and other unpretentious snacks. Your little ones will love the kids’ corner, complete with toys, books and games. High chairs and a changing table are available.
Rosemont – La Petite-Patrie is where you’ll find Les Oubliettes, a gourmet café́ whose menu features soups, salads and small dishes that are always delicious and comforting. In addition to being a café́, it’s also an art centre for children. This means they’re equipped to stimulate your child’s creativity, with numerous workshops and dozens of masterpieces by young artists festively decorating the walls.
Lafontaine Park, seen by many as one of the most beautiful green spaces in Montréal, is the brainchild of Olmstead, the architect behind Central Park in New York. In the very heart of this magnificent park, the bistro Espace La Fontaine welcomes families in its large dining room or on the lovely summer patio. On sunny weekends, children will love hopping aboard the Mini-Express and touring the park in search of squirrels and ducks! A ticket will set you back $4.
For bigger kids
If you have older children, Dragon Rouge in Ahuntsic is the place to go. In this medieval-themed restaurant, server-actors speak Old French as they bring you large, festive dishes meant to be devoured Middle-Ages-style. There’s singing and dancing too, and costumes are always welcome!
Located on Saint-Laurent Boulevard, Robin des Bois is guaranteed fun for the whole family. All proceeds from this non-profit restaurant go to organizations that fight social isolation and poverty. The small permanent staff is supported by dozens of volunteers who serve and prepare food in an atmosphere where everyone feels welcome. If you’re with kids, beeline it to the romper room, where a voluntary donation buys you the privilege of breaking a plate! Free for kids ages 6 to 12 and for guests celebrating their birthday.
Stefano Faita and Michele Forgione, the co-owners of this charming pizzeria in Little Italy, named the establishment by combining the first letters of the names of their respective two children: Giovanni + Emilia + Massimo + Anna = GEMA! You’ll be delighted to discover their tasty pizzas, original or traditional, as well as the dessert counter serving fabulous treats made with their homemade frozen custard.
Christine Plante is author of the book Street Cuisine and food blogger for Nightlife Magazine.
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