Child-friendly restaurants are noisy places full of bored parents watching their restless kids colouring in menus, as chicken nuggets make their short journey from deep freeze to deep fryer. But it doesn't have to be like that. The following 10 restaurants prove that a commitment to family dining is more important than gimmicks.
During the week, Locanda Locatelli (020-7935 9088; www.locandalocatelli.com) in the West End of London is strictly for the glitterati. But that changes on Sundays, when the owners can be found feeding their brood with egg-free pasta, tomatoes and rocket.
There's plenty to tempt young palates on the weekend set menus at The Boxwood Café (020-7235 1010; www.gordonramsay.com) in Knightsbridge in London. Follow smoked salmon fishcakes with a wicked chocolate brownie ice cream.
If you think chain restaurants are a bad idea, you should make an exception for Nando's (nationwide, www.nandos.co.uk). The juicy and delicious Peri-Peri chicken is always a hit with the kids.
At TV chef Paul Heathcote's The Olive Press in Bolton (01204 521007; www.heathcotes.co.uk/olivepress) children get to assemble their own pizza with toppings such as chargrilled vegetables, peas, and sweetcorn.
Brighton's Terre à Terre (01273 729051; www.terreaterre.co.uk) is one of the best vegetarian restaurants in the country - and very child-friendly. Has free organic baby food, nappies on request and a special kid's menu.
Under-fives eat for free at MC Café Barin Exeter (01392 223626; www.abodehotels.co.uk).
Of all their restaurants, Paul and Jeannie Rankin's US-style diner Rain City (028 9068 2929; www.rankin-group.co.uk) in Belfast is the most family friendly.
Views over the Dyfi estuary are not the only attraction at The Penhelig Arms in Aberdyfi, Wales (01654 767215; www.penheligarms.com). The chefs will rustle up anything junior's heart desires, as long as they have the ingredients to hand.
Some of the finest seafood in the country is served in half portions (and at half price) at Fishworks in Bath (01225 448 707; www.fishworks.co.uk).
For children of eight years and above, Swinton Park (01765 680900 www.swintonpark.com) in North Yorkshire is culinary heaven. They can learn to cook with larger-than-life chef Rosemary Shrager or eat with the grown-ups in Samuel's restaurant.
Andy Lynes is UK manager of gastro-website www.eGullet.orgReuse content