Where Kids Like to Eat
What’s On 4's Junior Editor is on a mission to find the places kids like to eat the most and is putting family-friendly restaurants to the test!
Take a look below before you next head out for a family meal - or follow the Junior Editor's Blog on the 'Kids Only' page of What's On 4 School Kids.
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handmade burger Co
Sam, Junior Editor, says: "I thought this restaurant would be quite tricky for me as I don't like bread and although the menu was mostly burgers (as expected!) the waitress was very polite and patient as it took me quite a while to choose. In the end, I went for the chicken fillet and it was delicious (although the waitress did very kindly point out that I could have any burger without the bun). My little sister and brother both chose a burger and my sister said it was the best one she'd EVER tasted (top marks there...!).
There was a fantastic choice of puddings from dairy ice-cream and ice-lollies to special sundaes like strawberry shortcake, lemon meringue and banoffee. Best of all the waitresses let us make them ourselves!! We thought handmade burger Co was a great restaurant (even for a no-bread person like myself!) and we can't wait to go back."
Mum's view: "handmade burger Co is a lovely place for a family meal that still feels very 'grown-up'. The staff here were amazing; very patient with Sam as he took his time over the menu and the offer to allow the children to prepare their own puddings was a delightful bonus! The fact that you order your meals at the bar means you can take your time over the menu. We often find that we have barely glanced at the menu when servers approach to take the meal order ...as we have spent 15 minutes sorting out what the children are eating!"
handmade burger Co.
“beautifully, handmade, chargrilled burgers, made from traditionally reared, grass fed, 100% fully traceable prime Scotch Beef”
One day, whilst sitting in his kitchen, where he has most of his best ideas, our owner Chris decided that he would like to open a burger restaurant with a difference… …a restaurant that would make everything by hand, using only the freshest and finest ingredients. Chris, together with his two brothers, found the perfect location for their first family-run restaurant at Brindleyplace, in his home town of Birmingham, and so handmade burger co was born way back in 2006.
handmade burger Co now have nineteen restaurants across the country and will be opening in Manchester very soon with further openings to come later this year and in 2015. At handmade burger Co. they are passionate about great, fresh food and only use the finest ingredients for you to enjoy. They are famous for their award winning burgers which are handmade from traditionally reared, grass fed, 100% fully traceable prime Scotch beef. The chefs make over 40 varieties of handmade and hand pressed burgers from scratch everyday. As each burger is made by hand, you can tailor your burger with a range of toppings to have it just like you want it! There is a great menu range for children too, all made from the freshest and finest ingredients. See more at www.handmadeburger.co.uk. Follow on Facebook: Handmade Burger Company and Twitter: @HandmadeBurger.
Sam, Junior Editor, says: "This is a really FUN restaurant! It feels as if you are in an American Diner, the booths are super-cosy for all the family and you can see the chefs cooking the meals while you wait. We really liked the high seats at the bar and decided that we would come back another time for milkshakes and sit there...! There is a special machine on each table (dad told me that it was called a Juke Box) which allows you to choose your own music with a special code and just 20p! My little sister loved this and went through quite a lot of 20ps, but all the money goes to charity so that's OK.
The menu was completely delicious and we were all spoilt for choice. In the end, I chose 'Ed's Easy Breakfast', which was huge! My mum had a hotdog with cheese sauce and she is still talking about it... The desserts were very nice too with sweet treats such as the American pancake stack, ice-cream floats, belgian waffles and delicious sundaes such as the double-berry sundae and the choco kit-kat (this is what I had...!) sundae!"
Dad's view: "We had never tried this restaurant before but it's now a firm family-favourite. The atmosphere is very cool and the kids LOVED the juke box on the table! The menu offers a huge choice and our server collected five completely empty plates from us, which speaks for itself. The milkshakes in particular were delicious and would be a lovely treat just by themselves."
Ed's Easy Diner
You’re in for a treat when you pay a visit to Ed’s Easy Diner. This American-style diner has a fab 50s-vibe and serves up amazing burgers, shakes and classic American desserts. At Ed’s you’re guaranteed a fun and informal dining experience. The cool retro interior and unbelievably good food means this is a place that appeals to all generations. Take a look at the menu and you’ll be transported to 1950s America: hamburgers, hotdogs, loaded fries, desserts to die for, and of course, the shakes.
Sam, Junior Editor, says: "
"I thought Zizzi was one of the poshest-looking restaurants I've ever been to! We went to Sheffield and the restaurant has two tiers, so you can either sit on a type of terrace at the top, or on the ground floor where the chefs are working. It was fantastic! My little brother was very impressed with his chef's hat (as you can see in the photo!), it also came with stickers to decorate it. The great
thing about Zizzi is that you can see the big pizza oven and the chefs throwing the pizza dough around, the manager even took us up to the counter so we could see our meals being made.
Zizzi is really child-friendly and we felt very welcome. The kids menu has 3 courses plus a drink AND a chococino at the end (hot steamed chocolate milk) so you get a LOT! The paper menu itself is also full of fun things to draw and colour, my sister had her own version of the Mona Lisa to colour in, which she loved. To eat, I chose a pizza and I like it with lots of cheese, which was great as I could have a margherita pizza with 3 extra toppings so I chose pepperoni and TWO portions of extra cheese. Brilliant! My dad ordered a special meal with chicken on a type of hanging skewer and he said it was delicious! We always look forward to dessert (of course) and my little brother and sister chose the ice-cream with popping candy and mini cones, so you can make your own little ice creams. It looked like great fun. (I was feeling a bit nervous about a big science exam the next day so I didn't have a dessert, but I'm going to try the Lemon Meringue Sundae next time.) We loved Zizzi and it felt like we'd had a big treat as the restaurant and staff were all so lovely."
Mum's view: "I love Italy and Italian food, so Zizzi ticks a lot of boxes for me as the food is very authentic. We loved the little tins of oil on the tables and we had a little platter to share which had the most delicious mozzarella and artichokes (although I'm sure I didn't share them quite as I should have!). As Sam has mentioned, the bambini kids menu offers fantastic value for money as there is starter, main course, pudding and a cute little chococino at the end of the meal so the kids were really happy (and full!). The staff were absolutely outstanding here and even though it was quite a busy evening, the food and service were exemplary."
ZizziWith a stylish charm, no Zizzi is the same - each restaurant draws design inspiration from its very surroundings. The culture of celebrating good food in good company unites Zizzi fans across the UK - whether you’re there for dinner with the family or a birthday celebration, Zizzi has something special for every occasion.
A large open kitchen centred around a characterful fire stone oven means you can smell the hand-stretched Rustica pizzas and Al Forno dishes cooking throughout the restaurant. From a pasta range to make even the most diehard carb connoisseur melt, to the Mediterranean Spiedini (hanging skewers of marinated chicken or seafood) - there’s a dish for everyone. And for the little ones – Zizzi has given its Bambini kids menu a boost of creativity, available from 1st July. Colouring and stickers will keep them occupied and tasty mini favourites will fill their tummies – from carrot sticks to mini make your own pizzas to ice cream and popping candy. See more at www.zizzi.co.uk. Follow on Facebook: facebook.com/wearezizzi and Twitter: @WeAreZizzi.
Sam, Junior Editor, says: "I bet you thought that you had seen the last of all my restaurant reviews but actually you have not because I've been reviewing more!! This time I have been experiencing food from the other side of the world at Las Iguanas where the idea and motto is to 'drink and eat latin style'! We loved how the restaurant was decorated - very South American in style - and it felt very welcoming and family-friendly. The kids' menu was really interesting with characters like Iggy Iguana and Sofia Sloth and we were able to keep the menus and fill in all the puzzles and colouring pages, which was great.
I chose a pizza and my mum and dad had things like enchiladas and tacos - they are a bit too spicy for me but my parents said they were absolutely delicious. There were 'normal' puddings like sorbet and dairy ice-cream, but there was also a 'churro', which is a cinammon-dusted doughnut with a special dunky chocolate dip. I thought this was a very good adult menu or for children who are eating bigger meals but there is also some very nice things for young children (my little brother particularly loved the wobbly strawberry jelly and my sister chose an ice cream that you can even take away). All-in-all, I think that Las Igaunas is an excellent restaurant for a family treat night!"
Mum's view:"We had a lovely meal at Las Iguanas. It was refreshing to visit a restaurant that caters for our love of spicy food, yet has children's favourites too. The staff were wonderful and we arrived in 'Happy Hour' so we tried lots of the non-alcoholic cocktails and got double to share around, so great fun! The staff were particularly great with the kids and the manager was also interested on our feedback regarding the kids menu as it does have quite a few spicy options."
Las Iguanas is an adventure. You’ll discover new tastes, and fall in love with new favourites- and feel the warmth and welcome of South America. The restaurant oozes Latin America, with authentic food, drink and atmosphere as well as the unique design that can be found in every individual Las Iguanas restaurant. Las Iguanas have a strong emphasis on fresh food, with over 30 sauces and salsas being made by hand every day and the freshest, quality ingredients are sourced. There really is something for everyone with their fully inclusive menus including Gluten Free, Veggie & Vegan and a fantastic Kid’s Menu.
The Las Iguanas Kid’s Menu is all about allowing children to try something new and exciting and allowing them to eat how the adults do! Kid’s have the choice to smaller portions of adult favourites (at half the price) or their own specialist menu that caters for teenies with their organic baby food all the way up to pre-teens. And for the grown ups, Happy Hour cocktails are perfect to immerse yourself in the South American culture, Caipirinhas in hand. You can check out all of Las Iguanas’ menus and book online at www.iguanas.co.uk. Follow on Facebook: Las-Iguanas and Twitter: @lasiguanas.
Sam, Junior Editor, says: "This is one of my favourite restaurants (my mum will tell you, I ALWAYS ask to go here). Anyway, I have to say this is a really good restaurant, we always love sitting in the
booth-style seats and it's great to watch the chefs in the open kitchen - we always try and guess if they are cooking our meals! We visited the branch at Xscape, Castleford which is a great place and we got to watch the people on the indoor ski slope afterwards. The staff here were really helpful and polite; I wanted to order a big pepperoni pizza and was going to order from the adult menu but our server pointed out that the Junior menu pizzas were around the same size, and I had a drink & dessert included too so this was a great tip! There was a brilliant atmosphere in the restaurant and some other customers were celebrating their birthdays so it was fun to sing along when the staff brought out cakes with sparkly candles.
Of course a restaurant is nothing without some good tasty food and luckily this restaurant has some excellent food as well as a brilliant kids menu with yummy things like spaghetti bolognaise (see photo of my little brother Jude enjoying his!) and margherita pizza with three extra toppings of your choice (which is what I had). There are also some lovely things for desserts like ice cream sundae, chocolate brownie sundae, bananas in custard and fruity sorbet. My mum and I did a deal - she had my 'small' kids pudding and I chose one from the main menu, which was a Sherbet Dip Sundae - this was amazing. All-in-all, I think that Frankie and Benny's restaurant is great for families (and it's still one of my absolute favourites!)"
Dad's view: "Frankie & Benny's has always been a family favourite of ours and we have never been disappointed yet. They have one of the best kids menus around, with a huge choice and different portion sizes, which is a great idea. The kids menu also offers brilliant value for money. The kids love the 'cocktails' and the fact that they get to learn Italian in the toilets...! (Five-year old Jude now impresses friends as he can say 'I have a girlfriend' in Italian.) It was particularly busy when we visited and there were no tables ready but we were taken to the bar (kids allowed to sit on the 'grown-up' high stools at the bar - another bonus) and in less than 5 minutes a table was prepared and ready. We can't fault it."
Frankie & Benny's
Whatever you fancy this summer, you're sure to find something to love at Frankie & Benny’s! The extensive menu includes delicious favourites such as chargrilled burgers, speciality pizzas, pastas and steaks from the grill; as well as house specials such as BBQ Ribs, New York Chicken, Lamb Shank and more. With an instantly recognisable red neon sign and warm inviting interior, you’ll be eased into the Frankie & Benny’s experience before you can take your coat off. Combined with classic 50’s music, it’s a fun and friendly atmosphere for all to enjoy! For the kids up to the age of 11, Frankie & Benny’s have something for every taste, starting from just £4.25 for a main course, a dessert, refillable soft drink and fun activity pack with games and puzzles! Choices range from traditional Italian dishes such as Spaghetti Bolognese and Margarita Pizza to favourites such as Hot Dogs and Fish & Chips. There’s also a selection of yummy desserts including Brownie Sundae and special Hot Chocolate Pancakes!
Sam, Junior Editor, says: "Well, we went to try out a new giraffe restaurant in Sheffield, it’s a grill restaurant so there is plenty to choose from on the menu such as burgers, hot dogs, BBQ ribs, roast chicken or fish and chips (this is what I had!). The restaurant feels really different as it is in the Meadowhall Shopping Centre so we were sitting ‘outside’ on the terrace part, but of course it’s still indoors! You can see the chefs cooking all the food and my little sister and brother got a big pot of pencils and an activity sheet so they were over the moon. Also, our drinks came decorated with little plastic giraffes, like a grown-up cocktail! We loved the meal, the food was amazing, our waiter was very patient and polite and I also have to admit they’ve got a knack with puddings too! There was the well-known ‘Jude’s dairy ice -cream’ and sorbet but there was also cool stuff like key lime pie, chocolate eclair cake, rocky road sundae and chocolate mousse crunch! We are already asking mum and dad when we can go back…."
Mum's view: "We had a lovely family meal at giraffe. The little touches such as the plastic giraffes with the drinks and colouring pencils already on the table with the kids' menus caused great excitement! The kids menu here had a great range of options - some out of the ordinary, but yet there were still traditional kids meal choices too so the less adventurous kids are happy. For the adults, the choice was amazing; we had a wonderful duck starter that we wished we had NOT chosen to share... A new favourite for all of us!"
With tempting starters from the recently refreshed menu including Cajun Chicken Tenders with raw slaw & chipotle aioli and Crunchy Shrimpwith “nou-cham” sweet chilli; mains of BBQ Ribs & Chicken Combo and Hot “Thai” Duck Stir Fry; and desserts such as Our Tiramisu Sunday – you’re in for a treat when you pay a visit to your local giraffe restaurant.See more at www.giraffe.net. Follow on Facebook: giraffe and Twitter: @giraffetweet.