Taking the family out for a meal in London can be an expensive business. And it can be a stressful event if a restaurant isn't geared up to cater to little ones. We've put together some handy suggestions about where to dine on a budget with kids. These seven London restaurants are as welcoming as they are wallet-friendly.
Europe's largest multi-arts venue is home to cinemas, a theatre, a concert hall and galleries so there are plenty of ways for families to work up an appetite before refueling at the Barbican Kitchen. This ground floor restaurant serves a range of light bites, hot sandwiches and handmade pizzas and children under 12 eat free with every adult ordering a main meal.
Sticky Fingers, Kensington
Founded by Rolling Stones' bassist, Bill Wyman, Sticky Fingers in Kensington is a rock n' roll restaurant that serves classic American dishes like baby back ribs and chilli dogs. The kid's menu (for under 12s) is just £7.95 for a meal, a drink and a dessert and if you visit on a Monday you can take advantage of the 'Monday Madness' promotion for up to 50% off all main courses for adults. Don't leave without exploring the Rolling Stones memorabilia including gold discs, guitars and portraits of the band.
Top British chef and dad of 5, Jamie Oliver knows a thing or two about catering for children. His Jamie's Italian chain is all geared up for family dining and each of the 6 London outposts (including Piccadilly, Covent Garden and Victoria) have an informal, laid back vibe. There are often 'kids eat free' promotions running during school holidays but the regular kids menu is only £6.50 for a main dish, a salad and a drink. There's a focus on sustainably sourced quality ingredients and fresh pasta is made on site every day. Activity packs are available for kids and the 2-course lunch deal for grown ups is a steal at £11.95.
Combine a day with the animals and lunch with the family at Vauxhall City Farm, a community space home to horses, pigs, goats and llamas. In the shadow of MI6 and luxury apartments on the river Thames, this urban farm offers a little slice of the countryside in central London. Enjoy lunch at the Old Dairy Cafe which serves affordable sandwiches, soups, salads, cakes and dishes from a weekly specials menu. Half portions of everything are available for kids for around £2 and there are plenty of highchairs and an outdoor terrace with spacious tables for big groups.
Children can build their own tacos at Wahaca, a chain of bright and bustling Mexican restaurants with 15 outposts across London. For £5.25 kids can get creative by filling tasty tortillas with chicken, steak, cod or veggies alongside the usual suspects like guacamole, cheese and salsa. The price includes a drink and frothy babyccinos are provided free of charge. The spice levels are toned down for kids but the dishes are packed full of flavor.
Giraffe, Various Locations
While kids menus tend to feature around 3 or 4 options, the Giraffe restaurant chain offers an extensive range of dishes for children to choose from including mini brunches, smoothies and healthy puddings. The £6.50 meal deal is available all day everyday and includes a main meal, a drink and a dessert. The restaurants serve dishes from around the world so expect to see the likes of katsu chicken, pasta al pomodoro and quesadillas on the menu. Keep an eye on the website for deals for grown ups as there are often 2-for-1 promotions, happy hours and discounts.
Ideally located between South Kensington and Gloucester Road, Rocca Di Papa is an affordable Italian restaurant near the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum. This welcoming restaurant focusses on authentic Italian cuisine made from seasonal ingredients and the friendly atmosphere attracts families from across London. Pastas and pizza bases are made fresh on site every day and many of the dishes are cooked over charcoal in a Josper oven. The pizzas are around the £8 mark and the pasta dishes are all under £10. There's a special kids menu that features smaller portions from the main menu and the sister restaurant in Dulwich Village caters to foodie families in south London.