The hubs and I do love eating out as much as we love entertaining at home and the arrival of the Little Monkey has definitely slowed down our dining out adventures a bit. That said… we still do get out atleast once a week and since I first shared our favourite downtown Toronto ‘baby friendly’ joints (click here) our needs have changed. When I wrote that first post she was 5 months old and still sitting in a car seat. Now at 10 months.. she needs a seat of some sort and digs into our meals!
I still follow our basic rules of marching out if she gets a bit too whinny (a quick 2 minute stroll is all it takes), coz there’s no reason the elevator music should be drowned by wailing tones. I also bring a snack for her to have while the food arrives (the smell of food seems to whet her appetite quite a bit!). If we happened to have walked to the restaurant and brought the pram, we now fold it away and find a nook to hide it at. In terms of baby items, I am a huge fan of the Summer Infant tinydiner tray and bib… less germs and easier clean up. Most places have a high chair or booster seat but the germaphobe in me likes to wipe them down with my own disinfecting wipes. Don’t give me that weird look! We have hit the throwing food away phase and I am always diligently picking up food she drops. Be kind to your server, she isn’t your maid!
So here’s my next round of baby friendly favourite restaurants that are NOT chains! We still like our cosy, fine dining, hole in the wall or downright odd restaurants and don’t plan on giving up our hunt for new restos any time soon! These restaurants don’t necessarily have change pads so you will have to be creative .. standing and changing? We got that down!
What’s not to love about a pub that has board games and a cozy fireplace? Yup! And it’s nestled in the Cabbagetown area too. I don’t get out there enough, so any excuse and I’m there! Unfortunately they also have quite a few steps so trying to take the stroller to their small turfed patio can be a bit tough. But hey! They have some good craft brews on tap, high chairs and a mean burger! They even try their best to cater to gluten intolerant peeps. Nothing better than spending an evening playing games, munching on pub fare and putting a few pints away on a rainy or cold afternoon. I’ve spotted quite a few moms comfortably seated in the comfy lounge chairs bonding over pints.. err coffee. I plan to try their Trivia nights some day soon. Warning… don’t forget to wipe down the high hair before you kid sits in it! Their patio is a lovely place to pretend you’re on holiday and not in downtown Toronto!
If you’re looking to gather a few friends for a couple pints and some good pub food in the King West area this is your spot! Another place with a tiny little patio which worked well f or us. Once again the servers were all over the Little Monkey and she was quite content enjoying some finger food while we hung out from 7 p.m to 10 p.m (well past her bed time!). They do have a high chair. A .. as in one. Remember that! Get it as soon as you get there or book it before you head out! I’m all about the Stilton Lamb burgers.. lamb and cheese. Two of my faves! I’ve tried a couple dishes here and they are all quite good, nothing like the dodgy food associated with grungy pubs. They even have quinoa, curries, flatbreads and..wait for it.. Tikka Masala poutine! If you’re looking for a laid back and unpretentious vibe with attentive service and innovative pub fare this is it!
Craving really good Japanese fusion and some fun cocktails with a baby in tow? Hit up Ki! It is a bit of a sausage fest after work but on the weekends it’s quite empty and this being one of our favourite places we knew that the extended family and the Little Monkey would really like it here on a Friday evening. They were so friendly and even brought out boiling water to sanitize her soother! You must try the creamy buttery goodness that is the miso chowder here and pretty much anything you get well be divine. I tend to get sashimi and a combination of maki rolls and this has filled up. That said I’ve sampled the cooked steak and chicken dishes and they too were really good. So something for everyone. A great spot to enjoy one too many really amazing cocktails with your fresh fresh sashimi.
Looking to try something unusual.. like a $26 hot dog in classy setting? Then you must check out Stock with its black and white decor, wall motifs and chandelier inspirations throughout .You’re in for a treat. You would not think they they would have a high chairs 31 floors above ground where a lot of business credit cards are tossed around at… but they do! And they offer it to you with a smile. While I do love my food trucks, I must admit that my Wagyu beef hot dog topped with braised short ribs was quite decadent…even more than the complementary gold dusted chocolates from the Chocolate Lab! A burger connoisseur I lunched with told me that their burger was the best she’s ever had! When I first visited I was breastfeeding every three hours so I had a cider and decided that the rest of the bottle would have to go untouched. Well my server thought otherwise and kept trying to top me off. After explaining the milk machine status he still didn’t get it. Well no fear… on the 4th try we just had to pretty much scream at him to stop. Poor guy. Not used to crazy booze only in moderation moms! hah! I went here for lunch and will admit that the menu was quite limited, which actually was a change of pace from the pages and pages on offer at most restaurants that has me spending more time deciding than catching up with my date. I do like choices but once in a while it’s nice to make an easy and quick one! Go here if you’re looking to indulge in a classy retro atmosphere.
We do enjoy trying new places so please do share your faves for dining out with a baby!