Tucked on an unappealing stretch behind Camden High Street is Daphne. About to open after a refurb, this family-run Greek restaurant is set over two floors and a roof terrace. There are booths to sit in and the staff are hugely ingratiating of littles ones who in turn love the children’s-sized portions of moussaka, hummus and meat. A hidden gem, much more appealing from inside than out.
Add: 83 Bayham Street, London NW1 OAG

Marine Ices
This was a family staple back when I was a kid growing up in North London. It has been tarted up a bit since then but remains as unpretentious as ever, serving up traditional Italian fare and delicious ice cream in the heart of Chalk Farm.
Add: 8 Haverstock Hill, London NW3 2BL; 0207 267 2776

Tufnell Park Tavern
Known locally as the Pram and Nappy, the Tufnell Park Tavern was once a dodgy local boozer and is now full to the brim with littluns from morning to night. With a cafe on the side and a paved garden at the back, the food has improved considerably in recent months, meaning good pizza and delicious daily specials.
Add: 162 Tufnell park Road; 0207 281 6113

Cafe Pho
Since the first Cafe Pho opened its doors in Clerkenwell in 2005, numerous of these Vietnamese street-food venues have popped across London and beyond. The Islington branch is characteristically unpretentious with colouring bits for kids and a children’s menu with much-loved rice and noodle dishes.
Add: 39 Upper Street, London N1 OPN; 0207 559 5150

Pizza East
An off-shoot of the Shoreditch super-cool pizza place, the Kentish Town branch is now the local’s local branch – and particularly kid-friendly. There are plenty of high-chairs, and crayons are provided. No children’s menu as such but plenty on the menu to satisfy smaller appetites. Our kids love the meatballs.
Add: 79 Highgate Road, London NW5 1TL; 0203 310 2000

Chicken Shop
Occupying the windowless basement of a former gym on Highgate Road – directly below Pizza East – this low-key establishment is much better than it should be. Serving up a limited menu starring lipsmacking roast chicken, chips and corn on the cob, it’s fun, lively and the noise levels are such that you don’t feel self-conscious when the darling wee ones decide to exercise their lungs. Only open in the evenings though – be prepared to wait for a table as you can’t book.
Add: 79 Highgate Rd, London NW5 1TL


The Wolseley
There are many reasons to love this former car showroom in the heart of Piccadilly, transformed by Chris Corbin and Jeremy King in 2003: the breakfasts, the impeccable, upbeat service, the perfect G&Ts… Another is that they pride themselves on being child-friendly, offering highchairs and happily accommodating buggies if you make them aware you’re planning to visit in advance.
Add: 160 Piccadilly, London W1J 9EB

Ember Yard
A swish tapas restaurant in the heart of Soho, Ember Yard takes inspiration from Spanish and Italian cooking methods and welcomes children of all ages. There isn’t a kid’s menu as such, but instead they are happy to cater for kids and will take requests. Menu highlights include marinated and wood-roasted salt marsh lamb leg with fennel, watercress and buttermilk.
Add: 60 Berwick Street, London W1F 8SU; 0207 439 8057

Yo Sushi
For kids, the colourful conveyor belt at Yo Sushi never seems to get boring. Nor does the variety of child-friendly dishes ranging from simple California rolls to marinated salmon. Best, we think, to sit at one of the booths where you can pen in small people, away from the rotating plates.
Various branches, visit

Now with four restaurants dotted across central and east London, Hawksmoor serves up some of the best steak in the country. The portions are significant, so if you’re taking a little one be prepared to share, or placate them with a hearty side like macaroni cheese. The express menu, served until 6.30pm, is a good wheeze.
Various venues, visit


The Russett
A lifeline for locals, just off Hackney Downs, this is a place where freelancers and noisy families coexist in relative harmony. The former, who treat this open, relaxed space as their office, are kept at a safe distance from those drawn by the crash matt-ed kids’ area at the back where there are endless activities and classes including music and baby yoga. WIth super-chilled staff, be prepared to wait though for the delicious organically and often locally-sourced fare, which includes a cheap-as-chips rotating no-frills dish of the day.
Add: 17 Amhurst Terrace, London E8 2BT; 0203 095 9731

Viet Grill
This is now one of the most established of a litany of Vietnamese restaurants on Kingsland Road. Owned by the same people as nearby Cay Tre, this is one of those wonderful places where you’re likely to have your baby hijacked for the duration of your meal by staff who are only too happy to keep them distracted with the help of a hypnotic aquarium. The restaurant is suitably spacious and offers a brilliant lunch deal, with a simple, delicious children’s menu to boot.
Add: 58 Kingsland Road, London E2 8DP; 0207 739 6686

Cooper & Wolf
Opened on the Chatsworth Road by a couple with young children, this is a local stalwart for Clapton mums and dads, who gather for the flat-whites, yummy, reasonably-priced salads and cake. There are plenty of high-chairs to go around and a couple of tables outside for when the sun pops out.
Add: 145 Chatsworth Road, London E5 OLA

Nancy’s Pantry
Imagine a land where other people entertain your children while you sit on your bonce and eat cake. Welcome to Nancy’s Pantry on Dalston Square where the motto reads: “A restaurant where children are as important as the food”. Encouraging smaller diners to experiment with science and nature while their parents drink delicious coffee in a stylish, airy setting. Features include an astroturf play area, projectors, messy play and a Friday night disco.
Add: Labyrinth Tower, Dalston Square, London E8 3G; 0207 7254 8639

The perfect spot for a relaxed kids-in-tow meal, this long-established family-owned Italian restaurant is one of an increasing number of places to sup on Lower Clapton’s Chatsworth Road. There is an open kitchen and a huge car stuck to the wall to mesmerise small people, and the food is reliably good. NB: the Aperol Spritz is heavenly.
Add: 9 Chatsworth Road, London E5 OLH; 0208 533 1902

Following the success of its two east London and pizza restaurants, Soho, which uses locally-made soughdough from the E5 Bakehouse, has opened its doors again, this time in Honor Oak. This branch closely follows the formula of a small, faultless pizza selection and handmade desserts. It doesn’t have highchairs but it is very welcoming of kids and they in turn love the relaxed atmosphere. The tiramisu is to die for, same goes for the rum and homemade ginger beer.
Add: 76-78 Honor Oak Park, london
SE23 1DY
; 020 8699 5196

The Florence
Perched on the edge of Brockwell Park, The Florence is an easy option for pub grub with family and friends. It has a full-on playroom with two flat screen TVs, as well as a loyalty card for parents offering 25 per cent discount on food during the week. The bar stocks a rotating range of ales some of which are produced in their own microbrewery. Win, win.
Add: 131-133
 Dulwich Road
, London SE24 0NG; 0207 326 4987

A stalwart of the King’s Road, Bluebird welcomes children of all ages, with regular events and masterclasses aimed at kids. There’s a mouth-watering menu for little ones including mushroom soup with grilled cheese on toast, and the ‘paradise mojito’ combining lychee, fresh mint, lime and berries. Yum.
Add: 350 King’s Road, London SW3 5UU; 0207 559 1000

The Lido Cafe
Serving up a mother-watering selection of hot food and cakes, the Lido Cafe in Herne Hill overlooks Brockwell Park’s stunning outdoor pool, and is as inviting mid-winter as it is in summer when crowds flock to these beautifully-maintained baths. The food is great, and little ones can then run it all off afterwards in the amazing playground in the park a stone’s throw away.
Add: Brockwell Lido, Dulwich Road, London SE24 0PA


Electric Diner
The red leather booth seating downstairs at Electric House sets the tone for the diner, which opens at 8am for breakfast with a pleasing array of pastries and egg dishes, and offers an all-day menu at 12pm. The style is French-American – think hot dogs, cheeseburgers with a twist … We recommend the honey-fried chicken with chilli and sesame seeds.
Add: 191 Portobello Road,
London W11 2ED; 020 7908 9696

The Ledbury
Run by Australian chef Brett Graham, this two Michelin-starred pub-restaurant extraordinaire in Notting Hill is among the 10 top in the world, and is well-known for welcoming little ones. Due to the size of the restaurant floor, they ask for pushchairs to be left behind, and booster seats are available.
Add: 127 Ledbury Road,
W11 2AQ

; 020 7792 9090

Maggie & Rose
Launched by two mums who wanted an alternative to the usual “sad surroundings” to which parents are subjected, this is a properly swish private members’ club for children. There are two branches – one in Kensington another in Chiswick – featuring a wonky treehouse with a curly slide, a double-decker bus and an al-fresco dining terrace.
Add: 1 Essex Place Square, Chiswick High Road, London W4 5UJ; 020 8994 7211

Cafe Anglais
Launched by Rowley Leigh, former head chef at Kensington Place, this cafe and oyster bar is bright and spacious with delicious desserts. They also provide colouring things for kids, and there is even a magician on Sundays.
Add: 8 Porchester gardens, London W2; 0207 7221 1415

More in Eat