By Contributor Jen Shragge
As a vegan married to a meatatarian husband with a vegetarian five year old, eating out can sometimes be a challenge. My son doesn’t eat enough of an entrée to justify the cost (most of the time) and we just don’t eat at fast food restaurants as they generally don’t offer vegan meals and don’t usually have what I consider healthy options. The problem is that we love eating out! We like to fancy ourselves as small-time foodies and enjoy sharing the restaurant experience with our son whenever we can.
Here are my top picks for family friendly restaurants in the Vancouver area:
Boston Pizza has quite an extensive menu these days. Pizza, pasta, salads and more are available to mum and dad while the kids Power Pack includes items such as pizza (with a whole grain crust), spaghetti or mini cheeseburgers. Kids can also choose a side dish like salad, steamed veggies or French fries, a drink such as apple or orange juice and a dessert which includes a do-it-yourself ice cream sundae. For $6.99 this is a very reasonable price. The meal also includes a Power Pack activity book, which contains games and activities for the kids.
White Spot may not offer the fanciest options for kids (10 and under) with their chicken nuggets, pasta in cheese sauce and the like; kids sure do love their Pirate Paks. What child wouldn’t love their meal served in a paper pirate ship with a chocolate gold coin? Pirate Paks also include a drink (water, milk or juice) and a small serving of ice cream. Children are also seated with an activity booklet with crayons to keep them occupied, which is always a nice touch. At $5.99, White Spot can be a great option for a budget conscious family.
Milestones seems to have undergone a rebranding recently. Most, if not all, of their locations are newly renovated with a sleeker and modern look and the menu now includes gluten-free, vegetarian and low sodium options. They are also now serving Starbucks coffee, which can be a nice added bonus for some. The children’s menu is more sophisticated with offerings such as grilled salmon or chicken with jasmine rice and fresh fruit or more traditional items such as grilled cheese and pasta with sauce (cheese or tomato). All kid’s meals (12 and under) include a drink and a cookie topped with gelato for dessert for $8.99. Even though my child doesn’t eat meat, it is nice to see real food and not “kiddie food” on a kid’s menu.
If you are looking for a more original menu you can head to one of Burgoo’s four Vancouver area locations. Fantastic soups, stews and sandwiches with lots of vegetarian and even vegan options makes Burgoo a fabulous foodie option. The kid’s menu includes soups and salads as well as grilled cheese sandwiches (with real cheese) ranging from $5 to $10. Dessert is ice cream with chocolate sauce and drink options vary from milk and juice to strawberry lemonade and Shirley Temples. The kid’s menu is also printed with puzzles and colouring and crayons are provided. Brunch is also available on the weekends. Burgoo also offers full itemized ingredient lists for every single item on the menu, which can come in handy for those with allergies or sensitivities.
Yew is a beautiful restaurant. They also have an amazingly extensive menu that boasts everything from Ocean Wise seafood to vegan options. The kid’s menu (both brunch and lunch/dinner available) has an impressive number of items, which are scaled-down versions of the grown-up meals like salmon, cod or tofu with green beans and rice, or and chicken breast with mashed potatoes and mushroom or tomato sauce. Of course they also have a hot dog and French fries on the menu, but I do understand the rationale for the “kid” items as well. The most expensive entrées on the menu are $9, which if you ask me, is quite amazing. My son always orders the fresh strawberry and banana smoothie when we visit and has always been thrilled to be handed his drink is a special plastic cup with a fun straw and a package of wikki stixs. If you aren’t familiar with these ingenious craft items it is worth the visit just to see your kid create with them!
Do you have a special restaurant you take your family to? Do you live in the Vancouver area and want to add to this list?
Jen Shragge lives just south of Vancouver, BC with her Kid, Hubby and Doggie. When she’s not trying to make the world greener, she is trying to get her family to eat more green. She writes about her challenges and includes the recipes at cookingforthecarnivore.