I’m taking my 6 & 9 year old kids to Paris and London for the first time this spring. We’re staying in St Germain area in Paris and in Knightsbridge in London.
If it were just the two of us, I’m sure we’d go to various Michelin star restaurants but I’m realistic and also cognizant of other diners. My hope is to avoid places that are solely focused on kids and offer a good mix for foodie parents that kids might enjoy. Personally, we enjoy virtually all cuisines.
Re: London, while we’ll be based in Kightsbridge, I’m sure we’ll be hitting main touristy areas (Big Ben, London Eye, etc.) Any tips for spots near major tourist places are great, or general favs are appreciated.
In Paris, we’ll certainly plan on numerous creperies, visits to the Grand Epicerie and more. Any favs (open-minded) are great.
I’d take your family to the Wolseley on Picadillh for an English breakfast in London. If breakfast is included at your hotel, the Wolseley is open for lunch and dinner, as well. Beautiful room, the kids will love looking around at the space. The food is good.
I’d also recommend Rules, in Covent Garden Market, for a traditional English dinner. Again, the space will keep the kids interested, and the food is very good. Harters recommended Rules to me years ago, and I’ve now visited two times, most recently last year.
I haven’t been to Paris in 11 years, so I am out-of-date. I do remember finding the food halls at the Printemps department store amazing on my first visit at age 12 (and I have continued to visit the food halls for the last few decades- I am in my 40s now). If you ever need a quick meal, especially if a child is acting hangry, the food hall and the restaurants inside the good department stores in Paris (as well as in London, Munich, Berlin, Zurich, and most European cities I’ve visited) is often quite good. The food hall is usually in the lower level of the department store, but occasionally is on the top floor.
We transited through London this past November for a total of only 2 days so I don’t have much intel for you. Big Ben is completely enveloped by scaffolding at the moment (not sure when that is coming down) so that was a bit disappointing for our 5-year old spring onion. Within walking distance of Knightsbridge, I think, is Star Tavern where we had a decent pub lunch, but nothing earth-shattering. Spring onion enjoyed looking at all the embassy flags as we walked there and onto the Science/Natural History Museums.
Forgot to mention that if you are coming in from Gatwick via Gatwick Express, you can a 2-for-1 London Eye ticket. You have to bring a hard copy of your Gatwick X ticket to the Eye. We found the Eye a bit of a price gouge.
(John Hartley - a culinary patriot eating & cooking in Northwest England)
Are your kids adventourous eaters? Reason for asking is that few “interesting” UK restaurants have kids menus or, even, appear to offer smaller portions of the normal menu items. That could make for some tricky decisions. As prima has already mentioned Rules, I’m happy to confirm that it’s probably still my favourite restaurant in the capital and certainly somewhere I would generally recommend to foreigners wanting to try our traditional foods. But you’d need to look over the menu to see if it suits. I can’t really make any useful suggestions here, as our trips to London are usually for high end dining which would be very doubtful places for the youngsters.
Bear in mind, also, if considering pub dining, that the law surrounding youngsters in pubs can be complex and will often depend on the individual establishment’s policy. As such, I’d always suggest you check beforehand if somewhere will allow the kids in or not.
My kids gravitate to pizza, pasta, meat (ribs, pork chops etc.) but also will eat salmon once a week. Love all kinds of Asian food, most Italian, Mexican, etc. They surprise me often (currently LOVE beets) but like most kids, have tastebuds that change constantly. I think very traditional British food would be outside the line for them.
For the London Eye I would suggest fish and chips at Masters Super Fish. for my money the best fish and chips in London. Not much atmosphere though. If not Tas a small Turkish chain is always reliable.
If your’e near Houses of Parliament/Westminster Abbey I would suggest taking a 15 min walk (or plenty of buses) up Victoria Street to Victoria Market Halls right by Victoria Station. Lots of food stalls and should be fun for the kids.
For the British museum one of my favourite restaurants is Master Wei. A X’ian place . About 10 mins away. A bit further is Banh mi Bay, good Vietnamese place.
If you’re near Oxford St, Then Iberica is a very good Spanish Place.
i would also suggest Dishoom in Covent Garden but it’s closing for renovation from Jan 2020 to June 2020. Not sure when you will be over? They do have other branches (Kings Cross & Shoreditch) but the original branch is my favourite in terms of atmosphere. Good take on Indian food.
There is a Chinatown in London very close to the theatres at Leicester Square.
I traveled a lot a kid, and always ate what the locals ate wherever we were.
No shortage of crappy Italian chains in London , if that’s what your kids like. Pizza Express is everywhere in the UK.
Lots of expensive Italian food in London, too. It’s prob easier to find Italian and various other ethnic foods than English food in London.
J Sheekey has excellent seafood if you want to take your kids for salmon. Scottish and Faroe Island salmon is excellent .
Tons of cheap Asian options in London , if that’s what they want.
I have been to the UK a couple dozen times and I don’t believe I’ve ever ordered pizza , steak or a burger on any of the visits lol. I have had Indian , Thai , Spanish, Chinese, Russian and Turkish food, when I don’t want English food.
I would think Mexican food is very weak in London.
re Paris, if they like steak, I’d take the to mini-chain L’Entrecote a block from St.G church. No choice menu = a serving of sliced medium rare steak and good fries + a simple green salad with walnuts. The meat is served with a delicio8us quasi (secret) Bernaise-type sauce and you can request it un-sauced if you need to. They bring around seconds of meat and fries. Dessert is extra and by demand. Very family friendly.
If the kids like classic “stews”, I’d take them to Les Papilles. Another no choice but serving simple braised meat dishes. Starts with a tureen of superb serve-yourself soup, then a casserole of meat, then a morsel of cheese and finally a fruit panna cotta. Very simple comfort food. RESERVATIONS A MUST. Every night they turn away dozens of people.
For food halls, there is the new Galerie Lafayette in Champs Elysee. Note that the food hall in Galerie Lafayette in the Opera district (Haussmann) has little seatings.
You can try Eataly too in the the 4th district in le Marais.
For crêperies, you can have a look at Breizh Café, they have opened new ones recently. Please note that you need reservation.
Since you are in Paris, it will be the best to try some bistrots or brasseries with kids, they usually have some steak or even kids menu. How about testing with Bouillon Pigalle, Bouillon Julien or Bouillon chartier? To see if they like French food, places won’t break the bank.
Kids usually like sweets, you can bring them to the tea room of Laduree!
As for bistrots for family, I’ll think about that and get back to you…
We went to London in the spring with 17 and 13. It wasn’t a great trip because everyone took turns being sick, so I don’t have a ton of recs. However, please go to the Borough Market near Shakespeare’s globe and the Tate Modern. We had a good time there 2x eating and sampling from different stalls. The paella from the fish place in the middle was delicious! We also breakfasted almost every day at Gail’s. Several locations. Lots of different rolls, pastries, mini sandwiches, scones w/jam, coffees and juices. I desperately wanted to try an Ottolenghi place but it wasn’t in the cards for us. He is a pretty hot commodity these days so if you can, give it a try.
I’m a bit late seeing your question, and many others have already suggested places I’d write about in London. My grandchildren enjoyed Busaba Eathai when they were in London earlier this year, and although it’s a chain, I find myself eating there every once in awhile because the food is OK. Harrod’s has it’s great food hall with lots of places to sit and eat. I concur that J. Sheekey is great for seafood and Master’s Superfish really is wonderful for fish and chips. It’s not too far a walk to the Imperial War Museum from there.
(John Hartley - a culinary patriot eating & cooking in Northwest England)
Mastert’s is, IMO, one of the country’s top fish and chip places. And it’s a rarity that you’ll hear a northerner say anything like that about a southern chippy - yes, it’s that good.
Imperial War Museum is well worth a visit. My “real life” interest, when I’m not thinking about feeding my dace, is military history and I’ve spent many days there researching in the archives for one or othyer of my books. Great collection of Victoria Crosses on display.