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I don’t know what it is about the summer but I often find myself wanting to eat out more. With little ones, this can be a small feat — or a large one. I’ve found some great places in Victoria that have quickly made it onto my go-to restaurants and cafes list.
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Oak Bay – 2509 Estevan Ave. (250) 595- 2221
Royal oak – 4525 West Saanich Rd. (250) 590- 1137
Perhaps one of my very favorite places to take my son, Crumsby’s, has been designed equally to provide true comfort for children and adults. I discovered this haven when my little one was only a few months old, and it’s been a permanent spot to visit. Not only is Crumsby’s outfitted with an entire section of toys, including a train table, kitchen set, and shelves of blocks, and books against a large red chalkboard, but the café is also home to child-friendly seats (offering bumbo chairs, high chairs, and tall thin chairs,) and a full children’s menu. The bright blue and green walls are decorated with children’s artwork from neighboring schools, and for those wanting to enjoy the sunshine, there is a small courtyard patio. The Oak Bay location is only a couple of blocks away from Willow’s beach, and offers an extensive menu for adults as well. My son’s favorite treat is the fruit and cheese plate (complete with house-made biscuits) with warm milk served in a ceramic tea pot with child size mugs.
1115 North Park St. (250) 383-5999
It’s weekly tradition to visit this little coffee shop tucked away on North Park off of Cook St. Every time we go the place is packed, but for good reason. The coffee and tea is phenomenal, as is the food (lox bagel — delicious!) The staff has always been really great to us as well, which is so important when dining with a child. My son’s hot chocolate always arrives with a little heart decorated in the foam and his blueberry muffin is warm with a side of butter. There isn’t a large section for kids to play, but there is a small l-cove area with a couple of small tables for kids to play at. Do not let the crowds deter you from checking this place out; it truly is a gem.
529 Pandora Ave. (250) 475-0477
Ah, Solstice. Solstice Café is wonderful for many reasons. The food, drinks, and staff are always excellent, and the place is large inside and out. The back patio is enclosed, so children can play outdoors without getting out of the fence (always a nice thing). Indoors there is a small cove outfitted with children’s toys (baskets of books, cars, coloring materials.) There are high chairs available, as well as some booth type seating. Another nice aspect of Solstice is the vicinity. It is within walking distance to the inner harbor, the Johnson St. bridge, Chinatown, and all of the downtown shopping.
341 Cook St. (250) 381-0050
Big Wheel Burger is always a fun place to go. Along with the outstanding menu, which offers choices for vegetarians, adventurers, and traditional meat-eaters, there are kid specific meals complete with milk and a cookie. I always feel good knowing about the environmental practices and local support that Big Wheel exhibit, not to mention, the staff has always been phenomenal, the service is speedy, and the atmosphere is fun and diner-esque. If the weather is nice we usually order to go and take our food down to beach or park at the end of Cook St. If it’s a bit rainy, we like staying inside at the diner like booths to enjoy our meals. Another bonus — those milkshakes!
1240 Gladstone Ave. (250) 381-1884
This café right in the heart of Fernwood is a well-known gem. Perhaps one of the most magical parts of this place are the large bubbles often seen streaming down the street out front, but the inside is pretty fantastic as well. There is quite extensive seating, and a booth like area near the front window where there are some small toys for kids to play with. The food and drinks here are delicious (especially the lemon bar) and the staff has always been very accommodating to our needs. Down the street on either side are parks and large fields, which are wonderful for kids to wear off energy and sugar buzzes!
9100 East Saanich Rd. (250) 655-0075
The front porch and surrounding grassy areas of Roost can always be found adorned with lively chickens and roosters, visiting guests as they munch on grass (and fries). The indoor eating area is often full, but there is an outdoor patio, an old school bus outfitted with dining tables, and a small maze into a garden with large bushy walls. We love eating in the garden because we feel completely secluded behind those bush walls, our only visitors often being those roosters and chickens. This place feels so rustic, yet in a carefully manicured way. The food, not to mention, is outstanding. Make sure to get there in time for breakfast and you’ll always be in for a very tasty meal (lunch is also very delicious). The front counters are packed with pastries for all the treat lovers out there. This place is great for kids because of the true farm nature; the old school bus, the free running animals, old tractors, and garden surrounded picnic tables.
1275 Oscar St. (250) 590-1772
A small local store tucked away on Oscar St., just off of Moss St. and Fairfield Ave., Fairfield market is not only a wonderful place to find local food but is fun for kids if parents and caregivers want to stop for a hot drink. There are local fruits and treats within arms reach so kids are welcomed to choose their own snack, and there is a small array of tables and chairs both inside and out to accommodate Victoria’s weather. Indoors, a black milk crate can be found under the bench by the window. Inside is an assortment of books, Lego, and loose toys. The staff here are absolutely phenomenal and always so kind as my son grabs random fruits and vegetables and plops them on the front counter. We love sharing a hot drink here, or sitting out front on the neighboring stairs while we munch on a cookie (flourless, peanut butter, chocolate chip, anyone?) Another great feature of this location are the countless parks in the surrounding area. Fairfield Market is a true gem for those who live near and far from this area.
Happy dining at these Kid Friendly Restaurants Victoria!
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