One day, you’re snapping photos of your entrée at your favourite trendy restaurant, and the next, you’re staying in, washing bibs and eating leftovers. Becoming a parent is wonderful, but it’s challenging. Staying in touch with Toronto’s restaurant trends is no longer your first priority. Luckily, Toronto has some fantastic restaurants for families large and small. These top picks feature restaurants with great food and family-friendly atmospheres that will make your life easier by satisfying your needs and your children’s.
Crispy Libretto pizza
Have you ever met a kid who doesn’t love pizza? Unlikely. Pizzeria Libretto is, hands down, one of the finest places to get a real Neapolitan pizza in Toronto. What that means is fresh ingredients, only the best San Marzano tomatoes, Fiore-de-Latte mozzarella, and naturally leavened flour. The pizza is made in a 900 degree wood-burning oven over 90 seconds, which not only equals quality, mouth-watering pizza, but is also great for the short attention span of children at the table because the meal comes quickly.
Lively, homey, and casual atmosphere of Pizzeria Libretto
The location at 550 Danforth Road has a lively, homey, and casual atmosphere, ideal for family dining, with pizzas from $11 to $17. This restaurant offers high-chairs, booster seats, crayons and activity sheets, change tables, and a kid’s menu your little ones are sure to love.
Monday to Thursday, 11:30 am–10:00 pm, and Friday & Saturday, 11:30 am–11:00 pm
Zane Caplansky knew what he was doing when he opened up the smoked meat haven at 356 College Street. Featured on everything from the Food Networks’ Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives to the CBC’s Dragon’s Den, Caplansky’s Deli has become one of those “you’ve gotta eat there” places. The menu features items like barbecue beef brisket, chopped liver, turkey club, and the BBLT (beef and bacon) in the $11–$18 range. The boisterous atmosphere is inviting to families that don’t want to worry about using inside voices or getting dressed up.
Caplansky’s Sandwiches (photo by Syed Hassan)
For the kids, this deli has $5 options of grilled cheese, mac and cheese, or an egg, beef, and bacon latke with apple sauce and toast combo. There’s no shame in eating with your hands at this place, so get your kids dressed in their “okay to mess up” clothes and head over to Caplansky’s!
Monday to Friday, 11:00 am–10:00 pm, Saturday & Sunday, 9:00 am–10:00 pm
3. Big Crow
Behind Rose and Sons restaurant is Big Crow, a 50-person hall surrounded by trees and inspired by Algonquin Park and camping. It’s a backyard barbecue at its best, with communal picnic tables made for family-style dining.You’re urged to share plates and eat with your hands — great for that night with the family when you just don’t feel like cooking.
Big Crow meal
Although it has no designated kids’ menu, the regular menu features small and big plates (sharing encouraged but not mandatory), like barbecue bacon, pickled sun chokes, and hot peppers ($10), rabbit with honey butter hot sauce ($18), and warm country chop salad with garbanzo and cranberries ($12). You’ll love the smell of barbecue and casual atmosphere hidden in the trees at 176 Dupont Street.
Monday to Friday, 5:00 pm–11:00 pm, Saturday & Sunday, brunch 11:00 am–3:00 pm, dinner 5:00 pm–close
4. The Ace
Disguised as a 1950s diner, The Ace at 231 Roncesvalles Avenue is another spot Food Network star Guy Fieri hit up on his Canadian tour. When you walk in, you instantly feel a blast from the past, where you may spot dining ware you last saw in your grandmother’s kitchen—or inherited yourself. The warm, casual atmosphere is great for a family night out, though, and the kids will love the diner look and feel. The Ace also offers a unique kid’s menu for kid in your life with a more refined palette, with $6–$8 dishes. Those dishes include the “little ace” (black angus burger with cheddar, fried chicken, and fries), San Marzano tomato sauce spaghetti, and English Banger sausage pogo-sticks made in-house. Adults can enjoy specialties like shrimp and grits or Ontario lamb burger with tzatziki, plus chocolate Nutella-filled pierogies for dessert.
Open for dinner every night, 5:00 pm–11:00 pm, lunch weekdays, 12:00 pm–3:00 pm, brunch Saturdays & Sundays, 9:30 am–3:00 pm
5. Magic Oven
Back to pizza! Founded in 1997, Magic Oven has some of the best American-style pizza in the city, with a ton of customizations and options that work for families dealing with gluten-free allergies and other dietary restrictions. Not only is the food delicious, but you can also choose specifically whether you’d like to try organic spelt, wholegrain, or gluten-free dough instead of the traditional white. Magic Oven has the most options for vegan cheeses and offers all locally sourced toppings. If your family struggles to eat out because it’s hard to cater to every family member’s needs, this might be a nice stepping stone. The restaurants themselves are very accommodating, with a relaxing atmosphere and worksheets to keep the kids busy, prompt staff, and fair prices. The best part is that on Monday evenings, between 5:00 pm and 9:00 pm, the Danforth location allows kids to eat free! The kids menu features cheese and pepperoni pizzas, fettuccine alfredo, penne with sauce combos, and chicken wings in the $6–$10 range.
Open Monday to Saturday 11:00 am-10:00 pm, Sundays 12:00 pm-10:00pm. Delivery available.