Edinburgh’s best child-friendly restaurants and cafes

Dining out with children, especially when on holiday and in a foreign city, is not always easy and is can be stressful wondering if your whole family will find a welcome. But don’t worry, we are here to give you Edinburgh’s best child-friendly restaurants and cafes. And we guarantee not one will be a touristy one and they all serve delicious food.

The Pantry

Depending on the age of your children, you might want to go for a café or restaurant which has its own dedicated play area. While you might initially shy away from those types of places because of fear of sub-par food, you won’t have to worry about that when going to The Pantry. Located in Stockbridge, and popular with local families, The Pantry is sure to tantalise your taste-buds with fresh and wholesome ingredients while keeping the little ones entertained. Be sure to try one of their delicious waffles, they’re not just for toddlers!

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Café Hub

Located on the top of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh’s Old Town, Café Hub is the ideal spot to relax with your children after a few hours exploring Edinburgh Castle. With plenty of space for prams and buggies, clean changing facilities, kids’ toys and delicious food, Café Hub is the perfect place to recharge your batteries. During the school holidays, Café Hub even runs dedicated “decorate your own cupcake” activities for rambunctious tots. So, while you enjoy a warm salad of Shetland salmon, beetroot and fennel meringues, junior members will happily munch away on their own gourmet handiwork.

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Hemma

Part of Edinburgh’s large portfolio of Swedish bars, Hemma is proof that there’s more to Scandinavian food and drink than crispbread and smorrebrod.  Meaning “at home” in Swedish, you can truly feel at home at Hemma; the food is hearty and homely with Norvik Beef Stew, Mustard Pickled Herring, and Paella making a regular appearance on the menu. The kid’s menu is extensive, the toys and play area will keep the little ones entertained when they are not eating, while the table football will make even your older children happy. Close to Edinburgh’s extinct volcano Arthur’s Seat and five star visitor attraction Dynamic Earth, Hemma is the ideal place to take your children after a day of exploring Edinburgh’s geology.

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Scran and Scallie

If you want to get your little ones off to a flying foodie start, there’s no better place to take them than to The Scran & Scallie in Stockbridge. This rustic-chic gastropub is sure to get their tiny palates on the road to sophistication. Run by two of Scotland’s top chefs, Michelin star chef Tom Kitchin and Dominic Jack, the restaurant received a prestigious Bib Gourmand from the Michelin Guide 2017 and serves Modern Scottish dishes. While mums and dads can feast on gastro delights such as octopus carpaccio, breaded chicken escalope or roe deer terrine, kids can pick something from the special kids’ menu. It’s also got a play corner complete with toys and books which is sure to keep the little ones entertained while you finish that well-deserved last glass of fizz.

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Portobello

Edinburgh’s seaside suburb Portobello abounds with child-friendly cafes, and combined with its mile-long prom, sandy beach and Victorian baths, promises something for everyone. Reds on the High Street has a small soft play to the rear but is equally dedicated to creating homecooked meals – the Cullen skink is highly recommended. The Beach House café and newly opened Miro’s both on the promenade offer children’s menus and extensive cakes and sweet treats that appeal across all ages. Between them sits The Espy – a food-oriented pub with board games to entertain, comfy couches for quieter moments with the family or tables with great views across the water, where you can watch the kids on the beach but enjoy a quiet drink as you do so.

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With such a variety of child-friendly restaurants, there’s really no need to settle for a touristy one in Edinburgh, even when dining with children.

Douglas Walker is Chair of Unique Venues of Edinburgh.

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