Vancouver Restaurants – Family Friendly

Longing for an adult meal with your kids along? No, that’s not an oxymoron, you CAN do this! At, Munch, a Vancouver family restaurant owned by parents, for parents, there is elegant dining for adults; great meals for kids and a play area in the restaurant where you can watch your kids be happy while you dine in relative peace!

Whether you have come to Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games or Paralympic Games, the city is always busy, and when you have kids, they need down-time (and so do you). By eating some meals at Munch, you can accomplish both and it’s a win-win.

Rachel Dempster, who co-owns the Lynn Valley spot with her husband, Ross, have banned deep fryers from the open kitchen. And, there are no jungle gyms or video games or token crayons for coloring obnoxious printouts of chain-restaurant mascots. Instead, they make a quality environment for your children.

And it’s nowhere near as loud as you might think as they have installed modular, rubber flooring in the 1,000 square foot play-area, with its modular European wooden play equipment. As Ross is a film-set designer, this is his forte and that’s where the simple, modern look of the place comes in.

The play area is primed for imagination! A castle playhouse (made of wood with a red-and-white-canvas roof) towers at the center of the room. Other fun touches include a big white cuckoo clock, wood panels etched with one of the Dempster children’s drawings and a gigantic blackboard for your kids to draw, too. There are also books to read.

Only four booths adjoin the play area, so call ahead and see if they will reserve one for you if you have young children. With older kids, you don’t need one and can be further away from the play area.

As the parents of an “almost-six-year-old” girl and an “almost-four-year-old” boy, they describe themselves as: “she’s from London, he’s Scottish, and they like to eat out. ” So, the menu is a culinary adventure for adults and healthy fun for kids.

Munch has brunch and lunch menus, but where they really get ambitious is with a sophisticated dinner menu — and dinner is often the witching hour even for well-behaved children, at the end of a long day.

Normally family restaurants are places you just want to get in and out quickly. But, do Munch on an evening when you’re NOT in a rush: with kids’ set menus for $9.99 and adults’ entrées $14 to $23, you’ll want to enjoy it.

Mercifully, the kids’ meals (a so-so organic turkey dog and a toddler-approved black-bean-and-corn quesadilla) came within 15 minutes, at the same time as your appetizers will (but kids are happy to pick away at the artful antipasto platter, too, if they desire). Once the kids are off to play, you can relax!

Over time, Munch will expand the kids’ and adults’ menus.

The herb-crusted goat cheese and fig salad with honey-walnut-infused vinaigrette could be your first taste of how well chef Caillin Brown, a 27-year-old rising star whose résumé includes Deep Cove’s Arms Reach Bistro, orchestrates textures and layers flavors. If you enjoy wine, the wine list is small but well done. The Dempsters have thought out every detail, including the fact that glass tumblers are safer around kids than stemmed glassware, so expect that.

You will also vye for tables with the Chef’s fans who’ve enjoyed her cooking beforehand, so I suggest calling ahead. Enjoy Munch!

143–1233 Lynn Valley Road, North Vancouver
Open Monday to Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Friday and Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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