When it comes to finding a place to eat with young kids, we are more than adequately catered for, from fast-food to high-end chain restaurants such as Giraffe or Nando’s. But, what if you have older kids and teens and it’s a special occasion? A 16th or 18th birthday or they’ve just done really well in their exams? Or even as (choke back those tears) they are about to leave you and go to Uni.
Where do you take them then which feels special but isn’t going to break the bank? Well, we’ve asked a group of parents for their suggestions. Here is what they came back with.
Cacio e Pepe, Gnocchi and Taglirini
This cult favourite pasta bar has two branches near Borough Market and Shoreditch. Hungry teens will love watching the hunky chefs pulling long strains of spaghetti for all customers to see. There is room for fussy eaters and vegetarians with dishes ranging from £6-£12.50. A perfect place for a delicious celebration that doesn’t require champagne.
For more information, visit Padella Restaurant’s website.
You may have already got the memo about Primrose Hill‘s favourite neighbourhood restaurant. This family run Greek restaurant has been serving exquisite Greek dishes for over 40 years. Their special lunch time menu runs weekly from 12-3pm, which a starter, main and desert for only £15.75. A cheap eat in Primrose – have you ever heard of such a thing? This is a great place to take a social teen who would like to invite a few friends for lunch to celebrate their birthday.
Visit and enjoy their extensive menu of freshly prepared food.
3. Poppie’s Fish and Chips
Poppie’s is renowned for authenticity – run by born and bred East-end proprietor, Pat ‘Pop’ Newland. Pop’s career in the fish and chip business started in 1952 when, aged 11, he got a job on Roman Road cutting up copies of The Daily Mirror to wrap fish and chips in.
With decades of experience behind him, ‘Pop’ founded Poppie’s. The shops are filled with retro memorabilia from Pop’s childhood, The uniforms channel a 1950s vibe, and the music is tailored to each shop. Dining in one of Pops restaurants is an experience with retro vibes and iconic looks from the decades which your teens will be sure to Instagram and enjoy.
To reserve a table or click and collect, visit Poppie’s Fish and Chips website.
4. Where The Pancakes Are
Have you ever tried bacon and blueberry pancakes?
It’s all about the pancakes and nothing but the pancakes. Here’s a place to take your teenager for a luxurious (hangover) breakfast! With a huge range of savoury and sweet pancakes, build-your-own-pancakes for little kiddies, buttermilk and fresh OJ, there is something on the menu for the whole family.
Just off Kensington High Street, you will find the spot for the most in-demand table in London. The global styles of Art Deco and Jazz entered Bombay in the 30s and have now been reborn in the form of Dishoom. There are small plates appropriate for fussy eaters and lassis for a treat. You can get the family to dress up for the evening and act as if you are in a Wes Anderson movie to match the decor.
6. Meatliquor, QUEENS skate dine bowl
MEATliquor Queensway is London’s biggest ‘one stop fun shop’. A 30-second walk from Queensway Station, QUEENS skate dine bowl offers ice skating and bowling sessions right beside this dining heaven. The menu includes every kind of burger you could dream off, as well as plenty of vegetarian options such as ‘Satan Fingers‘ (Seitan is fake chicken) or ‘Tempeh Tantrum‘. This venue is ideal for a sweet 16 birthday party or a family Sunday outing.
To discover what else is on offer at QUEENS skate dine and bowl, click here.
7. Greenberry Cafe
A cult favourite right by Primrose Hill is Greenberry Cafe. The walls are draped with celebrity heads who endorse the Italian delicatessen, a place which serves the yummiest grub for the whole family.
Perfect for a birthday brunch serving waffles with bacon and poached eggs or shakshuka on sourdough. The Greenberry also make great hangover cocktails for mums and dads while the kids colour in the menu…
7. Rudy’s Vegan Diner
If your kids winced all through Seaspiracy or adore Sir David Attenborough, they will love London’s first all-vegan diner and butcher. A popular spot located near Highbury and Islington station, the diner serves up veganised versions of classic American diner food & unbeatable cruelty-free meals that still taste delicious.
You will find everything from meat-free burgers and giant seitan hot dogs, to mind-blowing dairy-free milkshakes and pastrami-packed Reuben’s sandwiches.
To order Ruby’s DIY at home kits or book a reservation, click here.
9. Skylark Roof Garden
Can you tell that we are leaving the most expensive choices till last? Skylark Roof Garden is a rooftop cocktail and brunch bar featuring a stunning South facing vista across West London’s skyline. Located 10 floors up, you can spot Hyde Park, Notting Hill and the banks of Little Venice. Instead of splashing out by eating here, you could take your teenage son or daughter up the escalator for their first legal drink or a cocktail to make the ocassion even sweeter.
To discover more about this magnificent rooftop bar, visit Skylark’s website.
10. Brasserie Zedel
Brasserie Zédel has come highly recommended on Twitter by parents, located in Picadilly Circus. The bustling Parisian brasserie is best known for serving traditional French food at remarkably good value.
In addition, the building also plays host to the ZL Café, a casual pavement-level café, an authentic American Cocktail Bar, Bar Américain, and a live music and cabaret venue, Crazy Coqs. Transport yourselves to Paris mid-pandemic, without the stress.
11. Sarastro Drury Lane
Enter a world of drama, passion and excitement where exuberant colour, glittering display and joyous music meet exotic cuisine to create a truly unforgettable dining experience.
Undoubtedly the place to see and be seen in Drury Lane, the opera-themed restaurant Sarastro offers a unique and opulent carnival of the senses with hot and cold mezze plates, fresh fish and meat plus vegetarian options.
As the first restaurant in London to feature balconies, and with banisters taken from the Royal Opera House, Sarastro offers a diverse range of seating accommodation; much of which is partially enclosed to offer partial privacy for diners of a more discreet nature. Please note that the erotic artwork in the restrooms could hardly be called discreet!
12. Maggie Jones Kensington
Maggie Jones’s has been a favourite haunt among Kensington locals for over 40 years. Cosy, rustic and informal, the restaurant is tucked away in a little cul-de-sac between Kensington High Street and Kensington Church Street.
Maggie’s is warm, friendly and traditional, with a generous menu full of classic English dishes, such roast pork belly and apple sauce, shepherd’s pie, bangersand mash. A perfect place to take your hungry teen for a Sunday lunch.
The menu is inspired by the Jak’s belief in local produce, of being happy and healthy in our lifestyles and wanting to provide London with a little taste of the Mediterranean using food that is homecooked, organic and delicious. Get your teens secretly inspired by healthy living and eating.
14. Purezza, Camden
Welcome to the UK’s First Vegan Pizzeria in the heart of Camden. Founded by Tim Barclay, Stefania Evangelisti and Filippo Rosato, Purezza first opened its doors in Brighton in 2015. Since then, Purezza has honed its craft, spending years in a food laboratory creating a plant-based mozzarella that tastes and melts just like dairy.
This one is for your vegan teens or those who want to try a plant-based diet. Still great for fussy eaters and non-vegans with a beautifully decorated courtyard full of hanging plants.
15. Sushi Mania
If your teenagers love sushi, there is no question of where to take them out to eat. Sushi Mania is an all-you-can-eat sushi bottomless buffet with branches in Golders Green, Finchley, Edgware and beyond London. Japanese food can be on the pricey side, but this hotspot allows you to consume salmon maki food and prawn teriyaki rolls by the dozen.
To receive 20% off your order (collection only), visit Sushi Mania’s offer page.
16. Garlic & Shots, Soho
The weirdest, wackiest concept that works. Garlic & Shots in Soho is a kitchen full of garlic and a bar loaded with 101 shots. Everything on this menu has garlic, with only an option to add more garlic not remove.
A dark basement bar and restaurant that will leave you fending off vampires, as well as preventing your teens from playing seven minutes in heaven…
17. The Breakfast Club, Liverpool Street
Tucked away on a side street opposite Liverpool Street Station, the outside of the caf is a little less obvious than the bright egg-yolk yellow frontages of their other cafes – but as you’ll soon find out, The Breakfast Cafe may be the best brunch and the fluffiest pancakes in London.
18. Duck & Waffle
Duck & Waffle offers a playful take on traditional British cuisine with broad European influences emphasizing local, rustic, seasonal and sustainable ingredients. Dishes are designed for sharing served in a vibrant atmosphere that welcomes guests 24/7.
Breakfast, brunch, late-night, desserts: “all day” dining. Duck & Waffle serve from sunrise to sunset to sunrise again — and every hour in between with breathtaking London views on the 40th floor of 110 Bishopsgate in London. Your teens will leave with full bellies and a new apperication for their city.
19. La Bodega Negra
This one is for your newly turned 18-year-olds (18+ venue). La Bodega Negra is a vibrant floor taqueria serving street-style Mexican food and zingy margaritas.
The mystery of the venue is intriguing enough, within a secret cellar lives a glamorous party scene, with DJ’s and a giant array of superb tequilas. Perfect for a young adult – taking your teen here will make you the coolest parent in town.
20. Circolo Popolare
Welcome to Circolo – a sunny Sicilian trattoria in London’s Fitzrovia district. The friendly atmosphere here is unbeatable, and the buzz of the place sends you straight to Italy. Try the Cacio e Pepe served in a pecorino wheel or a fresh Napolitan pizza with San Marzano tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella. To top it off, their scandalous desserts are to die.
Circolo is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner, and weekend brunch, under the starry ceiling. During summer, there are seats available on their Sicilian terrace. Take your teens through the door and enjoy the ride!
21. Bike Shed
Bike Shed, Shoreditch
Enjoy Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner or just a Coffee or Drinks beneath the Bike Shed Motorcycle Club’s four huge Victorian railway arches in the heart of Shoreditch, a stone’s throw from Brick Lane, Columbia Road Market, The Truman Brewery, Spitalfields and Boxpark.
From porridge to eggs benedict, steak salad to risotto, impossible burgers to tiramisu, Bike Shed got you covered from fussy ones to vegan and gluten-free teens.
22. Bacone, Covent Garden
Bacone, Covent Garden
Bancone, meaning ‘bar’ or ‘counter’ was born out of a shared Padella vision for affordable, high quality pasta for everyone in a buzzy, informal setting around an ancient olive tree. Situated on William IV Street in Covent Garden, customers often have to book two weeks in advance so plan ahead with this evening dinner or even book a private dining room for an 18th birthday.
Bacone has several dining bars in each restaurant where you can relax and eat while watching the chefs at work.
BAO restaurant, Soho
The original BAO located in the heart of Soho on Lexington Street. Inspired by the Street Food Markets and Xiao Chi Houses in Taiwan. BAO Soho serves a selection of BAOs and small eats. BAO Soho has been awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand for four consecutive years.
The dishes served at BAO Soho are a fun and innovative take on some Taiwanese Classics such as Pigs Blood Cake with a soy cured egg or Battered Sweet Potato with a ketchup made from Pickled Plums. This venue is perfect for your adventurous teens who would rather try a range of plates rather than one full meal.
24. Ianmo Restaurant
Inamo Restaurant, Soho
With locations in Soho, Camden & Covent Garden, Ianmo craft Japanese, Chinese, Thai & Korean cuisine. Interactive projections on your table surface enable you to set the mood and will entertain your teens with retro games, live chef-cam feed and you can even graffiti your tabletop.
To view the wide range of Asian food on offer at ianmo, click here.
25. Ciao Bella, Conduit Street
Ciao Bella Restaurant, Russel Square
Ciao Bella’ started in 1983 in the heart of Bloomsbury, already a central London fashionable residential area. From the very beginning, Felice transmitted his passion and love for Italian food matured and improved over 40 years of experience in the restaurant industry. For some easy and delicious Italian pizza and spaghetti, look nowhere else.
26. Press for Champagne! at Bob Bob Ricard
Bob Bob Ricard, the iconic London restaurant based in Soho, serves classic British & Russian menu to an eclectic clientele in London’s most glamorous all-booth dining room. Equipped with a “Press for Champagne” button at every table, it is famous for pouring more champagne than any other restaurant in Britain.
This was a favourite recommendation from our mummy bloggers – perfect for a mum/ daughter, son/dad celebratory drink for a newly turned 18-year-old.
27. Dans Le Noir
Featured in About Time (2013) starring Rachel McAdams, Dans Le Noir offers the opportunity to taste gourmet, creative and seasonal cuisine in complete darkness, accompanied and served by unexpected guides.
This cultural experience is like no other and will no doubt cause a stir with your teens. Can you really trust your tastebuds? By prior reservation only, Dans le Noir offers Kids Tasting sessions, to awaken the senses of children between 6 and 12 so everyone in the family can feel included.
28. Ravishankar Bhel Poori
Thali served at Ravishankar Bhel Poori
From masala dosa to delicious Thali’s, Ravishankar Bhel Poori has a spectacular looking buffet set during everyday with reasonable price. The menu here includes cold and tasty chaat menus aswell as hot curries from Southern India. Our advice would be to grab a set menu with the best selections of the day, for only £11.96. Dine here for a quiet midweek family treat.
29. Benihana, Piccadilly
Benihana, Central London
The best Teppanyaki London has ever seen. Benihana is a unique, immersive and fiery dining experience – a restaurant that cooks in front you. This is sushi and sashmi heaven with the menu including wagu beef and miso black cod. While this venue is slightly on the expensive side, it’s worth the extra pennies to be transported straight to Japan
To view Benihana’s incredible food menu, click here.
30. Souk Medina
Souk Medina, Covent Garden
Souk is very much like stepping into Morocco – all low seating, cushions, low lighting, and vibrant colours. If you are looking for a cheerful, cheap venue in the centre of town, this is the place to be. Smokers can visit the shisha terrace on site, far away from the dining area where you can order tagine, humous and falafel platters and grilled prawns. A great spot for veg and pescetarians!
Click here to see a panoramic view of this amazing Morrocan restaurant.
31. Kingly Court, Carnaby Street
Kingly Court, alfresco dining just off Carnaby Street
Carnaby Street’s iconic Kingly Court is a three-storey outdoor dining experience in London’s West End. The space hosts 21 of the best international concept restaurants, bars and cafés in its vibrant courtyard, which is open air throughout the summer months and covered in the winter. Restaurants and pop ups include Pizza Pilgrims, The Detox Kitchen, Rum Kitchen and Whyte & Brown to name a few. This is perfect for a one-on-one date night for you and your teen!
32. Tapas Brindisa, Borough Market
The team at Tapas Brindisa, Borough Market
If you want authentic tapas that brings the true food, wine, and hospitality of Spain to London, head to Tapas Brindisa. The group set their roots in Borough Market in the early 90s, opening a small shop in the Floral Hall. Since 2004, Tapas Brindisa took a space in the central market. No reservations, no bookings but you can join the queue from your phone with the WalkUp app and get a message when your table is ready. Your fussy eaters will love selecting from their delicious menu, serving croquetas de jamón, piminetos de padrón and conservas (fish of the week).
33. Flesh & Buns, Covent Garden
KidRated loves the grub at Flesh & Buns in Covent Garden
Covent Garden was the birth site of Flesh & Buns – a secluded modern Japanese feast for any occasion. At our heart we’re Izakaya but in our soul we’re willing to push the boundaries and indulge our senses and set our mouths on fire. On the menu, you’ll find Japanese Fried Chicken, Salmon Teriyaki and the famous Miso Aubergine accompanied by all the soft buns your teens could ever want.
Check out this delicious Turkish restaurant in Green Lanes
This popular restaurant has been open in it’s fabulous Green Lanes establishment since 1999. Gökyüzü is owned and run by the Yavuz family, originally from a small village in Kahramanmaras, so you know you are getting really authentic Turkish food. “There were plenty of Turkish restaurants and cafés in the area, but we wanted to show the people of London what Turkish dining is really about: freshness, quality ingredients, delicately flavoured dishes, succulent meats expertly char-grilled, home-baked bread, and most of all, a very warm welcome.” What more could you want for a family meal out?!
Click here to view their extensive menu, featuring hot and cold mezze, sharing platters, mains, sides and delicious deserts such as baklava.
35. Kintan, Oxford Circus
Kintan, Oxford Circus (Photograph by Time Out Magazine)
Some kids and teens are picky about food they don’t recognise – but we all love a BBQ. Kintan is the first authentic Japanese style meat-ery in London. Each table features a built-in smokeless roaster, which means fun and interactive dining where guests become the chefs. Of course, you’d think we pay to eat out so you don’t have to do the cooking, but the experience is worth a visit. Psst… this one is definitley not for the vegans or vegetarians of the family.
Click here to view the full menu, including an all-you-can-eat buffet on Sundays.
36. Santo Remedio, London Bridge
Photograph courtesy of Team London Bridge
Santo Remedio is a popular Mexican expression meaning ‘Holy Remedy’. Prepare to be medicated with traditional tacos and taquitos alongside a selection of Tequila and Mezcal cocktails, Mexican beers and wines for parents. The walls of this restaurants are decorated with artwork and décor by Mexican artisans which match the fun and vibrant feel of the place. The perfect spot to take an adventurous teen with a thirst for traavel and adventure.
Book via their website today. There is also a branch in Shoreditch if the tables are fully booked (likely)!
37. Pastaio, Soho
Beautiful interiors inside Pastaio, Soho
All day. Fresh pasta. Pastaio, created by British chef Stevie Parle, brings you great value and seasonal produce to give you arguably the best plate of pasta you’ve ever had. Before vegans scroll on, there is an exclusive “green” menu with all plant-based ingredients. Plus, it’s the only place in Soho kids eat free all half-term!
Summer nights spent outside Pizza East, just off the Golbourne Road
Although the menu is a little overpriced, the West London location of this eatery is unbeatable. Serving wood fired pizzas, weekly changing seasonal menu alongside classic cocktails and wines from Italy and California, Pizza East is simple yet lovely for an easy dining experience. Your teens will love the private terrace upstairs, which you can book for up to 10 people.