Little Nest in Vancouver

Vancouver Kid-Friendly Restaurant: Little Nest

Little Nest is Vancouver, BC’s best kid-friendly restaurant.

This cafe in Vancouver, B.C. proves that a kid-friendly restaurant can offer amazing food, decent prices AND a play area. I’ve never had a meal here and thought, “eh.” No. I wonder, “How can I recreate this meal at home? And is it wrong to kidnap the chef?”

The owner, Mary MacIntyre, ensures that the restaurant’s breakfast and lunch menu focuses on local, seasonal and organic produce, so it’s constantly changing. A few items we’ve had include the eggs with local tomatoes, basil, radish and multi-grain baguette, house-made muesli with organic yogurt, fresh fruit “fries” with strawberry jam, and a brie sandwich that knocked my (mismatched) socks off.

The food here’s so good that kid-less grown-ups typically occupy all the two-top tables. And it’s so popular that we try to arrive right at opening; past experience has left us waiting for a place to sit.

Fruit fries!

Little vintage birds and highchairs complement the cafe’s retro, homey interior — wide wooden tables, low-slung couches, a bright white ceiling. The owner’s husband is an artist and salvager; those swank mid-century modern couches and cool tables were found via Craigslist, flea markets, demolitions and yard sales.

Cooking up a storm at Little Nest
Cooking up a storm at Little Nest

Toddlers and preschoolers busily prep and serve the play kitchen area. There’s also an awesome recliner and sweet 70s and 80s toys.

“The family friendly element was just a natural reflection of me, my needs as a parent and my philosophy of food and eating and living in general,” MacIntyre says. “It should be a shared experience.”

It’s a comfortable place. You want to linger, chat and watch the kids play. Unless, of course, waiting diners are eyeing your table hopefully.

Best for: families with younger children and foodies of all ages.

Where is this kid-friendly Vancouver restaurant?

Little Nest is located at 1716 Charles St., just off Vancouver’s countercultural-cool Commercial Drive. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Monday. Combine a breakfast or lunch at Little Nest with the Victoria Park playground, a few blocks away.

Lora Shinn writes about family travel, Pacific NW travel, grown-up travel...and travel in general. Her travel-related articles and essays have appeared in Family Fun, Parenting, AFAR, National Geographic Traveler, AAA magazines and Redbook, among others.