5 Tips for Dining Out With Children When You’re Visiting Niagara

image001One of the best parts about visiting Niagara is getting to partake of the fantastic food that’s so readily available throughout the region. Whether you want traditional Canadian fare, haute Italian cuisine, or farm-to-table delicacies, there are ample opportunities to let your palette have full rein in regards to your schedule and plans.

Oh, that it could also be so for the foodie with small children! If that’s you, don’t give up hope just yet. If you’re heading to Niagara for a family vacation, it actually is possible — at times — to have your cake and eat it, too. Here are five tips for dining out with your kids in Niagara that will let you experience some of the flavors of the place.

Early Dinner

  1. The finest restaurants in the Niagara region, almost without exception, begin taking reservations for dinner as early as 5 p.m. While the ambience and lighting are decidedly different at that hour, the food and service are still exquisite. Plus, the dining room will have few other patrons, so if your little ones holler excessively, decide to run amok, or otherwise make a scene, you won’t ruin anyone else’s meal.

2. Distract! Distract!

Going out to eat can be downright boring for young children. Talking? Sitting Still? Being Quiet? To a 4-year-old, those are just synonyms for “boring.” Instead of expecting your children to tough it out or act like little grownups, bring an arsenal of fun to every dining experience. From coloring books to plush animals, arm yourself with non-noise-making entertainment that can occupy your child for at least an hour.

3. Do Lunch

image003Lunch doesn’t get nearly as much love as it should, but to a family with small children, it can be a great time to eat well without risking the loss of mind that can accompany a later in the day and more time-consuming meal. Whether you hit up the fun and unforgettable Flying Saucer Restaurant or the delectable restaurant at Ravine Winery, do so at lunch for a fast and delicious meal even your kids will enjoy.

4. Make Sure They’re Hungry — But Not Too Hungry

One key to getting your little ones to enjoy a meal with you is to make sure they’re in need of one. Keep snacks before and between meals to a minimum, so when you sit down to eat, their interest is piqued. Of course, interacting with a hungry child requires walking a fine line. Don’t let your wee ones get too ravenous, or you may have the equivalent of a rabid, cranky housecat on your hands.

5. Take It to Go and Go on a Picnic

At the end of the day, it might not be possible to go out to eat with your children at the restaurants you long to enjoy when you’re in Niagara. If that’s the case, order food to go and head to an area park. While the presentation of the food will be lesser, the taste, aromas, colors, and ingenuity will still be in place. If the weather allows, spread out a blanket, let the little ones run and scream like maniacs, and savor the region’s fare in the great outdoors.

Eating in Niagara is a treat everyone should get to enjoy regardless of how old their kids are. Follow these five tips, and you just might get to enjoy a few world-class Niagara meals with your children.

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