Happy Face Pizza
Could Happy Face Pizza be the parenting holy grail? A restaurant that pleases the kids and somewhere you’d actually want to visit yourself? The wood-fired pizzas are delicious, mercifully quick to arrive, and at £6 for three courses, easy on the pocket…tick, tick, tick. As for the setting, the stylish, retro-feel pizzeria – from the team behind the hip Spiritland down the road – should keep mum and dad happy too. Happy Faces all round.
While adults can enjoy pizzas starting at £5, the bambino menu has a doughball starter, a 6-inch pizza topped with margherita, ham, or pepperoni, and gelato to finish for £6.
Take the little ones on a European adventure at the German Gymnasium. Housed in a beautiful historic building, the space was originally England’s first-ever purpose-built gym, funded by London’s German community in 1865.
Pleasingly, the children’s menu doesn’t shy away from its German roots with currywurst, schnitzel, and a variety of dumplings all on offer. There’s a decent choice of sides – heritage tomato, wilted spinach, and salads alongside the inevitable chips – plus dessert for £8.
In India, mealtimes are very much a family affair, with dishes heaped into the centre on the table to share, and children eating more or less what the grown-ups eat. At Dishoom, younger guests are welcome to do the same, with the lovely staff on hand to steer you towards the milder dishes.
If you’d prefer to play it very safe, there is a short-but-sweet children’s menu that’s light on spice but big on flavour. Served with Bombay potatoes, Dishoom slaw, and a glass of fruit juice, kids have a choice of either Murgh Malai (grilled chicken thigh) or Paneer Tikka (cheese and peppers) for £7.50.
A wine bar might not be the first place you think of for a meal out with the little ones, but Vinoteca is surprisingly family-friendly. Just a stone’s throw from the stations, Vinoteca is a beautifully light and airy space with a relaxed vibe. Here again, refreshingly, children are given more credit for their palates than the usual sausage-n-beans fare. Instead, little diners can tuck into the likes of casarecce pasta with parmesan, mini bavette steak, catch of the day, and a roast on Sundays. Two kids courses (with ice cream or chocolate mousse for dessert) will set you back £7.50.
Drake & Morgan
Trendy Drake and Morgan in Pancras Square is a firm favourite with local families, and it’s not hard to see why.
The Little Drakes & Morganers menu is a solid offering, from boiled egg and soldiers, pancakes and oats on the breakfast menu, right through to generous portions of mac ‘n’ cheese, fish and chips and pasta for dinner. What really makes D&M a true delight for little eaters, however, are all the thoughtful kid-friendly extras. There are ‘little nibbles’ such as carrots, bread, and hummus for when you know they won’t eat a full meal, “aren’t I grown up mummy” babyccinos, and a big counter of sweet jars, where kids are invited to help themselves and fill a bag for the journey home.
Pricewise, starters are £2.95, mains £5.95 and desserts are £2.75 each.
Leon Pancras Square
For a quick and easy meal with kids in tow, it’s hard to beat Leon.
The Little Leon menu has one of the biggest variety of kids meals around, with five options for breakfast, and six for lunch. Here you can choose from a mini chicken burger, fish fingers, and chicken nuggets, or falafel, meatballs, or chargrilled chicken on brown rice.
Plus, as it’s Leon, you know that lots of care has gone into making sure food is carefully sourced and nutritionally balanced – broccoli and peas come with each meal as standard, chips are baked not fried, and ingredients are reassuringly organic/free-range/sustainable where possible.
On warm days, you might want to ditch a restaurant altogether, grab some food to go and head to the beautiful outdoor seating spots dotted around King’s Cross.
For a quick bite, it’s hard to beat the KERB street food vans. Parked up in Granary Square, there’s an ever-changing array of vendors with plenty to suit little tastebuds, from waffles to Chicago-style hotdogs. If you’ve missed the vans, there’s a Waitrose just around the corner to create your own picnic. Plus many of the restaurants offer child-friendly take out options too. As well as Happy Face and Leon, try Morty and Bob’s in Coal Drops Yard for amazing grilled cheese sandwiches, or head to Pancras Square to find fresh Mexican at Tortilla.
Food sorted, you just need somewhere to sit and enjoy it. There are benches around the fountains in Granary Square, while just off the square are the canalside steps, where kids will love watching the boats trundle by. Around the corner (past Waitrose) is Wharf Road Gardens, a quiet grassy area surrounded by flowers, and very handily just beside the Ruby Violet ice cream shop…
Along the towpath is the pretty and secluded Gasholder Park with its circular lawn and dramatic columns. Or, if the little ones need to burn off some steam after lunch, at the top of Coal Drops Yard is Lewis Cubitt Square and Park with fountains, a soft play kit, and an expanse of grass that’s perfect for a runaround.