They say your priorities change once you become a parent. Truer words have never been spoken – especially when it comes to eating out.
Back in the old, pre-baby days, my Partner-in-Crime (PiC) and I used to go on this thing called “dates”. We would watch a movie or maybe stroll around, and then dine at whatever restaurant was nearest or whatever we craved that time.
Five years later, with a little bundle of joy and mischief in tow, our dining habits have changed – to say the least. When eating out with our kid (because obviously we can no longer go out without our tiny human), not only do we think of the food, the ambience, the customer service, or the price. We also have to consider whether or not the restaurant has…
a high chair!
Many times it has become a life-saver, giving us a moment of reprieve from the constant struggles of parenthood (like getting to enjoy a decent meal after several failed attempts of feeding a squirming kid).
Fortunately, most of the restaurants we’ve been to do not only offer high chairs but also all the little ingredients that make for a pleasant dining experience, such as: a warm and friendly staff, diners tolerant of kids, and a flexible kitchen open to the whims of a child’s palate.
For parents (especially those who are new to all this parenting thing) who would like to finally get out of the house and enjoy a meal with their kid but are not sure where best to go, I’ve put together a list of the most child friendly restaurants in Cebu you should check out.
With the restaurant’s hotel setting and luxurious interiors, “child friendly” is probably the last word you’d use to describe it. But on the several occasions that we’ve dined there, I’d say Buffet 101 is pretty child friendly.
For starters, they offer high chairs! My PiC and I were able to take turns in getting food from the buffet and looking after the kid.
Their staff were also friendly and courteous. And of course, the food. It helps that they have a wide selection of food (wide is an understatement. They serve over 300 Asian and Western dishes!!) because I have a picky eater in tow. (When in doubt, go for watermelon.)
The staff also sang and danced for birthday celebrants. But while I enjoyed it, the little cub did not. He looked at the performers aghast, so I picked him up before he could cry. Eventually though, he started to smile and laugh at the performers, and even clapped and sang along with them.
Location: City Times Square, 168 Mantawi International Drive, Brgy. Tipolo, Mandaue City
Price: From Monday to Friday, lunch is at PHP599 while dinner is at PHP799 per person. On holidays and weekends, the rate is PHP799 per person. Senior citizens (70 years old and above) enjoy a 50% discount, while kids below 3.5ft eat for free.
Chika-an sa Cebu
If you’re looking for the comfort and homey feel of Filipino food, then Chika-an sa Cebu is the perfect place to tickle your taste buds. Well-lit and spacious, Chika-an sa Cebu has a warm and inviting atmosphere, making it an ideal place for casual family dining.
This restaurant ticked all the boxes for me. High chairs were available and the food was delicious. The service was also good except for a minor problem: the crispy pata, the restaurant’s pièce de résistance, was served late.
The place can get noisy (but not too noisy) when full, with some kids running around and diners enjoying animated conversations. But I don’t think it’s a bad thing. If anything, I think it even makes the restaurant more appealing to families. The noise makes the place non-threatening for parents who might be anxious about their kids ruining the dining experience of others.
Location: Salinas Drive, Cebu City
Filipino food. High chairs. Spacious and welcoming atmosphere. I guess you can see the pattern now. PiC and I aren’t very adventurous with food – at least when we’re out with the kid – so we go for tried-and-tested restaurants that serve dishes our taste buds are at home with.
Kuya J has five branches in Cebu, and we’ve been to two: SM and Escario branches. So far, our dining experience has been consistent. The staff was friendly and made sure our needs were accommodated. And when the kid got fidgety, they graciously let him play with the toy car on their display shelf (SM branch).
The food was also good. We loved their crab rice, sisig, and ribs! We ordered bulalo because you can never go wrong with sabaw for kids. And did I mention they offer unli-rice? For a breastfeeding mom like me, who’s always hungry, unli-rice is a big deal.
Location: Corner Tojong Street, 15 N Escario St, Cebu City
Upper Ground Floor, Mountain Wing, SM Seaside City Cebu, SRP
Second Floor, The Terraces, Ayala Center Cebu
Upper Ground Floor, SM City Consolacion
Upper Ground Floor, SM City Cebu
Lantaw Native Restaurant
Lantaw has definitely picked their locations well so diners can have something to “lantaw” (Cebuano for “to look out”) to while enjoying their meals. They have a floating restaurant in Cordova, one in Busay with an awesome view of the metro, and another along SRP. We’ve been to Cordova and Busay, and I think our family enjoyed the former better than the latter only because my mom was so nervous during the long uphill drive to Busay. The kid also enjoyed looking at the fish in Cordova, although I was terribly afraid he would fall because he kept saying “babath” (take a bath).
But other than the ambiance and views, there is nothing special with Lantaw. The food and service was okay. If you want crispy pata, Chika-an’s version is a better one. Or if you want scallops, Kuya J’s offers a much tastier dish.
Cafe Racer was the first restaurant we went to as a family because PiC was curious of the vintage automobile/racing concept, and thought our kid (who was only 4 months at the time) would also enjoy the place because of the cars. But boy, did we learn a lot.
When we went there, the place was packed and loud. There were also no high chairs and the seats weren’t that comfortable, which means it was definitely not the place to bring a small kid. The food was also okay, nothing special. The only consolation was that the staff who served us was friendly and even helped us hail a cab going home. The interiors were interesting and Instagram-worthy, which makes it more of a barkada hangout instead of a place for families. But I think we will come back when the kid gets a bit older, especially because he and his dad share a love for cars!
This is by no means an exhaustive list. As my little family and I continue to try out new places, I’ll surely update this. But in the meantime, these are the best child friendly restaurants in Cebu we stick to and recommend. But of course, if there are other places you’d like to recommend, feel free to comment below or send me a message here.