Here's my list of some of my favourite adult restaurants in Vancouver that we like to go with our little guy. I didn't actually put them in order of preference, as you'll see, each one is so unique that it can't really be compared to the others.
1. HON'S WUN TUN HOUSE
1339 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC
604 685 0871
It's huge. It's fast. It's cheap. And it's the real deal. It's not always as clean as I'd like it. And the service is a little unreliable and curt at times. But if you can focus on the positives here, it's all worth it. Be warned, the menus may blow your mind. At first arrival they hand you a veritable library of them. And note that they will customize anything. As long as you are confident that any language barriers aren't getting in the way, your options are probably infinite. The bowls of wonton soup at the back of the main menu are awesome. You can ask for lean BBQ pork as an add on. Also note that they have two kitchens; one is strictly dedicated to their vegetarian dishes. A nice idea.
2. SHABUSEN YAKINIKU HOUSE
202-755 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC
604 669 3883
For all you can eat sushi and Korean BBQ this place is pretty good. I think the Burrard location is better than the Granville location. The portions are small enough that you can try a variety of things. Kids eat for about $1.50 for each year.
3. SUBEEZ CAFE
891 Homer Street, Vancouver, BC
604 687 6107
This has always been a favourite restaurant of mine. Since pre-baby. It's where my girlfriends and I meet up for a weekend brunch to hang out and chat up the latest with each other. It's very relaxed. It's arty. It's young. You'll see more piercings than you can shake a stick at. If that doesn't scare you, you need to try this place out. Why do I love it so much? The food is just damn good. Consistently damn good. And it's reasonable. The americanos kick it. The breakfasts never disappoint. The sandwiches are yummy. And I'm always pleased with the dinner entree special. Although you rarely see other kids here [except the wait-staff], I'm never worried about bringing our little guy. For one thing, it's loud. The later you go, the louder and darker it gets [you might want to keep that in mind and go earlier if you don't want to overdose on ambiance with your kids]. The music is soothingly, loud, though. So loud that if my guy spontaneously let's out a shriek, it will probably go unnoticed. I take pleasure in that.
4. DOCKSIDE RESTAURANT, GRANVILLE ISLAND HOTEL
1253 Johnston Street, Granville Island, Vancouver, BC
604 685 7070
These guys put on a killer brunch buffet. While it's not in everyone's budget at $25 CDN for adults and $15 for kids 6-12 it is worth a treat with high quality and an impressive variety of delights. Even the pickiest of eaters will find plenty to fill up on here. They also boast an enormous fish tank that grabs the kids' attention. And in the summer, the huge patio overlooks False Creek and gives the munchkins some small run around space if you get a table on the periphery.
5. GRIFFINS, FAIRMONT HOTEL
900 Georgia Street West, Vancouver, BC
604 662 1900
This is just plain good quality food. The dinner buffet [$30] will satisfy any seafood cravings you might have. And the macaroni and cheese will take your child to her happy place in no time. This is not a casual affair. It has cloth napkins, for example. And highly skilled, professional wait staff. Terribly rambunctious behaviour might be frowned upon. As such, we choose to dine early so as to avoid the busy time when it's full of couples dining by candlelight.
6. INDIAN OVEN TANDOORI RESTAURANT
2006 West 4th Ave [at Maple Street], Vancouver, BC
604 730 5069
It's affordable. The butter chicken is where it's at. The chef's background includes cooking for 20 years in some of New Delhi's 5 star hotels. He knows what he's doing. Enough said.
7. SALADE DE FRUITS CAFE BISTRO
1551 West 7th Avenue, Vancouver, BC
604 714 5987
I really love this place. Fantastic French food. Really charming service. Reasonably priced. This is a wee, little place that may not be made with children in mind but it's definitely worth trying to make it work. We time our reservations [recommended] with our little guy's golden times; when he's at his most charming and agreeable. Lunches are always more casual than dinners. Cash only. Closed Sundays and Mondays.
8. DIX BBQ & BREWERY
871 Beatty Street, Vancouver, BC
604 682 2739
Just a big, simple, casual place with good beer and good BBQ. This one is for the meat lovers. It hops so much on game nights, though, that you will have to show up at 5 or 8 in order to get a table. It's probably worth checking the game schedule for hockey and football since both arenas are within a short walking distance.
9. THE NAAM RESTAURANT
2724 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver, BC
604 738 7151
At 30 years of serving Vancouverites vegetarian cuisine, this restaurant is an institution. The food is great. The atmosphere is very casual. The sesame fries with miso gravy [$6] are worth the trip if nothing else. And they make nice salads [$10]. If you're jet-lagged and don't know which way is up, this may be the perfect choice, as it's open 24 hours/day, 7 days/week.
10. CHOPPERS DINER
3298 East 1st, Vancouver, BC
This place is really good value. It serves large breakfasts, all day, for as little as $5. And they're pretty good. The atmosphere is biker/snowborder casual where little ones can roam about if they get antsy. Be warned though, the decore is a little sketchy and you should expect to wait an hour at least for your meals. My advice is to go at off peak times, and bring snacks and activities for the wee people. They also make a vegetarian breakfast that gets good reviews.