We just spent a lovely week on Vancouver Island and I never realized how EASY it is to travel there from Seattle. Since we’ve been doing a lot of road trips by electric car lately, it was a perfect road-trip with the kids from Seattle and we covered a lot of ground and never hit a gas station once! I’ll let you know all the details soon (we used both the Black Ball and BC Ferries so we could take our car) but here are some lovely family friendly restaurants on Vancouver Island just in case you’re headed there with kids soon and are curious where we ate. We stayed in four areas: Victoria, Parksville, Tofino and Ucluelet and they are all a little far apart so make sure you map these restaurants and look up their opening hours before you go.
Famoso Pizza-this is a place we’ve eaten at in Vancouver BC too so it’s awesome that it’s also on Vancouver Island and they have a great wood-fired bubble crusted pizza like Tutta Bella in Seattle that we love. They have a great kid’s meal that comes with ice cream for dessert and they are really near a stationery store I like called the Regional Assembly of Text which is worth slipping out to see while the kids are eating their ice cream.
The kid’s tea at the Empress Hotel-because I am the only girl in the family, I insist that we go to tea at least once a year to combat all the other crazy stuff the guys make me do and we were able to score a last-minute reservation with Opentable which was super convenient. And of course if you’re in Victoria and have any inkling to ever try a high tea, this is the one to do. Because there is a prince or princess tea on the menu, I knew that kids are welcome here and our kids ended up sharing the adult tea for half the price and there was a caffeine-free pineapple tea on the menu that that they enjoyed with a few lumps of sugar. Whatever way you do it, this meal is definitely a little spendy, but the experience is definitely one of a kind and we waddled out of the tearoom with really stuffed bellies.
Kid’s Dinner and a Movie at the Tigh-Na-Mara: I think this is only offered in the summer but if you’re visiting you might want to check out what kid’s programs are available. When we were visiting, I read about a program where kids get to eat a supervised dinner with the hotel’s Kid’s Club Staff and then watch a movie together, while you get a chance to eat a slow-paced meal alone. This seemed brilliant and more places need to do this! (By the way, I was hosted at the Tigh-Na-Mara by Tourism Parksville for Trekaroo, an amazing family travel website and you can read more about my stay here!)
Cuckoo’s at Coombs Market-this isn’t technically Parksville, but about 15 minutes away. People come here from everywhere to see the famous goats on the roof. I could easily spend a few hours here-the grocery store has an amazing selection of foods from all over the world and interesting toys and home goods. There is an ice cream shop and a taco stand. But we were coming back from a day in the Horne Lake Caves and the only place open for dinner was Cuckoo’s and they had a lot of tasty pasta and pizza options for kids on their menu so we had a really nice dinner. We did not see any goats on the roof this time-the weather was pretty wet-but we have seen them before and it is a really cool stop either on its own or as a place to stretch your legs on the way to Tofino from Nanaimo. It was nice having tasty food in a really touristy attraction like this one. We also didn’t get the ice cream here this time, but it is monstrous and there are millions of flavors.
A cheese picnic at Morningstar Farm: my kids could watch the Beecher’s cheese window in Seattle for hours and this is a farm where we watched Brie cheese being made the day we visited so the kids were really thrilled. It was rainy so we didn’t picnic here when we came, but my sister has and she’s been raving about it for years so of course we had to visit. There are many adorable animals on this farm and trails to hike along too!
Radius Food Co: this is a neat little restaurant near Quallicum Beach where we found the best electric car charger we’ve ever seen. My guys enjoyed the eggs and toast and a hot chocolate and I really liked how all the food is local and delicious. The food was hearty and gave us enough energy to row around in our little dinghy while we waited for our car to charge.
Tacofino: I do love this place in Vancouver and there is a kids’ bean burrito which is quite tasty. My husband picked us some tacos from the truck (the ORGINAL TACOFINO!) in Tofino which is known to have huge lineups (apparently you can call in your order if you want to skip the line) and the kid’s “just cheese gringa” was the winner. They were out of their famous chocolate diablo cookie the day we visited but that led us to nearby Chocolate Tofino which has really yummy ice cream so it wasn’t a food defeat at all.
Chocolate Tofino: we took a tub of their hedgehog ice cream back to our hotel and we were sad that we told the kids about it because we had to share.
Kuma : this is Japanese comfort food in Tofino and it’s delicious. They have a yaki-onigari (a grilled rice ball) on the menu during certain hours and we were outside that time frame but they still made a couple for my kids. The chicken karaage or the grilled tofu is a safe bet for kids with a side of rice. We also had a beautiful heirloom tomato salad that was just beautiful.
Sobo: my kids would go back here in a heartbeat for the key lime pie and we loved the tasty kid-friendly choices on the extensive kids’ menu in the Tofino restaurant. There was even a tugboat on the covered patio where kids could go and play. So this is the PERFECT kid-friendly food choice in Tofino and my mom bought me the cookbook so now I have an amazing souvenir too! I really like the inari sushi pockets with smoked salmon and avocado.
Wolf in the Fog: this was one of the restaurants I booked ages before our trip and I didn’t really know if it was kid-friendly or not but I was going to try and sneak them in as grownups because I was desperate to go. It turns out Wolf in the Fog has a kid’s menu and we ended up visiting TWICE because the food, the decor and the ambiance in this restaurant is just amazing. Both times we ate lunch because the kids are better behaved at that time and it was really low-key and wonderful and all the surfing on the tv was mesmerizing for the kids so we had two perfect meals.
Zoe’s Bakery: This is a little bakery a stone’s throw away from the aquarium, and though I am really sad that I didn’t get to visit the Ucluelet Aquarium with my family because I was busy getting ready for a friend’s wedding, I DID get to revisit Zoe’s Bakery with them. They have really delicious pastries and a really adorable shop and what kid doesn’t like a hot chocolate and pastry in the morning or in the afternoon. There are some truly delicious silky peanut butter and chocolate deadly treats in the pastry case that I will dream about for a while.
We also stayed at Black Rock Resort and we had a great meal there at a wedding reception and I noticed they have many kid’s meal options at the resort here too! We also noticed that Vancouver Island has a lot of inclusive eating options from gluten-free to vegetarian so this beautiful island is definitely a great place to visit if eating delicious food is part of your travel itinerary.
Please let me know if you’re headed to Vancouver Island with kids and you want some tips! Otherwise, I should have some posts up soon to tell you all about it. And if you’ve been here, I’d love to hear what your kids liked on the island too! We’re already talking about visiting again soon.