Vegetarian Montreal Sugar Shack – Cabane à Sucre Handfield

When I was a kid, visiting a sugar shack was a total ooey-gooey thrill. The maple syrup on snow and country setting were definitely the major draws but the bacon piled high, pea soup with giant chunks of ham and lots of other non-vegetarian friendly foods were not my fondest memories. A few years ago I learned about Cabane à Sucre Handfield, one of the few sugar shacks close to Montreal that offers both vegetarian and vegan menus. And now it has become one of our family’s annual spring traditions.

We visited this past weekend, just in time as the Cabane à Sucre officially closes for the season on April 29, 2018. About 50 minutes away from Montreal, this is the quintessential sugar shack experience (plaid shirts optional). Upon parking in the adjacent lot, you will be greeted by a big red tractor waiting to bring you down the wooded path to the Cabane. Once you’ve arrived the sweet smell of maple syrup will overwhelm your senses. While there aren’t tons of structured activities, the kids will love just being outside in nature; cozying up by the fire pit, taking a horse and buggy ride or running around the huge yard.

When the time comes for your meal, be sure to strip off a layer as the Cabane can get pretty hot with so many people, hot piping dishes and wood burning ovens. The accordion player clad in leather shorts can attest to that! The meal is served family style with everyone piling on to benches. Tables are set with homemade pickles, coleslaw, beets, cretons, pork rinds and fresh country bread. And no need to bring a high chair, the sugar shack has plenty that clip right on to the table so even the littlest guests will feel part of the festivities.

The main meal includes: pea soup, baked beans (both vegetarian), an omelet, boiled potatoes, smoked ham, sausages and meatballs with gravy. The vegetarian/vegan add-ons, all quite delicious, include lentil cretons, maple lacquered salmon and a tofu stew. It’s a ton of food, all served on giant platters to share but be sure to save room for dessert! We actually ask for the pancakes ahead of time so the kids can eat them as part of their meal. Other dessert items include mini sugar pies, pound cake drizzled with caramel sauce and donuts. And then there’s the highly-anticipated maple syrup on snow…

It’s a totally delicious, family-friendly way to celebrate spring’s arrival!

Cabane à Sucre Handfield
555, rue Richelieu
Saint-Marc-Sur-Richelieu, Québec
J0L 2E0
Reservations required
Weekend pricing: Adults, $29.50 Kids (4-12), $16, Kids (0-3), Free

 

Parenting Challenge: Raising Good Little People

Once a month I have the opportunity to sit down with a lovely group of moms in a parlour group that we formed at the beginning of the school year. We all have kids in grade 3, and for most of us, these are our eldest children. We meet with a moderator who, in our case, is a social worker and mom of four kids/teens. She leads our group with professional insight and actionable tips. The past 7 months have been an eye-opening experience as a parent and have definitely sparked conversations with my husband about our parenting style and personal realizations for me as a mother.

control freak

My biggest discovery is that while Leo was a baby I lost control. No, my house didn’t turn into a mess and my kids weren’t left with what to eat. Rather, I was trying to juggle all three, as a working mom, so hard that I let far too many things slip through the cracks. Bad behaviour. Bad language. Too much iPad.

I’m not saying that I’m a bad mom. I don’t think I am, actually. But I do realize that in these formative years for Hannah and Alex, I didn’t give them the foundation of how to be really good people. But it’s not too late. I take comfort in knowing that I can change the way they act, think and see relationships.

the truth about parenting

The two biggest learnings I have taken away from my parlour group are:

  1. Parenting is a hard job.
    It takes constant work, consistency, patience and determination.
  2. Every child should be given the opportunity be a good person.
    In order to do so they have to be responsible, respectful and independent, while realizing that getting what you wants take work.

Inevitably, if we work really hard at #1, then #2 won’t be too difficult for them to achieve. The harder we work at doing our jobs properly, the easier and more natural it will be for them to come out as good citizens of the world.

so what’s next?

Now I put my foot down. I don’t give them a second chance. There is no next time because if I say something is unacceptable it shouldn’t and won’t happen again.

  • I follow through.
  • Screen time is limited every day of the week. (Checking out a new app suggested by friends called OurPact, ever heard of it?)
  • We go outside and play together as much as possible.
  • I pick our top priorities – behavioural issues that we want to fix. Once we’ve crossed one off our list we move on to the next.
  • I watch what I say and do because they inevitably mirror my behaviour.
  • I don’t assume they know why everything they do is bad but take the time to explain right and wrong.
  • I realize that every moment is a teaching moment.
  • I continue loving my kids unconditionally and keep the lines of communication open.

Sounds exhausting, right? But kids are like sponges so I’m hoping that in a matter of weeks, together with my husband, we can pull a 180 on our kids and everyone will come out on top. And deep down I know they can be better than good and are already on the road to become great little people.

 

 

Our Top 10 Healthy Snacks for Kids

Since Hannah started bringing her lunch to school four years ago, I have been on the hunt for healthy snacks for kids that require minimal prep, are nut-free and have a short list of natural ingredients. Here are our family’s top 10 favourites.

Read more ›

Do Nut Deny Yourself – Go To Doughnats Now

My daughter Hannah has a sweet tooth. If you’ve seen my Instagram feed lately, you’ll notice a smattering of donut photos every few weeks. That’s because going to Doughnats is one of her greatest pleasures. She hasn’t quite expressed in words what she loves so much about this Montreal donut shop but I think its the combination of delicious bites, bright pink branding and super-friendly staff who have come to know her by name. While I try to play the part of the healthy mom, I will admit that the sweet smell of dough wafting down Decarie usually has my mouth watering before even stepping into the shop. So if you do nut know this sweet shop yet, here’s a rundown of why I do nut want you to deny yourself….

season 4

Every few months, Doughnats switches up its donut game with a new flavour menu. The writer in me loves the witty names while the wanna-be baker is consistently amazed by the delicious flavour combinations. If you pop into the shop on any given day you’ll have the chance to try a few of Hannah’s favourites including:

  • Flap Attack – maple syrup glaze, stack of mini pancakes & a shot of maple syrup
  • Ore-Doh – vanilla glaze, Oreo & crumb topping
  • Birthday Drake – vanilla glaze & sprinkles, white sprinkle cake & pudding filling
  • Cinder(Nut)Ella – sugar rolled & Nutella filled

Mouth watering yet?

allergen free

Doughnats prides itself on being a peanut free facility, but Chef Nat has taken it a step further with her Triple Threat donuts. Gluten free, vegan and 100% organic, they are baked, not fried making them a healthier choice. These donuts go quickly everyday so be sure to place your order ahead of time if you’re looking to accommodate specific dietary restrictions.

cookies & more

While Doughnats originally launched as a donut shop a few other products have recently launched. Their new cookie bar features an assortment of sprinkles, chocolate chip and more cookies for the non-donut crowd and don’t forget about the just-released milk chocolate mini whippets. Jars of vegan chocolate chip cookie dough (no eggs!) are also available and I dare you to just have one spoonful at a time!

sweet celebration

Doughnats also offers an alternative to cake for your next celebration. Donuts can be shaped into letters to form a special message, like Hannah’s birthday surprise. Donuts can also be branded, personalized and turned into your kids’ favourite characters. The options are endless and the recipient will get a thrill of sliding open their box of sweets to see what’s inside. The staff is super helpful in customizing your special order. Keep an eye on the Doughnat’s Instagram account for special holiday themed donuts too!

Doughnats, 5319 Decarie., 514-660-2699, closed Mondays.

*This blog post is 100% unpaid. Hannah and I are just super fans of this great local business and we wanted to share our donut love with you!

10 Things to Do in Montreal during Spring Break 2018

Keeping your kids entertained, happy and enthusiastic during spring break is anything but easy. Especially when trying to maintain a budget. Because if you had hundreds of dollars to spend you would be on a beach, right? So how do you keep your sanity, keep their boredom at bay and spare your bank account during march break 2018? Here is my round up of 10 family-friendly activities in Montreal taking place between March 3-11.

1. Mont Avila sugar shack & snow tubing

Spring has come early to Montreal so why not hit up a sugar shack over march break? Cozy up by the fireplace for a typical sweet meal  including pea soup, omelettes, beans and sugar pie. This year, the shack will also be offering vegetarian and vegan menu options on the weekends. Take advantage of a special promotion going on now – have a hearty meal and then get 2-for-1 entry to the nearby tubing park, valid for the rest of the winter 2018 season.

pricing: sugar shack – $18/Adults, $12.50/6-12yrs, $3/5&under
2. spring break at bota bota spa

Exclusively during spring break, this Old Montreal spa will be allowing children 8 years and up to visit its water circuits, when accompanied by an adult. Entry prices range between $35-$60 depending on the time of day and day of the week. Massages are also available in 25-60 minute increments and free introductory classes in yoga and meditation will be offered daily. Spots are limited in the classes and reservations are required.

pricing: massages – $35/25 minutes, $80/60 minutes
3. indigo kids spring break escape

With daily free activities at 11am, a trip to the bookstore may be on repeat this week. From arts & crafts activities to building challenges to a costume parade, kids of all ages can get in on the fun. And you can take a break for an hour with a good magazine in hand! Registration is required in advance.

pricing: free
4. march break science fun

Over the course of the week the Redpath Museum will be offering daily activities between 11am and 2pm. Kids will have the opportunity to learn about a variety of themes including dinosaurs, volcanoes, mummies and more. Come as you are, no reservations required.

pricing: free
5. hockey week at pointe-à-callière museum

Head down to this museum in the Old Port between 11am and 5pm to immerse your kids in the world of hockey. They can join a pickup game on ice (no skates required), play an interactive hockey quiz and warm up at the Tim Horton’s food truck – hot chocolate for them and a latté for you. If you’re planning this one into your calendar, try to make it on March 5th when Youppi himself will make a special appearance.

pricing: free
6. montreal science centre spring break promo

Make it a day out in the Old Port with this amazing deal. Watch an IMAX movie with a medium sized popcorn. The movies currently screening include: Tiny Giants 3D, Amazon 3D and Incredible Predators 3D . Once the film is over, get their energy out on the open-air Natrel skating rink, just a few steps away.

pricing: $20/person
7. cineplex family favourites

This great weekend promotion will be taking place during spring break week at select Cineplex theatres throughout the province. Choose from four different movies, screening everyday at 11am: Wonder, Ferdinand, Boss Baby and Despicable Me 3.

pricing: $2.99/person
8. bfly on a budget

I’ve been meaning to try out this Brossard-based experience where kids can walk around amidst hundreds of butterflies. So when I saw this amazing deal on Tuango I snatched up a family pass (2 adults and 2 children). You can too by clicking on the title above!

pricing: $24.90/family
9. snowboarding in ddo

Have your kids been begging you to try snowboarding but the thought of standing in the ticket line, the rental line and hiring a private instructor seem too daunting? March 11 is your last opportunity to take advantage of the city of Dollard’s amazing Mysnow Experience. Kids between the ages of 5 and 8 can try their feet at boarding between 10am and 3pm on weekends in Centennial Park.

pricing: free
10. STM family outings

While riding the bus and subway may be a thrill for some kids, it also saves parents a lot of money in parking, especially downtown. During spring break, the STM is offering children between the ages of 6 and 11 free fare when accompanying a paid adult.

 

Do you have other activities on your spring break list? Share them in the comments below!

May your spring break be super and your sanity stay intake!

Family Trip Destinations: Rockport, Massachusetts

While many are packing up, getting ready to head off on a spring break getaway, before you know it summer will have arrived. (The current Montreal temperatures certainly have us feeling that way at least!) And as we all know, it’s never too early to plan for that next family trip. Chalets on the lake Up North are getting booked, beach houses in Ogonquit, Maine have been reserved since last summer. So I wanted to share one of our family’s most favourite nearby destinations to add to your list of options.

I started visiting Rockport, Massachusetts when I was a kid. We would travel there every summer with different families and my memories of this little quaint, fishing town are ever-lasting. We’ve been going back since Hannah was just 18 months old,  creating family memories of our own.

About a five hour drive from Montreal (we split ours up with a stop in Stowe, Vermont) this is a do-able destination with kids in the car. Here are my top picks to make your family trip to Rockport a great one:

where to stay

We always dream about having a house of our own on the beach and have even visited a few in anticipation of future visits. But year after year we keep coming back to the Rockport Inn & Suites. For me, it means no laundry, dishes or cleaning up. For the kids it means swimming in a pool and getting to use fun cereal machines at breakfast (their only chance during the year to eat Fruit Loops). A typical motel, we opt for a suite room which includes a den on the main floor with pull-out couch, microwave and mini fridge. Upstairs, mom and dad (and more recently Leo) have our own loft with a vaulted ceiling and a skylight.. It’s just the right amount of separation for a family trip. With on-site tennis courts, an indoor pool for when it’s too hot or rainy and a hot tub, the hotel amenities are exactly what we need. Prices for suites are around $200USD/night when you book early. The hotel is pet-friendly too with lots of green space. We’ve never brought our dogs along since we spend most of our days out.

where to eat

Lobster rolls with a view at The Lobster Pool

It took us a good four years to discover The Lobster Pool and now a trip is not complete without a visit to this casual restaurant on the water. The food is good but the views are even better. Come for sunset and you’ll be eating a lobster roll next to one of the most beautiful scenes ever. There are plenty of options for the kids but be warned: vegetables are a bit hard to come by. The Lobster Pool is also BYOB.

A short drive away from Rockport is the town of Gloucester is The Market Restaurant. The husband and wife chef team received their training at Chez Panisse and serve farm to table fare in a beautiful setting. While the restaurant is on the fancier end for kids, we like to go for breakfast or brunch and sit out on the terrace over the cove.

A few of our other favourites include Top Dog of Rockport for super casual hot dogs with lots of topping options, authentic Italian subs and salads at Virgilio’s Bakery in Gloucester and ordering pizza on the beach from Mike’s Place (my mouth waters just thinking about their Melenzane pizza with eggplant, ricotta and caramelized onions.) For a good cup of coffee and doughnuts for the kids, go to Brother’s Brew Coffee Shop, about a 15 minute lovely morning walk from the hotel.

Iced coffee and donuts from Brothers Brew Coffee Shop

where to play

The bridge to Good Harbor Beach

The main reason we keep going back to Rockport is the beach. The ocean may be too cold to swim in when we typically travel in late June but a sandy beach is my family’s happy place. Click here for a complete guide to the area’s beaches. Our most favourite beaches include Good Harbor, Wingaersheek and Half Moon in Stage Fort Park. The first two are large family-friendly beaches. Good Harbor is wide and open with beautiful lighthouse views while Wingaersheek is long and narrow with tons of rocks to climb on as an additional source of entertainment. Half Moon is a tiny cove great for a quick taste of the beach and shell hunting.

One of our favourite Gloucester beaches

beach tip 1:

Pack your own lunch. While plenty of healthy options are available at the snack shacks, lunch for a family of five can get expensive. we bring our own and then let the kids get a treat.

beach tip 2:

Plan one of your beach days for the evening. By arriving after 4pm you will avoid the crowds and parking fees. Pack dinner or order pizza and watch the sunset.

what to do

Brothers swinging at Stage Fort Park

On non-beach days there are plenty of other activities to keep your family entertained. We recently discovered the Maritime Gloucester where you can learn about sea life and boats. They have a small aquarium featuring local marine life and even offer drop-off programs for older kids.

Walk through Bearskin Neck to experience Rockport’s local artists, see Motif No. 1 the famous, photo-worthy red building adorned with colourful buoys and watch salt water taffy being made at Tuck’s Candy.

My kids adore the playground at Stage Fort Park which has a combination of new equipment like a climbing wall and older attractions like a lighthouse and wooden ship. Sign up for a whale watching tour, visit the nearby Salem Witch museum or make the 20 minute drive to the nearby Target in Danvers, you know you want to! On a rainy day, the Children’s Museum in Boston is another great option. It’s about a 45 minute drive away.

Every year we plan our trip so that it coincides with Gloucester’s St Peter’s Fiesta. It’s a traditional Italian festival celebrating the infamous local fisherman with a full-on carnival with rides and games. The Greasy Pole contest features brave daredevils who attempt to walk on a  greased pole out over the harbour. It’s quite a comedic site to watch. The 2018 festival takes place from Thursday June 28 to Sunday July 1.

A good old fashioned family fair takes place every June.

So there you have it. The makings of an amazing family trip this summer. And please note. I do keep calling it a family trip for a reason. Travelling with younger kids is never really a vacation. It will be tiring and there will be temper tantrums and lots of arguing in the back seat, so you won’t get to really rest. But you will be creating a lifetime of memories.

“This is Us” Inspired Fire Safety for Kids

Hands up from everyone who shed a tear watching the highly-anticipated episode of This Is Us when we finally learned how Jack passed away. An emotional roller coaster of a show, This Is Us usually has me in tears on a weekly basis. And while this week was no different, it actually sparked a conversation in my house that we never thought of addressing: fire safety for kids, and the entire household for that matter.

My almost 9-year-old daughter Hannah urged me to watch the fire scene after hearing that mommy was crying the night before. And without thinking too much about it, I let her and her brother Alex watch it. And then I realized that I made a mistake. Or rather not a mistake but that I needed a plan to address a topic that had them terrified.

be prepared: smoke detectors

My husband pointed out that I failed to mention that the batteries in the Pearson family’s smoke detector did not work. A factor that would have avoided the tragic fire in the first place. Which immediately led us to show our kids our two smoke detectors and the Nest Alarm we have installed that will alert us via an app on our iPhones.

We sat down to talk about other fire safety issues which came out in an unstructured way. Since our discussion I’ve taken out a few books from the local library and now we’re all on the same page when it comes to fire safety.

prevention: playing with fire

Here are a few things you can teach your kids to keep your house safe to minimize the chance of a fire.

  • Never leave a candle or fire unattended.
  • Don’t ever play with matches.
  • Keep paper and towels away from hot appliances.
  • Unplug appliances (crockpot!) when leaving the house for long periods of time.
practice makes perfect

Nobody wants to think of the worst but it’s always best to have a plan to keep your family as safe as possible in the case of a fire.

  • Let them hear what the smoke detector alarm sounds like.
  • Have an exit plan. Know where you will exit the house and how you will get outside (ie. rope, sheets, ladder…)
  • Make a meeting spot once outside, such as a neighbour’s driveway.
  • Pick one person who will be responsible for the family pet.
  • Practice with a fire drill at home.
important things to remember

These additional tips are worth stressing to make sure everyone gets out safe:

  • Never go back inside for anything.
  • Touch all doors with the back of your hand before opening them.
  • Crawl on the floor if there is smoke in the air.
  • Use a blanket or towel to cover the bottom of the door to keep the smoke out.

The panic that set in for my kids after watching the show has already disappeared in one week’s time. Our family discussion and fire exit plan put them at ease and minimized their fears. So while I may have shed a few extra tears in front of the TV, “This Is Us” just scored another point in my books – one that will keep my family a little safer.

Montreal March Break Camps 2018

I admit it. I have been dying to go away for March break. The concept of lying on a beach at an all-inclusive resort sounds just about perfect right now. No laundry. No cooking. No dirty dishes. No snow. No cold…. But it’s not happening this year. Unless I can convince the PR people at Air Transat (wink wink) so instead I am spending my time online researching Montreal March break camps.

If I’m not going away, then I’m working and I need to keep the big kids busy while Leo is in daycare. Luckily, there are quite a few March break programs offered in Montreal during the week of the 5th. And in case you’re in the same position as me (daydreaming but staying right here in the cold) I’ve rounded up some of my favourites in Montreal.

Dynamix & everblast march break camp

My kids have actually attended this camp for the past few years and may very likely go back again in 2018. Besides the fact that it’s very close to home for us, I like that you don’t have to commit to the entire week but can sign up on a daily basis. This is great if you’re able to get away for a long weekend or just want to take a day off to spend with the kids during their break. This camp, for kids 5-12 years old, focuses on team building skills and sportsmanship through games, obstacle courses and sports. My kids especially love laser tag day!

location: cote saint luc chalet, $210/week or $50/day
concordia athletics spring break camps

Home to the Stingers, the Loyola campus sports dome offers three spring break camps: soccer, flag football and multisport. All of the camps are led by varsity athletes and coaches with a focus on technical skills, building self-confidence and teamwork.The three camps are co-ed and multisport is open to kids 6-14 years old while soccer and flag football are for kids 8-14 years old.

location: Concordia ahtletic complex, $190-$210/week
bricks 4 kidz transformations camp

What kid doesn’t love Lego, right? So what better way to spend their time off than building. This camp’s focus is on 2-in-1 models including robots, vehicles and more and is geared to kids 5-12 years old. It runs the whole week.

location: unitarian church (downtown), $250/week
segal centre academy

Have a kid who leans more to the artistic side? Send them off to theatre camp where they will spend the week working on a mini musical that will be presented to you on the final day. Kids will receive training in drama, singing, dancing and circus.The spring break academy is open to students in grades 2-6.

location: segal centre for the performing arts, $250/week
MINI R.E.C. BY LE R.E.C. ROOM

Jump to page 28 on the recreation guide linked above to find more information about this local spring break camp. Open to kids from K-3, this is a great option for the younger set to not get lost in the big kid shuffle. A variety of activities are offered including science, Gymkata, sports, art and more. Plus, you can sign up on a daily basis for more flexibility.

location: cote saint luc aquatic centre, $45/day
rod roy snow camp

March break really is the perfect time to hit the slopes but if you can’t swing a ski vacation, this is a great alternative. So many of the local hills offer spring break camps but I can’t figure out how to get my kids up to the mountain without spending 3 hours/day in the car and lots of time in the chalet. Enter Rod Roy. Open to kids 8-13, every morning they’ll pile on to a bus and hit a different hill in the Laurentians for this 4-day camp. Programs are available for new skiers (6 hours of lessons) and different levels of supervision are available to those who already know how to get down a beginner trail. Equipment rentals are also available.

location: bus pickup at either jean talon/decarie or fairview shopping centre, $303-$393/4 days, rentals additional

How to Deal with a Family of Picky Eaters

I wish I had the answer to this question. But with three kids with three different sets of taste buds, likes and dislikes, dinner time at our house isn’t the easiest. Some nights I find myself making three or more meals. I can usually get Leo eating whatever my husband and I are having but Hannah and Alex have very specific meal choices and barely like any of the same foods. So, what’s a mom to do with a bunch of picky eaters?

watermelon, white rice and way too much milk

I’d like to call myself a pretty healthy eater. Ever since I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes when I was 28 weeks pregnant with Leo I have cut out almost all white sugar and unrefined carbohydrates from my diet. I use avocado oil, almond flour and coconut sugar in my baking and eat mostly sprouted grains. While this way of life may be too extreme for my kids (and even my husband who graciously eats my meals every night) I think there’s a middle ground to be found between their favourite meals and my healthy cooking. I need help finding it, dealing with these three picky eaters…

hannah the vegetarian

I joke with her that she is carb-loading at every snack and meal. While she has the physique of a green bean, my eldest has recently sworn off meat (no problem for this vegetarian mom) but now refuses to eat tofu too. Her main sources of protein at the moment are nuts (not allowed at school) and beans. But really, she’s not much of a vegetarian seeing as the only produce she’ll eat is an apple and an occasional carrot stick, if it’s dipped in hummus. Her cheese sticks and yogurts always make their way back home from school too…

alex the hot dog eating champion

Words of truth. If he could, this kid would eat a hot dog every meal of the day. Luckily I was able to find organic, all-beef, nitrate-free hot dogs (thank you Applegate Farms!) that I let him have about 3 times a week. Aside from that he is a great fruit and vegetable eater, albeit me having to track down watermelon (his favourite) in the middle of the winter.

Leo the milkman

Yes, he is still young enough to be molded. I know it takes at least 10 tries for kids to dislike a food but because of the shtick of the other two I end up giving Leo the same foods over and over. Or better yet, a bottle of milk. Yes, he is 21 months and still loves his bottle (we got rid of the pacifier a few months ago…one challenge at a time!) When Leo sees a box of pizza coming in the front door he screams “pita, pita” in glee waiting for his slice. He loves his fruits but I seem to be steamrolling him down Alex’s cucumber train as the main veggie served at dinner time. I want to give him the opportunity to love all food, but it’s been easier said than done.

sos cries from this mom chef

So there you have it. My three challenges. I’ve tried many things. Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious cookbooks. Adding “trying a new healthy food” on to their chore charts. Protein plus spaghetti. But the only meal they will all eat is takeout pizza or a bowl of Cheerios.

I’m stuck. Any tricks to share? What is a meal that all of your kids love that leans to the healthier side?

 

Kid Friendly Restaurants in Montreal: Souvlaki Bar

Last Sunday I didn’t feel like cooking, cleaning dishes or watching my kids pick over a home-cooked meal. We don’t go to restaurants too often with our three kids in tow but it just felt like the night to take a chance and get a table for five. But where to go? I have a limited repertoire of kid friendly restaurants in Montreal but wanted to try something new. I took my query to my trusted Montreal Moms Facebook group and got a handful of responses. The one that seemed to get top reviews was Souvlaki Bar. I had never heard of this restaurant chain before but after a quick look at the website it seemed to check off all the family-friendly boxes.

what makes a restaurant kid friendly?

My kids tend to lean to the picky side so finding a restaurant that satisfies everyone’s taste buds is definitely important but so are these factors:

  • Noise. Wherever we go the background noise has to be louder than my kids. Enough said.
  • Entertainment. I’ve learned to pack stickers and flashcards in my diaper bag because the typical crayons and kids’ menu usually won’t do. We try to avoid devices while dining out but if necessary they’ll usually come out during the second half of the meal when we’re wrapping up.
  • Parking. The night we went out was just after a snow storm. Pulling into a parking lot is certainly easier than circling the block with hungry kids in the backseat.
  • Staff. I think my kids are pretty cute but not everyone is charmed by their good looks. Dining out is always a more pleasant experience when the waitstaff engages with our family.
souvlaki bar

With five locations across Montreal, Souvlaki Bar is an excellent family-friendly option. While there are plenty of Greek restaurant chains to choose from, this is one that not only offers delicious food at reasonable prices, but parents can actually daydream about being whisked away to the Greek isles for a short while. The décor is white and blue, but not in a cheesy way. It’s airy and light with quirky sayings plastered on the walls. Plus, my husband was beyond thrilled to find traditional Greek frappe coffee on the drink menu.

Ambiance aside, Souvlaki Bar has a menu to please everyone. From the standard souvlaki pitas and chicken sticks to spanakopita and calamari all the favourites can be found here. And the fun factor is upped by a variety of potato dishes, including a Greek take on poutine with tzatziki instead of gravy and feta in place of cheese curds. I’m a vegetarian but the meat shovels are a popular item, perfect for sharing.

In all honesty, I got my children excited about heading out for dinner that night with the promise of a blue-raspberry slush to accompany their kids’ meals. A dose of sugar preceded a healthier chicken stick with rice and deliciously seasoned fries. And the three of them partook in the ice cream dessert together…

Thanks to the many moms for the suggestion. Now it’s my turn to pass along the review and encourage you to take a night off from being the family chef and chief dish washer!