Oh how we wish every Irish restaurant welcomed our mini diners with open arms, realised that if they don't get opportunities to eat out they'll never learn restaurant etiquette, and understood that food-loving parents are the perfect 5pm table-filler, back out the door before seven to tackle bedtime (which good food and wine may make marginally easier). We have a way to go to compete with cities like Sorrento, Seville or San Sebastian, where younger diners are welcomed with more gusto than their parents, and everywhere from corner cafés to Michelin-stars, well-behaved children sit calmly for meals, their parents enjoy a carafe of wine, families catch up, all is well in the world.
The good news is there are plenty of Dublin restaurants choosing not to freeze out the next generation (and their tired caretakers), trusting parents not to let their child run riot, throw food, or ask for chicken nuggets when it's not on the menu. We have our favourites, but also asked you guys where you and your little ones feel welcomed and looked after, and we aren't mentioning chains because you know about them and we don't eat in them (sorry not sorry).
This article isn't about places serving margherita pizzas and chicken goujons. It's about where we want to eat, where taking kids doesn't make you feel like a pariah, with places that have high chairs, and either changing facilities or enough space so that you can change a nappy without baby and/or Mum/Dad having a claustrophobic meltdown.
Osteria Lucio, Grand Canal Dock
The constantly heaving Osteria Lucio at Grand Canal Dock opens at 17:00, perfect for an early evening bite with the family (although you'll have to fight the dockland workers for tables). The predominantly pizza/pasta based menu is made for sharing, there's high chairs, and it's so buzzy that any outdoor voices at the table will be nicely drowned out.
Nightmarket have always been the ideal setting to introduce younger diners to the spice, sweet and sour of Thai food. Their children's menu contains the most minor of compromises with zero dumbing down or freezer food, and they're always happy to see families coming.
Ian's Kitchen, Kimmage
New opening Ian's Kitchen in Kimmage claims to have the best value kid's menu in D12, and it's hard to argue with eggs on toast for €3.50, banana bread French toast for €4.50, and free pancakes for kids on Sundays (with an adult who's eating). Their sister fried chicken truck Cluck also feed kids for free on Sundays, making it even more appealing to take the family out for food.
The owners of Coal in Blackrock have two young children and say they know how important it is to promote a healthy diet for them, and that everything on their kids menu is "100% real". This is the only reason we've let somewhere serving chicken goujons make the list (at least they're not from the freezer), but there's also burgers, penne with cream and bacon, roast chicken, and garlic prawns in lemon butter. Their three course kids menu is €15 (supplement for the prawns), including garlic bread to start and a dessert, and our readers rave about the treatment younger diners get.
China Sichuan, Sandyford
Despite being closer to the fine dining category than most Chinese restaurants in Dublin, loads of you told us you love taking your children to China Sichuan, praising staff's happiness to adjust dishes to cater for them, and make sure younger diner leave as happy as the older ones.
Pala Pizza & Trattoria, Foxrock
Pala Pizza is trattoria by name, trattoria by nature, and that means families are their number uno. Children eat free between 17:00 - 18:00 on Wednesdays and Thursday (for real) while Mom and Dad can chow down on antipasti, carbonara or pork Milanese, all accompanied by something from their excellent wine list. It's busy, it's buzzy, and every dish will have all ages fighting over it.
Bar Italia, Dublin 1
Another Italian that will welcome your little ones with open arms is Bar Italia on Ormond Quay. The giant pinsas (Roman pizzas), pasta specials and steaks shouldn't elicit any cries of "I'm not eating that", and it's spacious and busy enough so that any mini tantrums shouldn't make you want the ground to swallow you in one bite.
Lucky Tortoise, Temple Bar
Lucky Tortoise in Temple Bar have just introduced a children's menu, with chicken noodles; chicken strips and rice; and pork dumplings and rice priced at €8-9. If it was us though we'd just go for some adult "all in"s (€31pp) and share the lot. There's plenty of space and it's so central that it should be easy enough to make a quick dash home for bedtime once you're done.
Krewe, Capel Street
When we asked where our readers have had great experiences eating with their children, Krewe came up again and again. Accommodating staff, the type of food kids love, and a buzzy, music-filled atmosphere so no hiding under the table if your little darlings are a little too vocal.
The kids menu at Daata is just like a mini version of the main menu, but at €14 for three courses. Samosas, chicken tikka skewers, coconut curry, and chicken tikka masala all feature, with a brownie and ice-cream for dessert.
Flower & Bean, Dublin 8
All parents, but especially parents of young children, need great places to go for coffee and cake, and Flower & Bean surpasses all expectations when it comes to catering for kids in cafés. There's a children's corner with books, games and a blackboard to draw on, and even a children's toilet set in the bathroom, so no possibility of falling into the bowl while toilet training. You're guaranteed at least ten minutes peace.
Risorante Romano, Capel Street
Romano's on Capel Street looks like it hasn't changed a beat since opening in the 1980's, complete with crispy paper tablecloths, a gauche colour scheme and terrible wine glasses. It's Italian through and through, and that includes their attitude to younger diners, who will be fawned over and treated like the real VIPs. The pizzas and pastas are good (if not the best in town) and the prices are low - especially the early bird.
FX Buckley, Various Locations
Steak loving parents have told us that FXB is the place to be with kids, with accommodating staff, extra sauces (what sane children wouldn't try to drink the béarnaise) and never being made to feel guilty for bringing a child out to eat. We've also been told they don't rush slow eaters, and if necessary will move families to the bar or garden for dessert.
Walking into Grano in Stoneybatter is like walking into Sicily, so it's no surprise that they're just as welcoming to younger diners as they are to the older ones. Curious children staring over at the pasta making station are often welcomed over to make their own, with owner Roberto sending them home with their creations.
Hen's Teeth, Dublin 8
Hen's Teeth serve food from 4pm on Thursday and Friday and 12pm on weekends, including the rarely seen but always welcome Sunday roast, which brings all the boys and girls to D8. The good news is that they can bring their little boys and girls with them, as the lovely team are more than happy to wheel out the highchairs and move things around for hungry parents.
Charlotte Quay, Grand Canal Dock
Charlotte Quay serves Mediterranean small plates and mains, and sitting outside on their terrace on a warm day with a glass of fizz in hand (and baby firmly strapped into high chair as there's water everywhere), is maternity leave lunch goals.
Sprezzatura, Dublin 8 & Rathmines
What's cuter than a baby eating spaghetti and meatballs? A baby eating cacio e pepe. Sprezzatura's casual atmosphere, small plates and carb heavy menu makes it an ideal choice for families, and a monumental step up from the Italian chains frequented by most families.
Las Tapas De Lola, Dublin 2
Las Tapas De Lola is Spanish in food, and Spanish in attitude, so expect babies to be fawned over by the lovely staff. Tapas are also the perfect way to introduce your mini-gourmet to loads of different flavours.
Old Street, Malahide
Old Street in Malahide have made welcoming children a cornerstone of the business since day one. They've long offered half portions of adult dishes, high chairs and baby changing, and on Sundays there's a kids size roast, and activity books to keep them busy at the table.
Full Moon Thai
Full Moon is the perfect casual spot when you've got a craving for papaya salad, laab moo and whole deep-fried fish. Just beware blowing baby's head off with anything too spicy, because they don't hold back in here.
Southside neighbourhood restaurant Riba know the importance of catering for families, and even have children's cutlery - that's next level effort. With fritti, arancini and chicken wings, there's plenty to put into little hands to keep them busy.
Balfe's, Dublin 2
Somewhere mentioned by you guys a lot was Balfe's beside The Westbury, whose staff went over and above to cater for younger diners and their parents. The all day menu covers a lot of bases, and there's breakfast and brunch too.
As One, Dublin 2
As One is ideal for nipping into when baby is asleep in the buggy and you're in search of sustenance. Loads of space means you can manoeuvre your contraption with ease, while great coffee and a menu focused on making you feel good will refuel you for the rest of the day.
Overends Kitchen, Dundrum
Overends Kitchen, on the grounds of Airfield Estate, is the ideal place for helping the next generation make the connection between farm and fork. Order the garden greens shakshuka, then go outside and see where they're grown.
Five Points, Harold's Cross
Five Points was another place that you guys raved about when eating out with your kids, for the food, atmosphere and general welcome. With pancakes, bacon avocado toast and house made granola on the menu, there shouldn't be any issues about finishing their food either.
Sundays at neighbourhood restaurant Loretta's are all about snacks and sharing plates, which we think is the best way to eat with mini diners. Try them on ham hock & smoked eel croquettes, or grilled chicken leg with Alabama white BBQ sauce, before moving onto a double cut pork chop with nectarines and salsa verde. There's also tonnes of space for wobblers who can't sit still to have a wander.
Soup, Dun Laoghaire & Smithfield
We love Soup for little ones, and they love it back. Let them lift the bowl to drink the last of the delicious ramen broth, or get their hands sticky in the deep-fried kimchi. There's plenty of space in Smithfield in particular for buggies/books/toys on the table, and it's noisy enough that you won't feel self-conscious if anyone's using their elevated pitch.
Bread 41, Dublin 2
The upstairs eatery in Bread 41 has been jammed with brunch bookings since opening, so you'll need to plan your visit (and reserve your highchair) in advance, but once you get there you'll find brioche French toast with homemade ice-cream, breakfast naans, and croissant benedict, and a kid's menu priced between €4.50 and €5.50 a dish.
Yoi Izakaya, Dublin 4
If you want to introduce your mini-me to sushi, head for Yoi Izakaya in Dublin 4. There's plenty of space of buggies, a long dining room to pace with wobblers, and lots of food made for eating with your fingers.
Gaillot et Gray, Dublin 8
Wood fired French style sourdough pizzeria, with an outdoor terrace, and a bookshelf bursting with kids books, colouring pencils and paper. Serving artisan breads, pizzas, speciality coffee, indigenous herbal teas, wine and beer, Gaillot et Gray is one of the most kid friendly restaurants in Dublin.
Neon, Camden Street
Neon is fast food with flavour at affordable prices. Serving fresh, Asian street food, wine and beer, it's relaxed, very kid friendly and totally informal. The free ice cream cone policy goes down a treat with the little ones, and they've got baby changing facilities.
Pi, George's Street
Pi, with its super stylish decor and queues often seen down the street at weekends, is very child-friendly - both in atmosphere and food. Pizza toppings are exceptional, with a mix of Italian and Irish ingredients, and with a limited menu it's the perfect fast casual stop in town.
Dunne & Crescenzi, South Frederick Street
Dunne & Crescenzi serve simple Italian food with quality ingredients, authentically Italian hospitality and excellent wines. There's lots of buggy space, highchairs and they'll serve half portions for kids from the main menu. It's the perfect spot for a decent family lunch or dinner in town.
The Woollen Mills, Dublin 1
Quintessially Irish, local and of its locale. Overlooking the Ha'penny Bridge and the River Liffey, The Woollen Mills a great place to grab everything from coffee and cake, to multiple courses of potted Lambay crab, crispy Howth mackerel and spicy pork meatballs with coconut harissa. There's a children's menu, and it's a great choice if you need somewhere on the Northside.
Neighbourhood burger joint BuJo cook their grass fed, chargrilled burgers fresh to order, and it's one of the best burgers in the city. They're the only fast food restaurant in Ireland and the UK to hold a 3 Star rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association, they take their environmental responsibility for the local community and the planet very seriously. It might be more expensive than Maccy D's, but it's worth every cent. There's a great kids menu, and it's counter-service so no need to book.
Shouk is our favourite Middle Eastern restaurant in Dublin. They love to see children, we love to see their mezze, their chicken shawarma, their arayes, and it's all perfect for sharing. The terrace is a dream for outdoor dining.
Press Up Venues
Press Up get a lot of stick for the quality of their food, but their venues were mentioned over and over by you guys when it came to eating out with kids. You mentioned welcoming, adaptable staff, excellent facilities, crayons and paper, and plenty of space for buggies in Angelina's, Mackenzie's, Union Café and more.
Did we miss your favourite place for eating with children? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.