Before you had kids, dining out was something you looked forward to. Now, you’re not so sure (you know, simultaneous meltdowns from all kids, having to carry them out kicking and screaming, that type of thing.). Honestly speaking, restaurants and kids can be a recipe for disaster…
- Children have a very low tolerance for waiting when they’re hungry, which means waiting for food will not be an enjoyable experience and thus you order quickly—and you order child’s meals that will take not long to make and that your kids will actually eat (fries! fried schnitzel! sausages!).
- The food is taking a while to come out and the kids are complaining, loudly and dramatically, that they’re literally so hungry they’re about to DIE and that’s why a) the fed-up or b) the very friendly wait staff serves the child’s meals long before the dishes for the grown-ups are in the pan.
- The kids are finished with their meal the moment (or minutes before) the adults haven’t even started with their main course.
- Finally, you are sitting there trying to enjoy your meal, all the while your kids don’t want to sit still anymore; instead, they are running around creating havoc.
- Will a bored child ever sit quietly at a restaurant “with manners”? Are you kidding? You eat as fast as possible—sorry, but this is not the time to enjoy a great fine dining experience.
- You ask for your check before you are even finished so you could get the heck outta there, screaming kids in tow.
- Back at home you realize that somehow, well, you’re not hungry anymore… but why were you actually PAYING for this most stressful experience? And you swear never to eat out in public again…
Well, I must admit that sooner or later, I realize that the one luxury I refuse to give up on just because I have children is eating out in a restaurant. Not having to cook dinner or clean up after a meal is an experience to cherish. The first step to a great experience is to seek out kid-friendly restaurants like the ones listed below, where the atmosphere makes your whole family feel welcome and where the kids’ menu offers none of the beige, deep-fried foods that provide little in terms of nutritional value and flavor. In the environs of Innsbruck, you don’t have to compromise on food quality or forgo eating local when dining out with kids!
Gasthof Walzl, Lans
Gasthof Walzl lies above Innsbruck in the rural commune of Lans. The restaurant is readily accessible by public transportation, such as by tram #6 – riding this tram is a memorable experience in itself. Hiking trails through forests and flower-filled meadows beckon, and lovely Lake Lansersee is just around the corner.
The award-winning chef’s exceptional use of local produce ensures that each dish at the “Walzl” is of finest quality. The menu changes with the season to offer guests the best options from the area and the very best in elevated Tirolean cuisine. They have a dedicated kids menu but I usually ask them if they can make up a child’s portion an adult meal – their spinach dumplings are adorably!
What’s not to love about the Walzl? Little ones are king in this place. They have a tiny indoor play area (unfortunately, you can’t see this area from the restaurant). Plus, there’s an ample natural outdoor area with playground where you can let the children run free. Going to the Walzl always puts a smile on my kids’ faces! Sitting outdoors in the beautiful beer garden you can keep an eye on your little ones as they enjoy the play facilities.
Last but not least, the Walzl has a very inviting attitude and really friendly, forgiving and tolerant staff. The welcoming atmosphere gives you some time to eat in peace and lets kids be kids. It couldn’t be more perfect :-)
Wirtshaus Natterer Boden, Natters
Set in a peaceful opening in forests and within 15 minutes’ by car from Innsbruck, Wirtshaus Natterer Boden is a particularly appealing and kid-friendly restaurant in a perfect location: At the end of a very little-trafficked road, the inn lies in its own spacious and rolling grounds that are ideal for sliding down in the winter and superb for viewing tractors, grazing cattle and harvesters with hay bale press in the summer.
At all times and in all weathers, Gasthof Natterer Boden’s farm is ideal entertainment (and education) for children, and we regularly come here to romp around the grounds, to caress animals, to ride ponies, to have some coffee, to relax—and to discover what nature can provide and enjoy the bounty on our plate: The daily-changing dishes dictated by what’s growing are the real highlight. Anything using the excellent locally grown produce is always recommended, such as their homemade Huettenstrudel pie, and smaller portions of just about everything can be made for kids, too. There are no fried foods and no fries on the menu (God bless the chef who has learned this important lesson!).
The staff is used to having kids there and is very accommodating. When I think my kids aren’t doing too well with manners, waiting patiently, or being silent, then some kind soul compliments me on their behavior by grinning with a twinkle in her or his eye.
Apart from the ample playground and the spacious grounds where kids can run free, the real kicker for kids is the petting zoo. There, little ones can feed the animals and marvel at cute baby animals like piglets, baby chicks, lambs, baby goats and foals that will make them go ‘aww’.
About ten minutes out of Innsbruck and easily accessible by rail, bus, car and bicycle (->lovely riverside cycle path on Inn River!), lies Hall, the beautiful medieval town that grew important on the riches of salt in the Middle Ages. Although I have been born and raised in nearby Innsbruck, I have to admit that I do not know Hall very well. But each time I visit, this awesome place makes me love it more. Home to quaint shops and boutiques, cozy inns, and locally owned eateries, Hall’s main drag is the enchanting historic old town district.
Situated at the edge of the old town district, yet at the heart of it all, Geisterburg Restaurant is the child-friendliest place in town. Their homemade burgers and fries are legendary, their real wood-fired pizzas are decadently tasty and they offer healthy and tasty salad, pasta and meat options that little tykes will enjoy. We always opt for the burger, though, as one is enough to make the three of us happy. Filled with rich vegetables, it is likely me expressing the most joy. The chef’s exceptional use of local, seasonal and fresh produce ensures that each dish is of the finest quality. Yummy!
An indoor playscape makes this kid friendly restaurant a winner, although it is separated from the dining area. In the warmer months, there’s a shady outdoor beer garden with another playscape next to the tables. Geisterburg has a very special and dedicated children’s menu and very friendly and dedicated staff and that’s what makes it our number one dining establishment in Hall :-)
Travelling other parts of the country?
With restaurants like these, and so many more child-friendly and child-focused restaurants in Tirol, there’s no reason to refrain from going out to eat with your kids. Visit www.tyrol.com to learn more.