As part of my new restaurant reviews I am going to include guest posts from some of my fabulous friends around the globe. The following review was done by my friend Rachel who currently resides in Vancouver (BC, Canada) with her family. She is a great writer and fabulous photographer. If you live in the Vancouver area or will be traveling there you should absolutely check out this restaurant. Sounds fantastic and I wish we had something like this in Madison...Fine Dining for the whole family! She even managed to snap a shot of the play area with her iPhone, Thank you Rachel!
Restaurant Review: Munch Restaurant by Rachel
I heard about this restaurant in the Georgia Straight I think. They had been voted one of the best family friendly restaurants in Vancouver. In the article it said they were trying to meld fine dining with being able to bring your kids. The thought intrigued me so I put it on the list of places to go while in Vancouver. Then my friend Tara from Bebe Meals mentioned that she was going to try and collect restaurant reviews from around North American to put on her awesome blog. This ended with me making a reservation for Munch last night and now here we are!!
So, first of all I found the customer service on the phone very helpful and friendly. Reese had a late nap yesterday so I made a 6:30 reservation for us. We were late getting there but no one at the restaurant seemed to care, they were happy and upbeat the moment we walked in the door. To get into the dining area you have to go through a locked little wooden, waist height door(which doesn't sound as hokey as you think, its to keep the kiddos in!!!) Then you're in the dining area. The chairs are all funky looking and wooden, the highchairs switch two ways and are wood and plastic therefore easily cleaned. The floor is kind of spongy so when your kid smacks her head on it it doesn't hurt as much as tile :) Perfect. It looked like a funky little restaurant that served high end food.......... with a kids section!! nNo plastic chairs and cheesy, gaudy designs for us thank you very much!
There is a LARGE play area that is visible from the entire dining room. They now have a "nanny" there some nights of the week and on weekends to help take care of the kids in the play area so that you don't have to hover. This service is free, awesome! The toys in the play area are mostly wooden, with books galore and a really cool wooden castle. There are rocking horses, scarves and capes for dress up play, puzzles and a wooden train set. Reese was in her glory. So while we were waiting for our food, Reese played in the area, it was so great to not have to entertain her at the table because we all know how that can go!
The washrooms have a mini toilet, change tables and an area for breastfeeding, very well thought out. They were clean and had everything we needed in there.
The food....ahhhh. I would come to this place even if the food sucked because of how amazing the concept is but its just the cherry on top that the food is also pretty fantastic! I ordered the chicken curry with papadam and it was mouthwatering. Richard had beef with mash in a red wine reduction which was also fabulous(yes I tried his too, can't be a proper review without tasting everything that came to the table!) We both had a beer and they had a very good drinks menu, which you wouldn't expect in a family friendly place. I got all excited and ordered the turkey and quinoia meatballs with fusilli pasta for Reese. It was delicious!!!! Now had I been thinking I would have ordered the organic, whole grain grilled cheese since Reese is a bit of a picky eater when it comes to anything tomato. She wouldn't eat a bite. She ate some of our meals, drank some milk, but wouldn't eat her main*sigh*. This wasn't the restaurant's fault though, I'm sure kids who like tomatoes would have LOVED the dish!!! And, her meal was free because kids eat free mondays and tuesdays. So we brought it home to try again today :) The restaurant also prides itself on fair trade food, buying locally and using organic ingredients. I don't think all of their dishes are organic but then I didn't ask so I can't comment 100%.
If some childless person wandered in there I think they'd hightail it out pretty quickly because the atmosphere is pure chaos. As you can imagine there are kids wandering back and forth between play area and tables, the noise level is slightly above your regular dining crowd and someone is always going to throw a tantrum when they have to leave right!?!
So the PROS
-GREAT food, Average prices for the Vancouver area
-Play area to keep the kids entertained with nanny.
-fresh, healthy, local, organic food
-friendly, prompt service
-clean, bright and funky decor
-I wish there was one closer to where I live *is that a con though!?!*
-not easy to get your child to come and sit down to eat when they are totally distracted by the play place.
All in all, this place ROCKED. I would highly suggest it to anyone in or around the Vancouver area if you want a place you can take the kids and still get a great, healthy meal for everyone.
Here's the link to their website.
Footnote: This is a completely unbiased review, Rachel received no compensation for this review.