The great (& not so great) Santiago restaurants with a play area for children

We like to eat out, but we also like to spend time with our kids. So pretty much every Sunday we hunt down a restaurant with a play area for children in Santiago.

Behold, Expater parents, here is a list of the great, and not so great restaurants and cafes which are great for kids. (By the way, for play cafes, i.e. cafes which are more focused on the play areas than the food, see my round up here.)

child friendly restaurant Santaigo

In Lo Barnechea:

Alfonsina

This is a huge restaurant with ample outdoor seating. Located in La Dehesa / Lo Barnechea, it has not one, but three outdoor play areas. The kids menu includes a kid’s sized portion and a carton of juice. www.alfonsinaresto.cl

Pros:

The play areas are great, especially the play area to the rear.

Staff are amazingly friendly.

There is a great market attached to the restaurant selling meat, wine, vegetables and other gourmet produce. A monthly membership gives great discounts. A must for foodies.

There’s private parking.

Cons:

If you have a kid that likes to wander be careful they don’t stray into the car park. The main playground is fenced off, but I have spotted the occasional child on an Alcatraz run.

The actual food is oh so average. I have shoe soles which are lighter than their pizza bases.

Alfonsina Alfonsina AlfonsinaAlfonsina

El Montanes

This wooden lodge style pizza and burger joint in Lo Barnechea has a large outdoor play space for kids, and lots of indoor and outdoor seating. elmontanes.cl

Pros: 

The play areas are big and really cool!

Cons: 

Staff weren’t very helpful at all…

Our kid has a dairy intolerance and we asked if we switch the cheese on his pizza for vegan cheese (which was on he adult’s menu) and the staff were having none of it ‘because vegan cheese is too expensive’. Having underlined we’d pay extra, they wouldn’t budge.

The choice of drinks on the kids’ menu is limited to fizzy sodas and you can’t even switch for water. This p*ssed me off.

After finishing our meal we noticed there was free seating near the play grounds, so we moved outdoors to enjoy a drink… and got told off.

The vegan pizza sucks. It’s basically an onion pizza, with three shreds of vegan cheese. ‘We don’t put much vegan cheese, because it’s too expensive’ we were told. Well why put the darn thing on the menu, then?!

El Montanes El Montanes El MontanesEl Montanes

LOBO

This modern French brasserie is in Lo Barnechea and the most upscale of the lot. lobobrasserie.com

Pros: 

Service was friendly and very professional on the days we visited.

While we ordered lunch, the brunch menu looked good.

The quality and presentation of food is good and the ambiance is light and airy.

Cons: 

The play area is just a small indoor section tucked around the corner. This was enough for our preschoolers, but if you’ve got older kids, it might not be enough.

There are very limited options for vegans or anyone on a special diet. Having said that, staff will do their very best and it doesn’t pretend to be a gluten free or dairy free specialist zone.

LoBoLoBo LoBo

Hansel y Gretel

This chalet style restaurant is less than a 20-minute drive from Las Condes and yet it feels like a zillion miles away in the countryside. hanselygretel.cl

Pros:

Fresher, hillside air than in the city.

The outdoor playground is especially lovely, with loads of space for kids to run around.

The atmosphere is very familial, fun and local. Staff were very, very friendly and helpful when we visited.

Cons:

It’s a bit tired round the edges.

The indoor play area didn’t really have any toys in it.

Food is very average. Maybe it’s just us, but we found it to be very oily, salty and our kids’ nuggets were so processed I’m not sure they even contained chicken (which isn’t so bad as my children felt rather guilty after visiting the chicken coop).

It doesn’t pretend to be a great venue for vegetarians, vegans or anyone on a special diet, but if you do fall into any of the above categories you might struggle as it’s mostly meat and traditional Chilean food.

Hansel y Gretel menuHansel y Gretel playground Great restaurant for kids near SantiagoHansel y Gretel food

In Vitacura:

Las Lenas

Translating as ‘the logs’, this Vitacura based pizza and burger restaurant also serves great salads. There’s an indoor and outdoor play area. laslenasvitacura.cl

Pros:

The indoor play area includes child dining tables and a TV so you can wave goodbye to your little monsters if you want some quality adult time. I’m personally not a fan of letting my kids watch TV while they eat, but then again if things got desperate…

The outdoor play area is visible from some of the tables inside and with a slide, baby football table and a decent amount of space, kids are entertained for a loooong time.

The food is pretty darn good and service is fast.

Cons:

It gets busy. Book in advance and ask for a seat near the play areas. The play area is connected to the indoors, so it feels a little claustrophobic at times.

Las Lenas Las Lenas Las Lenas

Aleman Experto  

This is a new opening in Vitacura. Its sister restaurant in Lo Barnechea also has a play area. alemanexperto.cl

Pros:

Service was incredibly fast and professional.

Food isn’t exactly healthy, but it’s good. My monsters were delighted to find prawns on the kids’ menu and my quinoa burger and shake tasted really fresh. The spare ribs also got the Mr Expater seal of approval. (Try the pineapple and basil juice – it’s delicious!)

The menu is very big, so expect to find something for even the fussiest eater. Salads, burgers, meat, gourmet sandwiches…

Cons: 

The play area is upstairs and it quickly filled up. Be sure to book a table near the second play area or you’ll spend all your time up and down some (rather steep concrete) stairs.

The kids play area is completely indoors so not ideal if you’re looking to enjoy the Chilean sunshine.

El Aleman Experto food El Aleman Experto play area El Aleman Experto menu

Etienne Marcel

This isn’t a restaurant, but a French style patisserie popular for brunch and ‘onces’ in Vitacura. www.etienne-marcel.cl

Pros:

Pastries and breads are good, and my food critic five year old informs me that the hot chocolate is rather good.

The ambiance is rather charming.

Cons:

As mentioned, this isn’t a restaurant, but a cafe, so it’s only really for snacks and very light lunches.

Parking is tricky.

It’s only a small cafe with just a small, outdoor play area. On the other hand, I rather liked it for it’s smaller size and the ambiance is far calmer than many child friendly cafes.

In Las Condes

Tip y Tap (Av Las Condes 11070)

This is a German style bistro in a very nondescript part of town in Alto Las Condes, with a really lovely outdoor playground for kids. There are a few Tip y Taps dotted across Santiago, but only the locale at Av. las Condes 11070 features a playground. tipytap.cl

Pros:

The outdoor play ground is one of the best.

The food is basic (and it’s not authentic German), but it’s rather good. The menu is huge, with loads of different meats, fish and salads to choose from.

There’s private parking.

Cons:

We were made to feel very unwelcome by all staff on our visit. My husband has visited during the week for business lunches and service has been better, which leads me to wonder if they just don’t like kids…?

Tip y Tap Tip y Tap

PF Changs (Isidora branch only)

This international chain of Asian fusion with child entertainment on weekends in its Isidora Goyenchea branch.  pfchangs.com

Pros: 

The entertainment for children is great. A lady was on hand offering painting, drawing, games, and generally stopping our kids from fighting each other to the death with chop sticks.

Service is fast and professional.

Cons: 

The kids menu portions were tiny and both my kids complained they were still hungry afterwards.

Food is OK, but nothing to get excited about. It’s definitely not authentic Asian.

There’s an urban myth that kids eat for free on weekends, but it’s no longer true, or at least not when we visited.

P F ChangsP F ChangsP F Changs

In Providencia

Matarello

This is a very popular Italian restaurant famed for its large playground in particular. Be sure to book; we waited over 90 minutes for a table we were told would be ready in 45 minutes. mattarello.cl

Pros: 

We visited on a busy public holiday and our waiter was very patient and professional. While it was very chaotic, considering the crowds our waiter did an incredible job. Service isn’t fast, but very friendly.

The play area is great and I imagine the space is especially lovely in summer when the roof canopy is open. On the day we visited there was also a children’s entertainer with balloons.

There is (limited) parking in front of the restaurant and on the street.

Cons: 

The food is nothing like the restaurant website photos. My gnocchi was overcooked to a near mush and the sauce was little more than a tomato puree out of a can. My husband’s pizza base was rather tough too.

I wouldn’t recommend this place if any of your family have a severe allergy. We were assured our pasta was dairy free, then it arrived sprinkled with Parmesan. Then we were told actually even the tomato sauce contained cheese, then actually it didn’t.

Mattarello pizzas Mattarello play areamattarello gnocchi Mattarello playground

 

Any more to add to the list? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll get sharpening our knives and forks (or chopsticks…)

2 Comments

  1. Viviana Paz
    May 28, 2019 / 12:13 am

    Thanks for the good info! You could visit “la fuente reina”, in La Reina, and make a review on it. 🙂

    • Nina
      Author
      May 28, 2019 / 9:06 am

      Funnily enough that is next on our list. Stay tuned… (and thanks so much for following) xx

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