Families are becoming the mainstay of the Blackpool tourism industry and the town is catching up with the change in the town’s marketing and design efforts with more and more family friendly locations opening. In terms of eating establishments, there are loads, and we mean loads, of places a family can go to eat in Blackpool – chip shops, burger bars, kebab shops, fast food chains…. and so on, the list stretches as far as the promenade itself, but which are the best ones with quality food and a family friendly atmosphere? In the Blog we’ll call out our favourite places to eat with our family when we don’t want to just ‘grab’ something quick.
1. West Coast Rock Cafe.
This is very much a locals favourite, owned by a local family who opened it in 1987. Its a rock themed restaurant with music playing throughout and videos on various screens throughout the place and has a small, but effective, play area for the kids.
The food itself is high quality and the portions are very generous, we don’t think we’ve ever been and completely finished a meal. The menu is pretty big but particularly focused on steaks, and burgers (try the big pig burger – its huge!) but does other things like fajitas and enchiladas. Our ‘go to’ meals in there are burger and fajitas which we can highly recommend. Insider tip – if are going for your birthday, sign up to their mailing list in advance to get a free meal!
Booking isn’t always necessary, I don’t think we’ve ever booked when its just been four of us going but it might be a good idea to ensure you get a table (I’d suggest asking for a window seat so you can people watch) or if there’s anything on at the Winter Gardens (a few steps away) then yeah, best book.
The restaurant is located in the town centre, only about 5 minutes walk from the promenade. Don’t be deterred by the entrance and the fact you cant see in when you walk up, head up the stairs and you can have a nosey.
Web site: West Coast Rock Cafe.
2. La Fontana.
La Fontana is another of our favourite restaurants to visit with (or without) the kids. Located in the centre of town it serves up good quality Italian cuisine with fabulous service and the family friendly atmosphere you’d expect from an Italian. The waiters and waitresses are attentive even on the busiest of nights, but never over bearing.
The restaurant isn’t the biggest and whilst does accept walk ins, there may be a wait as this place is popular…. which tbh, we don’t really mind as it has a nice waiting area where you can sit, read the menu and have a drink.
Menu wise…. this is pretty standard Italian restaurant type fayre with freshly made pizza, pasta and chicken along with numerous steak dishes. Our favourites when we go are the steak mexicana (the hint of chilli isn’t over powering) and the Lasagne. This kids like to share a pizza but change what’s on it each time….. it always gets finished which is something I cant say when we get a dominos or go to pizza hut :-). Portion sizes are fair, not ‘belly busters’, so theres alway room for dessert, but not so small you end up feeling unsatisfied if you just have a main.
There is a separate kids menu available for those with kids under 8 which includes your standard offerings, chicken nuggets, pizza, burger etc for £6.95 and a free scoop of ice cream, we’ve not tried this to be honest so if anyone wants to feedback on portion size and quality, that would be fab!
As mentioned, this restaurant is located in the town centre, about 5 minutes walk from North Pier.
Web Address: La Fontana
3. Viva Vegas Diner.
Viva Vegas Diner is a pretty new addition to the Blackpool restaurant scene and is geared mainly towards families. Set in the old Harry Ramsdens’ premises from before they relocated to the Tower, the restaurant is large and has the ‘fun’ factor about it. As the name would suggest, it’s themed as an American diner and carries it off pretty darn well!
Food wise, it’s classic American food, burgers and shakes are the order of the day (and the shakes are a particular favourite for our girls!) as well as wings, ribs, ‘dogs’ and chicken dishes (amongst others). Portion sizes are good as is quality, it would be easy for this type of place, located on the central prom to easily let quality slip and just churn out food for the masses but that hasn’t happened – its very good (our particular favourite is the peppered gravy, only a quid, you must try it!!) Insider tip – like west coast, this place also offers a free meal on your birthday, register ahead to get one!!
For kids, this place doesn’t have the ‘homely’ feel that west coast rock cafe or la fontana have, it has more a chain ‘feel’ to it but, the atmosphere in the place is always quite electric, it has a buzz about it I don’t think you’d find anywhere else in town!
Like most places, booking is preferred and at the height of season, we’d advise. We have tried walk in’s a couple of times during high season and there’s been quite a wait so we’ve passed on it and gone somewhere else but they do allow walk in so definitely worth trying.
The diner is located below the Viva Cabret bar which is a fab show with a really funny host so if you’re booked in for an event upstairs, you can make a night of it without having to do much walking.
Web site: Viva Vegas Diner
4. The Buccaneer.
The Buccaneer is a restaurant which would be easy to dismiss or overlook as somewhere to eat with the kids if you wanted somewhere ‘quality’, but it is a bit of a hidden gem! It’s located in the Coral Island complex and serves up some really good food which if we’re being honest, surprised us! You’d expect Coral Island restaurants to just churn out cheap and cheerful fodder so people can eat quickly and then get back to spending their money on fruit machines or arcade games and the like…….. but you’d be very much mistaken. The Buccaneer is really good! Sunday Carvery is one of the best we’ve had in Blackpool and meals off the menu through the week are excellent quality and decent portion sizes. Add to all that, the fact that kids eat free and you’re on to a winner, winner! (chicken dinner… think they do that too!! 😉 They serve standard pub food from lasagne to chicken tikka, you don’t need to book but you need to be aware, it does get very busy and queues often form out of the door.
The decor in the restaurant is fab for kids (and adults come to think), the walls are all adorned with pirate themed displays and there’s surprises to be seen between floor boards around the place, really helps capture the imagination! A lot of the time there’s a fab Pirates of the Caribbean Jack Sparrow stood outside for photo opportunities, giving out chocolate coins, its a really nice touch.
Being in Coral Island is a big plus for the Buccaneer, kids finish food early – give them a quid and off they run to the penny pusher to entertain themselves, give them a fiver and mum and dad can sit ‘outside’ (which is still inside the complex) and have a drink on the raised dec taking in the sights and sounds – the donkey derby, the gaming machine music, the parrot ‘flyer’, coins falls……it’s a good atmopshere created by loads of people just having fun!
As I mentioned, the Buccaneer is located in the coral island complex, best way to find it to to walk along the prom, south from the tower and go in the second entrance, the Buccaneer is right ahead of you.
Web site: The Buccaneer.
The Beach House is arguably the most ‘classy’ of restaurants in Blackpool and whilst not aimed mainly at families, is very welcoming and does have special family days (think last one we went to was Christmas to visit Santa). Probably the easiest restaurant to find, The Beach House is on the ‘sea-side’ of the promenade almost opposite the tower. The food is fresh and delicious and varied…. though does have a price tag a tad higher than the other places in this Blog. The big sales factor for the Beach House is the views, one way you can see the whole tower (the only restaurant in Blackpool that has this privilege I think) the other you can see the piers (north and central) and of course, the beautiful beach and sea. There is an outdoor area too which is often covered due to unpredictable weather!
Atmosphere wise….. I think ‘chilled’ is probably the best word for it and the decor is modern and clean. (…..and it has our favourite toilets in the whole of Blackpool!! #baywatch)
Like most places in Blackpool, The Beach House does accept walk in’s but during the season, it would definitely be best advised to book. Insider tip – If you go around September time, ask for a table outside with views of North Pier. In the evening there are spectacular starling murmurations at the end of the pier which are an incredible sight even if you have little interest in birds! (we hate seagulls for the record!!). The Beach House we’d probably class as somewhere we’d go more as a treat or for a special occasion, it provides quality in everything it does but that quality and dining experience does come at a price…..but in our view, worth every penny!
Web Site: https://www.beachhouseblackpool.co.uk
So there we have it, our favourite family restaurants in Blackpool. To be fair, there are loads of quality independent restaurants in Blackpool and some really good ones up the road in St Annes and Lytham, we could have done our top 100……. but for that, you might as well sift through ‘Trip advisor’. For a newbie family coming to Blackpool, go to any of the above and you can’t go far wrong!
Have we missed your favourite? Bad experiences in any of the above? Comment / share away and if you like what we write…. like it 🙂