Madison has so many things going for it, including a vast number of real-food restaurants that can please even the well-traveled foodie. After having my eldest daughter and going through dining-out withdrawal I have made it a personal mission of mine to scope out and find kid-friendly restaurants in the Madison area. Thankfully this city is packed full of places that won’t kick you out for dropping food on the floor or crying before your meal comes. YOU are no longer banished to the fast food chain or your kitchen table. So get out there and give one of these a try. I would love to hear of your favorite kid-friendly restaurants.
Basset Street Brunch Club | located 444 West Johnson St., Madison. A newer restaurant in Madison, this locale is the perfect family destination. hey serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and have a wonderful menu full of choices, including many gluten-free options. The girls shared eggs and french toast with fresh fruit. The decor is fun with a retro feel. They don’t take reservations yet even on a busy Sunday morning we only waited about 10 minutes for a table, plus they have comfy outdoor couches to wait on. The staff was great and I know we will be returning soon.
Bloom Bake Shop (and cafe) | located at 1851 Monroe St., Madison. They have a wonderful and unique menu using organic and local ingredients and a lot of vegan and gluten-free options as well. Their donuts, salad and waffles are all AMAZING. The place is small and often busy but the beautiful, bright kid-friendly space and kind staff make a trip to Bloom worth it every time!
Blended | located at Hilldale Mall. This acai smoothie bowl joint is a fantastic place for a healthy treat. Picture smoothie bowls topped with dark chocolate, fresh berries and honey!! They also have smoothies, bulletproof coffee, grab and go salads and energy bites. A great little place you and your kiddos will love.
Bradbury’s | located at 127 N. Hamilton St., Madison (near the Madison Children’s Museum). This cute little coffee shop has awesome coffee for the grown ups and homemade hot chocolate & whip cream for the kiddos plus a fun menu of crepes and bakery items. The art class stools and community tables make for a fun little place to stop for snack.
Café Surya | located at 5500 East Cheryl Pkwy, Fitchburg inside Perennial Yoga. This completely vegan and gluten-free cafe is a truly unique find to the area. The menu is sure to please everyone as the food is amazing. It’s inside a calm and lovely space so while it is kid friendly it’s likely best for 5 and up if you plan to eat inside. They also have a lovely outdoor eating area that is perfect for nice days. Try the raw cheesecake – You won’t be sorry!
Craftsman Table & Tap | located at 6712 Frank Lloyd Wright Ave, Middleton. This fun restaurant has a fun and innovative casual menu with many gluten-free options. They even have a gluten-free beer. They have nice outdoor eating area and a creative event calendar. The kid’s menu has many healthy choices. I really like the warm, casual feel of this restaurant…another great place for families.
Crema Cafe | located at 4124 Monona Dr., Madison. This adorable cafe has been a favorite of mine for years. Serving breakfast and lunch during the week and brunch on the weekends. Great food (using many local sources), coffee, smoothies, bakery goods and toys for kids to take to their table and play with. I love the kid’s menu because all items come with FRESH seasonal fruit. They have a diaper changing station in the bathroom (this is critical information, am I right fellow diaper changing mamas?). They also have a good supply of highchairs. I could go on and on about this place but I’ll let you try it for yourself. PS. Try the bluebird sandwich, you won’t be sorry.
Dumpling Haus | located at Hilldale Mall. This is a fun place for lunch or dinner that your kids will love. Don’t be afraid to try something out of the box with your kids, mine always surprise me at what they like (or at least try). The owners are kind and welcoming and always compliment on how cute your baby is (or at least they did mine). They serve traditional and authentic dumplings and noodle dishes (they have gluten-free noodles, too). My girls love the dessert dumplings filled with custard (custard bao) and I love the homemade honeydew green ice tea. They have highchairs and the bathroom (located in the mall, not too far away) has a diaper changing station. A blend of modern and traditional, this place is a must-try in my opinion.
Forage Kitchen | located at Hilldale Mall. A new addition to the ever growing awesomeness that is Hilldale Mall this salad, grain bowl and juice bar cafe is fantastic. They started at their State St. location which is also great but not as convenient to get to with kids in tow. The house made kombucha is wonderful and almost everything is house made from scratch. The kid’s menu is small but with a lot of room for customizing. They have high chairs and a changing table in bathroom.
La Brioche – True Food | located at 2862 University Ave, Madison. Another local treasure of a restaurant. They focus on local and organic foods. I love the classic style and decor in this sweet little place. My daughters always marvel at the “fancy” bathroom. They have amazing brunch items, delicious and creative salads and a nice bakery. I love the balance of an upscale restaurant and casual elegance. Kids are welcome and they have high chairs and a great kids menu.
Liliana’s | located at 2951 Triverton Pike Dr., Fitchburg. Named after the owner and chef’s daughter this place is a wonderful combination of good food and family friendly. Serving New Orleans cuisine the kid’s menu states “all kid’s meals are made from scratch with fresh whole ingredients”- I love this. Too may times restaurants take the time and effort to develop a unique adult menu but have a kid’s menu consisting of boxed mac and cheese and heated frozen food – not this place. I credit Liliana’s for helping me discovering my daughter liked raw peppers at age 2, when they brought her some and she gobbled them up! They have highchairs and the bathroom has a diaper changing station.
Madison Sourdough | located at 916 Williamson St., Madison. A cozy little cafe with mis-matched wood chairs and tables that serves a fantastic breakfast and lunch menu using local and seasonal ingredients and their fabulous bread. The kid’s menu items are awesome and served with fresh fruit. The coffee is wonderful and served in glass mugs. They also have highchairs.
Marigold Kitchen | located at 118 S. Pinckney St., Madison. This breakfast and lunch café is a wonderful place to visit when downtown. Their description of “creative healthy food prepared by friendly folk” is dead on! Organic milk boxes for the kids and a wonderful coffee menu for mom and dad…they have wonderful pancakes, salads, sandwiches and specials every day. The vibe and the decor in the restaurant are hip yet relaxing. It’s a fun mix of weathered wood floors and bright colored art on the walls. On each of our visits the staff was friendly, helpful and so kind to my kids. They have highchairs there are well. They have nice/ clean restrooms with plenty of room to change a diaper if need be.
Novanta | located at 8452 Old Sauk Rd, Madison and 2903 University Ave, Madison. A fun place offering authentic Neapolitan pizza fired in a wood stove imported all the way from Italy. The quick service location offers white and red pizza options, salad and desserts. My husband and girls loved the pizza and the garbanzo salad is my favorite. The service is so quick that I have yet to even check out the restrooms (this is shocking I know) so I cannot say if they have a diaper changing station but they did have highchairs.
Roman Candle Pizzeria | located at 1054 Williamson St. – Madison, 1920 Parmenter St. – Middleton. A go-to place for pizza with a unique menu, organic milk boxes for kids, chocolate shoppe ice cream and the Middleton location has a play area with kid’s toys and games. Kid’s can choose from pizza or pasta with side options like carrots and fresh fruit. They tote a huge list of local ingredients and now offer Gluten-Free crust available in small size pizzas. I’m not sure about the Willy street location but Middleton has highchairs and a diaper changing station in the bathroom. PS. they have beer and wine (for the grown-ups)!
The Sow’s Ear | located at 125 S. Main St., Verona. A fun combination café and yarn shop this eclectic place has a seasonal menu including many of the vegetables they grow in their garden. In nice weather this is a great place to take the kids and eat outside. They have a little play house and a nice area for the kids to run around. The menu was fun and creative including smoothies and a full coffee menu. They have clean bathrooms and a diaper changing station. Even if you don’t knit, it’s fun to be surrounded by all the colorful yarn too.
Tex Tubb’s Taco Palace | located at 2009 Atwood Ave., Madison. A fun little taco joint perfect for families. They make their food from scratch and have a fun menu (including many vegan and gluten-free options). My girls loved the kid’s quesadilla with avocado that came with fresh fruit. The guacamole is wonderful but a little spicy, yet that did not deter my kids a bit, they polished off all of mine. They have highchairs and the bathroom has a diaper changing station. They also have an extensive craft beer and tequila menu (for the grown-ups)!
Footnote: We received no compensation for this review. We paid for our meals ourselves.