I get really sick of going to the standard kid-friendly restaurants, so I’m always looking for somewhere different to go where the staff don’t look at my child like the little germ-carrying monster he is, and accept him as an extra guest who may or may not leave with pizza all over his face and shirt. I’ve been to Origin in Toronto a few times, and loved it. Many of the plates are for sharing, so I’ve tried most of the menu and didn’t find a thing I didn’t like. The music is loud, the room is dimly lit, and there is an open kitchen that you can sit right in front of to see everyone at work.
When I heard about Origin North located just outside Bayview Village Shopping Centre, I tried to check it out a few months ago. I went at lunchtime, but when I got there they said they only had four high chairs, and they were all being used. That meant I had to go somewhere else for lunch!
Fast forward to this weekend, I made a reservation for dinner and made sure to note that I needed a high chair! I made the reservation for 5:30pm because I felt that it was an appropriate time to bring my son to dinner so people out on a date night wouldn’t be bothered by us.
When we arrived the funniest part was that two senior citizens were standing in line in front of us, and even though it was only 5:30pm and the restaurant was still rather empty (it opens at 5pm), the requested a quiet table. We asked to not be seated near them!
Luckily we found that noise wasn’t an issue! Our son was on shockingly good behaviour. I think a lot had to do with the restaurant itself. There was so much for him to look at! He could see the chefs in the kitchen, the bar in the centre of the restaurant which got very busy as the night went on, the restaurant had floor to ceiling windows from one end to the other, there were lots of funky light fixtures (lights are always a good distraction for toddlers), and the music wasn’t too loud so you couldn’t have a conversation, but loud enough that you could make a bit of noise and not feel disruptive.
Our son was greeted with a fresh package of crayons, and his own placemat with pictures to colour and his menu. I thought the menu was great, and it covered most of the regular kid favourites. We chose Mac and Cheese for him, because usually you can’t go wrong with that!
Dinner came out quickly (even with my husband and I ordering 5 plates to share!), and my son’s Mac and Cheese came out in a cute mini skillet. His Mac and Cheese was amazing! I’ve noticed a lot of restaurants just feed kids Kraft Dinner and call it their own Mac and Cheese which is kind of annoying. I know that I don’t want to go to a restaurant and pay for Mac and Cheese, so why would I want to feed it to my kid?
Overall our dinner was amazing – as always – and I thought Origin North was a great option to bring my toddler. They seemed happy to have him too. The staff were great with him and they all said hello to him or tried to make him laugh. There were quite a few kids there on Saturday at 5:30, and by the time we left around 7pm the kids were clearing out, and couples and large groups were packing the place.
They can often be hard to find, but this is definitely a kid-friendly option for parents who want to go somewhere with amazing food for not only themselves, but their kids.
2901 Bayview Ave #300, Toronto, ON
Photos courtesy of sparkleshinylove and Origin North.