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Children’s corner: Family eating destinations

Restaurants can offer a nice break from slaving in the kitchen, but they can also provide entertainment for your children and allow them to use up some energy running around with other kids, climbing jungle gyms and just getting out in the healthy winter air. Cairo restaurants are picking up on parents’ needs for both a nice break from home and a short term distraction for their children. Here are some spots around town that offer up a good meal and a good time for those under 10 years old.

Villa 55 in Maadi

Although the food at Villa 55 on Road 9 in Maadi isn’t likely to be your idea of gourmet, the variety is plentiful and the little playground in the corner outside is equipped enough to keep kids busy and excited for at least a couple of hours. With swings, a slide, rocking horses and little benches, Villa 55 will provide just enough activity for a meal, but don’t expect to spend the day. Menu recommendations for kids include the mild tasting white pasta with bolognese. The chicken strips came with too many vegetables and spices for my own 4-year-old, but each child will have different tastes.

Sequoia in Zamalek

Set up for children on Friday and Saturday afternoons, Sequoia offers a large space to run around (although, it's not recommended for children who enjoy climbing rails–the restaurant is right on the Nile) and some art activities monitored by art teachers or supervisors. Sequoia’s main benefit is that the food is amazing and if the weather is good, you and your children will make the most of the place. Sequoia is also a scenic location for taking nice Nile-side photos and watching the sunset.

Johnny Carinos in Heliopolis

Although you may cringe at this mainstream version of ‘Italian cuisine’, Johnny Carino’s family benefits can give you that extra incentive to pack up the kids. Avoid cream-based sauces like, but the angel hair pasta is usually consistent and the starters, while guilt-ridden, are fabulous. Johnny Carino’s also has a small playground in the back and if you drop by every once in a while to make sure your kids are OK, you should be able to get a couple of bites down.

TGI Fridays on the Maadi Corniche

Not the healthiest food choice, but tasty, this branch of Fridays has a little playground that is in visible sight of most of the outside tables. Let your kids roam, but watch out for the stairs since they lead straight up to the very crowded Corniche. Friendly waiters and waitresses are characteristic of the restaurant, as are free drink refills.

British Community Association in Maadi

Another choice for Maadi residents, the British Community Association offers a garden, a limited but delicious menu and a nice playground. Although you have to be a member to get in, the BCA will let you check the place out before you decide whether to join. Visitors pay LE 20 to enter (kids are for free). BCA is a relaxed and cheerful place for children.

Planet Africa in Mohandessin

A creative re-creation of the African Jungle, Planet Africa will keep your kids entertained. With a jungle-themed menu and decor, the restaurant requires you up your own creativity and find the child within. Kids will love the friendly waiters and the atmosphere.

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